The Feast: The Pop Up Restaurant

I came across a group called Guerrilla Culinary Brigade. “The brigade is a group of foodies including, but not limited to, chefs, restaurateurs, and creative types that use underground culinary tactics along with extraordinary imagination, the element of surprise, and astonishing mobility to construct one-of-a-kind, memorable culinary and social moments.” The host didn’t pop up events such as The Feast (food) and The Thirst (wine).

The Feast teamed up with the famed NYC restaurant Le Cirque. The two with Grey Goose came together to create a 4 day culinary experience held in the Penthouse of the Hotel on Rivington. On each night, there is a main ingredient incorporated throughout the meal. Grey Goose also created martinis that are paired with each course. We were lucky to get a reservation on the final evening. Our ingredient of the night was Sweet Corn.

As we enter the penthouse of the hotel, I took notice of the Le Cirque decor that was brought to this space to tie in the overall experience.

After admiring the decor, we were directed to the rooftop. Here we admired the view of Manhattan as we sipped on our apertif, “The Cartini”. This was made with Grey Goose, orange bitters, lilet, and sherry. The drink was a bit strong for my taste but the orange bitters made it a bit easier to drink.

As the rooftop filled with foodies ready to experience this culinary event, we informed dinner is ready. We are assigned a table number but seating at the table was open. The room and our table was loud with people chatting which made it difficult to chat with my wife sitting across from me. With a large group dining, the meal was at a slow pace.

Our first course martini, “Horny Corny” was at the table when we took our seats. This was made using Grey Goose La Poire, elderflower cordial, roasted corn, and agave nectar. The corn gave a unique texture to a martini.

Along with the martini, we were served Sweet Corn Soup for the first course. The soup was topped with rock shrimp and basil essence. It was excellent and my favorite of the night. The warm soup was very comforting and the rock shrimp just enhanced the flavors.

The second course served Lobster with corn and chanterelles (mushrooms). I very excited to see that we were given the meat from the claw and tail. Unfortunately, my lobster was slightly undercooked and my wife’s lobster was overcooked. When the lobster is cooked well, you would not need a knife to cut the meat. It was very difficult to cut the tail when it is undercooked. It was not raw but could have used a few more minutes in the boiling water. (There was not martini pairing with this course)

On to the third course. Starting with our final martini of the evening, “Huitlacoche Martini”. This is made with Grey Goose Le Citron, Cointreau, roasted corn, agave nectar, and mushrooms. The last part sounds odd but the mushrooms were not in the drink. A truffled mushroom oil was used on the rim of the glass with a hefty coating off sea salt on half of the glass. The martini was delicious but the salt with the rich flavors of the truffled oil was just amazing.

The third course also gave us Braised Short Ribs with polenta, corn bread, and lobster mushrooms. Not as good as it sounds and was my least favorite meal of the evening. The polenta was rich and creamy. The corn bread was very dry and the short rib did not have much flavor. The lobster mushrooms were good and not ever hearing of this type of mushroom, I looked it up. In fact, it not actually a mushroom but a fungus that grows on a mushroom. The name is given because of its red color, similar to a cooked lobster. Of this dish, the polenta and mushrooms were good and saved the dish.

As the evening was coming to an end, we were served dessert. Coconut Panna Cotta with corn ice cream and blackberries. The corn ice cream did not have an overpowering corn taste but was very subtle and went well with the panna cotta. For those that have never had panna cotta, it was like a coconut pudding or an Italian flan with a blackberry sauce on top. It is a rich dessert but great ending to a slightly disappointing meal.

The overall experience of a pop up restaurant was great. It takes you out of a restaurant setting and into a more social environment. I think pop up restaurants should be featured around the chef instead of a restaurant. Bring in a celebrity or Michellin rated chef and do a smaller group of people. Maybe I watch too many cooking shows but I would have the chef come out during each course to explain what he has prepared. This gives more focus to food and the chef instead of the location, decor, and/or social setting. I truly look forward to the next event planned by The Feast.