Skip to main content

Conversations with the Chef

Whenever possible, my favorite way to eat in a restaurant is "omakase," i.e., chef's choice. Of course, this generally only works in restaurants I have frequented previously, although it also works sometimes in places with open kitchens where the chef notices that I am eating everything not nailed down, or at least not faster than my fork, chopsticks, or fingers.

The best part of omakase dining is the opportunity to try something new or unusual, which might include something that the chef is excited about having recently created or something he enjoys eating himself (I am referring to the chefs I know, who happen to be male, so I am not intending to be sexist with this pronoun usage). Sometimes the chef is testing something out on me, which is flattering as well as fun. Sometimes the chef is showing off to remind me that his kitchen prowess is even greater than hitherto expected. Sometimes the chef is treating me to a taste of something extraordinary because he knows I am celebrating a special occasion (which can frankly be just eating at his restaurant).

The stressful part is when the chef comes by to say hello or checks in to see how I like a particular dish. I have just experienced an incredible expression of the chef's artistry. What words can I use to convey on the spot, at that moment in time, not only mesmerized by the flavors I had just experienced but also with whatever minimal literary skills I possess further impaired by the accompanying wine or sake, exactly how mindblowing the poached geoduck with ponzu and grated daikon was, how the flavor of the freshly shucked baby peas melted in my mouth with the white chocolate and mint, or how the pink, tender duck breast slices with their outlines of savory, melty, charred fat blended perfectly with the chewy, earthy and creamy farro risotto.

As highly descriptive words like "wonderful" or "delicious" escape from my mouth, I want to yell, do you have any idea how amazing this food is?

Thankfully for most of these chefs the answer is of course I do, you silly drunk person.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ambivalent About Momofuku

First, am I the only person who thinks "Momofuku" does not mean Lucky Peach or refer to the name of some obscure ramen person from Japan but actually means "Mother F_ker"?

That seems particularly obvious with the name of the latest chicken sandwich spinoff, FUKU.  Seriously has no one noticed, or is he now so powerful that no one acknowledges, that David Chang is flipping off all of Manhattan?

Having said that, I must say I have had so much bad pork belly in many restaurants that I have to respect the fact that he can maintain a certain level of quality despite having opened one chain outpost after another.  Not even Danny Meyer can claim that with the horribly inconsistent Shake Shacks in Washington DC.

Soul sucking, maybe.  That City Center Momofuku is very corporate, albeit quite convenient (and certainly better than the Boulud DBGB that opened nearby).

However, the Momofuku Ramen did lose something in the chain process.  The broth tasted like someone dumped a c…

Places I've Eaten in the San Francisco Bay Area

Places I've Eaten in Philadelphia

Places I would go back to eat
*Closed

Geno's Steaks
Pat's King of Steaks
Morimoto
Vetri

I am not really certain whether there is such thing as a "great cheesesteak," but in the battle of the two famous cheesesteak stands (only compared "wit-out, cheese whiz" combination), Pat's has better meat and bread, relatively speaking. Geno's roll has a spongier texture, and its cheese whiz was a bit watery (they also have the strangest tasting fries I have ever tried, like they were made from fake potatoes?).