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Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Chef Cesar Ramirez in Brooklyn's Only Michelin 3-Star Restaruant - Downtown


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We had a fantastic dinner at the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare on Friday night. Despite its reputation for being one of the hardest tables in NYC we made the reservation a few weeks ago with no difficulty and there were two empty seats at the 10 pm seating. The food was pretty much impeccable and we found the staff to be very friendly. It is a little annoying that they don't let you take pictures nor do you get any sort of menu or wine notes at the end of the night. This makes it harder to give a detailed accounting of what we ate and drank. The menu was very seafood heavy with a wagyu and duck course for meats. Mostly small bites of food and despite being around fifteen courses you don't walk out feeling sickeningly stuffed at the end of the meal. Wine pairings were good (not amazing) and seemed to pair well with the food.

Overall a gorgeous meal and worthy of the accolades.

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We had a fantastic dinner at the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare on Friday night. Despite its reputation for being one of the hardest tables in NYC we made the reservation a few weeks ago with no difficulty and there were two empty seats at the 10 pm seating. The food was pretty much impeccable and we found the staff to be very friendly. It is a little annoying that they don't let you take pictures nor do you get any sort of menu or wine notes at the end of the night. This makes it harder to give a detailed accounting of what we ate and drank. The menu was very seafood heavy with a wagyu and duck course for meats. Mostly small bites of food and despite being around fifteen courses you don't walk out feeling sickeningly stuffed at the end of the meal. Wine pairings were good (not amazing) and seemed to pair well with the food.

Overall a gorgeous meal and worthy of the accolades.

lekkerwijn,

I've been to Michelin 3-Star restaurants only in France (Several) and New York (Per Se). I've been to many Michelin 2-Star restaurants in several countries. I can honestly say that I've never been to a Michelin 3-Star restaurant (that had already earned Michelin 3-stars while I was there) that didn't deserve it; I can think of two restaurants that were subsequently raised to 3-stars after I went (Eleven Madison Park in New York and Le Petit Nice in Marseilles), neither of which I can imagine having been promoted (that doesn't mean they didn't improve significantly in the years after I went). I've also been to some Michelin 2-Star restaurants that were subsequently raised to 3-stars after I went (Le Clos des Cimes in Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid comes to mind) that I *knew* were going to be promoted to 3-stars (they were that good).

What I'm saying with this lengthy preamble is: I know you've been to many Michelin 3-Star restaurants as well, and you have a lot of experience with top-end dining. My question to you is this: Do you think the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare *really* deserves a 3-Star rating? It seems relatively easy to me to have one, and only one, table that the restaurant charges an arm-and-a-leg for, and lavishes attention on, and it's going to be fantastic (think of all the examples of this, starting right here at home with Minibar). It's much, *much* tougher to maintain such standards for an entire restaurant, and I think that, in a sense, it's "cheating" to have one table with a separate Michelin ranking. Think of all the thousands of customers that ThinkFoodGroup serves in a day; now think of how many dine at Minibar. Take one dollar from each table at all the ThinkFoodGroup restaurants, and use it to subsidize MiniBar, and you have an incredible restaurant - how can you not? And yet, that's the restaurant by which José Andrés is largely judged. Minibar is fantastic! Of course it is!

I remember joking with a fellow restaurant critic about a theoretical concept called "The Phone Booth" where there's only one seat, and you essentially get the best dining experience the world has to offer.

Okay, so: legitimate Michelin 3-Star for real? Despite my skepticism, I have no preconceived notions, and am perfectly willing to believe it merits its 3-Stars; I just want to hear it from you. The fact that you say the wine pairings were "good and not amazing" is almost enough to disqualify it in my mind. That said, my wine pairings at Per Se were "good and not amazing" as well.

I should add that, despite all I wrote here, I really only take Michelin seriously in France; they jumped the shark when they moved to other countries.

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This is a good question! So at the risk of sounding like a total asshole, we've been to a number of 2 and 3 star restaurants over the past 18 months across the US, UK, Europe and Japan- including places like Eleven Madison Park, Fujiya 1935, Noma (Copenhagen and Tokyo two stars) and El Celler de Can Rocas.

Issue 1: I understand your point about scale and the ratio of quantity to quality and consistency.  I can't speak to the cross subsidy issue or business model but my understanding is that these restaurants are passion projects for wealthy investors (much like a winery) and not going to make anyone rich. Maybe a lot like the music industry is today- the money is in the concerts, endorsements and merchandise, not in the music making. MiniBar is a passion project, Bazaar is expensive but probably breaks even, the rest of the chain drives revenues. Not shocking. Lots of companies work this way.

Issue 2: Wine pairings are notoriously hit or miss. I'm generally not super trusting of them since I recognize that they are often used to move merchandise. Wine is also a matter of extraordinary personal taste. That said, we thought the pairings at Noma Tokyo and Celler de Can Rocas were extraordinary. Fujiya, EMP and Noma Copenhagen we ordered some over the top bottles. It was a different experience. So on the wine pairing I'd say maybe not quite on par.

Issue 3: Basically you are asking if their three stars is on par with the three stars of others. I'll say this: I think the marginal difference between a 1 star and a 2 star restaurant is pretty big but between 2 and 3 is much more subtle. So is the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare on the level of 2 or 3 stars? Yes I'd say it is.

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