There’s been quite a buzz of confusion and excitement since Chef Cesar Ramirez’s 18-seat tasting restaurant, attached to Boerum Hill’s Brooklyn Fare grocery store, on Schermerhorn Street (near Hoyt), was awarded two Michelin stars. It’s the first time Michelin has bestowed two stars on a Brooklyn restaurant; only 10 restaurants in the city earned the recognition this year.
This week Adam Platt of New York Magazine reviews The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, calling it a “quirky operation in the wilds of Boerum Hill,” and describing the location as “bleak, even brutal.” It takes two months to get an “impossible to obtain” reservation for the $135 meal, and it’s BYOB.
Ramirez’s presentation consists of many small plates, mostly fish, and in the style of Japanese omakase (Chef’s choice). Platt confirms Ramirez’s “virtuoso cooking skill” and remarks on his “anachronistic fondness” for the “kind of opulent gourmet trimmings (Italian truffles, ribbons of gold leaf, spoonfuls of caviar from Petrossian) that you rarely see in Manhattan anymore.”
But in the end, Platt finds the restaurant lacks that, “Je ne sais quois,” that makes a restaurant truly outstanding. He gives it three of five stars.
Michelin clearly had a different mindset. A story in Crains on the Michelin rankings says 40 NYC restaurants got one star this year, and five got three. If you are curious about the Michelin process, you have to read last year’s piece in The New Yorker, in which writer John Colapinto goes undercover with a Michelin reviewer and discusses the changes in global restaurant ranking outfit.