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Jan 11, 2013 11:26 AM

Manhattan dining adventure: Is Brooklyn Fare a must go or not?

Hi all,

I have another thread located here
and am wondering if Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare is a must go on my trip, or if it can be missed?
The reason I ask is that if I want to try booking it, I have to start calling tomorrow AM, as I'm in NYC Feb. 23-Mar. 2nd.

The rest of my itinerary looks like this:
Public Brunch

Mission Chinese (possible
)Empellon Cocina

Momofuku (Ko with Ssam back-up) followed by WD-50 desserts
Per Se
15 East (Considering it as lunch)
Kyo Ya
Brooklyn Fare vs. Babbo

Late Night:
Minetta Tavern
Tacos Morelos cart

Thanks for looking


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  1. Brooklyn Fare, being in Brooklyn, will have reviews on the outer boroughs board of CH, not the manhattan board. You can read my recent (quite long) review here:

    1. Brooklyn Fare is unique in that you'll get to chat with the Michelin starred chef Cesar Ramirez throughout your dinner. If you can get a reservation then by all means go.

      4 Replies
      1. re: H Manning

        Completely disagree. Except for the seats right at the edge/corner, there is no interaction. Also, the conversation is trying at best.

        Again, I recommend reading my review, I think it'll give you a good idea of whether it'll fit what you like. My personal recommendation is that if you're already doing so much fine dining, it's not unique enough that I would say it's a must for your itinerary. Given you have no other Italian restaurant on the list, I'd go with Babbo.

        1. re: fooder

          Ramirez is quite friendly if you show some interest, respect and curiosity about his food. I wasn't seated at the corner of the counter but chatted easily with him throughout my dinner. Plus, he gave me a warn farewell as I was leaving.

          I would not recommend Babbo over Brooklyn Fare.

          1. re: H Manning

            I agree that the chef is quite friendly and I had communication throughout my meals there. Even after my meal was over.
            It is certainly different than any place I've ever been to. It is nice to watch how this guy serves so many at once, preparing each dish while you watch, always having the exact correct portions of food, and never messing up and burning or dropping something or running out of food. He uses a variety of interesting techniques as well.
            The food is very Japanese oriented. He uses many fish from Japan, including Hokkaido uni. This time of year he uses truffles in a few dishes. His dessert of yuzu gelato was pretty fantastic.
            Remember if you expect a fancy looking place, this is not the pace. Metal chairs, metal counter, that's it.Amazing wine list, including an $18000 Romanee-Conti.
            So, if you want something different. A 20 or 25 course tasting menu, all performed live. Different tastes this is a good choice. If you want Italian food Babbo is good, but certainly not unique in any way.

            1. re: H Manning

              Yes, Cesar can be friendly, and I certainly remember how giddy he was a long time ago showing us his kitchen. But that was not the case when I went recently and I wouldn't say that "you'll get to chat with the Michelin starred chef Cesar Ramirez throughout your dinner" is something that one should expect.

              I'm not recommending Babbo over Brooklyn Fare in a vacuum. But on an itinerary already filled with JG, Bouley, EMP, Ko, Per Se, 15E and Kyo Ya, I don't know how much differentiation you're going to get out of adding a meal at Brooklyn Fare. On the other hand, Italian is a core part of NYC food culture, and I would recommend Babbo to complete the experience given there are no other Italian options on his schedule.

        2. Brooklyn Fare is about the food. I am a little surprised about the discussion of whether or not you get to talk to the chef. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. That's icing on the cake. It's about the food though. 20+ courses of the finest seafood in the world. Each one uniquely prepared. If you can get the reservation, and you can afford it (from your list, it seems as if money is not an issue for you), then go. While conversation with the chef is a great way to learn about what you're being served, conversation with your dining companion and, perhaps, fellow diners sitting on either side of you, will enhance your experience of the meal.

          4 Replies
          1. re: famdoc

            I'd add, excellent wagyu beef and foie gras and duck, as other courses besides seafood.. So the OP doesn't think every course is seafood.

            1. re: foodwhisperer

              You are correct. But, not being a meat eater, Cesar substitutes additional fish courses for me.

            2. re: famdoc

              Yes Brooklyn Fare is about the food and the quality of the ingredients is stellar and deliciousness is not up for debate. The question is whether Brooklyn Fare is a "must" go. I just personally don't think it's a quintessential NYC dining experience as a whole, and I don't think the food is uniquely head and shoulders above EMP, Per Se, Le B, etc.

              I also want to mention that noting specific ingredients/dishes is a moot point with Brooklyn Fare. His menu literally changes daily. When I went, my main was squab and there was no wagyu or duck.

