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Momofuko - David Chang Veggie Dinner at James Beard House

a
amykate Aug 28, 2009 01:47 PM

I just have to vent! I usually enjoy the Beard House stuff but OMG was this dinner one of the worst meals I have EVER had and as you all know it cost $200 bucks! You can do a lot with vegetables but every course in the meal was really a shame. It could have been great and I know he can really cook but I was totally embarassed for him. Sorry to say this but I was really disapointed. Did anyone else have the same experience that night?

  1. scoopG Aug 28, 2009 05:38 PM

    Unfortunately, the James Beard House is about the worst place to have dinner. It is Beard's former house (where he also once taught) and although the kitchen has been redone, it is not what any outside Chef is used to working with at all. Then they usually pack them in with 100 diners on three floors and given the severe kitchen limitations one is most always underwhelmed by the offerings. That's been my experience anyway.

    8 Replies
    1. re: scoopG
      t
      travpard Aug 28, 2009 08:21 PM

      my parents are members and have taken me numerous times. while there is the occasional miss, usually they are very good meals.

      the dining section is only 2 floors. there is a 3rd area upstairs for private parties.

      it is definitely less than 100 people on average.

      a good chef can produce in any kitchen no matter how small.

      1. re: travpard
        scoopG Aug 29, 2009 05:52 AM

        I've seen all three floors utilized for private functions with about 100 guests. The tiny kitchen is not a professional kitchen by any means and puts a decided strain on any chef and his or her crew trying to serve so many guests.

        1. re: scoopG
          a
          amykate Aug 29, 2009 11:46 AM

          Sorry to disagree. I have cooked there and it is a completely professional kitchen. No problem putting out great food from that kitchen and p.s. a kitchen's size is not an excuse for bad food.

          1. re: amykate
            scoopG Aug 29, 2009 03:11 PM

            I've eaten there three times over the years for private events and the food was always subpar, compared to what these master Chefs do on their home turfs. That kitchen is great for small groups but is overwhelmed by large events IMO. Going to the Beard House is an event.

            1. re: amykate
              s
              simetrias Aug 29, 2009 03:27 PM

              Having had the good luck to have Josh DeChellis do a private party in my tiny, not professional kitchen, I can agree with amykate. Josh brought most of his material all ready to assemble. minimal additional prep, my colleagues still remember the food (and we follow him to all his restaurants).

              1. re: simetrias
                scoopG Aug 29, 2009 03:53 PM

                For how many people did Josh cook for? Was it a hundred and did he bring 5-6 of his assistants like they usually do at the JBH to work in their small open kitchen? Then did he have to get the dishes distributed to all 100 diners on three floors so that it was at least lukewarm?

                1. re: scoopG
                  s
                  simetrias Aug 29, 2009 08:20 PM

                  In answer to your questions, um, no.

        2. re: scoopG
          b
          bworm42 Aug 29, 2009 07:06 PM

          Wow, that's a really harsh assessment of the JB house! I've been there about ten times in the last year, and I would say that at least 8 of those meals rated an 8 out of 10. I like that it gives the chefs a chance to really put together tasting menus that reflect what they want to do. Out of all those meals I've only run into four or five dishes that even seemed like "safe" dishes, which are otherwise pretty rampant in tasting menus. Also, the capacity of the house for dinner is 80 people, and I've only occasionally seen it filled.

        3. k
          KTinNYC Aug 29, 2009 12:03 PM

          Why they had David Chang cook a vegetarian dinner is beyond me. Is he know for any veggie dish outside of the Brussel Sprouts?

          2 Replies
          1. re: KTinNYC
            e
            encantada Aug 30, 2009 08:47 PM

            I was thinking the same thing, KTinNYC. I saw an announcement for the JBH Chang dinner, and it refers to the fact that his "menus have famously warned off non-meat eaters."

            1. re: encantada
              k
              KTinNYC Aug 31, 2009 07:20 AM

              Chang has recently, sort of, changed his stance on vegetarians in his restaurants. In the past he had no options He usually now has at least one option for vegetarians, at Noodle Bar, an way. I heard from a waiter this was done as a concession to the economy and the fact groups would have to leave because one member of the party had nothing he could order off the menu.

          2. r
            Ricky Aug 31, 2009 07:45 AM

            In all fairness his cooking was pretty awful when he used to do the actual cooking at his restaurants.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ricky
              k
              KTinNYC Aug 31, 2009 07:53 AM

              I imagine it'd be pretty hard to cook in 2 restaurants 4 blocks apart simultaneously. I'd cut him some slack.

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