6-course mobile gourmet meal served aboard NYC subway car

shops, hotels, and restaurants are all the rage, and dining cars are standard on most long-distance trains but what do you call a pop-up restaurant on a subway car? Earlier this month, a 6-course mobile gourmet meal was served on board a New York City subway car by supper club A Razor, A Shiny Knife with participation from “culinary collective” and Gadling favorite Studiofeast. Diners rode from Manhattan‘s 8th Avenue station on a Brooklyn-bound L train, feasting on caviar, fois gras, and filet mignon, all in under an hour. Courses from several supper clubs were prepared and plated before getting on the train, and perfectly timed to be served by waiters boarding at specific stops. A maître d’hôtel oversaw the luncheon, refilling water glasses (no alcohol allowed as per the MTA) and helping to stabilize makeshift “tables” tied to subway poles with twine.

The full menu posted on Studiofeast‘s website included:

– Hamchi Crudo, Bone Marrow, Trout Roe, Laproaig, Sweet Lime
– Foie en Brioche, Port Wine, Raisin,
– Ramp, Black Garlic, Cippolini, Morel, Thyme
– Petit Filet Mignon, Pomme Puree, Asparagus
– Pepper Jam, St Andre
– Chocolate & Gold Leaf Panna Cotta, Raspberry

The twelve lucky foodies (including two “walk up” visitors from Argentina pulled in to cover no-shows) were treated to the gourmet meal which cost an estimated $1,600, ending with gold-leaf-dusted panna cotta. The subway authorities were not satisfied customers, though no one was arrested or fined for the stunt. “Subway trains are for riding, not for holding parties,” said Charles F. Seaton from the MTA.

Event organizers have yet to announce their next meal-on-the-go, but the video hints at another unlikely location: San Francisco’s Alcatraz. Hoping for your own moveable feast? The Dinner in the Sky team is available for rent around the world.

Amtrak updates long-distance dining car menus, rich passengers rejoice

Amtrak’s long-distance, full-service dining cars are something of an oddity in… well, just about every way. You have a skeleton crew trying to perform full restaurant-style service down the equivalent of an airplane aisle in the midst of light-to-moderate turbulence that comes and goes as it pleases. Since the dining car typically opens at a specified time for dinner, Amtrak’s chefs have to cook and plate upwards of 100 meals in about an hour or so, in the same conditions.

And then there’s the clientele that all this cacophony has to cater to: a very strange blend of relatively well-off Sleeping Car passengers combined with whomever from coach decides that they want to splurge on an upscale-ish meal. The interesting thing is that people get along. There’s something about being on a dining car cruising across the open landscape that makes travelers want to mingle, chat, and generally have a good time. The whole operation is a remarkable experience to watch, if you’re interested in that sort of thing, and – at least in my opinion – an absolutely delightful way to spend a meal. Where else can you eat good food, chat with your fellow travelers in a relaxed setting, and watch the beautiful countryside roll by?

And, yes, I didn’t mistype when I said that Amtrak’s food is good. While meals are pre-packaged when delivered to the train, everything is cooked fresh on-board by trained chefs in a galley and delivered to passengers by the wait staff. Hey, just like a real restaurant! Unfortunately, the Dining Car experience is rather pricey (though included in the ticket price if you’re traveling in a Sleeping Car), and Amtrak’s latest menu refresh (PDF link) is no different. On the bright side, regional specialties have returned that vary depending on which train you’re riding, such as Texas BBQ Beef Brisket on the New Orleans – Los Angeles Sunset Limited or “Phillips Seafood Coastal Crab cakes in Floridian green chile tomatillo sauce” on the New York – Florida Silver Service. And, of course, you get all of the typical restaurant-style meals on all trains, such as omelets and french toast for breakfast, burgers, salads and sandwiches for lunch, and steak, seafood and pasta for dinner.

Riding in an Amtrak dining car really is a unique thing to do if you have the time for it. Continuously-changing scenery, friendly fellow travelers and good food makes for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. You know, if you feel like paying for it.

(Via NARP)