3/28/2013 01:10:00 PM

First Bite: Má Pêche’s New Kappō 10-Course Tasting Menu

“What’s your favorite cocktail?” Executive Chef Paul Carmichael asked over the phone when he personally called to confirm our reservation at the new chef’s table at Ma Peche. Dubbed Kappō at Má Pêche, the 10-course tasting menu (a solid deal for $95 with optional beverage pairings) popped up about a month ago. We immediately made reservations.

Having previously tried the restaurant’s tasty house-made fruit sodas, we replied that we preferred something fruit-infused. Upon our arrival this past Saturday, we were thoughtfully presented with a blueberry, kumquat and rum drink. The night was off to a good start. All eight Kappo diners arrived in pairs promptly at 7:30 PM (there’s just one seating a night) and we were seated in an L shape at the bar to the side of the main dining room.

Carmichael, a Barbados native and WD-50 alum, introduced some Caribbean flair to the seafood- and pork-centric menu. Chunks of green banana and lobster floated in a bold green gazpacho-like broth as a fourth course. The fifth course - rice porridge with cuttlefish and mushrooms – served as a creamy gateway to the richer middle part of the meal. The eighth course, a take on mofongo (mashed fried plantains) incorporated pork fat, garlic, muddled lobster broth and chicharones. That course also included a fun interactive part, in which the (rather tipsy) diners mashed their own portion of plantains, pork fat and garlic with a mortar and pestle.

The magic bread
The standout dish of the night, however, seemed to at first be a simple hunk of bread, but it turned out to be oh so much more. For the sixth course, each dining pair received a miniature loaf of challah bread, right out of the oven, sprinkled with sea salt and drenched in duck fat. Can you say “melts in your mouth?” Toward the end of the night, a refreshing chamomile slushie palate cleanser was followed by a sweet-and-salty white chocolate popcorn dessert (the only item on the regular menu).

Now, nothing in the world of David Chang may top a visit to Ko, but at less than half the price, this tasting-menu may be the new hot ticket.

Details: The tasting menu is served Tuesday through Sunday at 7 PM. Make reservations online here. The dinner is $95 per person which includes that first cocktail, but additional beverage pairings are an extra $75.


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