Travail Kitchen & Amusements: Restaurant Review
Last year around this time, I wrote about our adventure at Travail Kitchen & Amusements. It’s one of the most unique restaurants that I’ve ever been to. For our birthday, I got us a reservation and eagerly waited.
With Travail, you buy tickets to the show up front, and pay for the dinner, taxes and tip online. The night of, you’re only responsible for paying for drinks. We had tickets for the 8:00 seating (there’s another at 5), and we arrived 15 minutes early. Our table wasn’t ready, so we were directed to the bar, deemed The Rookery. Like last time, we had a real issue with the timing at the bar. The drinks are interesting and fun, but damn, you’re going to wait. For our first cocktails of the night, we had to wait more than ten minutes.
After we were seated, things began to move quickly. We were placed at the Kitchen Bar, able to see into the open kitchen. We then met the first of many waiters. I was happy that we got to pay up front for tip, because it was hard to keep track of all of the people serving us, clearing plates, taking drink orders, and just working in the kitchen. All of the staff were phenomenal, engaging all of the diners in the experience. We interacted directly with four different servers, who were also the chefs. Some of the interaction included eating meat off of hooks, and watching them parade around a suckling pig, named "Ham Solo" or "Sir Hamthony Hopkins", before using it to make several dishes out of.
Speaking of the staff. The atmosphere of this place is not what you’d expect. Yes, this is a $100-per-person dinner. But you can wear jeans and sing along to the background music that consists of only songs you will know.
So about the food. The website says that each seating will enjoy between 15 and 20 courses. We had a total of 31 different items, but many of them were clumped up into single plates. For our “Tasting Experience”, we had:
1. A meringue with thyme and meyer lemon, served with prosecco.
2. Cauliflower soup with cabbage, bacon, and ramps.
3. Truffle pea and pine nut tart
4. Apricot fruit leather with seeds, peanuts, and puffed wild rice
5. Garlic cracklin with gochujang
6. Pork belly with cherry char Sio and Pickled black walnut
7. Tasso ham meat hooks
8. Rhubarb lavender sorbet with Tasmanian honey
9. Edible vegetable garden, with morel, potatoes, beet, orange asparagus, tarragon, baby turnip, salsify, zucchini, peppers, artichoke, garlic, ricotta, crème fraiche, oxalis, lemon, lime, fiddlehead ferns, and goat cheese
10. Green apple soda with lemon ice
11. Clam with lemon brown butter, rutabaga, herbs, and sausage
12. Scallop with ham, cabbage, croutons, and apple
13. Lupe de Mer with speck, avocado, lemon, and grapefruit
14. Lobster sombrero with saffron, garlic, and arugula
15. Sour coconut cherry antigriddle lollipop
16. Green strawberry with goat cheese, dates, and cilantro
17. Microgreen salad with crunchy skin, lime, fermented vegetables, and basil
18. Crepe burrito with potato crème fraiche, mustard demi, and ice box pickle
19. Pork tenderloin with morel, fava, and ramp
20. Flank with potato, ramp, jalapeno, and whiskey
21. Flash frozen passionfruit fluff
22. Butterscotch pot de crème with brownie and crème fraiche
23. Profiterole with maple popcorn cream
24. Yuzu pudding with graham and whipped cream
25. Cherry pate de fruit
26. Chocolate and pork fat meltaway
27. Black walmut cake with apple confit and walnut ice cream
28. Blueberry Muffin
Like last time, this was one of the best dinners that we have ever gone to. It was all of the delicious things you would see at a fine dining establishment, but with none of the pretention. Great people, making great food. It’s maybe not somewhere that I would bring the parents to impress them, but it’s a fun, but special date night. Come with a sense of humor, and an open mind to try anything on the plate. You won’t regret it.
If you'd like to try out Travail Kitchen and Amusements, you can visit their website here!