Will Goldfarb is the greatest practitioner of dis-comfort food working today. I’ve never felt less comfortable before, during or after a meal, but I can’t get the experience out of my head. Provocation, titillation, willful withholding of satisfaction. His restaurant Room 4 Dessert is more Zappa by way of Picasso than Gramercy Tavern’s James Taylor by way of Monet. The result, more than a few “umami, oh mommy!” moments.
Back to the scene: This past July a friend and I opened Room 4 Dessert (the place is empty in the early evening) and ordered the whole menu. Due to some monumentally bad communication about our Pantagruel-plan, the swarm of small plates was served all at once.
What resulted was a puckering, perplexing, pleasurable, disconcerting, de-centering memorable few hours sealed by a modest check and a major case of mind/body overload. Perhaps the fly-flecked (replaced on request) acid-punch colored rum was the culprit. Perhaps I should have voted a few selections off the island. Perhaps I should have eaten the elements of each dish in sequence rather than jumping around. Perhaps I should do the whole thing again.
The umami may have been more of the mind than the tongue, but I’m still tasting it, albeit ambivalently, months later.