A co-worker came up to me late yesterday all excited. “Tonight's the night!” he said, practically jumping up and down. Puzzled, I asked what the hell he was talking about. After some playful ribbing where he questioned my food guy street cred for not knowing, he told me. He was going to The Playground's $130 foie gras dinner. As I'm still recovering from the Brasserie Pascal foie gras prix fixe, I wished him luck. As he was leaving to go, I yelled out, “I'll understand if you call in sick tomorrow!”
This morning, looking quite sated, he regaled me with stories of his feast. He was glad to do it, he said, but added that he probably wouldn't repeat it if The Playground did it again next week. He counted exactly 25 other willing participants in the restaurant last night. Judging from his blow-by-blow account, the best dish of the evening was the foie gras en pappiote, which was served with a cheesy mashed potato bread to sop up what was essentially melted foie-flavored butter.
While he thought the cured foie “weird” and the salad “a bit bland,” he was generally happy with both. But by the fourth course–a seared foie served with a slice of Wagyu top sirloin–he felt the weight of a meal rich in fat settling. The dessert course was a struggle, he said. He willed himself to finish the foie gras mousse-topped peanut-butter-and-chocolate confection but couldn't exactly say he enjoyed it.
At the end of the meal Jason Quinn came around to chat. My friend said that Quinn explained that he offered the jars of the foie to take home because he knew people would “puke” if he attempted to serve it as part of the dinner. As a serving suggestion, Quinn recommended slathering the jarred foie on white bread, maybe with some jelly and bacon for sandwiches. My friend told me that the jars are to be consumed within three days. “Are you actually going to do it?” I asked him incredulously. “Of course,” he said, “we already have the bacon ready.”
What follows is a photo essay of his meal.