Tonight I was very fortunate to have a meal at Chef Cesar Ramirez’s Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. And it was by far the best meal I have ever had, beating out Bouley (Chef Cesar Ramirez’s origins), Jean Georges, 11 Madison Park, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Le Bernardin and some others in other countries.
This three Michelin starred restaurant, is deserving of all its praise. Some reviews have complained about its location, but it is this that makes it even more unique and worth the trip.
I have no pictures as no photos or cellphones are allowed. This no photos policy is actually a surprising welcome, and did not make the place feel as pretentious as Momofuku Ko, quite the contrary it allowed for one to truly marvel at the cooking process and really take in the theatrics and beauty of each dish; it also helped that the staff here are friendly and welcoming unlike the aforementioned restaurant. I dont have a printed copy of the menu as the menu also changes daily based on the freshest ingredients Ramirez can get, but in general each seasonal menu revolves around similar dishes. Have you seen the film Ratatouille? Remember the scene where he takes a bite and sees fireworks? Well, every bite during this meal was just like that.
I lost count of how many courses we had, but it averages around 18-24 courses, each can be eaten in one bite, other than the fish and meat dishes, and it does not leave you feeling overly stuffed or hungry, it is just right.
Our meal started off with a delicious oyster. His ingredients are fresh and top quality, and some dishes sound simple and basic but they were very complex and the flavors and textures were extremely well balanced. Below are just some of the highlights of this surreal meal.
Hokkaido Uni (sea urchin) topped with black truffle
Monterey Bay Abalone with foie gras
Miyazaki Wagyu beef served with diced daikon
Turbot served with white asparagus and morel mushrooms
Butter poached lobster with beats
a chocolate dessert with butterscotch sorbet and fresh Malaga strawberries, this desert was magic, it came in a chocolate ball and they poured a steaming sauce over it which melted the outer chocolate shell, it was perfection.
While the restaurant used to be BYOB (it now has a corkage fee of $90 per bottle!), they have a 4 glass and 6 glass wine pairing options, with the 4 glass at $98 per person being well worth it.
It was a treat to sit at the stainless steel counter and watch as Ramirez and his team prepared the dishes in the small kitchen right in front of you. Indeed from the cooking, to the plating, to seeing the work of art presented in cool china, to eating each dish and experiencing all the flavors and textures, it was a magical experience. I’m glad cameras and phones were not allowed, for the first time in a long time (thanks to Instagram), I was really able to fully absorb the entire meal. But that being said, even if I was snapping away with my phone, i can honestly say this would still be amazing and the best meal.
I honestly am still speechless at the meal I just had. Well worth the effort to get a reservation and well worth the hefty price tag. If you havent already noticed, I highly recommend this place. Though I have heard sometimes it is hit or miss with the main courses, but nonetheless tonight according to the same people, was also their best meal at Brooklyn Fare. I have to say I’ve rarely been to a restaurant of equal caliber and fanfare that was consistent from beginning to end, its either great appetizers and desserts and ok mains or the other way, this was nonstop goodness.
After the meal, we talked briefly to Chef Ramirez, I was quick to take the opportunity to utilize my long unused rusty Spanish to compliment the meal and note that it was the best in my life. He humbly thanked me and told us that he was glad we thought it was perfect but to him its never perfect, he always sees the flaws and thus always tries to aim higher each time. Spoken like a true chef, artist and master of his craft. Perhaps this is a part of his secret in addition to sourcing the freshest finest ingredients (the abalone was flown fresh from California), it is the strive for perfection, for fine tuning his art/craft and his own skills, to consistently challenge himself, that makes his food so worthwhile.
To give you an imagery of the food and spectacle, check out this episode of Anthony Bourdain’s visit.
The restaurant takes reservations 6 weeks in advance for all dates and times of the desired week, reservations open at 10AM on Monday, good luck! I called nearly 50 times in the course of 1 hour and ended up on the wait-list, which fortunately for me I got off of. But as stressful a reservation process as it is, definitely far more worth the effort than the overrated and overpriced Momofuku Ko online reservation system. Tuesdays and Wednesday dinner sittings are 7:00PM and 7:45PM, and Thursday and Saturday sittings are 6:00, 6:45, 9:30, and 9:55PM. They only take parties of 2 or 4, and the whole table sits only 18 people.
Even if you may disagree with whether this is the best, I feel it is hard to argue that this is one of the top in the NYC area, whether that applies to all the United States and the world, I cannot say. But, again I think it is worth the effort to try to get a seat, and definitely worth the journey to Brooklyn for this meal, oh and worth every penny spent.
Plan ahead, and call at 9:59AM on Monday, do not wait for the clock to strike 10, you may be out of luck. But dont hesitate to put yourself on the wait-list if you do not get a table, you never know what might happen.
NOTE: you must give a credit card, which will be charged the full amount + service and tax 1 week ahead of your scheduled meal. Also note that if you are arrive late, and another party during your seating arrives earlier or on time, you will miss whatever courses they already served to the earlier fellows, so be on time!!!!!
I hope that when you go, you will have an equally awesome experience.
Good luck and Bon Appetite,
3 Comments Add yours
Hi, I read this with interest as I’ve managed to land (I hope, until it’s confirmed) a booking for September. I was wondering if you chose the wine pairing & what did you think of it? Also what is the tipping custom, given that you don’t really “pay” at the end of the meal?
Hi, I did do the wine pairing, I did the 4 glass wine pairing, which in it of itself was plenty and worth it at around $95pp, there is the 6 glass option which just has champagne and dessert wine added instead of the regular 2 white 2 red. Like I said you pay 100% of you bill a week in advance of your reservation, this includes the tip and tax, thus all you need to do is arrive and eat, no extra tipping is necessary or expected.
Thanks, this is very helpful. I’m also considering the 4 glass option, esp. now that you’ve clarified the difference. Also I’ve never been to the US before & having read about American tipping customs (which differ from European, as in tips being smaller, less frequent, usually less expected), I wouldn’t like to be out of line ;).