Fat Rice Residency at Chefs Club (NYC)
One of the most highly anticipated things to happen this summer is the Fat Rice residency at Chefs Club NYC. Fat Rice is based out in Chicago, IL with chef/owner Abe Conlon having a creative, globally inspired Macanese menu.
The Chefs Club NYC restaurant invites chefs from around the world take over the kitchen for several months (this one for two months) to offer diners a unique culinary experience through the Chefs Club Residency Program. This one-of-a-kind experience gives guests the opportunity to watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen.
What really makes this particular evening so great was our food loving, enthusiastic waiter who sold us the dishes he truly liked and the general wine pairing to go with it. Chef Abe Conlon was busy at the pass the entire night but I’ve managed to photograph him when he’s not looking down at the plates. I haven’t even looked at the menu but I saw the large chili prawns and noted to myself “I need that.” When my friend and I read through the menu, we were generally torn as to how many dishes we should order since they all sound great.
We started off with glasses of Aphros ‘Phaunus’ Pet Nat, Loureiro, Vinho Verde, PT 2016 and a non-alcoholic jackfruit soda. The pet nat was delicious. Wonderful, cider, floral aroma due to the Loureiro variety and delicate citrus. Lovely find bubbles, citrus with a touch of sweetness to offset the bold spicy flavors of the dishes coming up. The jackfruit soda was lime forward initially but it has the wonderful sweet floral flavors of the jackfruit, a cross between pineapple and mango.
The Bacalhau da Vovó (translated from Portuguese, grandmother’s bacalhau) was incredible. Salty yet slightly creamy egg dish flecked with pieces of salted cod that was perfect for the fresh baked, and still warm papo seco that is like a lighter, not as chewy version of a French baguette. The fresh slightly crisp peach meets the salty, silky Fermin Iberico ham, basil, and burnt vinegar is a smart, Americanized take on the classic Italian snack of melon and prosciutto.
The roasted eggplant, sweet soy, calamansi, fresh sambal topped with maluku spiced rice puff was a great vegetable forward dish. The creamy, earthy, spicy, slightly sweet eggplant and the crispy rice puff makes it texturally interesting. The braised octopus is a tasty, classic Portuguese dish and the textures of each component are perfect.
If you want intense flavors, the main courses are it. This portion of the menu are primarily stews or slow cooked dishes that the proteins are fork tender and the flavors meld together except these are big flavors (in a fantastic way). The beef ambilla curry is amazing. The beef shoulder roast in tamarind and fresh herb curry this is in your face — tart, spicy and herbaceous all at once. The pork cheeks, vindalho eurasian acha, and charred scallion was an easy to like dish since the flavors aren’t as brash as the beef shoulder but still very delicious and round. Both of these stews cry for the bowl of coconut rice topped with fried shallots (it’s necessary). The plate of raba raba, balichão, green papaya, and wood ear mushrooms reminds me in a vague way of my upbringing from the Chinese water spinach and wood ear mushrooms, though not in that combination, but in all it’s mildly spiced and the distinctive flavor of the water spinach mellowed out after cooking out the vegetable. It’s a great vegetable dish that I would eat on a daily basis (and I might steal that idea when I cook them at home again).
Though we were full, we must have dessert especially when we saw another table having this massive watermelon with a paper umbrella earlier. The watermelon cendol is looks like a frozen dessert party with the bright colors (and it feeds four people). The watermelon sorbet that’s been fluffed up and layered with sweet corn, cendol (worm-like green rice flour jellies), corn flake cereal, rings of young coconut, adzuki beans splashed with condensed milk. Despite the number of toppings, it’s a light dessert with varying textures that keeps the palate amused. And it’s a cooling relief from the spicy bold flavors from the savory dishes.
To view more photos of this visit, please view the gallery below or CLICK HERE for the photo set:
Chefs Club NYC
Fat Rice (Chicago, IL) Residency
Chefs Club NYC
275 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10012