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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

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Michelin

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Restaurant, New York, USA

7,5 points

It’s an experience, no question. Delicious, really on the highest level! The wine accompaniment remarkable. The dining area – if you find it: stylish and like a very elegant showroom that still offers a cozy, almost snug ambience. Quite different than the way some have described it.

For a few days now, I’ve been asking myself how I should describe my experience at the 3-Michelin-starred restaurant Chef’s Table in New York. Hard to beat, I would like to write, because it is. And yet, a nagging thought has crept in, which reduces the experience a little. And the longer this thought settles in, the more space it takes up. Is it really only possible to cook on such a divine level if you combine ingredients from three different continents (!) for a single course? The inspiring concept of César Ramírez is surely to use only the BEST ingredients in the world: beef and seafood from Japan, foie gras from France etc…. It is amazing how César Ramírez lays down various “taste trails” that end on the tongue and on the palate in a path that unites all the elements and components of the various taste ideas, leading to an explosion that proves all the power of enchanting cooking, even composing. It’s like one of the greatest and, above all, the most intelligent symphonies you might recall.

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Amass, Restaurant, Copenhagen

Amass, Restaurant, Copenhagen, Denmark

7 points

How many times have I heard that Copenhagen is the culinary capital of Europe? Not Paris. Not Rome. Not Berlin. I still can’t really say because, in Copenhagen for the first time, I relied on a tip from Billy Wagner. His tips are as reliable as ever but you should be careful to have enough money with you — eating out in Copenhagen is not exactly cheap. And truly, there is one 3-star Michelin restaurant, six 2-star Michelin ones and even 12 (!) with one star. Next to the most famous and obviously one of the best restaurants in the world, based on a questionable ranking by San Pellegrino, Geranium (place 19), which is the 3-star restaurant, are there any good alternatives? Apart from the fact that I do not like to pre-reserve months in advance, since food always has something to do with mood and desire – I mean, imagine your mother dies and you have been waiting for months for your reservation at Noma, the other world famous restaurant in Copenhagen (which is closed anyhow for some months). What do you do then?

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Casa Enrique, Restaurant, Queens

Casa Enrique, Restaurant, Queens, New York, USA

6,5 points

When we talk about New York, most of us are actually just talking about Manhattan. In reality, New York is much more: Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx. I recently stood for the first time not in Manhattan but in Queens. Not too far away from the end of Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge —  at the Z NYC Hotel (I don’t think I will go back). From the roof, you have an amazing panoramic view of Manhattan.

The area around the hotel is – let me just say – special. Taxi garages, bakeries, craftsmen’s workshops, stores for work clothes like uniforms and safety wear – but then also design studios, exhibition halls and cool working spaces, hotels and hostels called “The Local NYC”…it is an area in transition.

In particular, on the banks of the East River there are many new real estate developments. Those faceless glass modern sleeping towers that dominate Toronto’s waterfront as well. Although I guess it isn’t bad to have a flat there.

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Jungbluth, Restaurant, Berlin

Jungbluth, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

5,5 points

You won’t find all of Berlin’s best restaurants in the city’s center or only in trendy areas. The diversity and, in a certain sense, the attractiveness of particular parts of the city is reflected in their culinary possibilities, and this of course goes beyond Mitte and the West. I’ve already reviewed a few of these restaurants, for example „Bieberbau“ in Wilmersdorf (Bieberbau, Restaurant, Berlin).

Michelin bestows not only stars but also the Bib Gourmand Award disctinction. This happens to be a really good thing, and is given to restaurants whose culinary offering is solid and high quality, although not on the level of Michelin-starred places.

jungbluth-restaurant

And this is what brought the Michelin testers to try Jungblut, a restaurant located in Berlin-Steglitz. The fact that I was willing to go all the way to Steglitz for a restaurant should demonstrate the faith I have in their recommendations. I mean, no one really wants to go to Steglitz, though of course there are some lovely spots there, as in every other part of Berlin.  Excluding, of course, Spandau!

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Bieberbau, Restaurant, Berlin

Bieberbau, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

6 points

The variety of restaurants in Berlin is really impressive. 19 Michelin Star restaurants (13 with one star, 6 with two stars) among 4650 (!) restaurants in general. The number comes from the municipality of Berlin and it’s not stated clearly whether or not McDonald’s is included in this data. In any case, it’s easy to imagine that there is a lot of competition. Owners and managers of restaurants need to generate special publicity. One may have a great location or a niche cuisine. At Michelin star restaurants certainly, chefs are in the foreground, though according to my observations, flair and atmosphere also count, in particular if you have such strong competition even among top cooks. Yes, you can find any kind of food and cuisine in Berlin. Considering that Berlin between 1945 and 1990 (East and West) was known for poor and rather bad cooking, the development in the past 25 years is impressive.

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