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Le Fooding 2012


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I remember writing about an event at which premium champagnes were paired with burgers (actually Yellow Label was thrown in there too). I didn't so much learn that burgers complimented champagne, as that eating burgers while drinking champagne was an entirely painless way to spend an evening.

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Sean Brock at Frankies 457

 

I guess enough people got pissed off at being told that their reservation had been shifted Wednesday night that they tried a new crowd control technique last night. Instead of telling you at sign-in that you'd been put into a later shift than you had previously been advised, they simply had you wait on a line from which people were seated in unspoken shifts. Although more dishonest, this seems less objectionable. Of course, nobody would seriously mind being told to wait a half hour on lower Court Street, where you can just go over to Prime Meats or Buttermilk Channel or Abeline for a cocktail or beer.

 

As for dinner:

 

Sean Brock is the best chef in the United States.

 

I have no right to say that, of course, not having eating in Manresa or Alinea or so many other places.

 

But I believe it.

 

One thing is that I have only had Chef Brock's food at road shows. Nevertheless, it has always been completely distinctive, and superbly prepared. You usually get the feeling at road shows that you're getting a faint echo (if that much) of what the chef usually accomplishes. If what I've had over the last few years is only a faint echo of Chef Brock's usual cooking, I'm almost afraid to go to Charleston.

 

Chef Brock's style is so distinctive (and so different from the Frankies') that there was no question which courses he was responsible for. The scallop crudo that started and the crab-uni pasta that followed: those were from the Frankies. (As was the amuse: some nuts with some honey that the waiter proudly announced was made by one of the Frankies. I would think some bees also had something to do with it.) The Frankies courses were servicible plus; the pasta, really, was quite good (although uni is one of those "cheating" ingredients: how bad could it be?).

 

Chef Brock's courses were brilliant. First, pork that he slow-cooked in some abstruse non-barbecue method involving a metal drum. It was almost like eating raw pork, except it was cooked. Probably the juiciest pork I've ever had. With a beautiful strip of fat on top. This was served in some tangy buttermilk dressing, with some heritage leek along with it.

 

This all sounds pretentious and gimmicky. Until you eat it. It's not "exotic", they way New Nordic is. The flavor profiles are, nevertheless, distinctive. They're not unfamiliar so much as unexpected. If you're American, these are all flavors you've tasted before -- but maybe not with this intensity, and not in these combinations.

 

Dessert, also clearly Brock's, was a cucumber granite in a different buttermilk dressing. This did not taste (in combination) like anything I've ever had before. It was spectacularly good.

 

I think these guys addressed the Champagne Blanc pairing problem by steamrolling over it. They had it easier than the Animals, in that their stylistic repertoires encompass things that at least won't war with Champagne Blanc. And I guess Chef Brock decided that buttermilk would be a good pairing. But they didn't have to alter their whole styles.

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It's ironic (Alanis usage).

 

I elected to skip the Daniel Rose with Alain Senderens event, because I figured it would be vegan and thus not a good showing of Rose's cooking.

 

Little did I realize that the whole series would be infected by the need to pair with Clicquot Yellow Label.

 

I wonder what Hugues Dufour and the Young Turks are going to do Saturday. Maybe just little slices of white toast.

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I think Brock is good in a different kind of way from Achatz. I can see privileging Achatz's kind of good over Brock's. But I can also see feeling differently about that (as I do).

 

Of course, since I've only eaten Achatz-channeling-Adria and never Achatz-as-Achatz, I have no right whatsoever to judge his cooking.

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Haven't eaten Achatz's food, but it'll be a hard comparison no matter how you slice it. Achatz is cooking as a San Pelligrino restaurant, Brock is operating in a much more traditional way (prix fix plus tasting at McCrady's). Both are also incredibly versatile. Both are clearly immensely talented.

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Luncheon In The Dust

 

Le Fooding set up three four booths at the Brooklyn Flea on Saturday: an appetizer booth, a main dish booth, a San Pelegrino water booth, and an ice cream booth. For $15 total, it was a good deal. Especially because the chefs were not only fancy, but insanely fancy.

 

Because all the prestige on this board reposes in the Paris threads, I'll start with the main dish and announce that I've now had street food prepared for me by Bertrand Grebaut of Septime. (I saw him standing there putting it together.) He made a smoked eggplant/pulled lamb mush. Why we know that Grebaut is a brilliant chef: this unprepossessing dish was ridiculously good. How did he get the lamb to taste like that? There was some cumin: that's obvious. But otherwise? I don't know. The buttery tenderness? The assertive but mellow flavor? Beats me. The smoked eggplant component was silky.

