Marc Forgione is one of the Iron Chefs on Iron Chef America. This is his first restaurant and has 1 Michelin Star. Like Michael Voltaggio, this restaurant is one of his babies, so he periodically is cooking in the kitchen. Unfortunately he didn’t cook today, but I just want to preface this by saying this is definitely one of my favorite restaurants ever that I’ve tried so far.
Courtesy of the chef (left – right): bagel & cream cheese, apple cider, Doritos nachos cheese chip, and caesar salad. You’re probably wondering why am I listing things that don’t seem to match the picture. This is simply because this is the chef’s take on every day food. The little bite size puff pastries definitely tasted like bagel and cream cheese. The apple cider was basically a gel block that tasted like Martinelli’s apple cider. The puffy pork rind didn’t taste too much like a Doritos chip, but it was still pretty good. The spoon did not remind me much of caesar salad even though it had that salty creamy flavor that caesar dressing typically has.
Courtesy of the chef (left – right): palette cleanser, fish?, and potato chip. The waitress suggested that we eat from left to right. The palette cleanser slightly numbed my tongue and has that ginger effect that you would typically eat with sushi. I can’t recall what the next thing on the spoon was. I believe it was fish, and if it was, it wasn’t all that memorable. The potato chip was very thinly sliced with sparse sea salt on it.
1. Kampachi Tartare, Avocado, Saratoga chips, Pinenuts, Sechuan Button. This was freaking good. The broth was sour with some very interesting flavors, but it complemented the tartare perfectly.
2. BBQ Baked Olde Salt Oyster, Aromatic Sea Salt, Pancetta Powder. I’m typically not a fan of any type of cooked oyster, but this was godly delicious. I’ve never had oysters with BBQ sauce, and this may have changed my preference. The lime provided a nice sour citrus kick to the sweet BBQ sauce that the oyster was baked in. To top it off, it came with a small glass of mild amber beer (probably similar to a Sam Adams). The beer worked perfectly with the BBQ baked oyster.
We opted for the tasting menu, but I also ordered a side of fois gras because I love it and unfortunately live in California. To the top of the tray are assorted types of salt. I don’t remember all of them, but I believe they were vanilla salt, sea salt, smoked salt, blackened salt, and spiced salt. To the left was some apricot preserves. To the right was baked country bread. Let me just say that this fois gras was delicious. I had most of this to myself, and I would sample various salt combinations along with apricot preserves. Everything tasted beautifully as I had a nice PHAT (that’s internet lingo for awesome) smile on my face.
3. Chili Lobster, Texas Toast. Hands down this is on my list of BEST FOODS EVER. If you are a fan of lobster and spicy/sour broths, then this is the epitome of it. The broth was very delicious. The lobster meat was very succulent. I could not help but make sure that every part of that broth made it into my belly. The Texas toast was portioned perfectly to soak up the broth entirely such that there was nothing left. Hands down if I went back to this restaurant again, I would order this just for myself.
4. Tortellini d’Avanzi, Truffle Balsamic, Trumpet Royales. This was good but nothing too special. I didn’t taste too much of the truffles at the bottom since balsamic typically is pretty strong unless reduced, but the tortellini was cooked just right and tasted fine.
5. Cedar planked Edenbrooke Trout, Matsutake, Smoked Caviar, Juniper, Wild Pine. It seems junipers are pretty popular nowadays. Anyhow the trout was cooked perfectly and was very tender and hearty. However because I’m not a fan of mushrooms (and boy! did I get a lot of mushrooms in this), I wasn’t that crazy about it. The mushrooms were tender and did not have that strong mushroom flavor, but I just am not a fan of the texture. I’m sure if you like mushrooms, you would love this. The trout did have some cedar flavor to it, and the skin was slightly crispy as well.
6. Jurgielewicz Duck Breast, Collard Greens, Duck Fat Carrots, Langue de Canard. The duck breast was nothing short of delectable. They were sitting on some collard greens that I believe were poached in duck fat. The carrots also tasted like duck fat. I’m not sure what the bottom yellow circular thing is but it was some type of potato textured component. On top of it, the waitress told me it was fried chicken fat cooked in duck fat. When I took a bite, it was basically a fried piece of fat that was soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Could it be duck tongue? At the north end of the plate, there is some type of sweet squash.
Before the dessert finale, they gave us a spoon of raspberry sorbet.
7. Banana Pecan Pie Bread pudding, Banana Jameson Ice Cream. The banana pecan pie was very delicious. It was baked perfectly as the middle was nice and hot. There was chocolate oozing over the sides of this. The pecans were nice and crispy as well. To the left of this was a shot of banana infused Jameson whiskey. I didn’t taste the banana in it since I’m not much of a Jameson drinker, but I did notice it was slightly sweet. This dessert was fantastic, and I stress again I’m not a dessert person.
Of the 4 Michelin rated restaurants in NYC that I’ve tried so far, I’m not sure where this one falls. I love Momofuku Ko, and WD~50 was definitely up there. Eleven Madison was overrated in my opinion. I remember Momofuku Ko being the best New York restaurant I’ve tried so far, so I guess this is my #2 if not very close to being a tie with Momofuku Ko at #1. I hope to try Momofuku Ko again and document with pictures, so I can recall what it tasted like.
Marc Forgione was nothing short of brilliance when it comes to accessible fine dining.