Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >
Nov 27, 2009 08:18 AM

Brooklyn Fare or Momo Ko?

With my birthday next week, the wife just informed me that she was able to secure two big reservations, Brooklyn Fare and Momofuku Ko and it was up to me to decide which I wanted to keep.

Plenty has been written about Ko - I love David Chang's food, and I'm sure that it would be an amazing meal. However Brooklyn Fare must be doing something right too, with months in advance needed for a reservation. There's also the appeal of it being in the neighborhood, the hands-on approach, and the BYOB policy.

Has anyone been to Brooklyn Fare recently, and could share thoughts on it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We recently enjoyed Cesar Ramirez kitchen dinner at Brooklyn Fare. We arrived at 7 PM and continued eating until 11:15. Initially, I tried keeping notes on everything served and photographing each course. Ultimately, it became difficult to optimally enjoy everything served, appreciate Cesar's personal remarks and maintain my "documentation" In fact, another blogger has already done an admirable job (I am certain he wouldn't mind my linking his blog here:

    Indeed, our experience was unforgettable. First, we were a group of eleven old friends who had not gathered as a group for at least a year. Good food (and good wine) is a social experience, so Cesar's food provided an opportunity for us to catch up with each other and enjoy an evening together. Second, the food was magnificent (Cesar creates a unique menu each evening, but many of our courses were similar to those documented in the blog, above). We were initially treated to perhaps ten different amuses bouches. Look carefully at the photos and descriptions of those served to platoputas' group. Stylistically and conceptually, our amuses were very similar. Following the amuses, we had seven additional courses, most included fish or shellfish, although guests were offered one course with venison. All in all, an incredible meal.

    Third, I cannot overemphasize the uniqueness of dining around a table in Ramirez' kitchen.
    He is charming, charismatic and very opinionated on food and the restaurant business.
    He offers his opinions freely and answers questions honestly, sometimes with brutal honesty. His presence is as much a part of the evening's experience as is the food.

    I've never been to any of the Momofuku empire restaurants (I'm not a pork eater and am unwilling to play the games necessary to secure a reservation. Accordingly, I am recommending that dinner at Brooklyn Fare will be a more special birthday dinner, particularly if you enjoy it with people you love. You can get your menu a few days in advance and match wines to each course. Don't hesitate to buy some good wine: it will enhance your enjoyment of this special meal.

    Finally, let me echo several prior threads on the subject of holding two reservations for the same night. Your wife has given you a generous, thoughtful birthday gift. Now, make a decision and cancel one of those reservations so someone else can enjoy an opportunity to have a memorable meal. It seems to me that the act of double booking reservations at two restaurants at the same time is becoming common, it is a controversial act, at best and a bit unethical, in my opinion.

    If you go to Brooklyn Fare, please report back.

    11 Replies
    1. re: famdoc

      Wow - thank you so much for your review as well as the link. That looks seriously delicious.

      The reservations are on separate nights, I may give my stomach a workout and try to do both meals!

      1. re: EJC

        So, did you go to Brooklyn Fare yet?
        What did you think?

        1. re: famdoc

          I brought my menu from dinner in today to write a quick review - thanks for the reminder! Please note that I lack eloquence and am far from a food writer...

          First and foremost, as amazing as the food was, a note should be written about the crowd. Consider this a plea to Chowhounds, and those that appreciate food- please make reservations at Brooklyn Fare. This past weekend we ate with 4 different couples, 3 were from Manhattan, and one also from Brooklyn. The Brooklyn couple showed up with aprons, assuming that it was a cooking class, and the three Manhattan couples spent the evening taking calls on their blackberries and discussing television the entire time. At one point, a guy actually raised his voice over Chef Ramirez's dish description to finish his point about some TV show.
          Around the middle of the meal Cesar asked me my name, checked the reservation list, and assured my wife and me that we'd be the only people dining that evening that would ever allowed back. After this we fell in a groove with the kitchen crew discussing the meal, food in general, life, etc and it was a fantastic night. While it was nice that we got "special attention," I feel like part of the experience was lost as the people sharing our table put him in a crap mood.

