Chef Joshua Marcus of Chow Down Grill (you can read my write-up of Chow Down Grill here) is one of those who "got it" immediately. When we decided to do a dinner together, he really got into the spirit, setting things up so that diners were brought in via the alleyway behind the restaurant through an unmarked door that led into the (tiny) kitchen, managing to squeeze 32 seats into his tiny space in Surfside, and bringing in a couple guitarists to play throughout the dinner. He also called out reinforcements including a sushi chef from Nobu to assist in the kitchen, and a friend who worked at BLT Steak to help with service (and also to play the "bouncer" at the back door). They put out 11 ("These Go to Eleven")[*] courses using some ingredients that several of our diners had probably never encountered before, some of which Chef Josh and his team were working with for the first time too.
You can see the menu here at the Cobaya site and all of the pictures in this Flickr set - Cobaya 1.11.11. Here is a more detailed rundown.
|Bird's Nest Soup|
|Sweetbread Dumpling, Squab Bao|
|Sea Urchin Lo Mein|
|Buddha Jumps Over the Wall|
|White Chocolate Five-Spice Ganache|
Chef Josh really went above and beyond in sourcing out interesting ingredients for this dinner, and in pushing himself to try things he'd not done before. It's exactly the kind of experience we'd hoped to create with this whole Cobaya thing. Though you won't find this particular menu at Chow Down Grill, you will find the same kind of dedication to house-made products and quality ingredients. Many thanks to Josh, Jason, Trang, and all the rest of the crew at Chow Down (including some pinch-hitters) for putting together a great dinner for us, and thanks as always to the guinea pigs for their continuing support of these experiments.
Chow Down Grill
9517 Harding Ave.
Surfside, FL 33154
[*]It was also actually our eleventh Cobaya event: even though denominated as "experiment #9," for some reason we didn't give numbers to Cobaya Gras or PodZilla.