Monday, December 5, 2011

Once more to Mecca - A night at Brooklyn Fare

Part two of the weeks outstanding dining agenda took place at Brooklyn Fare with Chef César Ramirez and his truly amazing, indescribable, mind-blowing cuisine. I wish I could recall it all myself, but with the help of good friend Mark Scudiery and some of the rest of the
clan that was there that night, a decent accounting of the menu exists. (Mark's excellent Blog "Wine Without Numbers recounts the evening well better than my notes - click here to read). They really don't like you taking notes at Brooklyn Fare, and you will be reminded if you stray - but I respect that, and so I put away camera and iPhone after about course 4 and surrendered to the show. Ceasar wants you to be present in the moment, not head down in your device, tweeting bragging rights to your blog buddies. But it is SOOOO good, and there is so much variety, nuance, much going on that it is nearly impossible to recall without a little crib sheet. All I can say is that every taste he plates up in front of your eyes is hors category, and every time way more than a few are far beyond that.

And then you have Cesare himself, focused, intense and subdued early on, warming up and relating a bit more as the night goes on. I can well imagine that the tone of the crowd on a particular night plays a role. Every time I am there it's a little like a winery visit where it can start a little cool as they sort of feel you out, sense your interest and passion, and once gauged, the whole mood warms (or not as the case may be). Meanwhile a non-stop, choreographed production goes on - no wonder he's quiet at first, he has a lot to do! We are talking 15-20 dishes prepared in Cesars own words "like your are working with no net, nothing to hide - everything up front, one shot at it, right in front of your eyes". It really is food theater at the very highest level. No pressure!

Why do I love his cooking so much? Why is this simply the best restaurant I have be
en to (twice now) since El Cellar de Can Roca? It's the amazingly creative, simple, perfect composition of every taste I encounter here. It is first and foremost about the ingredients: ingredients, ingredients! (David Bouley espoused the same just a few nights before. Nothing but great, fresh, seasonal, impeccable food. Second is the technique - only those with the very best can be so deft and subtle, and yet complex at the same time, interpreting, expressing - never taking over. Each part in its place, each flavor carefully chosen - nothing more, nothing less -
resulting in compelling,thought provoking flavors and textures. It's precise, measured - almost contrary to the high tech approach - this is simply perfect food, perfectly prepared and presented.

Oh, I almost forgot - did I mention we had seven wines from Domaine Leflaive? Yes, THE Domaine Leflaive! Hard to believe that wines of this caliber were almost an afterthought - but in retrospect it was because they too were in perfect harmony, melding with the cuisine, heightening, complimenting, and contrasting with the wonderfully nuanced food - the mineral, crisp 2007s were perfect with the seafood dominant menu. Many perfect pairings, building from Macon Verze, Bourgogne Blanc, Puligny Village, several 1er Cru Wines and on to the Grand Crus, and finally one lonely but delicious Maillard 1993 Aloxe Corton Corton 1er Cru les Lollieres. An excellent night - as Mark says in his blog "Hail César!"

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