. . . About halfway through dinner, chef Samuel Clonts, late of Brooklyn Fare, steps behind the black walnut bar with enough osetra caviar to trade in for a Rolex. He takes a fat quenelle of roe, lies it atop a mound of vinegar-laced rice, wraps it in toasted nori, and hands it to you.
The emerald green eggs shimmer under the soft lighting; they practically spill over the side like a dripping ice cream cone. The first bite or so is cool and clean, the essence of the ocean encapsulated into firm pearls. As you work down the roll, the roe becomes softer and oilier, the crisp nori and warm rice intensifying the briny notes.
The key here is balance. So many caviars can assault the palate with salt or fade into buttery nothingness. Clonts brilliantly chooses a variety that works well mid-meal. This is all the more impressive since the preparation contains a whopping 25-30 grams of roe, a portion that could easily command $150 as an individual dish. Here it comes part of a $200, service-included, twelve-course tasting.Design by Scott Kester Design. Photography by Alex Staniloff