The first wine was an orange wine, reminiscent of a cider. It was paired with a piping hot consommé that burned my fingers as I poured the broth for a social media shot. And shame on me, because that’s not what tonight was all about.
From there I was enrobed in a magical experience far from the insane snowstorm/slush fest around us in NYC. It was poetic. It was indulgent. It was everything a snowy night ought to be.
I was invited to a 5-course Chef’s Table at BLACKBARN Restaurant in NoMad. Chef-owner John Doherty previously served diplomats at the Waldorf Astoria NYC before it was bought out. Tonight he revived his most prestigious dishes for his most prodigious past guests, and served them up to the likes of us, the media, with wine pairings fit for royalty. It was called the World Leader Menu.
The orange wine was insanely rare. It was paired with the consommé to offset the strength of the truffle flavor. I was lucky to sit next to Sarah of Somm in the City, so I got to hear some in-depth knowledge about the wine. Mmhmm.
The seared sea scallop was next. Bitter chive emulsion paired with the creaminess of the scallop and the salty caviar. Potato mousseline was the perfect, thick foundation to root the dish.
Wine Director Andrija Tadejevic explained that the Boscoe Grenache Blac wine paired with this dish was part of the vineyard’s second batch ever – they only made about 130 cases of it. You can’t get in anywhere right now, but when it’s ready to go to market, it will be 50% more expensive due to demand.
The rack of lamb – a tender medium rare, with piquant olives and lemony carrot and eggplant terrine, was a standout. It was everything I wanted on the night with the nastiest weather of the year. It was paired with what Andrija called the “greatest vintage in Tuscany of all time.” Tannin-less and 100% Sangiovese, it was a true crowd-pleaser.
Next was a serious surprise. I’ve never tasted cheese like this. I can’t even explain to you how unreal it was… all I can say it is my favorite cheese I’ve ever eaten. It was as creamy as it looks and note it was not heated up. HOW? WHAT? WHY? YES!
This dish was originally served to an epic historic table of six world leaders at once. Who can you recognize in this pic? Do you think they spoke about the cheese at the time, or just talked politics?
Chef stood next to me while the Wine Director opened the Porto. It took 5 long minutes because it’s damn old and they didn’t want to risk crumbling the cork – a 1970 vintage. We held our breaths but appreciated and reveled in every second of this tense moment. Foodies on steroids.
Chef watched as port was emptied into every glass but his, and sighed. None left for him. So we shared mine – ha! I demanded that he get to taste it. He didn’t want me to sacrifice my experience but sharing with him actually enhanced it.
A chocolate caramel tarte was dropped in front of us. I tasted it and I think I blacked out from joy.
Pastry chef Anwuli Obidi popped over and whispered to Sarah and I. She dropped a snack on our table… a mini raspberry cheesecake. She knew we’d be eyeing her make her magical desserts all night. (Finally! Rewarded for having to endure the proximity to the pastry station for the entire meal!)
I left with a sense of warmth. Not only from the wine… or the food… but the sense of connection all of us had with the food. And with each other. It sounds pretentious to say all the foodies loved the 5 course meal… but it wasn’t just a meal.
This particular menu will be offered for the next five Saturday’s. To reserve your spot at the Chef’s Table, either call the restaurant at (212)265-5959 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, a percentage of revenue from The Presidential Chef’s Table Dinner will go toward Chef Doherty’s Heavenly Harvest Foundation, a charity that creates nutritious and quality meals for families in need.