When Romera New York, a new $5 million restaurant project opens within the Meatpacking District's Dream Hotel next month, it will bring with it quite a few introductions. Introductions to a famed but little known in New York chef, a new, modern type of cooking—labeled "neurogastronomy"—and a 12-course $245 menu that eschews fattiness.
The chef is Dr. Miguel Sánchez Romera. He's an Argentinian who made a name for himself in Spain, where he earned two Michelin stars at his restaurant L'Esguard while also working as a neurosurgeon at a nearby hospital. In 2006 Sant Chatwal, the Dream Hotel developer, had one meal at L'Esguard, was blown away, and convinced Romera to close his restaurant (which he did on '08) to come to NYC.
A profile in WSJ Magazine about the chef and the Dream Hotel project notes that critics have called his cuisine "the most radical on the global food scene," though he has been often ignored by the mainstream. How radical? For a sample tasting with a reporter, he served a slew of multi-colored waters...and she was "stuffed" at the end. He explains (and this is where the neurosurgeon enters the room) that it's "a trick to the satiety system in the hypothalamus."
And yet, Romera contends he is not a modernist chef along the lines of Adria, Blumenthal, or Achatz, and, per the article, "on Romera's plates, food looks and tastes of what it is...and he doesn't do deconstruction, irony, or even foam." His food is all about fulfilling a primal urge while teasing the intellect and hitting all the brain's pleasure zones, all without the use of wine pairings.
So will New Yorkers spend upwards of $250 a head to try the guy out? Chatwal seems to think so.
· Cerebral Palate [WSJ]
· The Dream Downtown [Official Site]A
· All Coverage of Dream Hotel [Curbed NY]