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Chef de Cuisine at Empellon Taqueria
Let me guide you to one of the original and probably oldest chef’s counter in the city, Degustation. Chef Nick Licata blends Iberian, French and American cuisines to form a luxurious tasting of modest morsels to your plate.
The brain child of Chef Wesley Genovart and Owner Jack Lamb, Degustation made its mark on a dark East Village street back before internet food trends and Eater. It sits quietly perched beneath the tree-lined street, just out of the reach of the grimy drunkards that usually patrol the area. You might actually walk by a few times before you notice the tiny little square window with the tiny little view of the master in his kitchen.
Licata has been at the helm for a while now, steadily pushing out strong and delicious dishes at a consistent rate. He is like a sniper, sitting and waiting for his target. Patience is a word that describes him best. His palate is refined and is absolute with the surroundings.
Get a reservation for two and sit and watch a true artist at a real chef’s counter.
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Executive Chef at Union Square Events
The best chefs counter dining experience I’ve had recently was at North End Grill. Chef Eric Korsh is cooking the kind of food that I want to eat, and eat often. His charcuterie is fantastic! I recently had his Berkshire Tomahawk pork chop, octopus and Dover sole, all cooked over white oak right in front of you. His butterscotch pudding and opera cake with milk sherbet was as good as I ever had. Now that reminds me to make a reservation for Mother’s Day!
New York City
Sommelier, Restaurant Marc Forgione
Behind the mysterious black curtain at the back of this year old Bowery kitchen is, hand down, my favorite chef's counter in the city. I am a total sucker for shows such as Top Chef and Master Chef, and this low seated bar that sits just above the expansive and immaculate kitchen at Rebelle is like being an audience member to the real thing. The back room at this Michelin star joint has a slightly different vibe than the rest of the restaurant, where three brick walls open up to a steely and spacious kitchen where you can watch Chef Daniel Eddy and the rest of the kitchen team work their magic. The menu here is seasonal and creative, highlighting individual ingredients as the star of the show. Aside from the food, the service is warm and professional with a no bullshit attitude. Finally, the wine list curated by Patrick Cappiello and his head sommelier, Kimberly, is one of my favorites to explore and experience in the city, with a large selection of bottles under $60 that will blow your mind!
I spend a disproportionate amount of my income of food
I always hear about Rebelle in context of the wine list but this was the first time I really wanted to go there for the dining experience. This sounds awesome.
11 months ago
Southern comfort food all the way
Really cool, had no idea these guys were michlien starred. Sounds really good!
Co-founder of RoundTable
Awesome....really enjoyed reading this :)
Culinary Manager at The Brooklyn Kitchen
I am confident to say that the best dining experience I had in all of 2015 was my birthday dinner here at Semilla. The chefs and servers all shared their food with genuine joy- making us feel like extended family as they delivered one breathtaking dish after another. The night turned into an endless blur of 'food moments'- when you take a bite of something unknown and don't know what to expected, but the experience really moves you. It was like being whisked away: the diners do not receive menus; instead you are taken through an unexpected journey of flavors and textures. The bread course was so amazing I begged for seconds and they were happy to oblige and make our meal more special. I highly recommend this comfortable and unassuming spot the next time you're looking for a meal that makes you really feel something special.
This was also my number 1 in the past year. Incredible experience. You hit the nail on the head with your review.
12 months ago
Midwest girl, love to cook and dine out in NYC!
Loved your description of 'food moments'. My friends thing I'm overdramatic about food but finally I feel like someone understands me! :)
Freelance food writer, editor
Awesome review! Love the quality of what they do at a totally reasonable price point
Culinary Creative, El Bulli Foundation
I have to be the guy to do it. The best Chef's Table experience I have ever had, and, to date, some of the most extraordinary preparations of certain ingredients that I have ever consumed, was at Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare. It's an on the nose answer to the question, but based on the palate at work, it is absolutely the truth.
There are thirteen restaurants in America with three Michelin stars; six are in New York, and only one is in Brooklyn. The experience will not come cheaply, and with the wine pairings, it's downright expensive. But, I cannot overstate the degree to which the brightness and clarity of the flavors Cesar Ramirez was able to produce knocked my napkin off. Everything tasted more of itself than I had ever experienced. It wasn't about a balance in acid and salt in the seasoning of a dish, it was about the transcendent elevation of an ingredient to the absolute height of its flavor potential, where any further processing or cooking or seasoning would have been a decline from the pinnacle of the "flavor of the thing itself" that Ramirez seemed to pull out of every element on a plate.
Dishes are explained by a central server at the 18 seat bar. Wine is passed by two somms, and the pairings are exceptional. Ramirez cooks everything with his eyes as he stands, hands behind his back, in a pressed white shirt behind the shoulder of each line cook, stepping in calm, swift and decisive only on occasion, and then greets each guest as the meal winds down. He told me he loved the tripe at the restaurant I was working at, and that when a triple portion in a bowl, instead of a contorni plated side, was ordered, it was for him. Ah, I'll make sure the guy on garmo knows that. There is nothing so rustic as Trippa all Trasteverina on Ramirez' menu. Some of the first courses included trout roe tart with creme fraiche and dill, dashi zabayon with caviar, smoked potato & chive, uni brushed with soy and thin black truffle, and seared snapper with crispy kelp and clear kelp. There is a larger merging of Japanese ingredients and sensibilities with French technique and luxury in fine dining today(Nordic as well?), but the balance struck at Chef's Table was a whir of more than a dozen veggie and seafood heavy plates that one after another taught me what different things tasted like, and how you could only begin to learn that from how they play off of something else that also tastes of itself. It was a cavalcade of humbling and instructive bites in a no frills dining space with limited "service" in a traditional Michelin sense. The food tasted of and speaks for itself. 36 diners a night are privy to a unique demonstration of culinary talent that remains all about the food.
Coffee addict and world traveler
I have always wondered whether it was really worth the expense of going here but it sounds pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing this!
Appreciated the background you gave about this establishment. Really hit on what makes it so incredible and unique.
Halcyon / Egan & Sons
This is wonderful Japanese restaurant tucked away in the West Villiage. Reika Yo is a musician turned restauranteur who has created a atmosphere of traditional Japanese clean lines. There is an unwavering standard at EN for food to be part of a positive balance of body & soul. Until I did a little research, I had no idea how many celebrities frequent the restaurant. This is a real hidden gem. The kitchen is almost completely open. If you sit at the sushi bar, you can watch the sushi chefs work & behind them is the hot line where cooks are preparing the hot food. Try the house made tofu!
Anytime I am asked where to find the best pasta in New York, my answer is always Dell' Anima. Don't get me wrong, this place is so much more than pasta- but it just shows that this restaurant has stayed a favorite for many years. It is a quintessential west village style spot- cozy, dark, somewhat loud. There are three different seating areas (not including the bar): the front tables, a bit cramped but still intimate in that New York City way, the more private back area, where tables are a bit more spread and seating is higher from the ground, and the chef's table / bar, right up where all the action is. If you like to watch the chefs work their magic, try to get a seat at the chef's bar- it is completely fascinating and utterly fun. The wines selection is varied and features some unique options (they own a wine bar next door, as well) and the service is always warm and never pretentious. The food, though, is always the star. I have had some major food-moments here, when I bite into a dish that completely takes my breath away and transports me to Italy.
DINE WITH THE INSIDERS
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