Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare has made quite a name for itself over the years. It is a New York Magazine’s Critics’ Top Pick, books reservations six weeks in advance, has three Michelin stars and was called “one of the more extraordinary restaurants” by The New York Times. It’s undeniable that the food is extraordinary, but this ritzy eatery, which charges a flat $255 per person plus a $50 ‘service charge’ for each patron, has been facing some less than top-rated press lately.
A lawsuit has been filed stating that head chef César Ramirez insisted that the worst pieces of meat be served to Asian customers.
And there’s more. In claims of blatant biases, some of his former sous chefs and servers have started making statements about his behavior behind kitchen doors.
Former server Emi Howard, who is of Asian descent, has alleged that Ramirez doesn’t just stop at “worst cuts.” Howard states that Ramirez ordered the staff not to put Asian customers too close to his section of the restaurant (the chichi counter), and made a habit of referring to them and Upper West Siders as “s- -t people.” When Howard “violated” these rules, the suit says, Ramirez would “subject Ms. Howard to a wild verbal tirade,” before more strictly enforcing the “no Asians near me” rule.
And when it came time to distribute cuts of meat during the fusion French-Asian meal service, Asians — along with suspected Upper West Siders — were given inferior scraps, while preferred diners were given choice chunks, the suit says.
The filed complaint about the difference in meat scraps versus prime meat chunks, seating arrangement and name-calling can be found in PDF form here. As a result, the restaurant has also been receiving some heated comments on its Facebook page:
As a response, Brooklyn Fare owner Moe Issa has said in an email statement to The Daily Meal: “At Brooklyn Fare, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our staff who hail from around the globe, and we welcome everyone who comes through our doors with open arms, be it a guest, vendor, or employee, regardless of their creed, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or nationality.”