Cast of Omnium Eats Well as Gourmet Gotham Eatery Provides Nightly Chow

News   Cast of Omnium Eats Well as Gourmet Gotham Eatery Provides Nightly Chow
The characters who gather to dine in the Off-Broadway play Omnium Gatherum may be in hell, or some facsimile thereof, but don't feel too sorry for them: they're eating very well.

The plot of Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros' wordy fever-dream of a play has a clutch of well-heeled and ego-driven writers, pundits and moguls gathering for a fabulously appointed dinner party thrown by Kristine Nielsen's Martha Stewart-like hostess. They "ooh" and "ahh" over five courses, and well they should—the menu has been prepared by one of the top chefs in Manhattan.

For the first month of performances, the cast is consuming the creations of chef Alfred Portale of the Gotham Bar and Grill. The victuals are prepared daily in a nearly kitchen.

The meal Portale has whipped up for Omnium is quite decadent enough to fit in nicely with the drama's pointedly conspicuous show of Western consumption. The courses run thusly:

Amuse Bouche: Golden and candy cane beet tartare with icicle radish tops, lemon verbena and cold pressed tangerine oil.
Fish Course: Wild Columbian River salmon, fingerling potato, confit tomato and roasted fennel served with a warm Champagne vinaigrette.
Meat Course: Roasted Moroccan spiced lamb with couscous, curried corn, cumin-scented carrots, harissa and preserved lemon.
Salad: Belgian endive and Anjou pear with toasted walnuts, Roquefort cheese and walnut oil dressing.
Dessert: Tri-star strawberry mille-feuilles with mascarpone custard, orange flower water, pineapple mint and 25-year-old balsamic vinegar.

Perhaps in the interest of realism (though the play is better described as absurdist), the vinegar used in the dessert is particularly extravagant. Made in Modena, Italy, is aged from 25 to 75 years in oak casks, and runs $25 an ounce. The Omnium dinner guests also consume a frightful number of bottles of red and white wine, which they uncork in plain sight of the audience. Unlike the food, however, the libations are, alas, fraudulent.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay will prepare the play's menu in weeks to come.

Omnium-Gatherum opens on Sept. 25. Tickets are $66.25. For information, call (212) 239-6200.

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