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Apr 20, 2011 01:00 PM

JBF dinners - Momofuku and Iñaki Aizpitarte (Le Chateaubriand in Paris)

Has anyone signed up for any of these dinners from JBF LTD to be held at Chelsea Market? I was fortunate to be able to get a reservation on the Noodle Bar night. Reservations were gone within a few minutes. I didn't realize they had the different Momofuku restaurants for different nights. I don't know whether there will be a different menu for each night or whether all of the dinners will be the same/similar.

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    1. Lucky you! I saw a tweet from the Milk Bar at 12:05 and was too late, already sold out. But $75 or $100 can still buy a good meal at a Momo, though without Aizpitarte, so I won't feel too sorry for myself. Please report back and have a great meal!

      4 Replies
      1. re: hungrycomposer

        The funny thing is that tickets were available earlier this morning from Gilt City, but I was too late for that. That site didn't specify that each of the Momofuku restaurants have a particular night. When I reached the JBF site at noon, I clicked on the first time slot without noticing the different restaurants. It was only after I had completed my purchase of the ticket that I noticed that each night is assigned to a different Momofuku restaurant. Since I frequently dine at both Ko and Ma Peche, I should have picked either of those two nights. The nice thing is that I just had a terrific lunch at Noodle Bar on Sunday, so I feel good about going on their night. One of the cooks from Ko (Tim) is now a sous chef at Noodle Bar, and he was very friendly to me and my sister on Sunday.

        1. re: ellenost

          Ellenost, looks like I have tickets for the same night as you. Same thing happened to me. I booked at 10 AM on Gilt City and didn't realize the different Momo teams cooking on different dates until I checked later on the James Beard website.

          I'll be curious to see if each night will have a different menu but am sure each will be good. FWIW my co-worker has tickets for the Ssam Bar dinner and it should be fun to compare/contrast. Had a very good experience with the Laurant Gras dinner last week and expect this to be no different.

          1. re: TheDegustationAsian

            Great! I hope to get a chance to say hello to you! Glad to hear about the Gras dinner; I had thought about going, but when I finally decided to buy the ticket, it was already sold out. Definitely will be interested to hear whether your co-worker's dinner is different from ours.

            BTW, since you also like Ma Peche, Chef Tien Ho is cooking at a JBF dinner on June 18. I just bought a ticket for my sister and me.

            1. re: ellenost

              I have tickets to the 8 seating, so if you see somone with a DSLR it will probably be me. The Gras meal was very good, was particularly impressed by the pacing of the meal. Every dinner has sold out very fast, although I felt this dinner would sell out the fastest. I'm also excited about the Kinch dinner since I had an incredible meal at Manresa last year.

              Thanks for the info re the Ho dinner. I saw it on the website but decided to pass as I already have Ma Peche reservations for Saturday.

              Ma Peche
              15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      2. I'm extremely envious. I didn't know Aizpitarte will be in town to cook or I would have been one of the first to sign up. I celebrated my surpise birthday at Le Chateaubriand last August with 15 of my closest friends who surprised the heck out of me by showing up. The food was terrific and everyone of my friends were gushing over the dishes in his unassuming and very casual restaurant in the Bastille neighborhood

        5 Replies
        1. re: RCC

          Since I haven't been to Paris in almost 10 years, I figured this would be the next best thing.

          1. re: ellenost

            You are very lucky, tried to grab two tickets to one of the Momo dinners, they must of sold out in less than 15 minutes. Went to the Gras dinner last week, it was excellent and was able to obtain two tickets for next Thursday night (the "Frankie" dinner).

            1. re: owlwoman

              Looking forward to the Kinch dinner. Dying to go to Manresa itself!

              1. re: johannabanana

                Very excited as well. Ever since going to Manresa last year I've been looking for any chance to eat his food again. The menu looks good, I've had the same pork dish before and remembered it being very good...but do yourself a favor and still visit the restaurant if you can, one of my favorite restaurants.

                1. re: TheDegustationAsian

                  That Kinch dinner was fantastic, we thought! Abalone, romaine and sea-cucumbers the highlight (the fish was expertly cooked) although the suckling pig was as good as, maybe even better than an ossabaw pork dish we had recently at Corton. (Of course, the JBF ltd pricing was much better value.) Not sure how Kinch and Carmona cooked the pork -- almost sous-vide texture but very crispy outer skin. Certainly much much better than a very plain-tasting sous-vide pork rack we had somewhere else, recently. Talked to Pim, who was super-nice.

