Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare Review


#1

Given the seemingly universal praise of the restaurant amongst FTC’ers and its 3 * status, I took the plunge.

Reservation:
I generally hate hunting down reservations myself (hello TFL and Sushi Saito HK?) so I had Visa Signature concierge do that for me. Upon emailing them, I was told that they have a 90% success rate in getting a reservation for their customers at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare and lo and behold, I got my confirmation email the day reservation opened up for my desired date and time.

Traffic:
Traffic sucks in NYC. I was about 3.7 miles away from the restaurant but it took our Lyft a good 50 mins to get to the restaurant…

Ambiance & Service:
Despite the jacket required dress code, the restaurant has a classy but relaxing environment. I felt right at home talking and joking with the friendly waiters and waitresses. One thing to note, however, is that description of each course was minimalist. Many times over, side ingredients or specifics of the course were left out in the description. For example, one of the course was described as a custard without elaborating on what the custard is. For another course, the clear use of Jamon Iberico was not even mentioned as part of the course.

Moving on to the food…


The restaurant is located at the back of the grocery store and has its own private restroom.


Unlike many chef’s counter, you don’t get to interact with the kitchen staff. They were quietly going about their business with efficient movements the whole night. Chef Cesar Ramirez, on the other hand, is a man of few words. He said “Hi” and “Welcome” in the beginning of the meal and that was the entirety of our interactions. He never dropped by again or waved us goodbye…not that it really matters since he speaks to the guests through his food!


I opted for their house-made organic lemonade with endless refills. It’s got a great balance of sweetness and bracing tartness that kept me going back to it the entire night. Yum!


Shima Aji tartlet
The meal began with an explosion of nuclear bomb in my mouth. Tart. Smokey. Crunch from the buttery tart. Heat from wasabi. Sweetness from the fish. Not ONE component overwhelmed another which is the constant throughout the night. Super complex and fan-fuking-tastic!


Saba
Perfectly cooked.


What the sauce entails escaped my memory but it was great. The heaviness of this oily fish was countered with a tart and creamy sauce. There was a slight crunch from the kelp for a change of pace in texture.


Hokkaido Uni Brioche Toast with Black Truffle
@PorkyBelly My breath was taken away! We were instructed to conquer this beast in 2 bites.


Smokey. Sweet. Creamy. Earthy. Buttery. Crispy. Fluffy. Perfection. I can’t overstate how the balance of each component was spot on!


Norwegian King Crab with Kaluga Caviar
Divine. Again, details of the sauce for most courses escaped me.


This caviar course was right up there with TFL’s oysters and pearls and JR’s caviar course. Similar to JR’s pairing of caviar and king crab, I get the perfect balance of sweetness from the crab and salty of from the caviar. There was also a texture contrast between the popping of caviar and the crab’s softness while the sauce linked everything together with its creaminess.


Custard with Foie Gras and Black Truffle
Great.


Silky. Earthy. smokey. Decadent.


Akamutsu / Nodoguro with White Wine Sauce
Great but didn’t reach the esoteric height of the Binchotan grilled Nodoguro I had at Hayato.


Flaky. Meaty. Slightly crispy skin. The sauce had great acidity (recurring theme of the night) to offset the slightly fatty nature of the fish.


Langoustine, Langoustine Ravioli, Chaterelles, Parley root puree, Orange Sauce
Another home run. The langoustine was cooked to perfection and it was oh so sweet and was tempered by a tart citrisy sauce! The raviolis gave it a good change in pace in terms of texture.


Cod, Masutake Mushroom, Cream Sauce
Great.


Lukewarm. Flaky. Flavorful. Creamy. Fragrant shrooms. Everything blended together seamlessly.


Duck, Hen of the Woods, Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Red wine braised Japanese Cabbage
Good. Lukewarm and slightly chewy duck. Slightly crisp skin. The side fared much better with its combination of salty, earthy, meaty, and acidity flavors.


A5 Wagyu from Miyazaki, Pickled Horseradish, Chive sauce
I never met a A5 Wagyu that isn’t fantastic and this was no different. The pungent buttery chive sauce was a great contrast from the bright pickled horseradish that gives you a bit of a kick in the heat department.


Kaffir Lime Sorbet with Sake Gelee
Refreshing. The tangy sorbet was balanced with floral sweet and bitterness from the sake gelee. I really liked it.


Milk Ice Cream, Poached Pear, Caramel Sauce
The combination of the 3 elements with its contrasting flavors and textures brought this dish to a whole new level! Yum!


Frozen Matcha Souffle
Great! It was like eating matcha air. Light as a cloud. There were also some crunchy buttery bits of something at the bottom to give you another texture to the dish. Notice the nice touch in giving us a freezing cold spoon to go along with this dessert?


Pistachio Cake
Another hit.


Spongy. Custardy. Light. Flavorful. Not too sweet. FAN-FUKIN-TASTIC.


Vanilla Cream Puffs
The meal ended with the best cream puffs I ever had. Crispy exterior gave way to its light citrisy vanilla cream interior. It was a gorgeous ending to this wonderful meal.


