Le Grand Fooding‘s most recent New York event proved a familiar point: it’s not about how much you have, it’s about what you do with what you’ve got.
Judging from the minimal and modest décor (at least by New York standards), we could initially assume that the main focus of the event was going to be the food. And thank goodness.
White table clothes draped over three lines of wooden picnic tables and string lights hovered above creating a low-lying canopy. In one corner, a single piano sat propped on a stage while in the other corner was the sole doorway for both the kitchen and the bathroom (luckily, the juxtaposition of the loo and plating station created a full-sensory distraction while standing in line for the single occupancy room).
In Le Fooding tradition, the event had a theme. The intended nuances of the “Time Mach’Inn” title are hardly decipherable for those who aren’t familiar with current French slang, though. Obviously there is play on the English words “time machine,” but the French language influence is phoenetic with ”mach’inn.” The hybrid phrase refers to the word French machin, which generally means “thing.”
So, “time machine thing” — whatever, we went with it.
And we’re glad we did. Each of the four main courses was inspired by a food trend from recent decades. This amounted to:
1. The Fusion Years (1991-1999)
Plantain, tamarind and coconut soup with goat cheese and a smoked salmon dumpling
Peter Gordon, The Sugar Club, Auckland
2. The Bistronomy Years (1998-2007)
Roasted veal breast with potatoes and cockles
Yves Camdeborde, Le Comptoir du Relais, Paris
– FROMAGES –
4. The Future
Green tea matcha fortune cookies
Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese, NYC
Fortunes by Aziz Ansari
Like these trends over the past few decades, the evening had its ups (Justin Timberlake and Radiohead piano covers) and downs (only three different fortunes, Aziz?) with the definitive edible highlight being the veal with potatoes and cockles. The cut was so succulent, we’re still convinced that Yves actually served us pork belly. Did you, Yves?
Like past events, this one amounted to a great success with guests wandering out with individual cheesecake slices wrapped in small boxes. It wasn’t Le Grand Fooding’s first rodeo in New York and it shouldn’t be their last. It’s still unclear when they’ll be back in town in 2014, but we’ll be keeping our eye out. We wouldn’t want to miss another opportunity to scoop up runny cheese off a long 2×4 while listening to a solo piano renditions of ’90s pop hits.
Were you there, too? What was your favorite course or moment?