Nov 16 2008
So, wondering how it works?
-Please arrive at the Playwright (35th between 5th and 6th about halfway down the block on the North side) promptly at 7:45PM. Look for the man learning “How to Cook Everything.” He will direct you to the location of the feast.
-At 8PM we will begin the cocktail hour. Feel free to mingle with guests, say hello to new and old friends, and choose your seat accordingly. Dinner will begin promptly at 9PM.
-We will be serving wine with the event (Brooklyn Oneology), but feel free to BYO if you prefer another type of drink. The menu and more after the jump…
So we headed over to Playwright Tavern a bit early not really knowing what we were looking for other than someone who was learning how to cook. There was a fellow sitting at a table by himself outside the bar who was reading a book — but it looked more like a classic than a cookbook. Walking further into the crowded bar we spotted our guy. At the corner of the bar, a guy was sitting with a big hardback cookbook open and propped on its spine as if on display. We walked over and he handed us a map. Right about now we’re feeling like we’re on some sort of scavenger hunt. The map pointed us towards a building one block away on 36th and it said to head up to the 11th floor. We got there and a line for the elevator had already formed. The elevator let us out in the middle of a massive commercial duplex loft penthouse space with 2 bars set up and some couches and lounge areas. I had expected a more wanna-be hipster crowd, but everyone here was dressed very chic and stylishly. We immediately made our way to the long line at the first bar. The first half of the cocktail hour involved people waiting in the 2 cocktail bar lines and engaging in linear conversations with the people in front and behind of them. Nick behind the bar from Whisk & Ladle was the mastermind of the cocktail list, which included a bourbon with infused vidalia onion and peach (my favorite), a peanut-infused vodka, a tequila cocktail with agave and grapefruit, a vodka, cider, and champagne concoction, and lastly a gin with green tea (but we failed to try this one so don’t remember the ingredients).
As a little amuse bouche, they placed trays on tables with fried risotto balls with toothpicks stuck in them. We tried a couple and they were really nothing special. The lines at the bars died down as everyone had their first couple cocktails and then anxiously awaited the dinner bell to head upstairs. We took our seats at a communal table, met the people around us and then the feast began:
Our one disappointing takeaway from the meal was that everything was served way too cold.
Course #1 (Bread): Fresh Buttermilk Biscuits w/ Honey Butter — Homeslice West
The biscuit was quite generic and barely lukewarm.
Course #2 (Raw): Fluke w/ Yuzu Kosho & Vinaigrette — Studiofeast
The fluke was delicious and I enjoyed the topping of what tasted like a chili-caramel sauce.
Course #3 (Pasta): Toasted Pumpkin Agnolotti w/ Spicy Pepitas & Brown Butter — Lightbulb Oven
Unfortunately, this was served too cold, but was quite tasty and fresh. Good ingredients.
Course #4 (Soup): Slow Roasted Red Pepper w/ Dungeoness Crab — Homeslice West
Served cold, but delicious fusion of pepper and crab flavors.
Course #5 (Fish): Seared Striped Bass over Spinach Ball w/ Parnsip Puree — Ghetto Gourmet
Great fish course. Bass seared perfectly and complementary flavors.
Course #6 (Sorbet): Cranberry Citrus w/ Apple & Celery Gelee — Studiofeast
Course #7 (Pork): Buta No Kakuni / Japanes Pork Belly w/ Napa Cabbage & Pickled Daikon — Studiofeast
A bit too fatty, but very tender and tasty. Unfortunately, it was served too cold.
Course #8 (Poultry): Turducken Roulade w/ Oyster Andouille Stuffing — Homeslice West
My first ever taste of Turducken, and while it was too cold to do it justice, I thought it would have more flavor to it than it did.
It was already midnight at this point!
Course #9 (Salad): Arugula, Roasted Cranberry & Cornbread Crouton w. Blue Cheese Vinaigrette — Lightbulb Oven
Salad was pretty good…especially like the cornbread crouton.
Course # 10 (Beef): Beer Braised Brisket w/ Southern Style Grits — Homeslice West & Lightbulb Oven
This one took me back to my southern roots. Great braised brisket and loved the grits.
Course #11 (Cheese): French Double Cream Brie, Cow’s Milk, Boorenkaaf Raw Cow’s Milk, Aged Gouda, British Stilton — Ghetto Gourmet
Course #12 (Dessert): Dark Chocolate Pistachio Linzer Torte — Whisk & Ladle
Wine Pairings — Brooklyn Oenology (sources grapes from North Fork). The wine was flowing freely.
First 6 courses — 2007 Social Club White & 2006 Social Club Red
Next 6 courses — 2007 Chardonnay or 2006 Motley Cru
We also brought our own wine from Shinn Estate Vineyards in the North Fork.