Whenever I find myself at a fancy restaurant (aka, when my parents are in town), my eyes inevitably wander to the most expensive food situation on the menu — and yes, a tasting menu costing several hundred dollars can only be described as a "situation." It's sure as hell more than a "meal." And I wonder what kind of people actually order this and if they even really enjoy it, or if they merely like what it says about them to order it. Which is why it was so interesting to watch a group of second graders sit down to a meal at Daniel in New York City, where the seven-course tasting menu costs $220 per person. One man spent $700 for two tasting menus, including wine. And these six kids got to eat it all, for free, because The New York Times food section thought it would be fun.
They were right. It's almost as good as watching this baby drink water for the first time. Apparently, kids eating is always entertaining. I don't get it either, but I will continue to enjoy it.
The first thing they try is a Maine Lobster salad. "The lobster in here is good," one of the boys mutters. One of the girls makes a displeased face after taking a bite. "I can't wait until we have dessert," one of kids declares. The smoked paprika cured hamachi with Ossetra caviar wasn't so popular; one of the girls expresses disdain and even fear at having to eat fish eggs. She takes a bite, then flips out, almost joyfully. But they're not all afraid. "It's so good!" exclaims a boy. "It's so disgusting!" she insists.
The next course is squash ravioli with pork belly "à la plancha." Upon seeing the ravioli, one girl observes, "This looks like soap," with some disappointment. She has a bite. "It tastes like soap!" she concludes. "I didn't like any of that stuff, I didn't like it," says a boy, shaking his head. But a different boy has a different opinion. "It tastes good," he says simply, literally licking his lips.
Next up is crispy Japanese snapper, which begs a serious "whooooaaaaa" from one kid. Seriously, they are like tiny, filter-less adults. There is no one who could look at Japanese snapper and not think, Whoa. "The fish was really good from the lemon," says one girl, matter-of-factly. Another boy simply looks confused.
Then it's time for Wagyu beef rib eye. "It's delicious, it's the best," declares a girl, helping herself to a mighty bite. Another boy helps himself from his neighbor's plate. "It was cooked just right," he says, "and I really, really liked the inside." They all agree that the Wagyu beef is their favorite course.
Dessert was obviously a hit: Fraises et Coquelicots and Velours D'Abricot, which is ricotta mousse with a poppy seed gelée and strawberry-Sauternes sorbet. They all make "ooohs" and "aaahs" upon being served their petite desserts. They're also served lemon-scented madelines. "This," says a boy, pointing to his madeline, "is AWESOME."
At the end of their meal, they decide to toast to "justice for all." Presh.
Here's the full video:
This video is pretty much guaranteed to make you hungry, both for food and parenthood.
Images: The New York Times