Dear Grub Street,
Next weekend I’m getting surgery done on an impacted wisdom tooth which is growing very close to a central nerve. I’ve been told that if this nerve is damaged, there’s a chance I will lose a large part of feeling in my face – including a loss of my sense of taste. I’ve gone into “doomsday mode”, thinking of all the best flavors this city has to offer in an effort to get them ingrained into my gray memory. As of now I’ve got a reservation at Degustation, will be making at least three visits minimum to Ssäm Bar, and another to Sasabune. Are there maybe two or three dishes or places that should be added to this ever-growing list? Le Bernardin is in my sights of course, but understandably may be difficult to get into.
Facing My Final Hour
Dear Facing My Final Hour,
The horror we feel for your situation is partially offset for us by the knowledge that we can help you, at least, in this last desperate hour. First of all, no man facing the extinction of his sense of taste has any business eating multiple meals at the same restaurants in New York. On the other hand, you’re right in wanting to go to your favorite spots one last time, as a man going blind might want to look at the face of his loved ones. That said, we can well understand your desire to try Le Bernardin. And happily, so does Eric Ripert. We told him of your plight, and the Ripper has agreed to cook you a special Doomsday Menu tomorrow night, which (plus or minus a few tweaks) we are including below. We hope you don’t lose your sense of taste, but at least if you do, we’ll have helped you experience something people frequently don’t get to taste at all — cold comfort though that may be. Good luck!
Le Bernardin "Doomsday Menu"
White-Soy-Yuzu-Marinated Fluke; Seaweed and Spiced “Rice Crispies”
Riesling, Château Bela, Slovakia 2003
Warm Poached Lobster; Sweet-Pea-Verbena Mousseline; Chilled Grapefruit Broth
Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de L’Hérault 2006
Sautéed Calamari Filled With Sweet Prawns and Wood-Ear Mushroom; Calamari Consommé
Grüner Veltliner Federspiel, Emmerich Knoll, Austria 2005
Barely Cooked Wild Alaskan Salmon; Daikon, Snow Peas, and Enoki Salad; Sweet-Pea-Wasabi Sauce
Muscat Grand Cru Speigel, Jean Pierre Dirler, Alsace 2003
Wild Turbot; Shiso-Maitake Salad; Lemon-Miso Broth
Puligny Montrachet le Trézin, Marc Colin 2004
White Tuna Poached in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil; Sea Beans and Potato Crisps; Light Red Wine Béarnaise
Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts, Daniel Rion 2001
Roasted Apricots, Black-Sesame Panna Cotta, Cherry Granité, Soy Caramel
Tokaij Aszu 5 Puttonyos, Disznoko, Hungary 1999
Milk Chocolate Pot de Crème, Caramel Foam, Maple Syrup, Maldon Sea Salt