Everyone wanted to talk me out of it. This is already a reason in itself to try New York's - and the world's - most decadent dish. Chicken and caviar. Now this might sound rather ok but we are, in fact, speaking about real sturgeon caviar and a whole fried chicken, for a small fortune.
No point in finding arguments. This IS crazy: fried chicken in a hot-spicy crumb, paired with the most noble caviar. What else could this be other than the self-evident proof of the debauchery of stupid snobs, the opium of the dying West? It even made the Roman Empire fall: when they couldn't come up with anything new and lavish to cook up, they rather collapsed. However, now that we live in an other era of collapse, what else could we do, than try it quickly. At least we'll have something to tell our grandchildren: grandpa was also part of the reason that a few thousand survivors are living an utopia. After my New York Marathon sufferings, I anyway needed some pointless indulgence.
Let's see what all this is about:
First the two chickens - marinated in buttermilk, fried up, then presented before being served.
Then they go back to the kitchen, where they are carved just like a Peking duck: thighs separately, and the rest is cut into bite sized pieces, skin included.
On the plate all these might look a bit chaotic but the chicken breast pieces showcase that there is a system here: they are lined up in an orderly fashion.
Some garnish comes as well: right next to chicken some julienne cucumbers and scallions, chive crèpes, crème fraiche with crispy shallots, a spicy (and scrumptious) white barbecue sauce, potato chips.
And in the leading role: 2 boxes of caviar, to be precise one box of golden ossetra caviar and one box of roe: applewood smoked trout roe from the Columbia river.
The best way to eat is again the Peking duck technique: top the mini pancakes with meat, skin, sauce and caviar:
The same in red:
But you can also go wild:
or even wilder:
We ordered as a starter the famous steamed buns with pork belly (and with BBQ brisket) and the equally delicious homemade pickles. As such, we had no chance of finishing the chickens, sadly.
Does this mean that David Chang managed to rip off his fans once again? I don't consider myself a fan, but no doubt, he has very cool places, I even recommend some in my New York street food tour guide. But I came to this feast with a healthy (OK, maybe a bit un-healthy) curiosity to see if it's just an outrageous test of bravery or it really has a gastronomic value.
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I was positively surprised how meaningful it was, and how tasty the food is. I liked the the ritual of it and the whole experience of the feast (because who would only order this just for their daily intake of nutrients?). It also doesn't hurt that the chicken is exquisite, spicy enough and crunchy on the outside, juicy and flavourful on the inside. The garnishes are very good - and surprisingly - none of them kills the caviar. They are perfectly in balance!
The sturgeon caviar is actually an exaggeration, a less fancy (and less expensive) roe would do the trick, but there's a meaning behind symbols. And if we stay dignified and restrained, how on Earth will the Roman Empire finally collapse and give place to another historical era?!
The caviar&fried chicken menu needs to be ordered 4 days in advance, you can look up all the conditions and necessary info here. And it seems that it really is enough for a party of 4!
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