Looking for a phenomenal chef's table for a gift
I want to send my friend to a five-star restaurant with a private chef's table in the kitchen. Does anyone have a recommendation for somewhere in NYC? An added bonus would be if a celebrity chef is actually cooking there when I send him. Money is not a factor, just a great meal and overall experience! Thanks!
I did the chef's table at Brooklyn Fare with Cesar Ramirez. You have his full attention and his food is very innovative. Including all the extras, I think we had 14 courses and the cost is reasonable. (It's gone up, to about $100pp i think) When we went, it was also BYO but I think he may have started wine pairings.
It was a pretty awesome meal but you would have to book a whole group if you wanted it private, otherwise I think it seats 8. It is not as fancy as some places nor in Manhattan, but I liked the intimacy, it feels a bit like you are eating in the chef's home kitchen.
Keep in mind that chef's tables are often for groups. How many people are you paying for?
Gordon Ramsay at The London has one - it costs about $2,000, that's for up to eight people if I recall right. I haven't been but I've heard it's fun, and one of the more interactive chef's tables out there - like, if you show the interest, they'll let you help out cooking your own meal and whatnot. For a serious foodie it could be a lot of fun. No, Gordo won't be there in person, but his head chef is pretty spectacular.
Aquavit still has one, I think. Maybe its star has faded a touch - it may not be the culinary destination it was five, ten years ago, but it's still a great restaurant. And I've seen Samuelsson running around the dining room every time I've eaten there. Granted, it's been a few years. And you never know on a given night if he'll be off at one of his other places.
There's the "Kitchen Counter" at Beacon. Stool seating, a set menu that's "experimental" (well, for Beacon it is) off-menu/new items. They only do it on Thursday nights.
Of course, there's Momofuku Ko - but there's no guaranteeing a reservation on the right day.
There are some great private dining rooms out there, if not in the kitchen per se. The wine cellar at WD-50 is lovely. And there's the infamous "Sky Box" overlooking the kitchen at Daniel - seats four people, and I remember reading somewhere that you can reserve it for two, but you still have to pay for four.
If they like Japanese, the best sushi bars are all chef's tables. Omakase at Masa would certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience - they'd be served personally by Chef Masa. Maybe not a TV "celebrity chef," but a celebrity among chefs no doubt. This could be the place where money does become a factor, though - I think currently it runs $600+/pp. And that's before sake. (And, mind you, if that's still not a factor - could you add me and a date to the guest list? Just askin'... ;)
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002
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Gordon Ramsay At the London
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Eric Ripert used to have and sell a table in the kitchen at Bernandin, but I was told recently that's no longer the their policy -- worth inquiring tho -- tell us if you score (don't settle for 2nd floor private rooms).
As alternative to your goal, consider the wine cellar at Picholine -- in center of restaurant, tiny (seats 6 max), servers pop in and out to get grape - extra bonus is that the cheese door is adjacent. I've used it several times for family and biz, and each time has been memorable