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Sep 17, 2010 05:13 AM

Volt Table 21 Dinner

Did Table 21 for our anniversary and the food was amazing - delicious, artistic, exciting food. Almost every course was perfect - the standouts were the goat cheese ravioli, tuna tartar, and a corn/crab soup, typical dishes recreated in completely new ways. A couple of dishes could have been better (I have had better sweetbreads, the "cheese course" of a cube of green apple sponge with blue cheese sprinkled over it was just weird), but hey, it's 21 courses. The only real disappointment was that Brian did not interact with us at all - not even a "thank you all for coming". He just stayed in the background, away from the counter we were sitting at. During what was an obvious lull between seatings in the big dining room (the other chefs were just standing around), he disappeared. Even when my husband told one of the servers how excited we were to be there, nothing. He did pose for pictures with everyone before we left, but it seemed forced. I understand that it's his restaurant and he's about the food, but it would have been nice if he had even introduced one dish and shared his thoughts about it, or even just welcomed us to the table. Let's face it, his "celebrity" is at least part of the reason the table is booked until Dec 2011, and he could have honored that.

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  1. I don't think it's his job to perform for you in any other way than to run a kitchen that produces good food.

    Also, "green apple sponge" sounds gross.

    4 Replies
    1. re: reiflame

      Only to the extent that people who want to eat in the kitchen at a "chef's table" clearly have the expectation that they will get some insight into the conception and/or preparation of the meal, presumably from the chef himself. Also, it is just good business (and good manners) to say "thank you for coming" to people who are paying north of $300 per couple to eat at your restaurant.

      With respect to the green apple sponge, it was not a highlight for me, to say the least, but when you're operating on the edge of the culinary spectrum, you're gonna have some misses. One of my companions loved it. Foodwise, the meal was in the top five I've ever had.

      1. re: phdfoodie

        Curious, what were the other four?

        1. re: will_5198

          In no particular order
          Vetri (Philadelphia)
          Le Bec Fin (Phila, when it was the prix fixe menu)
          Beauvilliers (Paris 1998)
          Restaurant Daniel (we had the 7 course tasting menu)

    2. When I was there, Bryan was not even in the building. With him missing, we were all a little bummed in the beginning, but by the end decided that his presence or absence in no way would have changed our great experience. His sous chef, who was in charge for the evening, did a great job explaining dishes and thanking us profusely for coming in, however.

      I'm curious about the new setup...are all 8 people seated simultaneously? Or are the seatings staggered in order to ease the kitchen a bit?

      2 Replies
      1. re: gregb

        All 8 of us were seated simultaneously. The setup was a low curved counter behind which many of the dishes we were having were assembled, and a couple of the appetizers for the general dining room were also being made. We were all served simultaneously (literally - 4 servers placed the 8 plates at the same time) and the dish was described by one of the servers. Although the chefs at the counter were friendly (we chatted them up a bit), no one from the kitchen really interacted with us otherwise, except the sommelier.

      2. I have had dinner at CUT in the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, 3 times. All 3 times Wolfgang Puck was in the Kitchen, hard to believe considering the huge empire he oversees, all 3 times he visited every table in the restaurant, I had my picture, taken by my wife, with him. As a Chef / restaurant owner, it was a big thrill. Bryan is young, granted, but needs to learn thr PR side of our business.

        1 Reply
        1. re: drsmoke

          I bet Wolfgang hasn't laid a finger on any of the food you've ever eaten at CUT!

        2. We at at Volt's table 21 last night and felt Brian presence throughout the amazing meal. He came over early and thanked us for coming, came back over later and chatted, and when asked posed for pictures with other guests and us and chatted. He talked more then the celebrities chefs at book signings.
          I got the feeling if we had more to say he would have talked longer but we were too overwhelmed with the awesome food experience. My mouth was so happy I was at a loss for words. It was great to see chef Brian run his kitchen. I don't think his eyes missed anything in that kitchen. We were both surprised at how quiet the kitchen managed to be . All the staff in the kitchen were very intensely doing their job. At the same time any question we came up with was warmly answered by everyone. It was great to experience the bit of "celebrity," and an up close view of the working kitchen but the food stole the spotlight in our eyes. Each of the 21 courses brought out a surprise, be it the ingredients, the sauce, the textures or the taste we didn't want it to end. It was worth waiting 10+ months for our reservation, it was a Christmas present given last year that will not be forgotten.