              Regarding "Each one uniquely prepared", I did find some repetitive techniques throughout the meal. It's not crazy like Gagnaire serving 15 courses of foam after he first discovered it culinarily, but it was noticeable to me.

              1. re: fooder

                I'd agree with this completely.

                Brooklyn Fare certainly serves great food, but I don't think of it as a "must go."

                Given the list of other places on your list, I think Babbo would add better variety to your dining experiences anyways.

            3. Consider lunch at Del Posto.
              No Le Bernardin on your agenda?

              5 Replies
              1. re: famdoc

                +1 this suggestion

                If you do a Del Posto lunch, you will have gotten Italian into your itinerary and at that point I would very much say you should then do dinner at Brooklyn Fare or perhaps Le Bernardin

                1. re: fooder

                  Not to restart this tired dispute, but I think Babbo is both better and more characteristicly New York than Del Posto.

                  1. re: Sneakeater

                    Babbo is also better than Esca in my opinion.

                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                      Hey all,

                      Thanks for the feedback. Foodwhisperer, the reason I started this post was your review of CT@BF, so thanks for that. We both loved E by Jose Andres in Vegas, and this sounds to be a similar style of dining to that. ie: multiple courses, rapid pace, direct interaction with chefs.

                      I agree with famdoc that it is not the responsibility of chef's to talk to us at all in the restaurant. They cook, we eat, that's the agreement. It is a bonus when they are fun and personable in addition to being great chefs.

                      Also, money does matter to us, but out #1 priority in life is food, so that's where all of our money goes. Into our bellies!

                      I think after all the feedback, it is probably better to stick with Babbo and pass on CT@BF for this trip.

                      Thanks for all the feedback.


                      1. re: 97Sperss

                        Thanks for reading my review of BF. I haven't read it in awhile. I will say BF is totally different from Babbo. ( I like Babbo, btw). There are many dishes at BF that are really prepared well or have really good taste. I do find some repetition in the dishes on a given night. Anywhere from several dishes with citrus or several with truffle. Many of the dishes are Japanese inspired, and sometimes one thinks, maybe I should be eating at 15 East if I want raw, high quality fish. Many of the dishes are good tasting "fancy or modern sashimi". Cesar will, however use different techniques, such as using charcoals, or foams etc. He does use the highest quality ingredients. From good, not very common fish, to high quality caviar and Hokkaido uni. As I said above, the show he puts on , without being "showy" is amazing. Just that he can serve everyone, get the food out with no delays, and never messes up a dish. I give him a lot of credit for that. If you choose BF, you probably would enjoy it. We tend to be over critical at times here on CH. But I've never had a bad dish at BF.

              2. Comments on your late-night dining:

                Where is that tacos cart and what's special about it?

                Also, I forget where you are based. Great NY Noodletown is a good late-night spot, especially for their roast duck, but am I correct in remembering that you are coming from Toronto? If that's the case, I'm sure you can get plenty of excellent Cantonese roast duck in your home town.

                5 Replies
                  1. re: kathryn

                    Oh, that one. I've passed it by a bunch of times but I don't remember buying anything. So I take it, it's better than the truck that hangs out at St. Marks Place near 3rd?

                    1. re: Pan

                      We live in Saskatoon right now, so there's no asian food at all. NY Noodletown sounds great.

                      Any other good late night suggestions?

                      1. re: 97Sperss

                        'inoteca on Rivington St. on the Lower East Side is a reliably good Italian restaurant that's open until 1 AM every day. It's not a high-end place, but it's a good value and I have to struggle to remember anything I've had there that wasn't good. Something might have been a bit too salty once, and that's it. Have a look at their website:

                        If you like whiskey, a good whiskey bar, the Whiskey Ward, is close to there, on Essex St. between Rivington and Delancey, and you can get flights of 3 1-ounce pours for the sum of half the shot price for each whiskey. Inoteca also has good wine, though.

                        Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the Korean restaurants in Little Korea (32nd and 35th Sts. between Broadway/6th Av. and Madison Av.) are open 24 hours. However, Gaonnuri seems to close at midnight. Don's Bogam also seems to close at midnight, and Madangsui, my other favorite Korean BBQ specialist, closes at 11 PM. I hope some of the other folks here can tell us what really good Korean places might be open 24 hours, or later than 1 AM. Perhaps some of the fried chicken places?

                        1. re: 97Sperss

                          How late is late? And what day of the week? Your options will be a little more limited for post 11pm Sun-Wed. Places typically serve later Thurs-Sat.