Saturday, May 14, 2011

Introducing 'flash dining'

New York foodies are buzzing about a recent underground event that could put a new phrase in the mouths of coastal trendinistas: Flash dining.

A logical progression of the pop-up restaurant, the new breed of sport dining would add the elements of illicitness and split-second service choreography to the notion of a limited-time culinary spectacle. Indeed, the precision and daring make Cirque de Soleil look like a spirited croquet game.

The setting was a Brooklyn-bound subway car. Not one reserved for the purpose of providing a few dining adventurers with a one-of-a-kind experience, mind you, but a car making a typical midday run.

The host, a group that describes itself as a culinary performance troupe, took over just one section of the car. As other New Yorkers settled into their usual subway routines, the team from A Razor, A Shiny Knife strung boards from the poles where commuters grab ahold as the train moves.

At the next stop, the dining parties—seemingly a dozen strong—were escorted by a tuxedo’d maitre d’ to their seats behind the suspended tables.

At the stop after that, they were served their first meal, a Japanese spoon of hamchi crudo and bone marrow. It had been prepared at a nearby residential kitchen and run to the train by a “waiter” who paid his fare and boarded the train at the exact car where the customers had been seated.

At the stop after that, it was a foie en brioche with a port reduction, which the customers were advised to eat within four minutes, or before Course #3 would be served at the next stop.

That was the ramp-with-black-garlic station, so to speak.

It was followed by the petite filet mignon, cooked and plated remotely, then served by the waitstaff that hopped aboard en masse.

The whole time, the maitre d’ kept water glasses filled. It’s illegal to drink wine in a subway. Having a six-course meal likely is as well, but every guest and serving-staff member had paid their fare.

The flash-dine continued, one course per station, until dessert was served. At the next stop, the patrons were free to either exit or continue on their way.

The whole thing was caught on video, which you can see here.

It could be a preview of what could be coming to a transportation venue or other challenging location near you.

Remember, you heard it hear first: Flash dining.

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