01/11/16 11:16am
MurraysCheese

The Monger’s Table showcases the glories of cheese over a 10-course tasting.

With the exception of the dreaded Philadelphia roll, cheese and sushi are not usually mentioned in the same sentence, nor should they be. Leave it to Rachel Freier, cheese monger extraordinaire, of Murray’s Cheese Bar to link the two by creating a whimsical yet elegant cheese roll that owes as much to France as it does Japan. It’s part of The Monger’s Table—a new 10-course cheese dinner—an omakaise if you will, that Murray’s is rolling out this month. Not only is it an educational and gustatory journey into the world of cheese, it’s one of the more unusual tasting menus around.

Like many a tasting menu, The Monger’s Table begins with an amuse bouche, in this case a liquid one, a milk punch made with chamomile, sweet vermouth, and some hay from Vermont’s Jasper Hill Farm. “We went to Jasper Hill and sat on a hay bale inside a hay dryer just licking the air it smelled so good,” Freier recalled taking note that its fresh grass and hay that makes the creamery’s cheeses taste so good. I couldn’t help thinking of Sushi Nakazawa’s omakase as I inhaled the aroma of fresh hay. Next up was a dish called Salting the Curd that featured squeaky fresh curds, along with fried ones, which proved a good entry point for discussing cheese making. (more…)

11/21/13 10:41am
BEAR-ASPIC

Char aspic with pomelo and lemon.

The tyranny of the tasting menu—that feeling of being held hostage by a chef’s creativity  as course after course after course comes to the table—is a phenomenon with which I have scant experience. The only tasting menu of note I’ve had is Momofuko Ko’s and while not quite tyrannical, it was vast, running to more than a dozen courses, each quite good in its own way.  Even so sensory overload sets in by course eight or nine. It’s not that I was full, but rather that I was punch drunk on the experience, much the way I feel after wandering around an art museum for too long. So when Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky of Bear invited me to try to her $85 seasonal tasting menu, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.   (more…)