So I discovered "Park Avenue -Winter' this week, but this restaurant is unusual in that it changes it's name, menu, and decor with the seasons. Good food and good service, even if the tables are a bit too tight together, I was amused and intrigued when our waiter told us about dessert even before we ordered drinks.
He told us that the restaurant this season had been a collaboration with Marina Abramovic- an artist, and that she had worked with the chef to create a dessert with a 'performance piece'. Now, who doesn't like to be entertained at dinner... I couldn't resist.. it sounded bizarre, and for someone who cant help but try new things, I decided to order it.
I had no idea that Abramovich was akin to the Tate Modern of artists and even has a biography entitled: When Marina Abramovic Dies: A Biography which was actually a prelude to this piece of her work/dessert.
The waiter presented me with my desert which looked like a meringue, with a noodley shaped sugar on top (apologies have no photo's- wasn't expecting to need the camera at dinner).
And a box with a set of headphones: my dessert was to be a volcano. And he informed me that she would ask me to 'look into the blue flame', as he wouldn't be able to hear that, he asked if I wouldn't mind if he lit it then and I could 'save the image in my mind...'
Of course I completely forgot about saving this image in my mind, as I was too close to diners either side of me intrigued by my desert who were too chicken, or too wise to be embarrassed to do this in a restaurant. I am English after all, it's not our way to be so flamboyant with desert!
So on the headphones she's telling me in a serious sombre voice to close my eyes and take deep breaths in and out.. I close my eyes because the waiter knows and he is watching but I'm red hot flushed, and way too conscious of all other diners watching.
She asks me to, finally open my eyes, and look at the blue flame... by now the sugary top is just melted on the meringue and I'm using imagination.
She tells me to take a taste, aah at least it tastes good, yummy meringue and a ice cream gooey center.
She goes on for a while asking me to taste this and feel that, I'm still too aware I am in the restaurant, being watched.
Smiling inanely, looking at my boyfriend, wondering what on earth I was thinking; ordering such a thing.
She then thanks me for 'tasting with awareness' phew.. it's over as I try to act confident and pass over the headset so he can do it! He does it with a lot less self-consciousness.. and we laugh..
Art and eating, in a restaurant that changes completely with each season, totally inspired NYC.
The girl on my right, came to ordering desert and asked me if the 'performance desert' was any good contemplating ordering it. I heard her English accent and felt relief, I said something sarcastic, about it tasting nice and being very Tate Modern, she laughed and ordered two scoops of ice cream instead...I felt very brave as being the Londoner who left her inhibition to be inspired.. well sorta.. and all for $20!