Kappo. An exceptional culinary adventure.
Dined last evening at Kappo, the latest exclusive (8 diners only) culinary laboratory in the David Chang empire. Prior to this dinner, guests received personal phone calls from the ebullient Chef Paul Carmichael to determine food preferences/allergies and to learn about participants' favorite liquors/cocktails. Kappo is a very comfortable sectioned off portion of the bar in Ma Peche where all the food (for a nearly three-hour repast) is prepared by the Chef and his capable team. The evening begins with personalized cocktails mixed by spirits guru Caitlin and served with excellent fried chicken skins and salted seaweed chips. After a dramatic life ending ceremony for two noble lobsters, the Chef and team prepare a parade of exotic, flavorful, and "quirky" dishes, featuring lots of seafood including John Dory, Conch, Uni, a succulent salt-encrusted bass and those lucky lobsters. A bread course (baked on the spot) showcases loaves of Challah drenched in duck fat and salt. Congee is served with egg yolk and dotted with seafood. Guests are instructed in the art of mofongo making, and are given wooden pilons and mashers to turn the ingredients (plantains, garlic, etc.) into this staple of Puerto Rican cuisine. Somewhere during this food parade, a dish of scrambled eggs and barbequed pigtails made a tasty guest appearance. Dessert included an apple sorbet paired with an ethereal peanut butter mousse. There was also some superb molasses candy. The wine/drink pairing (a $65 supplement) is creative, generous and is in perfect sync with the food. From a rare cider, to an esoteric white wine(Prie Blanc) from Northwestern Italy, to a late-meal pina colada and a sparkling burgundy, the libations were exceptional. Overall, Kappo provides a satisfying (though at times challenging) culinary adventure. Chef Carmichael and team are onto something here. Ahead lies greatness.
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I also enjoyed everything of Kappo. Chef Paul Carmichael is an extremely friendly and down to earth person. I particularly liked that I could watch the kitchen team prepare the food from A to Z, since it's a tiny chef's table seating only 7 to 8 people. Every dish was tasty and creative. I am planning to go back soon.
I was lucky enough to get in to Kappo with no reservation, due to a cancellation. The people eating beside me booked a month in advance.
I agree that the chef is both friendly,down to earth, creative and understands food flavor combinations.
Of note is his progression of the courses. I hate when tasting menus and omakase courses fail to have the right progression. Chef Paul did it right.
I'm the worst at remembering dishes and I don't write it down, so even with pictures I kind of forget the composition of the dishes.
He started with a cod fritter,light
and crispy. it was very good. Followed with a clam belly tempura. ( sounds heavy to start but it wasn't.) just very tasty.
Then two ceviche-like dishes of surf clam and razor clam.
A lobster, butternut squash and mushroom dish, A challah glazed with duck fat accompanied by a beef broth for dipping. Very delicious.
He made a good uni pasta dish with white truffle. A big dish of cod fish with cockles, maybe too big.
He made a creative Ethiopian Doro wat, with fried chicken skin. A good dish.
A dessert of ice cream with "toast and jam" coating.
It was a 11 course meal. I was stuffed.
The ceviche type dishes were very "Brooklyn Fare". The set up and execution also like Bklyn Fare. The chef prepared each element of the dish in front of you . He built the dish and you could see it happening. This was more enjoyable than Brooklyn Fare, as you watch the dish step by step. The chef demonstrated a similar talent to Cesar, in that he prepared the perfect amount of food for each dish, that went exactly around to the 8 of us at the chef counter. ::applause::
We went last night - this has to be one of the most exciting tables in NYC right now. If this was downtown, it would be the hottest thing in town.
More importantly, it sounds like the majority of the dishes have switched up since March - definitely worth revisiting. Highlights were the tomato sauce-monkfish liver ramen, jalapeño-corn duck, fried belly clams, and the duck fat challah with a 61c egg, onion soubise, and torched raclette.
Run, don't walk!