My 3D Dining Experience
Recently I had the opportunity to dine with Le Petit Chef, the smallest chef in the world. He took me on a 3D dinner experience in the steps of Marco Polo’s travels. His food takes inspiration from each destination and he incorporates that into each course. We start our journey in Marseille, France, travel through the Arabia peninsula, the spice markets of India, climb the Himalayas, then escape to China and end with a dessert that incorporates all the stops into one dish.
Dinner Time Stories's first stop in North America is Nashville and housed in The Standard at The Smith House. This grand mansion is a historic townhouse built in the 1840’s. It has been named one of the top cigar clubs in the country and is a splendid setting for any occasion.
We showed up prior to the group seating and were ushered into a smaller room with cocktails and our fellow dinners.
Then we were led into a long banquet room and were seated across from our dining partner (Best view in the house!). Every place setting had a closed book and projection equipment overhead.
Prior to each course, the chef would take you on a little adventure, where the tables, music, lighting and mood all changed to match.
During each course a small book was placed by our plate for us to make notes in and read what fellow diners also were also saying. Some were good and some were funny. It was interesting to read the unfiltered opinions of other diners and also leave some notes.
Our amuse bouche was two bites originating from France: Ratatouille and Mussels. Pro tip: the term amuse bouche is French and literally means "mouth amuser.” Your welcome!
The second course had Arabic influences and also had two portions to it. There was the Lamb dish and a Tabbouleh Salad with Bulgur, Parsley, & Mint. I have to say that the couscous was tough and chewy.
For the third course, Chef brought us through India. A pairing cocktail was matched for this course. The cocktail was the star here. It tasted great and paired well with the course.
The fourth course was a pear sorbet and provided a nice palate cleanser for a transition. It provided inspiration from the mountains in the Himalayas. It’s THE showstopper and the most impressive part of the experience by far. No words I say about it could do it justice. You can watch a video of the presentation in my feed on Instagram here.
In the fifth course we were presented with a choice of three options: A Duck Confit with Red Curry, Grilled Chili Prawns with Sriracha, Garlic & Sesame or Smoked Tofu with Hoisin & Ginger. Our choices were the duck and the tofu. Neither one left much of an impression on us.
The sixth and final course was, of course, dessert. I liked the fact it brought some inspiration from each stop into the dish. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very caramelized and the custard seemed to have broke.
True, the dinner is an interactive experience, but it seems to have you interacting more with your phone and your plate and not your companion or fellow dinners.
Part of the responsibility that I feel by being a foodie is helping guide people where they should go and where they should spend their money. Most people can’t go out to fancy meals all the time. I do understand that sometimes you have to save up for a special meal. If one good thing comes out of spending all that money on the 3D dinner, it would be to help tell you to find somewhere else to have that special meal.
The experience was nice, but the food wasn’t on the level of what you would expect for the price. I personally don’t feel like the dinner is worth it and I wouldn’t recommend it. I like the idea and the concept. The price tag of $173+, or $350 for two, is essentially on par with the top restaurants in town like The Catbird Seat or Bastion. Setting a bar that high is very tough to live up to. A better price point at $80 or $100 would be a much better value I feel.