Unique: Chef’s Desk at Brooklyn Fare Reopens This Week. Right here’s What the Two New Cooks Have Deliberate.
Max Natmessnig and Marco Prins, the new chefs at the Michelin three-star Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, are hoping they can move past the controversy that surrounded the restaurant this summer.
“We’re gonna go look into the future, not to the past, and you know, that’s about it,” Prins told Robb Report recently.
For those who don’t follow the legal squabbles of the world’s best restaurants, Chef’s Table closed temporarily in July while the owner, Moneer Issa, fought it out in court with the former executive chef, César Ramirez. Ramirez claims that he was fired without cause, while Issa says that Ramirez stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in restaurant equipment and was abusive toward employees and customers. Natmessnig and Prins, however, are trying to not focus on that.
“We learned so much from [Ramirez] and he’s such a talented cook, but now it’s our opportunity and we’ll take it and we’ll go from here,” Natmessnig said. “And we’ll really try to give energy back to the city of New York and the customers.”
His and Prins’s version of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare opens Wednesday, marking a return to the Big Apple for the duo. They both worked at the restaurant in their younger years, before moving on to notable spots like the Michelin two-star Alois in Munich for Natmessnig and a smattering of fine-dining institutions in the Netherlands for Prins.
While they’re not straying too far from what Chef’s Table has become known for, they are planning to incorporate some of their own influences. What that translates to is a menu still largely focused on Japanese cuisine and French techniques, using the best ingredients from all over the world. The $430 tasting menu will feature 14 courses in total, with the planned opening menu starting with a warm grilled vegetable consommé with burnt leek oil.
From there, plates will include a nori tartelette with A5 Wagyu beef tartare, wasabi, and caviar; a waffle with Hokkaido uni and butternut truffle puree; a caviar course of smoked finger lime potato with brown-butter sabayon and Kaluga queen caviar; grilled Norwegian langoustine with Nam Prik Thai chili paste and a sauce made from pandan leaf; and grilled California squab with aged chestnut and maitake mushroom. Desserts run the gamut from sorbet made with sea buckthorn, carrot, and orange to sobacha mousse with vanilla cake and passionfruit.
The menu will change seasonally, weekly, or even daily, as Natmessnig and Prins take cues from the ingredients they’re able to find and receive feedback from customers via the open kitchen. When we talked, the two were particularly excited about the white Alba truffles they were about to get in, making Chef’s Table one of the first restaurants in the city able to serve the delicacy. And if someone doesn’t like one of the dishes they’ve prepared, they’ll be able to see that in real time and respond to guest reactions. “There are no secrets,” Prins said.
It’s those opinions that matter most to the duo, after their own. The opinion of Michelin matters as well, though, because the guide bestowing three stars on a restaurant automatically makes it a global dining destination. However, when a chef leaves a three-star establishment, the guide has been known to knock it down to two in the subsequent guide—as happened with both Coi and Saison when they brought on new chefs. But just like the dispute between Issa and Ramirez, the two are trying to keep what Michelin thinks back of mind.
“We are our biggest critics,” Natmessnig said. “It’s not Michelin. It’s first us and then it’s the guest.” Prins added that they “strive to do everyday better. And if there is something we can do better the other day, then we’ll do that.”
That’s true for the food, certainly, but they’re also thinking in terms of the hospitality and the atmosphere—for both diners and employees. Natmessnig and Prins want this Chef’s Table 2.0 to be an incredible experience for all involved.
“Chef’s Table is well known for the best ingredients, for the best service, for the best wine list—everything best … We’re going to continue that and only even make that better,” Prins said. “It’s such a joy to be here … Just joy and love and we are so excited to start this new journey together again, in the greatest city in the world.”
Source: Robb Report