Chef Jehangir Mehta (Courtesy: Food Network)
Pop rock infringement: Mehta sues Graffit! That’s all you see all over the Internet lately. Chef Jehangir Mehta is no stranger to the spotlight, having entered The Next Iron Chef competition. Although he ultimately didn’t win, his latest venture, Mehtaphor, is always packed and the talk of the town if you want fusiony shared plates. Previously, we had checked out his first restuarant Graffiti and left on the ambivalent side. The experience here was no different.
Mehta took over the former ‘beca space the Duane Street Hotel and opened on Oct 7, 2010. You have to hand it to the guy: he’s creative. Simply by eating his food, you can tell that he’s not only a texture freak (which we can appreciate since we are too), but also loves playing with your senses. All in all, the ingredients work, but the execution falls short in our opinion. Price points (~$40/pp) for food are also decent and you leave full but unsatiated, since the menu is full of hits and misses, just like flagship restaurant Graffiti. The drinks, however, will set you back a pretty penny. We tried a lychee prosecco and it was a stroke of pure genius, dare we say outshining the savory dishes even.
The staff? Jokeworthy. They added 3 extra drinks to our bill and got our check wrong…twice. Service is frantic and lackadaisical, which little attention to detail. This, paired with ‘okay’ food (looks better on paper) and notoriously cramped spaces will tear you asunder. The foot traffic is good and seems to defy our review, but then again Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance was a hit at first also. We all know how the outcome of that one.
Oysters w/ grapefruit granita, diced vinegared onions, pop rocks
-Kumamoto oysters w/ grapefruit granita, pop rocks ($9) – w/ diced vinegared onions, good start, everything works here, super creative but a tad bitter
-Beef Tartare, Guacamole Sorbet ($12)- served w/ papadum chips, sweet and salty contrast but the salt ultimately overpowered the dish here
-Crab Pizza w/ sliced portabello, goat cheese, sage, truffle oil ($12) – on point, decadent and rich, one served over phyllo dough crust, how can you go wrong, NOM!
-Spiced Lamb Shank, Garlic Yam Fries ($17) – 6hr – average, nothing special, not melty, fries on the bottom got soggy, nice jus though
-Lychee Prosecco Martini ($9) – love the stemless glassware, yes u can make this at home, but still nothing short of amazing, our highlight
Lychee Prosecco Martini
While Mehta has been consistently creative with his dishes, we have left consistently indifferent twice at his establishments so far. Don’t get us wrong, we are intrigued by his creations are and willing to give his new restaurants a try, wherever they may be. Sometimes being different, while risky, is good but it has to work. Chock full of peaks and valleys, the caliber of food here is not Michelin worthy nor worth a redux. The silver lining is that we do like the fact that they offer a vegetarian equivalent for every dish here so kudos for that.
More pics after the jump