The Sunday matinée of Hamilton was over by 5:50 p.m.; the audience at the Richard Rodgers was clearing out; and Angela Dimayuga, executive chef of Mission Chinese Food, had just an hour to set up her buffet. The challenge: Create a pop-up restaurant in a theater foyer to feed a starving ensemble — and crew and everyone’s guests — in a manner befitting the years-long hype of her and Danny Bowien’s bicoastal restaurant sensation. “We normally have more time to serve buffet style,” she said. “And we had to wait until the foyer was empty before anything could happen.” So at 6:45 p.m., Dimayuga climbed the stairs to the top of the theater to offer an appetizer — Little Gem-lettuce cups with beef tartare and salmon roe — to the ensemble. Their plates were clean in seconds. One level down, the chef entered the dressing rooms of Renée Elise Goldsberry, who plays Angelica Schuyler, and Daveed Diggs, who plays the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. “Dancers do not eat beforehand,” said Goldsberry. “So they are like animals ripping into the food.” She took a plate of dumplings in tuiles with a chile-vinegar dipping sauce.
“We’re not supposed to eat in costume, but you have to do what you have to do,” said Diggs.
Down in the foyer, the food was ready, and the crowd was, too. “It’s a nicer version of what you can get at a buffet steam table,” Dimayuga explained, meaning: tea-fragrance rice, black kale with umeboshi, stir-fried cellophane noodles with pancit flavors, and 14-hour beef brisket with broccoli. Dimayuga carved the 15-pound hickory-smoked prime rib on a sanitized piece of shelf — the carving board had gone missing — and the meat disappeared in ten minutes. Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr and must shoot and kill the musical’s young, scrappy, and hungry protagonist show after show, found solace in his plate of stir-fried noodles. “I feel bad about it every night,” Odom said. “You can wait your whole life for a show like this. I get back what I put in — with interest.”
As the party started to wind down, Okieriete Onaodowan, who plays Hercules Mulligan and James Madison, filled up two Chinese-takeout boxes with rice and noodles. “I just hope I don’t get it on my costume,” he said.
Dumplings in Tuiles
Black Kale With Umeboshi
Stir-Fried Cellophane Noodles With Pancit Flavors
Broccoli Beef Brisket
Hickory-Smoked Prime Rib
Chocolate Fountain With Fruit
Coconut Blue Punch
*This article appears in the November 9, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.