Hilary prefers more accessible food with flavors that she is more or less accustomed to. I can understand that, I would take a great burger over a self indulgent ego trip of an acclaimed chef any day of the week. Very rarely does a restaurant succeed at both challenging and satisfying the diner. Tailor does.
Another reason we wanted to check it out is that one of my friends and former rock star cook at Perry St. and the subject of the blog post “Marks of a Chef”, Eric Simpson, recently joined the team at Tailor.
The meal started off with a crazy amuse bouche of a single quenelle of apple/bonito sorbet. Apple and bonito would have come up extremely low on my word association list of ingredients that would pair well together. But it worked. It was absolutely bursting with apple flavor, and finished lightly with the bonito. I loved it.
There was something that was extremely surprising throughout the course of our meal… Something I did not expect at a restaurant like this… There was actual cooked protein on the plates!!! At other restaurants from this genre, I didn’t receive a single significant piece of cooked protein. I personally feel unsatisfied without it. It was a breath of fresh air.
The composition of the plates all worked. Even though some dishes were complex in presentation, the flavors were bold and well thought out. I jumped to the conclusion that Sam Mason, with all of his press and dreamy photo shoots, was more of an artist than a craftsman. But his detail-oriented precision cooking showed me that he is definitely a master at both.
Hilary and I got a chance to say hi to Eric Simpson in the kitchen after our meal. It really is like a laboratory in there. Lots of cool toys! (I’ll admit I was a little jealous.) It was great to see Eric in this environment. It seemed like a think-tank atmosphere and a great place to develop as a cook… And it’s right up Eric Simpson’s alley.
The NY Times review was a tough blow for them, but it doesn’t seem to have thrown them off their game. I hope they get the recognition they deserve sooner than later.