If you think about it, there are only two types of interesting things. One, you want to experience again - and this might include anything from sniffing a scented marker to watching Eraserhead for the very first time. Then, there are things that capture your attention, but aren’t necessarily 100% pleasant. In this category, you’ll find such phenomena as mild electric shocks, footage of great white sharks eating seals, and also a meal at Ferris.
Ferris is the restaurant in the bottom of the Made Hotel on 29th Street, and the food here is, without a doubt, interesting. The only problem is, you might not want to eat it. It looks cool, and it’ll make for some decent conversation - but halfway through your meal you might start craving things that don’t have twenty different ingredients (many of which you can’t identify).
When you get a dish at Ferris, it feels like the product of a malfunctioning algorithm. The beets, for example, come with coconut, horseradish, and black tahini - and, while the first few bites are both fascinating and confusing, the last twenty are truly an effort. You will not remember this dish fondly, and you similarly won’t fantasize about the duck breast with charred eggplant jam. The duck itself isn’t bad, but the charred eggplant jam tastes like a worse version of whatever you have in mind when you picture charred eggplant jam.
That said, the service here is both professional and friendly, and, if it weren’t for the food, this would be a nice place to have a meal. The space is small and intimate, and it feels like the sort of spot that could plausibly be on the Lower East Side. It’s upscale without being stuffy, the lights stay dim, and the cocktails are great.
Other than that, we really can’t recommend this place. Yes, the food might be different from what most other restaurants are serving these days - but that isn’t reason enough to come here. When you go out to eat, the last bite of a dish should feel like the final few minutes of your twenties, or the moment when you realize that your child has grown up and is going off to his or her own life, possibly in Bushwick. In other words, you should be sad, clingy, and emotionally conflicted. And, despite how interesting it is, none of the food at Ferris will make you feel this way.
We aren’t sure why these beets have horseradish and coconut, but we think it’s because they’re both white. Factor in the black tahini on the bottom, and it’s all just a little too much.
This fresh cheese is Ferris in a nutshell. It has everything from kiwi to matcha powder, and, despite the fact that the first few bites are fun and interesting, you don’t necessarily want more than what you’re given (in this case, a very small amount).
Once this gets to your table, your server will pour a thing of dashi over it - at which point, this becomes a wet salad. Surprisingly, it isn’t terrible. But we could also think of about 1,000 other ways we’d rather have pork collar.
That black stuff is a squid-ink egg custard, and, while there are probably about two or three (or four) too many ingredients in here, the octopus on top is pretty good.
Probably the most straightforward thing on the menu, and a pretty decent plate of pasta (with some lamb neck mixed in). We wouldn’t go out of our way for it, but if a friend dragged us back here, this is what we’d get.