Our trip to New York was already going to be super awesome, and filled with enough delicious meals to last a month, but when Shana emailed Robyn and I to tell us about this unique theme dinner based upon popular t.v. show Breaking Bad (one of our favourite shows), we knew we had to make room in the schedule to check it out.
As we found out, New York Vintners is much more than a wine shop. They also do wine tasting classes, cooking classes, and the occasional Alternative Dining Experience such as this Breaking Bad dinner, which they whimsically called “Breaking Bread”.
We were the first guests to arrive, and were greeted with a beautiful dining space set up in the back of the store, along with a welcome glass of Prosecco by organizer/Artist Jason Oliva.
While we were waiting for the other diners to arrive, I got a chance to pester the chef, Ryan Smith, about the menu and get in the way taking pictures. Seeing the concept come to life in the kitchen put me at ease about what kind of meal this was going to be. This is a serious chef, with seriously great ingredients.
This was shaping up to be a great meal.
Plus, where else can you have dinner with big bags of Meth all over the place?
We sat down to look over the menu in more detail and check out our own private stash on the table.
* Note: Fans of the show will likely recognize the scenes that inspired each course, but if you don’t, just check out the links below.
Turns out, those nerves were all for naught. The pizza was quite well done, and had a lot of flavour. I was tempted to snoop around for another piece, but since there were still 4 courses to go I figured I’d better pace myself.
In the meantime, Chef Smith was really getting into character, right down to the chemical suit…
The second course was Huevos Rancheros- an all time favourite of mine. This was one of the most creative, interesting, and most well balanced dishes I have ever had. It consisted of a poached egg coated with panko and deep fried, with avocado mousse, jalapeno dust, and tomatillo sauce atop a corn pancake with creme fraiche. All 5 of us at the table were wanting more. It was so good that I actually had to get up and tell Chef Ryan that I never want to eat another egg any other way.
The next course was “Los Pollos Hermanos” sous vide fried chicken, breaded with panko and served with a fantastic jicama and red cabbage slaw. The chicken was so juicy and had such a crispy exterior that it really was fried chicken art.
The sous vide cooking method of sealing the protein in an airtight bag and cooking for a long period of time in a water bath produces some super juicy bird. The cooked chicken was then coated in a delicious chicken mousse and breaded with panko bread crumbs and fried to achieve that great crunch. The slaw was a nice partner to the chicken, with shishito peppers used to add a punch of flavour to the inherently more neutral jicama and red cabbage. So good.
As if we weren’t all about ready to burst, I wandered into the kitchen once again (I’m a nosy pain in the butt that way), and witness this bit of magic happening on the stovetop:
I was 1 part surprised, 9 parts elated to find out we were each getting a full Kobe steak in the next course!
Following up with the whole Southwestern theme of the night, this course was a Kobe and Foie Gras Burrito with Blue Cheese, served over “ricin’ beans”. Even though the tortilla added nothing for me except a tie in to the theme, this was one of the single greatest pieces of meat I have ever eaten. So tender, and cooked perfectly. There was not one tidbit that went to waste from this beauty, and it was clear everyone at the table felt similarly. The Blue cheese, the foie gras… it all worked perfectly.
This steak more than made up for the appalling excuse for a steak we had a couple nights earlier at Butter. I don’t often order steak in restaurants because I frequently get disappointed, but really, there’s nothing quite like the perfect steak.
After stuffing down every last morsel of steak, the last thing on my mind was dessert. But I got up to do some more helping (getting in the way) in the kitchen and ended up brulee-ing my own creme.
How helpful am I, right?
Looking at the blue colour, I never would have predicted the cinnamon churro flavour. While not as addictive as I imagine real meth to be, it was still a pretty decent end to a fantastic meal.
Of course each course came with a wine pairing, but since I’m more of a beer, baileys, and mojito’s guy I can’t go into detail on the selections.