Brooklyn, NY 11201
Reservations recommended?: YES- It took Hubby 200 (YES 200!) tries on the phone, the moment the restaurant opened for reservations for our preferred date (6 weeks ahead). You must be willing to persevere and even then you may not be lucky enough to get a seat.
Note there is no online booking available.
Atmosphere: Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare is a tiny 18 seat space, in what appeared to be a rather sketchy area of Brooklyn (at least hen we were there before our 9:45 reservation). But don't let that scare you off. Once they quickly lock the door behind you, you will instantly feel as though you are in the best of hands. You will be led to your seat around the stainless steel counter, where you will watch the magical show unfold. With only 4 chefs in the kitchen (including chef Cesar Ramirez himself), it is a perfectly orchestrated display of precision, artistry and unbeatable talent. The intimacy of the space sets Chef's Table apart from other Michelin Star restaurants in its ability to make each guest feel as though they had received a personal invite from Chef Ramirez himself.
One small tip- for those with back/knee issues, you will be pretty tightly squat in against the counter which may not be the most comfortable so yo may wish to request a seat at either end. I did, appreciated the hook for my purse under the counter!
Service: The service at Chef's Table is second to none. From the moment you walk in the door, you are treated like a part of the family. Chef Ramirez personally came to welcome us, and then returned to check in several times during the meal to ensure that we were enjoying our dishes. The hostess, who stood all night in the centre of the counter (we have yet to figure out how she got in there!) was a delight, and delivered all of our dishes with a brief description and a suggestion on how it should be eaten (all in one bite, with your hands, all components together, etc). The sommelier for the evening was refreshingly down to earth, and took time to come chat with us informally about our stay in New York and give us some touring tips. We were also visited by a new member of the staff who was a fellow Vancouverite. There was no way we could have been made to feel more at home.
Food: This is the only Michelin Star place I have been yet that does not allow diners to snap shots of their food. It was sad not having any photos to look back on the next day, =but I guess they have their reasons for this rule. Even without pictures though, I can remember each dish, especially my favourites, even without the visual. The food at Chef's Table is fairly simple for the most part, without a lot of bells and whistles attached. Having said that, the dishes are anything but boring. The flavours that are created in the seemingly "simple" dishes are outstanding, especially when you consider the small space and few pieces of equipment that he is working with. There is definitely a focus on seafood here, especially shellfish, but surprisingly my favourite dish was the plate of vegetables prepared on their grill while Hubby's was the beef. It would be difficult to find fault with any of the plates though- the word "perfection" certainly comes to mind.
Chef's Table At Brooklyn Fare is a true labor of love for Chef Ramirez, which is evidenced by the fact that he is still there working the line with the other chefs (very admirable) and by the heart and soul that comes through in each of his dishes. The intimate feeling created by all of the staff is unparalleled, and creates a very memorable dining experience. I will certainly have fond memories for a long time to come.