Quite a change since a couple years ago when we visited. A new larger location and you can now take pictures! At least twice as many people can partake and the timing is thus more staggered. I missed the intimacy of the former location but still the staff are all extremely friendly and it is a long meal of a variety of tastes with an Asian overtone. Everyone gets the tasting but you have the options of wine pairings which we opted not to do. One other change is the addition of music, which I thought to be a tad loud with all the commotion already there. David Chang, founder and owner of Momofuku was in the house, which is unusual probably because Anthony Bourdain and friend were there (or did he just know we were coming?)
The meal is a series of small tastes and many intense flavors. They started well with the crispy potato filled with smoky pimento cheese and led into a yummy apple topped with crispy rice and yogurt. The lobster roll was also a winner but the artichoke tart was a little dull. The arctic char was crunch, tart and very herbal – another yum! The trout roe and pastry was quite nice followed by the very grill tasting clams in an oily broth. The extra grilling probably was the cause of the slightly bitter aftertaste. The sun choke looked scrumptious but I called it okay in the flavor scale whereas the sea urchin and chickpea puree were divine. The Spanish Mackerel and ginger was incredible, totally full of wonderful flavors. The scrambled eggs were wonderful and the crunchy potatoes added a terrific component. I also adored the lobster and foie gras courses but the pork fell really flat and dull. The sesame cake didn’t really work and I found it unappealing in color but the pistachio sorbet was very nice.
In summary some really great stuff but some clunkers and I really don’t expect that from this kind of place. My memory of before was plate after plate of “lick it clean” tastes but maybe the lack of pictures has made my memories more fond. Either way it is still a place to experience if you want a culinary journey in the form of a meal.