Three great chef's counters
A few toques have the intimate chef's-table formula down pat. Here are three of our faves.
Fri Feb 11 2011
Photograph: Jolie Ruben
Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare
A grocery store is the unlikely setting for chef Cesar Ramirez's Michelin-starred fare.
The setup: The steel prep table surrounded by 18 chairs evokes a cooking class, not fine dining. But the spare arrangement also fosters camaraderie among your fellow diners.
What to expect: The menu changes often, but you'll usually find 20 or so bites, including dishes such as a Kumamoto oyster atop crme frache and lemon gele. 200 Schermerhorn St between Bond and Hoyt Sts, Downtown Brooklyn (718-243-0050). $135.
Seats are still tough to score, but David Chang's cooking is well worth the trouble.
The setup: Diners perch on 12 stools, chopsticks rest on wine corks, and recessed bulbs spotlight the eight-to-ten-course affair.
What to expect: The chefs here prepare Asian-inflected dishes that marry classic technique and wild inventiveness. Witness the signature dish: frozen foie gras torchon shaved over a riesling-and-lychee gele and pine-nut brittle. 163 First Ave between 10th and 11th Sts (momofuku.com). Lunch: $175; dinner: $125.
Chef Wesley Genovart's inspired Spanish small plates are paired with impeccable service at this East Village gem.
The setup: For all the silverware changes and wine pairings at the 19-seat, U-shaped counter, Degustation still feels warm and inviting.
What to expect: The affable Genovart has a knack for conjuring rich, bold flavors in diminutive dishes such as sea urchin with sunchoke panna cotta, or oxtail-stuffed squid with oatmeal risotto. 239 E 5th St between Second and Third Aves (212-979-1012). Five courses $55, ten courses $85.