By Lisa Kava
An oyster farmer and a former sous-chef from Blue Hill Stone Barns have embarked on a new endeavor together — a summer pop-up dining experience on the Upper West Side. The $110 all-inclusive dinner is held in an apartment on Central Park West on Fridays and Saturdays.
The dinner began with a friendship. Oyster farmer Jonathan Goldstein had been a supplier for Blue Hill Stone Barns and met sous-chef Tashi Gyamtso there. The two became friends and colleagues after Goldstein did a 6-week apprenticeship in the kitchen with Gyamtso. Gyamtso left his job at the restaurant in 2017 and spent some time traveling in Japan, London and Chicago where he “bounced around and worked in some of the world’s most amazing kitchens” said Goldstein. This is common for a chef, according to both Goldstein and Gyamtso. Upon returning to New York, Gyamtso wanted to experiment with some of the new techniques he learned while he was traveling.
At the same time, Goldstein watched a movie on Netflix called 42 Grams, about a pop up restaurant run out of an apartment in Chicago. The movie inspired him, if this could be done in Chicago, why not in New York City on the Upper West Side?
Goldstein and Gyamtso put their plan into action and officially launched their summer pop-up earlier this month. Gyamtso designs the menu and cooks while Goldstein sources the food, preps, cleans and serves. Goldstein also talks to the guests over the course of the evening, giving the history of the food, how it is grown, harvested and prepared. All of the food is locally sourced from “friends, local farmers and fisherman” said Goldstein. “It feels good to be back in the kitchen and to be creative” said Gyamtso. “I am using skills I learned from my travels.” His future plans include returning to Japan to learn more about Japanese cuisine and he would like to help a friend who is opening a restaurant in Los Angeles at the end of the year.
A maximum of 12 guests may attend each dinner. Friends can reserve as a group or guests might attend without knowing the other guests. “Food is a great equalizer” said Goldstein. West Side Rag spoke to a recent guest, Hannah Silver, who attended one of the recent dinner events with a group of 8 friends. “The food was out of this world. It was absolutely delicious” said Silver. “It was very intimate, which was amazing, and we all could sit comfortably around the dining room table. My friends and I loved that the food is locally sourced,” said Silver, who also told us that it was a full evening dining experience and that the owners of the apartment were not present.
Goldstein and Gyamtso told West Side Rag that some dates this summer have already sold out and that they hope to continue the pop up into the fall. “The presentation of the vegetables was one of the coolest things ever,” said Silver, who also explained that it was a tasting menu with many small courses. “The dessert was a lemon pound cake, it was fabulous.”
Information on the pop up and how to reserve a spot can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-weekend-popup-on-upper-west-side-tickets-46305952350