Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: When presented with a glass of champagne and a shot of espresso, champagne first then chase it down with the espresso. Have a good morning.
This previous weekend marked the beginning and the end of a pop up restaurant hosted by the Le Grande Fooding (Frenchies of course!) dubbed the Exquisite Corpse. Exquisite Corpse is actually a game, played by Surrealist artists each artist took turns painting on a certain section of canvas without seeing the other artist painted. In the end, you unveil what mish mash creation you have created, most likely stare at it for a bit, laugh and eat drink and be merry. Despite the morbid sounding name, the Exquisite Corpse was a 52 hour pop up dinner in which every four hours, a different chef and a new menu was presented which now makes sense and a fitting name for this pop up that was located by the High Line. It reminded me of the 30 Rock episode when Tracy Jordan has the after party and then the after after party and it just keeps going and going, same concept, except more food and no NBC stars present.
|Champagne in the AM...sure there is a rap lyric somewhere|
Given my insomniac ways, I could have went to one of the earlier ones that started at 5 am, but I decided to be somewhat sane and hit up the 9am block on Saturday that featured Ana Ros head of the restaurant, Hisa Franko in Slovenia. Since I did not see Slovenia coming up in any travel itinerary, I thought it would be interesting to try her menu.
|Candlelit dinner, in the AM|
Part of the excitement of a pop up is the discovery of a restaurant that seemed to have been conceived in a random space, and the Exquisite Corpse was no different. After walking up a fading whitewash stairwell you land in a studio that is filled with questionable art pieces and a long grand table that everyone is seated at. Think of any movie that has ever had a scene of a banquet dinner at Versailles and now take that image and forcibly clash it with hipster, artistic vibes and mismatched furniture and that will describe the atmosphere and the table setting. There were candles suck in previously drunk San Pellegrino bottles and as I dubbed a grab bag of utensils and bread all creating a median in the middle of the table with the addition of alternating red and blue vinyl table cloth lined the banquet set table that would have fit comfortably in an East Carolina Smokehouse, although cluttered is the first thing that comes to mind, one cannot help but be bemused by everything and rightfully fitting. Food After the Jump!
|Ear Ravioli trout broth|
Working in a cramped kitchen space, the chef managed to set a steady tempo to the meal staring out with ear ravioli, served in a trout broth. The broth had a piece of nori and sprinkle of sesame that gave it a light Asian undertone with a nice addition of fish roe exploding with each bite. The broth was light and flavorful which worked well with the cheesy ravioli, despite being a bit more al dente than it should be.
The next course was a deer tartar was served with a balsamic apple reduction, a fennel sauce and an olive oil emulsion-like sauce. I actually never had deer, I have had Rudolph before (sorry kiddies, the bright red nose doesn’t affect how awesome it tastes) so I am not sure if it is comparable, I am not a zoologist. I expected it to have an assertive gaminess to it but it was surprisingly more of a lingering after taste. The deer was rich and the reduction and sauces accompanying it worked well with the deer. Also given the workout I had that morning, I am assuming deer tartar is quite the protein boost I need, screw whey powder!
The pinnacle of this meal was the black cod, smothered in black truffle foam and blanched asparagus. The foam evoked and perfumed the woodiness and sweet mellow smell of truffles. Each inhalation was a complete sensory overload and as if there was not enough truffle-ness going on, tucked underneath the cod, were black truffle shavings. The cod was cooked perfectly and the sauce on first glance looks like a typical old school Escoffier heavy sauce was creamy yet light. It was a sop dish, meaning you take a piece of bread and you sop up any remaining sauce on your plate.
|Black Cod and black truffles like whoa...oh and asparagus|
Finally the dessert was a goat milk cream with honey figs, almonds, thyme I believe candied olive or brittle and a cake like crumble. I was unfortunately not able to ask much about the dishes but the tangy goat milk with the honey figs worked nicely and the savory notes from the candied olives were nice too. It was a good finish to the meal, a dessert that was just sweet enough and a pleasant ending.
The Chef Ana Ros, came out of the kitchen and explained her food and her concept. She tried to showcase the foods of Slovenia such as the usage of game meat (deer), the usage of fresh water and seafood from the speck of coast Slovenia has (trout and cod). Most of the former Eastern Bloc states have a reputation of being a dead zone of culinary eating (thoughts of meat and potatoes drowned in a brown sauce).
|Summer Nostalgia- goat milk, honey figs|
Thankfully Chefs like Ana Ros and events like the Le Grande Fooding that is humbly proving us wrong about what we may find good food. Though the New York leg of the Le Grande Fooding is over, I expect they will be back next year that everyone should go. Fun time, good food and trying new things what is not to like? Also the addition of a not to shabby gift bag from Citarella, consisting of vinegar, marinara sauce, coffee and a Mast Bro’s chocolate bar, add a protein and a veggie you have the makings of an episode of Chopped.