The apex of the meal comes when servers present a pot holding live marron. A few minutes later, the shellfish are back again, split open and smothered in a bright, delicately spicy sofrito.
There is no way to approach the dish without making a glorious mess, while scooping the tender flesh awash in sticky sauce and just the right touch of stank from the roe and head of the spindly beasts.
This is the kind of food that requires full abandon. (Wet towels are provided.)
Mr. Carmichael is presenting a beautifully considered tribute to his birthplace, with all the thought and care and honor of fine dining, and all the fun of Momofuku. Many diners are likely to find the experience quite moving as well, particularly those with a personal connection to the history and culture upon which the chef’s long-ago thesis was based.
That audience is primarily elsewhere, and I can’t help but think how much America might benefit from this profoundly pleasurable expression of African and Caribbean foodways.
That this incarnation of Momofuku Seiobo exists in Australia makes us a lucky country indeed.
Do you have a suggestion for Besha Rodell? The New York Times’s Australia bureau would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the discussion in the NYT Australia Facebook group. Read about the Australia Fare column here.
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