My wife and I came here as one of my Christmas gifts to her. We had heard lots of amazing shit about this place, so we were excited to go. This meal happened at the new restaurant space on Extra Place. Since it was relatively recent since they made the switch, we had the pleasure of actually seeing and meeting Chef David Chang in the restaurant. Pretty awesome, seeing as I feel he is one of the most important and innovative chefs of a generation. Here’s a shot I took of him and my wife after we finished our meal:
So anyway, check out the tasting meal we had: easily one of the best meals of my life. My wife’s photos came out amazing, so I included them too (overhead shots).
We were seated at the corner of the U-shaped bar, and felt that our every need was attended to, constantly. The service here is amazing, and it feels as if each diner has a pair of chefs and waiters all to him/herself. The presence of management is always felt as well. They really go above and beyond to make sure you are having a great meal.
First was a Concord grape soda & jelly shot to prep the taste buds. Fizzy and sweet.
We were already sipping on some cocktails. Mine was a gin drink (on the left) called “Shrub,” and my wife had a bourbon drink called “Quartet.” Both were excellent. We had a pair of hot damp towels too, to get all that subway stripper pole germ shit off of our hands before eating. The cool thing about this meal is that it’s not pretentious by any means. You eat with your hands for most of the meal.
The first food items were a lobster & mint cylinder, and a dry aged beef tartlet with carrot. The beef was really flavorful and savory. I wanted more! The lobster and mint combo was surprisingly good, and it was a refreshing bite.
Next was an amazingly tasty bite of sushi. Striped bass with nori, pickled veggies and daikon.
Then came a millefeuille of rye phyllo dough layered with trout roe and green tea powder. Absolutely stunning to look at, and even nicer to shove down your throat. Just be careful not to breathe while eating or that green tea powered may have you coughing.
This red snapper tartare may have been my favorite dish of the night. It came mixed with a jelly made from the fish bones broth/flavor, and dressed with yuzu, lime and shiso spray.
Another refreshing and light dish was this raw scallop with pineapple dashi, drizzled with basil seed and basil oil soup. Awesome.
Next was probably my least favorite dish, but it was still nicely executed. Beets with brown butter and bonito (dried anchovies).
The following is the absolute best preparation of uni (sea urchin) I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Prior to this, I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of uni. I’ve had some great preparations (like at Takashi), but nothing ever really blew me away to the point where I would go out of my way to have it. This was amazing though. It was raw, and served with a fermented chic pea puree and topped with lemon olive oil. So fucking creamy!
This next dish was fun to watch them prepare. It was torched mackerel with rice, wasabi and dash ponzu sauce, sitting on a wasabi leaf. Sushi, essentially. The cool thing was that they used an infrared torch to get that char on the fish without imparting any fuel flavor from something like a butane torch.
After some googling at home, I found that Chef Chang has actually endorsed the product, and supported their Kickstarter efforts. The product is called the Searzall. Check it out – it’s fucking cool:
The trout mousse with pickled sunchoke and kale in a dashi broth was warm and comforting. A bowl of this on a cold winter night would hit the spot. They poured the broth in table side. I shot some video of it (six seconds), but it really wasn’t that exciting so I decided to just show the photo.
Another highlight of the meal was the soft scrambled egg with Siberian caviar and sweet potato flakes. It had great texture from the flakes, great briny salt from the caviar, and the egg was perfect.
They also served the egg dish with some sourdough bread and watermelon-radish salted butter. The butter was very unique and flavorful. Very fresh and light. The kind of butter you can eat by the vat and not feel guilty about it.
My next favorite course, and my wife’s first favorite course, was the celery root agniolotti pasta with Tandoori spice and fucking white truffle. This was perfect in every way. It was soft and pillowy, yet it had crunch from the truffle (it was crisp!). It was slightly salty, but I really didn’t mind because the flavors were so robust.
Next was a slow cooked branzino with yogurt sumac sauce. It was toped with spiced sunflower seeds, which came off slightly bitter, but still nice to eat. Also mixed in was artichoke. This dish had the skin on. Typically I don’t eat fish skin unless it is crispy, but this was awesome. It was soft and tender. It felt like any other part of the fish meat when I popped it into my mouth.
This next dish was both salty and spicy. It was roasted lobster tail and sweet potato in a lobster sauce with fried ginger. The sauce would have been perfect if it wasn’t so salty. I found that if I didn’t dip too often into the sauce, then I really enjoyed this dish. The lobster meat was cooked perfectly.
Most interesting dish of the night goes to the Hudson Valley foie gras that seemed to be grated as if it were super soft cheese. It was garnished with pine nuts, Reisling wine jelly and lychee. This, too, was salty, but I enjoyed it very much.
Here comes the meat, bitches! Venison loin with a sauce made from cranberry and deer blood. It was served with a side of whipped potato that had been combined with with butter and a cheese that was reminiscent of a Stilton or blue cheese. As you can see below, the venison was cooked rare, and if I had to guess, it was sous vide style, and then lightly torched.
A palate cleanser came next: Clementine sorbet with Campari.
The dessert was highly anticipated. A guy a few seats down from us when we first arrived had just gotten his bowl, and was flipping out about how great it was. He didn’t want to eat it because he didn’t want it to end. Coconut lime sorbet with banana rum meringue and wafers.
There was complimentary coffee:
And a small tray of macarons and chocolates came along with the bill:
I should also make note of the music at this place. It was excellent, as if the selection were based off of my favorites. There was lots of 80s music, and oldies. They even played our wedding song, which was nice. I felt bad because I was in the middle of chatting with one of the chefs about all the delicious shit in the fridges at the back of the restaurant, otherwise I would have liked to bust out and dance with my wife beside our seats.
It was so cool though – floor to ceiling fridges make up one whole wall in the back, and you can actually see what you’re eating and how it is stored. Here are some of the awesome things I found in the fridges: truffles, aging tuna, cheese cloth wrapped foie gras, aging venison loin (unless that is some sort of sausage) and a variety of aging beef.