Recap: Chef’s Table II Tasting Menu at WannaBee Chef in Cresskill, NJ

Once again like that fateful night in October, Chef Rama and her team elevated the culinary stakes in Bergen County with a tasting menu featuring a six course meal dedicated to French Indian Fusion. The capacity-crowd eagerly anticipated each course as Chef Rama displayed a prowess equal to the celebrated chefs who hold court at many of the best kitchens in NYC. Again from the invite:

Join Chef Rama as she stimulates your senses for an unique evening highlighting French Indian fusion. This culinary experience allows the guests to watch and interact with the chef as she creates some of her favorite dishes.  This is the second dinner in Chef’s Table three part series.

To start the meal, Chef Rama served a spicy crepe as an amuse bouche. More of a meal starter to stimulate our collective appetites, it was certainly a sign of things to come. Most of the courses stuck with the theme of taking French (in this case the crepe) and fusing it with Indian (in this case the spicy filling).

The Curried Crab Bisque with naan crostinis was thick and creamy with a nice flavorful kick from the curry spices. The big chunks of fresh crab nicely accented this course giving us an excellent soup that felt right at home on the crisp chilly night of the event.

While most of the samosas we have been exposed to have been filled with a spicy aloo or chicken filling, the Wild Mushroom Truffle Samosas were a nice fried treat. Filled with a healthy portion of wild mushrooms with a touch of truffle flavor, two or three more of these could have been placed in front of us and devoured as quickly as the first.

We are big fans of paneer, a cheese used in much of Indian cuisine (in particular, a nice substitute for meat when ordering Indian). The Paneer Stuffed Potato “Tikki” with Cilantro Lime Pistou had a consistency similar to a croquette, but benefited from the ethnic flavors of the theme of the night plus the interesting blend with the cilantro and lime. Definitely one of the night’s highlights!

Scallops. As a child we hesitated to eat them, usually receiving a gummy and fishy tasting mess that scarred us till adulthood. Not so at the Chef’s Table. The Cumin Dusted Scallops served with a Lemon Roasted Cauliflower Pilaf had just enough cumin to add a small but significant bite to shellfish with the pilaf registering as a nice accompaniment to balance out the course.

Duck. How many ways do we love thee? Confit. Peking. A l’orange. And while this Black Pepper Crusted Duck and Jerusalem Artichoke Gratin with Tamarind Jus was very very good, the Jerusalem Artichoke Gratin was a work of art. Plated as almost a gratin tart (with a very similar taste to potatoes au gratin), the Jerusalem artichoke has a similar texture but a lighter (and perhaps even tastier) finish. We spoke to Chef Rama about adding this as a dish to her catering menu. Definitely something to write home (or on a blog) about.

Last but not least, dessert brought us Coconut Ice Cream with Caramelized Bananas and Peanuts. We always feel there is not that much to say about ice cream other than… We love ice cream! And we’re pretty sure you do too.

We’d refrain from concluding what we already knew, but it needs to be stressed again: Chef Rama and her team are really putting together some excellent cuisine for these Chef’s Tables. Of course that would undermine the great work they are also doing on their lunch menu five days a week and if you are in the Cresskill area, it is highly recommended that you stop in for some of the Farm to Table specialties (quinoa, crab cake burgers and more). We certainly can’t wait till January for Chef’s Table III.

WannaBee Chef
18 Union Avenue
Cresskill, NJ 07626


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  1. […] over the last few years (not to mention their two Chef’s Tables last fall/winter Recap 1; Recap 2), we were eager to finally get a chance to visit WannaBee and Chef Rama Ginde for one of their […]

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