Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ko

We never finished the story about Ko and what happened after we got an elusive reservation there.

I was so nervous about getting there late and having our reservation voided that we got there about 20 minutes early. The entry way was intimidating.



Once we went inside, we were told that we were a little early, but they seated us anyway. The counter, large enough for only 12 diners, was L-shaped. We were seated at the short horizontal part of the L, which ended up being the best seats because we could see the chefs' hands and watch their every move. As the other diners trickled in, I wondered, "Who are these people, and why do they have an entire Friday afternoon free?" The lunch menu is actually more extensive (and more pricey) than the dinner menu. We were there for 3 or 4 hours.

We didn't want to get the wine tasting because we wanted to stay lucid during the entire meal. We started with 1/2 a bottle of sake. We finished it and ended up getting another full bottle anyway.

There were too many dishes to count. They were all delicious. I'm a big fan of bento boxes because you get to taste a lot of different things with one visit. So it was even better that Ko did an omakase ("it's up to you" in Japanese, meaning entirely of the chef's choice) menu. One standout was the Shaved Torchon of Freeze-Dried Foie Gras over Rieseling Gelee with Lychee and Pine Nut Brittle. Shaved freeze-dried foie gras is a brilliant innovation. It tastes like fois-gras ice cream - creamy, melting, and rich. We were tempted to ask for a second helping.

I was a little afraid of talking too loudly and initially wasn't sure where to look. But the music was just loud enough to provide cover for our voices without being distracting, and I think Ko had been open long enough that the chefs were used to being observed. One of them nonchalantly brought out an enormous wheel of blue cheese, cut out a wedge, and returned it to the fridge, afterwards casually checking his Blackberry.

David Chang made an appearance during our meal. He poked around the back, whispered in a few chefs' ears, adjusted the stereo sound once or twice, and then left.

Ko
163 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-7773

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