Last Friday I met with Mende for dinner at Chefs Club in Nolita. At Chefs club, the menu is a pick-and-mix of signature dishes from renowned chefs around the country prepared by the restaurant’s in-house team of chefs. There are frequent guest appearances, and the night we were there, Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford was visiting.
We had a cocktail while browsing the menu, and we almost finished it before we were ready to place our order. Everything on the menu just sounded so delicious, and we had a hard time narrowing down our choice.
First out was the beaten biscuits with sorghum butter and jamon iberico de bellota. On its own none of it was very memorable, but put together (biscuits topped with sorgum butter and LOTS of jamon on top) it was dynamite. The dumplings seemed a bit misplaced among the predominantly southern dishes on the menu that night, and the chili and cilantro didn’t go very well with the other flavors on the table, but on their own, they were delicious and I’m happy that we tried them.
Jeremy Ford’s contribution to the menu that night was a beautiful appetizer with white asparagus and edible flowers. Very pretty to look at and very delicious indeed, but flavor-wise a bit more predictable, than I had hoped for.
The American wagyu strip was tender and juicy, but without the fatty, full-bodied OMG! flavor that characterizes the real deal from Japan. Mende had the sea bream, and she liked it a lot in the beginning, but after she had a taste of my steak and a couple of other things on the table, she noticed that it had this somewhat…hmm fishy? hint to the after-taste and after trying it, I had to agree.
For dessert we had clafoutis and pavlova. Mende is a wine geek, so she wanted a glass of Sauterne, which I was also curious about, so we ordered a glass to share. Instead of bringing us one glass that both of us could sip from, they gave us two, half-full glasses, which I think was a very nice gesture.
Both desserts were tasty, but I was happy that it was the pavlova, which landed on my side of the table. There’s just something really satisfying about meringue-crushing. It’s like popping bubble wrap, once you start, you can’t stop.
I liked Chefs Club a lot. The concept, the ambience and the staff; everything was somewhere between great and awesome, and Chefs Club was a perfect place to start a night out. And what a night! More on that later.