Compose…big thumbs down!

Compose restaurant
Not sure where I read about Compose but going there seemed like something I needed to do.  I tried to get reservations on Open Table for a few days, 30 days in advance, and couldn't get in.  Supposedly the restaurant only has 12 seats but actually that isn't true.  That was the first thing I noticed that wasn't what I expected.  From what I remember reading I had expected some brilliant chef who was creating a tasting menu that was creative and delicious.  Think of Grant Achatz or Thomas Keller or even elBulli.  Ok, maybe I am getting carried away here but you get the gist. 

Before I get into the pictures and the dishes, keep in mind that the food was sub-par, sometime down right terrible and was beyond disappointing.  After reaching out to my friend Ben to see if we could secure all 12 seats with a group of our food friends and take over the restaurant, I left extending an invitation to the group for another dinner, on me, to make-up for the experience.  He couldn't secure 12 seats but he could get 10 because supposedly someone had booked two seats way before us.  Meanwhile there was 2 extra seats at the bar and many seats behind the bar so in essence the place actually feeds about 24. 

The best summary of the night came the night morning from our friend Stuart who sent this email out to the group:                       

                                      I had the craziest dream last night! I was in tribeca of all places.
                                There was an unseasoned chef. And a tasting menu. And one uncompelling
                                       dish after another. And then then the bill came and you'll never
                                    believe me when I tell you how much it was. Seriously. I'm just glad
                                       it was a dream. And funny enough, you all were there

 

Popcorn
Here is what we ate.  We began with small bowls of heavy handed rosemary popcorn.

Kir royale
We sat down and our first taste was called Kir Royale.  A jello shot that conceptually was to be a cocktail but the taste was bitter.

Baked potato
Next out was the baked potato.  This was one of the best dishes by far and nobody is reinventing the wheel here.  A tiny baked potato topped with caviar and a side spoonful of creme fraiche. 

Ocean sphere
This was called Ocean Sphere.  An oyster emlulsion that you toss down your throat.  Kind of like an air ball.

Baby beet
Here is a roasted singular baby beet with slices of jerusalem artichoke and sharred onions.  One thing is nice that each dish was served with a small glass of wine for pairing. 

Crudo of fluke
Thick sliced fluke wrapped around wild puffed rice and smoke grapes. 

Jonah crab
Jonah Crab seasoned with spring onion, garlic and cumin sitting in a yuzu sauce and a dollop of sea urchin on top.

Diver scallop
Diver scallops with shaved fennel, bacon and dill.

Lobster
Poached Maine Lobster in a lemon cream, a small bit of caviar and a lingering taste of cocoa butter.

Poached egg with bread
Small poached egg mixed together with cauiflower, oyster mushroom, artichoke and a cocoa nib.  Overwhelming tasted like chocolate.  The cheese roll in the background was crusty and a welcome addition. 

Pork
This was the other good dish.  Roasted pork, served medium rare with a red cabbage dish with a few pine nuts on the side. 

Venison
Venison with cider and smoke

Orange
I can't figure this one out but the orange sauce was overwhelming and awful.

Apple and pine
This was the first of three desserts.  A sorbet mixed with shavings of something.  LIterally this tasted like Windex. 

Oatmeal and citrus
A oatmeal like cookie on the bottom and then layers of different textures of sweets. Not sure why it was necessary to put an egg in here.

Lemon drop
Lemon cookie like a macaroon stuffed with a cold cream.

The bill was so absurdly expensive we all were aghast.  The food was just not good.  For that price, the food should be one of the best meals I have ever had in my life, seriously.  I think Per Se was less money. Although I give the chef kudos for creativity and presentation I seriously wonder if he ever tasted what he was serving or if he did then his taste buds for sublime tidbits of extraordinary food are not cut out for this.  I did ask what his background was and he really had not put in the time to get to where he is.  Not to say that everyone has to because some people are just born to be brilliant chefs.  Sadly, this guy was not.  Go back to school, go work under some chefs that know how to create delicious food.  The presentation is nice but if it tastes bad then what is the point? 

The good news is the crew we had dinner with on Friday night is going out again in the near future and I love this group.  You can put Compose on the "don't bother" list.