Only a multidisciplinary designer and architect could conjure the exquisite, unexpected confluence of form and flavor found within Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream‘s new seven-course Dom Pérignon pairing menu—a poetic dining experience that’s far more than ice cream and champagne. Timed according to the release of, and designed (in part) to pair with, Dom Pérignon’s Vintage 2003 Plénitude 2, architect Stephanie Goto‘s ice cream-infused omakase menu—devised in partnership with the beloved NYC specialty ice cream parlor’s chef and owner, Nick Morgenstern—intrigues, tantalizes and tasks guests with a culinary quest.
Unique ice cream iterations—incorporating shisho, wasabi, uni, squid ink and more—were designed exclusively for the experience by Morgenstern. From the seven courses, one item, however, epitomizes the entire endeavor: the delectable second course, referred to as Dark Harmony, which finds sushi rice ice cream topped with osetra caviar, placed inside a Nori ice cream cone and served with Dom Pérignon Vintage 2010. It’s an exhilarating amalgamation that weaves together components from three cultures.
“This experience started 16 years ago, when I first became friends with the brand—and it happens to be about the same time I met Nicholas Morgenstern through the culinary world,” Goto tells us, as we sat in Morgenstern’s Sundae Bar in advance of the complete tasting. “Over the course of the last two years, we’ve been thinking about how we can tell the story of the champagne in a unique way,” she continues. “It occurred to me that perhaps we could use something very American as a vessel to talk about something quintessentially French. I architected the experience like a design project, using my Japanese heritage to bring it all closer together.”
“We’ve named this journey Second Life and it’s an experience in three acts,” Goto explains, noting that they’d prefer to eschew the term “pairing dinner.” She continues, “We are using the concepts of energy, space and time to think about all the aspects of the wine, the food and the culture.” There’s even a welcome haiku by Vincent Chaperon, the Chef de Cave of Dom Pérignon, at the start.
Regarding the aforementioned Dark Harmony course, Goto says, “The idea is that it’s a sushi course and an ice cream. It’s a dessert, but it’s also an entry-point to the entire meal.” Morgenstern adds that the base of the treat isn’t an anomaly, explaining that “sushi rice has become the foundation for all the vegan ice cream that we make here. Our original Rivington location will turn into an only-vegan ice cream platform soon.” The dairy-free, textured creaminess of the sushi rice ice cream pairs beautifully with the caviar’s salinity and the Nori’s crunch, as well as the champagne’s effervescence.
Other dishes include citric gelée prisms inspired by the notes of Dom Pérignon P2 Vintage 2003 and kombu-cured fluke, lined with osetra caviar, and served atop a block of hand-carved ice. There’s a dazzling egg-on-egg-on-egg dish that has to be devoured to be understood, and a conceptual ice cream sundae that makes you work for each flavor.
“The Vintage 2003 Plénitude 2 is this moment of joy,” Goto says, as the sundae is served. “This is a place that you arrive at, where you feel all of the things that we’ve learned on this journey. We started with a prism, and we end with this idea of an assemblage. I wanted the sundae to be this element of purity.” It is, of course, visually pure and the flavors are clear, and—as with each course before—it adheres to its theme and plays upon the notes of the liquid it’s served with in a way that allows guests to enjoy it, but also learn something.
The omakase menu will be available once a week, starting 20 July, through reservations via RESY. Additionally, à la carte pairings will be available every Tuesday from noon to 10PM, via reservation, as well.
Images courtesy of Erik Madigan Heck