Thursday, 18 August 2011

A place to eat in New York

All of a Sudden, the Toughest Table in New York Five nights a week, chef César Ramirez offers the most outrageously fabulous meals in New York, prepared and served in a space that also acts as the prep kitchen of a grocery store on the same block. When I went early last year, the total number of seats was twelve. Recently he expanded to eighteen, and his partners have sprung for a seven-figure renovation. Yes, that's $1 million for one small room. It gleams. The food is of the moment and of the market, downtown Brooklyn's take on the chef's table. Ramirez, an ex–David Bouley protégé, is always there cooking, putting out at least twenty small courses, each a bite or three, aided by two assistants and a fellow by the name of Marcilino, the hardest-working dishwasher in New York. The food is close to French but has inspired twists—jumbo lump crab encased in kataifi (a Middle Eastern play on shredded wheat), bluefin toro in mustard-seed sauce, a Kumamoto oyster with grapefruit gelée and crème fraîche, bacalao with cod roe and microplaned black truffle. Ramirez says the small assemblage that he refused to lower his standards, that his single goal was perfection.

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