Magazine article The New Yorker

The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

Magazine article The New Yorker

The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

Article excerpt

By day, on a deserted block in downtown Brooklyn, Cesar Ramirez supervises the prepared foods for the gourmet grocery store Brooklyn Fare. By night, in a prep kitchen three doors down, the Mexican-born, Bouley-trained chef commands an audience of eighteen, seated around a brushed-stainless-steel bar, with an extravagant culinary spectacle. The experience, which was originally billed as a cooking class (and which was recently awarded two Michelin stars), is heavily theatrical: dishes are plated in canon using tweezers and chopsticks, and hushed reverence is all but requested.

The nine-course menu changes weekly, and starts with a flurry of unlisted canapes. Diners might pop fried hunks of blowfish tail, marvel at a sardine woven into a potato chip, and learn that kataifi is shredded phyllo dough, all before dinner even begins. As each dish is presented, Ramirez dispenses suggestions ranging from spoon selection ("Ma'am, your demitasse would be better") to the ideal number of bites (one or two). The aluminum bar stools aren't the only source of a slight chill; a stern note on the menu reads "We request no pictures or notes are taken and cell phones be used outside." But then there's the first official course--cod roe layered with baccala mousse, crispy potato bits, and caramelized onions, topped with a heap of Burgundy truffle shavings--and it is wickedly good. …

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