          With that out of the way, I realize that most aren't showing up at Brooklyn Fare to make friends and I should mention the food.
          It followed pretty similarly to the menu linked in the blog post above, and was outstanding. We had 9-10 amuses, followed by 5 mains and a dessert. Highlights were a scallop topped with pork belly, veal ravioli with foie and lobster, and the panache which included the $50/lb bluefin.
          It was a wonderful meal - and the portion sizes were perfect. Unlike say a meal at Stone Barns where I left feeling sick to my stomach because of the amount of food, this was a perfect level of fullness.

          In conclusion, put your name on the list asap, bring several bottles of wine, settle in, be respectful to the chef as he's pretty damn interesting, enjoy a 2-3* meal for very affordable prices (Cesar says they're not really making $$ on this w/o charging for alcohol and I don't doubt him with the abundance of truffles, lobster, foie, and bluefin), and be sure that you have some cash at the end to tip with.

          I'm trying to find another special occasion to get back over - it was very very good.

          1. re: EJC

            So sorry to hear your experience at Brooklyn Kitchen was diminished by the failure of others to realize that life is more than Blackberries, texting and TV. As I said above, good food and good wine is a social experience and having a chef like Cesar and his staff enhance that experience is something that should be savored, appreciated and remembered.

            We had a similar experience recently: we enjoy a visit to Le Bernardin every year for our anniversary. This year, we were seated next to a table with a woman who spent much of her meal on her cell phone. I just can't imagine being treated to that caliber of dining, and the service that goes with it, and not shutting out the distractions of everyday life.

            Happy to report that we've booked for Cesar's table again in March. Maybe you can join us?

            1. re: famdoc

              I don't know why a place like Le Bernadin wouldn't have a no cell phone at the table policy. As a matter of fact, all restaurants should have them. You should make a comment to whoever is waiting the table when that happens. Then it's up to the restaurant to do the right thing. Hell, I ask people eating at my home to take cell calls in a different room.

              1. re: bpeikes

                LeB does everything with such grace and dignity that the server for that table gave that woman just about every non-verbal cue to knock it off. They really go to great pains to treat every guest like a king or queen. I suppose if I had commented to my server, they would have asked her to can it. Even her dining companion looked bored and a bit exasperated by her yakking. She continued to talk on her cell even after a plate with food was set down in front of her. To her credit, her voice was not loud enough to be a bother to me.

              2. re: famdoc

                I just want to say the lady on the cell phone could have very well been myself, and I do apologize. Please remember Le Bernardin is simply a meal out -quality sustenance. I would never speak on the phone if a chef/owner is addressing the table, nor if I did not have a serious matter at hand.( I had just recieved word while dining that my mother was not expected to see morning, and was trying to make travel plans while finishing dinner) While I detest those who hoot and rant on the phone while dining in loud voices, I simply can not see how a very quiet telephone conversation could impose on your meal any more so than a table conversation between two diners- unless you are straining to hear what the conversation is about!

            2. re: famdoc

              trying to understand--is this the "classes" listed on the website here?


              1. re: Produce Addict

                @produce addict:

                no. Brooklyn Fare also offers a kitchen table dinner, prepared by Chef Cesar Ramirez, five nights a week. You must reserve in advance (currently booked 3 months in advance). You may reserve for any number of people up to 12.
                If you book for fewer than 12, you will be seated with people you do not know.
                Ramirez prepares a delightful multi-course meal and interacts with diners while he prepares your meal. You may bring your own wine.

                This kitchen table meal is perhaps unique in NYC and is a fantastic value at $95 per person (plus tax and tip). Read some of the above comments and check out the links I provided to a few bloggers to see photos and comments on this experience.

                1. re: famdoc

                  @famdoc, The "classes" website produce addict refers to sure sound like the dinner you talked about (except that it is only three nights a week). It's also for 12 and costs $95. There is nothing else on the website that describes a second dinner offering. It's described as watch the kitchen prepare your four course meal, but could easily be misread as a preparation class (hence the apron mistake).

                  1. re: bobjbkln

                    got it.
                    sure would like to hear from anyone who has done the class.
                    Seems like a real treat to take a class from Cesar.

        2. The original comment has been removed