Cesar Ramirez does not allow photos or note taking in his acclaimed 3 Michelin star restaurant, Brooklyn Fare. Even after being named the best restaurant in NYC by many, only a single Danish blogger has posted the full menu (so my lazy google searching tells me).
I’m morally opposed to this strict and secretive practice, especially when so many restaurants that are on par with (if not better than) Brooklyn Fare allow note taking. I will only take this post down if someone gives me a good reason to.
Here’s the 23 course meal that I had at Brooklyn Fare. By a conservative estimate, I’m missing at most 2 courses… and that just means that the courses were not memorable.
First, a crash course on the fish dishes that I did not bother to paint over and over again:
At least 4 dishes were a thin slice of fish paired with an even thinner circular pickled crunchy “vegetable”, usually a tuber, in a pool of citrus sauce and a beautiful little flower on top. Everything but the sauce was put together with tweezers (and a lot of sweat and concentration).
Without further delay:
1. Kabocha squash with orange and yogurt foam 9.5/10: The squash and orange puree could have been a little smoother and less hot. Otherwise an amazing start!
2. Japanese butterfish 9/10: I was really amused by the orange theme with a mini marigold-like flower here. The serving dish was kind of pretty with little circular holes. Circles were another theme. A third theme was also started with dish – citrus-ness.
3. Knifejaw with cucumber and cucumber blossom 9/10: Each fish was slightly different, but honestly with a few glasses of wine, it all started meshing together. This dish was still early enough that I enjoyed it immensely.
4. King salmon with trout roe 10/10: For both taste and presentation, this is the first dish that truly stood out. A dollop of creme fraiche was hidden between the thin pastry cup and fish.
5. Grouper with pickled turnip 7/10: Similar looking to previous fish courses, and the taste was completely overpowered by the lemony sauce. There was a green sauce on the bottom that I could only taste briefly before the citrus took over.
6. Black river Russian osetra caviar 7/10: Eh. There are many other places where I can get osetra caviar. The dish lacked creativity… although it looked like there were only 3 ingredients: caviar, creme fraiche, and a pastry shell… but I could have sworn I tasted something sour and sweet like a pickled onion on the bottom.
7. Red trumpet fish with pickled daikon 7/10: Another similar fish course. It was starting to get a little repetitive. I remember the pickled daikon having a red ring and tasted closer to raw radish.
8. Golden eyed snapper with burdock root and shiso 8/10: Tasted more or less the same with a little more herbal flavor from the burdock root. The thinly shredded (and fried?) pieces on top added a new and exciting crunch.
I remember the last time I was at BK fare, there was crunchy stuff on half the dishes and nearly cut my mouth. This time, the inclusion of crunch was much appreciated and used on fewer courses.
9. Red sea perch with gelee of sake 10/10: I knew this was going to be a great dish the moment the bowl was set down. The bowl was a soft dimple, like a thick round piece of white dough with a soft depression in the middle. The red trumpet fish was raw, but the skin looked as if it had been charred on a grill, and tasted distinctly smoked. I. Love. Sea Perch. It’s so soft and insanely good. The sake gelee were thin clear circles – as light as plastic wrap. They were carefully draped over the fish with tweezers.
This was my favorite dish, and the start of my favorite 3 course sequence.
10. Hokkaido sea urchin with truffle and brioche 10/10: Another favorite of mine. You’d think that piling truffle on sea urchin would be overkill. It kind of was, but in a roll-your-eyes-back great way.
11. Snails with garlic sabayon and crispy shallots 10/10: The advantage of sketching instead of taking photos is that I can pretend to cut the dish in half and show you the inside of an otherwise boring picture of foam and little dots of red crispy shallots. The dish was very french with a green pesto-like sauce on the bottom. The sabayon really helped wrap the flavors together and let the flavor last on the tongue without leaving a heavy film of butter.
12. Young snapper 4/10: The token fried dish. I remember distinctly a fried dish burning my mouth during my last visit, so I was careful to give the fish extra time to cool. Once again, it was under seasoned and kind of boring looking.
13. Sea urchin and caviar 7/10: I vaguely remember the sea urchin being cut up, and the dish tasted a little smokey. Not a good sign that I can’t remember much else.
14. Japanese red snapper with scallion 7/10: This was the first cooked course. It was a bite of very tender fish, but nothing really stood out as particularly innovative. The skin was blow torched to extreme crispiness, but it was almost too hard. The sauce was sweet and tangy.
15. Fluke with crispy kelp 7/10: I liked the cooked fluke more than I like most raw fluke… but I don’t really like fluke in the first place. I find the fish pretty boring, maybe I’m missing some taste sensors oh well.
16. Shiitake mushroom and mackerel with crispy ginger 6/10: I have no earthly clue what this course tasted like. All I know is that it was the last canapé.
17. Turbot with peas 10/10: As great of a turbot as I’ve ever had. The young pea shoots/vines/flowers were tender and delicious. The baby peas were perfectly cooked and sweet.
18. Duck with mushroom puree and baby carrot 8/10: I do love duck. This was nothing special. the carrot didn’t add much, but was delightfully miniature. It almost looked like a small pepper with its bright red to orange gradient.
19. Prime rib 8/10: Once again not very special. It was well cooked and seasoned, but I’ve had better. There were small orange balls in the sauce that were delicious like tiny sweet and sour flavor-packed berries.
20. Cheese course 7/10: Better than last time! But still kind of boring. I think it was from California this time, and there was something light and crusty like a super thin crouton on top. It came with a light vinegary salad.
21. Milk chocolate with cocoa powder dessert 8/10: It looked like a tiny loaf of bread, but I think it was actually foam that was flash frozen, so the spoon cut through it like fluffy ice cream or the softest cake ever, and it tasted like air. Super creative, but just not strong enough in flavor.
22. Chocolate ganache cake with maple ice cream 9/10: Delicious. tasted and looked exactly like its description.
23. Chocolate mousse with yuzu 8.5/10: I would have given this a higher score, but there were way too many pieces of yuzu rind on the bottom, and the extra bit of sourness doesn’t fit my palate.
Petit fours weren’t great, but at this point, I was satiated, happy, and not bloated. That’s all I could ask for.
This meal was much better than the previous one I had at BK Fare, and that’s a great thing. Is this the best restaurant in NYC? Maybe. It would definitely be between Brooklyn Fare and Le Bernardin, and with the new innovations to this lengthy menu, I might agree with all the magazines this time.
My only request is that they bring back the egg course!! Forget the 2nd uni course, and let’s have some perfectly scrambled eggs with caviar, and perfect scrambled eggs are *not* easy to make.