Multicourse meals in which the diner signs on for a food journey determined by the chef, tasting menus are less prevalent here in the casual burbs, where dining out often means elevated bar food or soaking up booze with food as fuel.
Yet they can be found if you look: predominantly in fancied-up hotel dining rooms or in ambitious places such as Market 17, the subject of this week's review.
They're also found in restaurants a stone's throw away in Miami, where many feature courses of four, eight, 12 rounds. Even the underground dining club Cobaya hosts semiregular gatherings, the purpose of which is to lasso "talented chefs to cook great, interesting, creative meals for an audience of adventurous, open-minded diners." Sometimes it's for family-style dinners. Often it's for tasting menus.
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Tasting menus are still a thing outside of Miami too, in restaurants such as Michelin-starred Brooklyn Fare and at Rogue 24 in Washington, D.C., which recently hosted a six-week stint of chefs from all over the country who visited town to cook up 24-course tasting menus for whoever was willing to plunk down the cash.
They're a form of entertainment, an indulgence that costs more than your average dinner and less than a weekend travel jaunt. They allow for us to learn about intricate dishes, high-level skills, a chef's personality, or esoteric ingredients that perhaps we haven't yet tasted.
Read on for an experience at Market 17 here.