        2. Dinner was very good. Thought the dishes prepared by Team Noodle Bar were better (more creative).

          The following was the menu:

          1) New Jersey diver scallop, coconut-lychee cream, umeboshi, cilantro (Noodle Bar)

          2) Ruby shrimp, juniper, cerignola olive, cucumber (Noodle Bar).

          3) White asparagus, mozzarella, sorrel, finger lime, Parmesan (Le Chateaubriand).

          4) Milk-fed lamb, eggplant, pickles (Le Chateaubriand).

          5) Black sesame panna cotta, honey, white miso, strawberry (Noodle Bar).

          Different wines were poured with the first four courses. Coffee was served with dessert. Service was very good. Excellent value for $75.

          I am interested to find out whether there are different menus for the different Momofuku teams.

          Bottom line for me: stick with the food from Momofuku.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ellenost

            Like ellenost, I also thought the food was good. However, I disagree and felt that the dishes prepared by team Momofuku were fine, but par for the course in terms of their flavor profiles.

            A few notes re the meal. The menu listed five courses but the first course was served on a soup spoon and was more of an amuse than an actual course.

            IMO, the most interesting course of the evening was Inaki's asparagus that had a parmesan snow. However, the dish suffered as the asparagus was cooked very unevenly.

            The lamb was fantastic. Served over a smoked eggplant puree, it featured various cuts of the lamb with my favorite being the crisp belly.

            Thought the dessert was typical Momofuku (heavy combination of sweet and savory components) but many at my table (8 pm seating) felt the miso was too salty and overpowered the dish with many leaving it unfinished.

            Both chefs were having lots of fun, drinking and posing for pictures/signing menus. Also saw Steven Starr, Dale Talde (Top Chef), and Wylie Dufresne at the dinner.

            1. re: TheDegustationAsian

              I agree with you that the asparagus was cooked way too unevenly (some pieces were too undercooked and others were almost mushy in texture). I started having a very good conversation with my tablemates (Steven Starr--oops--didn't realize he was a celebrity--hope I was well behaved, his director of operations, and another member of his staff (all were very nice) as the lamb was being served so I didn't pay close attention; I thought it was "fine", but nothing memorable.

              I was originally dreading the dessert, but loved the sweet/savory combination. If this dessert were on the menu of one of the Momofuku restaurants, I'd order it again.

              I'm glad I had the opportunity to try Chef Inaki's cuisine, but I'm glad that I didn't have to fly to Paris to do so.

              1. re: ellenost

                So how much of the ingredients, kitchen teams and the equipment were flown in from Inaki's bistro in the Bastille? As against, Chang's Noodle Bar? Le Chateaubriand's food, that ones that I had at Le Chateaubriand, were amazingly simple, fresh and with enough creativity/complexity as not to detract from their freshness and very high quality. For price that's lower than Ko. Plus, the well-thought out wine list (mainly natural or bio-dynamic) is such a great plus at Inaki's restaurant. I've been to Ssam, Noodle and Ma Pesche and, imho, they can't be mentioned in the same breath as Le Chateaubriand. i've not been to Ko.

                Completely unfair to judge Inaki when he's not in his "element", for lack of better term. Plus, 2 dishes, imho, hardly qualify as a bases to judge the restaurant.

                Given your results, if ever I plan to attend one of these, I will only go for those local chefs whose proximity to their locally-sourced ingredients, equipment and kitchen teams are more accessible.

                1. re: RCC

                  No idea as to any of your great questions since I didn't see the kitchen or even the chefs working. You're absolutely right that I might have loved Chef Inaki's cuisine had I dined in his own restaurant. However, all I can rate is what I was served, and while it was good, there was nothing that had me calling Paris this morning to make a reservation. Perhaps when I ever visit Paris again, I might try Le Chateaubriand.

                  1. re: ellenost

                    Agreed. Not fair to judge chef Inaki's food on this sole experience. But I was also not compelled to book a trip to Paris and try like a madman to get reservations. If/when I go back to Paris, I'll most likely try to eat there.

                    I only saw chefs Chang and Inaki many any real "appearance" so I'm not sure how much staff, if any at all, were actually present last night. Same was true with both the Gras and Animal/Frankies dinners I attended.