Parafiction: Secret Menus
Fact and fiction blur somewhere between these entertaining menu options.
Sushi Shikon (The Mercer Hotel, 29 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong) HKD 3500
Although the menu in this Michelin-rated three-star restaurant is omakase-only, if you order yours “kariforunia style” instead of five appetizers and ten pieces of traditional edomae sushi, you will get everything that the chef would have served to you but chopped up and blended with mayonnaise, rolled with avocado, and deep fried. #worthit
Narisawa (2-6-15 Minami Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo Prefecture) 29.700JPY
The least known but best experience you can have at Yoshihiro Narisawa’s acclaimed and innovative establishment is to have Chef Yoshihiro recite a haiku he wrote in honor of each course. His poetry on the connectivity of nature and food, the cycle of life and death, and the movement of time bring a new dimension to the combination of flavors in every course. Tableside readings are only available when Chef is in the restaurant, which is based on the ancient moon calendars of the Edo. No substitutions.
Noma (Strandgade 93, København K, Denmark) 1195DKK to 1495DKK
If you find yourself in Copenhagen, congratulations! It’s a beautiful city with beautiful people. If you find yourself in Copenhagen and holding a reservation to Noma, where Chef Reni Redzepi shares his interpretation of traditional Nordic cuisine, you’ve won the Powerball. If you whisper, “foder” upon walking in, a member of the culinary team will take you on a twenty minute drive to a forest where you fill a basket with whatever you can find from the trees or on the ground, and somehow find your way back to the restaurant without map or compass to have whatever you found—edible or not—prepared as a twenty course menu. Results vary.
El Celler de Can Roca (Calle Can Sunyer, 48, Girona, Spain) 135 EUR to 165 EUR
Considered by many to be the best restaurant in the world. Jordi, the youngest of the three Roca brothers who are behind Celler, is responsible for their sought-after desserts including the perfume-inspired Miracle by Lancôme (cream of ginger, lychee jam, pink pepper caramel.) Highly recommended is the off-the-menu Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson (quince leaves, jasmine root, verbena nectar, urinal cake). We ship that.
Osteria Francescana (Via Stella, 22, Modena MO, Italy) 180 EUR to 200 EUR
Master Chef Massimo Bottura captures the essence of Italy with his creative, modern turns on the classic Italian cuisine from his youth. Upon request, Chef Massimo will create a pasta dish with small circular pasta rings, or “o’s” made from spaghetti noodles. He adds to them a thin, salty, tomato sauce. The dish could also be prepared with the pasta in the shape of letters. Mind. Blown. It’s a dish that will remind us all of our youth.
L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges (40 quai de la Plage, Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, France) 165 EUR to 250 EUR
Step back in time and experience the true meaning of a three Michelin star dining experience as captains in white coats cater to your every need. Chef Paul Bocuse is easily the greatest chef of the last century and his ornate restaurant outside Lyon is a prime example of nouvelle cuisine. If you tire of all the nouvelle, order your meal “Moderne” and the Chef will reluctantly cut the portions in half, froth the sauce, and add leaves and flowers to every dish. A sweet relief from the norm.
Per Se (4, 10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY) $325
Famed little brother to French Laundry, this New York eatery in the Time Warner Center showcases Thomas Keller’s exquisite cuisine. Those in the know will order The NY Two Star; it starts with the collective disgruntled sigh of every employee as your server aggressively walks back to the kitchen to retrieve a fresh napkin for a supplemental charge of $75.
Alinea (1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL) $210 to $265
Chef Grant Achatz is an artist as well as a culinary technician. While visiting his triple star Michelin rated Chicago food gallery, ask for any of your courses served “sec” and a team of chefs will dehydrate the course, grind it to a fine powder tableside and blow the powder directly into your face. Microphone dropped!
Written by J.B. Averyman