Upon leaving, we’re handed our menu inside a wax sealed envelope with the restaurant’s very own logo stamped on. A classy touch indeed!


This was a delightful meal and a masterclass in terms of nuanced flavor balancing. In my book, this was a top meal, despite the lack of bread service, filled with greatness course after course. If that isn’t enough to entice you? You might be happy to know that liberal use of luxury ingredients occur throughout the entire night. :sunglasses:

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
431 W 37th St
New York, NY 10018


#2

great report and awesome pictures. ct@bf is my top 3* in the country, love chef’s use of japanese and french flavors.

Nice intel, i’ll be trying that next time.

i ask to be seated at the counter on the far left where Chef Ramirez usually stands, he’s always been very friendly and humble.


#3

CT certainly topped Le Bernardin and EMP by a long shot IMO. On the other hand, I love French-ish restaurants with Japanese influence…Manresa, JR in Vegas, Providence, etc…

I did make that request but wasn’t granted. The entire left section of the counter were left empty for another seating at a later time since those seats eventually filled up.


#4

you need to try saison


#5

Am I the only one who finds that somewhat off-putting? Not gilding the lily but laying on unnecessary accoutrements for the pretension factor of them. Didn’t phrase that well; sorry.


#6

oh and this is probably my favorite bite in the country.


#7

I shall!

Yes.

I didn’t find a single unnecessary luxury ingredient on this night. Each ingredient was maximized.


#8

I can’t describe it. It’s almost like if you notice it enough to call attention to it then it’s… I really don’t know. 'Course I’m a simpler person clearly. When I have, let’s say, foie I want that to be the main main not just something that “occurs.” Whatever. Glad you enjoyed it.


#9

Yup, I was confident you would love it when you mentioned going, and I never have any hesitation recommending CTBF. The woman in the back at the grill is super talented - the cuisson is pretty much perfect every time, and their saucier is on point, too.

Agreed about Le Bernardin, it wasn’t even close to CTBF in my experience.

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Saison
Chef’s Counter at The Restaurant at Meadowood

are my top 3 fine dining in the US, in no particular order. I’ve had some enjoyable meals at Manresa at Providence but they’re not at the same level as the above, imo. You might like Aubergine in Carmel-by-the-Sea, I’ve had some good meals there particularly for the price, and there is a clear Japanese influence (e.g. their signature wagyu course). I’m back at Saison again in a few weeks; will report on how it’s evolved.

@moonboy403 consider giving Jungsik a try, too - it’s quite enjoyable when in NYC.


#10

Agreed. Review forthcoming.

Probably should’ve replaced Le Bernardin with that. :cry:


Le Bernardin Review
#11

A few years ago, a friend and pretty prominent CH was disappointed in her meal at Le Bernardin.


#12

That makes like 20 of us.


#13

She did, however, treat us to lunch at Jean Georges which was divine :slight_smile:


#14

I’d much rather him work the kitchen than the floor.

Is she the #2? Definitely seemed like it, keeping the rest of the kitchen in check.


#15

My cousin’s cousin worked at CT for a few years before going off to help some CT alums open a new place in the city. He told me that Chef Ramirez is quite fond of champagne and has animated conversations about it. As a boss, he has nothing but nice things to say about him.


#16

Connections! I guess you won’t have any trouble netting a reservation there

True but both can be done like at Californios. It’s nice when you get to talk to the chefs and pick their brains on why they do things a certain way or their thoughts behind certain dishes.


#17

They used to have a no photo policy. Furthermore, almost everyone at the counter last time I went was a restauranteur or in the industry. On my left was a group of restauranteurs from Australia, on my right was an Italian gentleman who owned a 2* joint.

If their slight reticence regarding the dishes’ composition comes from a place of protectiveness (my take on one possibility, not saying that this is necessarily their motivation), I can understand.

There are indeed a significant amount of details in each dish that are not announced. They do, however, tend to share if you voluntarily guess correctly. Chef Cesar is on the more focused side but I did chat briefly as we have a mutual friend and interest. And yes they love discussing Champagne - blanc de blancs in particular which is one of my favorite, if not my very favorite type of wine. Dom Ruinart is always nice but they also introduced me to a Jacques-Lassaigne La Colline Inspiree which is great. Can’t wait to return.


#18

On that particular night, none of my “neighbors” at the counter were pros. We had a old retired couple from LA and a mom that brought her teenage son to dinner on our right. To my left, there was a doctor and his stay at home wife from Texas. Neither the doctor or the wife was wowed by CT. They said there’s this steakhouse in Texas that was better and wowed them with every course. :confused:


#19

And no note taking


#20

:joy: I hadn’t heard that story before but that alleged overreaction is hilarious.

I tend to have little sympathy for Joshua Stein - his try-hard article on the moral permissibility of Gourmet Fest in Carmel irked me (all the more so when I found his “Which Chef Would You Eat?” interviews - yeah, you read that right).