 

Nordophile that I am, I was even more exciting to have an appetizer by Magnus Nilsson. Chef Nilsson has a restaurant in some out-of-way spot in southern Sweden -- but he was the talk of Stockholm when I was there this summer. Here, he served grilled clams (a generous four to an order) on which you were to splash some Swedish vinegar (which didn't seem to differ much from other vinegars). He let you know it was Nordic by serving it on a bed of hay. This was fine, but not as shockingly good as Chef Grebaut's contribution.

 

This really WAS a great deal.

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Hugues Dufour and The Young Turks at The Intercourse

 

This was definitely and by far the coolest Le Fooding event so far this year. It was held in Dustin Yellin's Red Hook art space, The Intercourse, a great great space. Much of the event was supposed to take place in the garden, which would have been fine, but last night's storm intervened. To me it was even better to be inside, in that great hall, with Joey Frank's hugely enjoyable installation "Seeker an' the Trick", in which an electric train with a camera travels between and through a set of paintings, the camera creating a kind of moving-picture show projected on movie screens. You have to be there.

 

These guys came up with the solution to the Champagne Blanc pairing conundrum (how do you pair with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label without limiting yourself to the overly dainty?): ORGAN MEAT.

 

The Young Turks are a duo (they used to be a trio, but one of them left to head David Chang's Sydney project) of rising London chefs, who've done things like open the Ledbury but now just do pop-ups. My guess is that they contributed the textbook blood pudding with which the dinner started.

 

Hugues Dufour is of the course the Canadian import behind M. Wells. I'm guessing he was behind the duck gizzards in a rich gravy with polenta and pumpkin/squash. This dish literally seemed to divide the boys from the girls: most of the men at my table (including me) seemed to end up with two portions of this delicious dish.

 

Great music.

 

It was a fun night. But the funnest part came when I realized that the nice young ex-Madrileno sitting next to me was the Spanish Hipster. Great to meet you guys, Jose and Elise!

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Oh, I see Ignacio Mattos (late of Isa) also contributed to the dinner at The Intercourse.

 

I'll be damned if I can guess what he did. I hope it wasn't the rather boring amuses of prosciutto wrapped around something-or-other and apples and cream/cheese wrapped in something-or-other.

 

I can't even remember what dessert was.

 

Maybe the Jose/Elise composite entity has some thoughts on this.

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Hugues Dufour and The Young Turks at The Intercourse

 

This was definitely and by far the coolest Le Fooding event so far this year. It was held in Dustin Yellin's Red Hook art space, The Intercourse, a great great space. Much of the event was supposed to take place in the garden, which would have been fine, but last night's storm intervened. To me it was even better to be inside, in that great hall, with Joey Frank's hugely enjoyable installation "Seeker an' the Trick", in which an electric train with a camera travels between and through a set of paintings, the camera creating a kind of moving-picture show projected on movie screens. You have to be there.

 

These guys came up with the solution to the Champagne Blanc pairing conundrum (how do you pair with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label without limiting yourself to the overly dainty?): ORGAN MEAT.

 

The Young Turks are a duo (they used to be a trio, but one of them left to head David Chang's Sydney project) of rising London chefs, who've done things like open the Ledbury but now just do pop-ups. My guess is that they contributed the textbook blood pudding with which the dinner started.

 

Hugues Dufour is of the course the Canadian import behind M. Wells. I'm guessing he was behind the duck gizzards in a rich gravy with polenta and pumpkin/squash. This dish literally seemed to divide the boys from the girls: most of the men at my table (including me) seemed to end up with two portions of this delicious dish.

 

Great music.

 

It was a fun night. But the funnest part came when I realized that the nice young ex-Madrileno sitting next to me was the Spanish Hipster. Great to meet you guys, Jose and Elise!

 

What a random coincidence, 100 people event in 4 large tables and we are sitted next the the one and only Sneakeater. I don't need to say that we had so much fun talking about how much we both like Frannys!

I'm not sure who did what. The other guy sitting next to us, mentioned that the polenta on the duck gizzards was something similar to what Ignacio used to make, so not sure where each plate goes. My guess is

 

Isaac McHale and James Lowe, the nomadic Young Turks (Spitalfields, London); -> Blood pudding

Ignacio Mattos, the rebel formerly of Isa (Brooklyn, NY);-> Duck

and Hugue Dufour, the M.Wells guy (Queens, NY).-> Lobster

Pam Young ( Chef Jose Brooklyn and Ex Isa ) -> Dessert

 

The Intercourse is a GREAT space, seems lie a place where boats used to be built. Very high cealings!

Some pictures from le fooding:

Le Fooding 2012 - New York

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