Last night we celebrated the birthday of a very good friend of ours, James Gillespie, at the East Village restaurant called Feast NYC. James is a professional chef that is well-known as the winner of the well loved TV show Chopped. He has been working in restaurants his whole life and for the last few years he has been teaching at the Star Career Academy while also working private events and feeding his friends the most exquisite dishes. When James invited us to Feast NYC (102 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003), I knew to expect a super fancy and incredibly delicious meal. But — wow — the food was even better that I could have possibly imagined!
We started with a set of dips and varied chips that the waiters kept bringing to the table. As usual, I concentrated on guacamole — my favorite appetizer (which I always eat any without bread or chips). This dip was spectacular: perfectly ripened, fresh avocado, tiny thin-sliced onion — and an interesting mix of spices. The guys concentrated on the chips that were fried pork skin. They said that the fried pork skin melted in their mouth. I am not a fan of chips in general, so I just trusted their reviews.
We were pouring a glass of wine while enjoying some oysters when an unbelievable warm lamb appetizer in a sweet sauce and quail eggs arrived to the table. I ate the eggs, Ben savored the meat. Perfect!
Then we switched our attention to oysters that were served on top of the sliced lemon. Our friend and a talented musician from the band Paranoid Social Club, Craig Sala, who was born in Maine confessed that he never tries seafood in New York because, in most of the cases, it is not as fresh as in Maine. In the case of Feast’s oysters, Craig was totally satisfied and worked hard on “killing” his plate of oysters.
Meanwhile, a new set of plates showed up: a dish officially called Beet Ravioli. This was NOT ravioli with pieces of beats inside. Instead, white and red beets were used as a dough for ravioli. Meaning, from being a high in carbs and processed dish Feast’s Beet Ravioli turned it into a healthy vegetarian appetizer that tasted delicious. Without hesitation, I ate about 8 of them — yummy!
Take a look at the next dish on the list. Doesn’t it look amazing? When we were served this Chilled Corn Soup with Crab Stuffed Squash Blossom, I was thinking that Chef Christopher Meenan cooked fried flower blossoms that were only a decorative purpose. As it turned out, these fancy “flowers” on top of the mini Mason jars were actually squash blossoms filled with some delish veggies and crab. I used the soup as a sauce for my fried blossoms — such combination of warm “veggie flowers” and cold soup was simply incredible! I would go for another one if there was any left.
Right after soup we switched our attention to Scallops & Foie Gras with Cauliflower Puree (even the name of this dish sounds fancy). At this point, I was beginning to fill up from eating the soup and just tried some cauliflower puree and blueberries, while Ben finished the scallops accompanied by juicy foie gras.
If you think that after that amount of food we stopped, you have no idea who are you dealing with. We took a breather, but we continued our feast with the lamb shank, wild mussels and frisee and watercress salad. The lamb (called on the menu Mole Poblano Con Pierna De Borrego) was so juicy and in a such a perfect shape that I wanted to hug it instead of eating it — what perfection!
Wild mussels were also great — I actually worked more on them paired with the salad than on the lamb because at this point I was already too full with all these wonderful appetizers.
Actually, the salad was pretty interesting: because of the combination of granola, yogurt, raisins and greens, it tasted very refreshing and kind of breakfasty. I will definitely come back to try it again soon.
Finally, we ended our feast with a light and perfectly sweet and creamy desert. As always, I tried to save some room for dessert. I really had no room left but when the Dulce De Leche arrived I, honestly, could not stop eating it — it was SO good!
After dinner, our company went downstairs where James’ musicians friends had organized a concert in his honor. I felt very privileged sitting there and listening to a spectacular band that played for just ten of us. I didn’t mention it before, but music is another area of James’ interest: he is a talented guitar player and music producer. We didn’t wait until the end of the concert because it was getting late, but we really loved the beginning of the concert.
Sitting in the cab home we discussed what a wonderful day we had and started discussing plans to bring some friends back to experience Chef Christopher Meenan – Feast NYC. Happy Birthday Chef James Gillespie and thanks for introducing us to this amazing restaurant!
What is your favorite restaurant in the East Village? Have you ever read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway?
Feast NYC (102 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003)
Reservations: (212) 529-8880