If you haven’t heard about The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare by now, it's time to change that. With a multi-course tasting menu, and two Michelin stars, it's like a Brooklyn El Bulli. I celebrated my birthday there in September and it was the perfect place for a special occasion.
Their menu devotes just one word to each of it many courses, and a whole two sentences about photos and notes. In a nutshell, they’re not allowed. The chef wants you to enjoy his food without any distractions. For me, this was a relief. These days, I don't get to go out to dinner or see many of my friends much. To spend a few precious hours with some of my favorite people while enjoying cod, hiramasa, king salmon, egg, sturgeon, ravioli, duck, cheese and dessert, I didn’t want to worry about details. I do that enough.
I can’t tell you much more about what we ate, but I can tell you that it was all excellent. The chef, Cesar Ramirez, plated the food -- small, delicate bites that looked beautiful -- on china. We were all in awe of a sardine stitched into a potato chip . A few reviews I'd read commented on his bad attitude. Either he'd read them too, or people like to exaggerate. He kept to himself most of the night, but our lively group got him to loosen up a bit (and let us take a picture).
New York Magazine recently wrote a longer review of Brooklyn Fare and called its location brutal. Sure, this particular stretch of Schermerhorn Street is desolate and not exactly charming, but it doesn’t really matter. You’ll be there at night when it’s dark and you’re not coming to sightsee. Once you slip inside and sit down, you’ll feel like you’re at a fancy dinner party (even thought you're really in a stainless steel prep kitchen). But beware: Cesar will charge you for any broken china.
If you go by yourself, hopefully you'll click with some of the other people at the communal table. To have the most fun, do what I did. Get a big group and try to fill it up yourself; it seats up to 18 people. It’s still BYO from what I’ve heard. Stock their bar, then sit back and relax. Cesar will worry about the details and you can enjoy an incredible meal. Without any distractions.
The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare
200 Schermerhorn Street
200 Schermerhorn Street
*Brooklyn Fare's website focuses more on its supermarket of the same name a few doors down. Its Facebook page has more info about The Chef's Table.