Stephanie Goto thinks about champagne and ice cream in similar ways to how she does design: spatially, materially, and as an intricate array of layers and forms. With her friend Nicholas Morgenstern, the chef and owner of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, the New York–based architect recently merged these seemingly disparate interests into a wholly original, decidedly unusual, extraordinarily sensorial limited-run omakase. Starting July 20 and running through August 10, the seven-course pairing menu—celebrating the release of Dom Pérignon’s Plénitude 2 Vintage 2003—will be available on Tuesdays, with seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., by reservation only at Morgenstern’s Sundae Bar, part of its flagship location in New York’s Greenwich Village. (Those wanting to try a single pairing can make a reservation to do so between noon and 10 p.m.)
A Dom Pérignon collector and long-time friend of the brand, Goto worked closely with the company’s chef de cave, Vincent Chaperon, throughout the process of creating the menu, learning the details and nuances that go into constructing a Dom Pérignon vintage—“the structure of the wine, and the deeper definitions of why it is what it is,” as she puts it. With Morgenstern, Goto selected some of their favorite Japanese ingredients, such as tamago, soy sauce, and dashi, and then she designed an edible experience that playfully reimagines and transforms these ingredients into a theatrical story about ice cream and champagne, presented in three acts.
Among the over-the-top offerings (featuring plates designed by Goto, as well as various tableware items from her personal collection) are a nori cone with sushi rice ice cream and Black River Caviar’s imperial-grade Russian Oscietra Caviar, paired with a glass of the Vintage 2010; a toro burger with a side of soy sauce ice cream and ginger “fries,” paired with a glass of the Rosé Vintage 2006; and a sundae cube made from matcha, red bean, vanilla, and dorayaki, paired with the Plénitude 2 Vintage 2003. Here, we speak with Goto about how the exquisitely executed project came to be.
When and how did your relationship with Dom Pérignon begin?
When I landed in New York after graduating [from Cornell], through my love of music and Carnegie Hall I met a brand ambassador of Dom Pérignon one evening during a concert. From that moment on, there was an immediate connection and access that allowed me to dive deep [into the brand]. Along the way, I met Richard [Geoffroy, the company’s chef de cave from 1990 to 2018], and he further opened the doors to this unbelievable world. There were so many synergies between the wine and what I do that at some point it made sense that we would collide like this.
How did you first connect with Nicholas Morgenstern?
Nicholas and I met at Montrachet—this classic, quintessential, nineties New York restaurant in Tribeca. I’d been tapped by [restaurateur] Drew Nieporent to transform it into [the now-shuttered New French restaurant] Corton. Its chef and co-owner, Paul Liebrandt, asked Nicholas to be the pastry chef, so throughout the process of conceptualizing the restaurant, we had several meetings. We shared a curiosity for detailed perfection, a sense of being really passionate about what we do.
Nicholas didn’t end up working there, but our friendship continued. I would always come up with crazy ideas to do with him, like making chocolates in these geometric, architectural shapes. Our friendship has been a back and forth of creativity.
You’ve been working on several ice cream flavors with him, right?
Yes. We’ve started—and this is really just the beginning—creating a series of flavors that are reflective of my [Japanese American] heritage and nostalgia for my childhood. One of the creations is She’s So Goto, a shiso ice cream. In the project with Dom Pérignon, we’ve expanded on our ideas.
Ice cream is about nostalgia in some ways. Being able to harness my heritage, this idea of “Japan-ness”—where it’s not Japanese, but there’s an undeniable Japanese quality, an essence—has been really important.
How did you conceptualize this omakase?
Nicholas had always been thinking about ice cream beyond ice cream. We sat down in my studio and started sketching ideas. We were bouncing back and forth between East and West, high and low, Japan and the U.S. and France, trying to think about how to express that [concept] in ways that people hadn’t seen before.
Dom Pérignon is so much about what underlies it—what happens to the grapes because of the climate makes its wine really special. We wanted our menu to talk about some of the things that are a part of that process—the light, the energy of the sun—as well as the darkness of the cellar, the lightness when the champagne is poured out of the bottle, and the starlike quality of the wine. We wanted to question the notion of: Where is the sensory stimulation coming from? When you’re holding an all-black ice cream cone that looks like a dessert but tastes like the sea, what does that mean?
Any favorite flavors or dishes from the project?
The clear standout and the most profound—and this goes back to how we wanted the dishes to reflect the wine—is the “Verticality” dish, presented in a black ceramic bowl. Veiled in squid-ink tuile and topped with salmon roe, it’s followed by tamago ice cream and a uzu dashi gelee with sea urchin inside. This, to me, reflects the three-dimensional quality of the wine. Whether or not people see it that way is the viewers’ choice, but we wanted the opportunity for people to take from that and discover the flavors. It’s the most architectural of all the experiences.
What are your hopes for the project?
What’s important to know is that while there’s the glamorous side of Dom Pérignon, there’s also a serious wine-making side that’s way more exciting. What they do to make the wine is incredible. Maybe it’s my mission to tell that story: How can I teach people about the darkness, the lightness, the perspective—all these spatial qualities—and about how time impacts the wine and the maturation?
This is just the beginning of thinking beyond boundaries, beyond culture. Nicholas has always been saying to me, “I want you to continue to push me to do the unexpected with ice cream.” My hope is that this is just cracking the door open to that challenge. And to Dom Pérignon’s credit, that idea of building vintages really aligns with how we were approaching this project. There’s a harmonious dialogue, rather than leaving it at the surface with just ice cream and a glass of champagne. It’s beyond that.
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Lexie Smith is an artist and baker, though it’s only relatively recently, after years of working in restaurant kitchens and balanciBread on Earth. Her work often takes on various forms, from performance and installation to photography, writing, and publishing, all
After years in various kitchens, working his way up from dishwasher to cook, and ultimately chef de partie at Eleven Madison Park, Matt Jozwiak left the fine-dining world behind in 2017 to start Rethink Food NYC, a nonprofit organization that partners with restaurants and grocery stores to reduce excess food and make nutritious, Ghetto Gastro and Jozwiak’s former boss, chef Daniel Humm—as collaborators in its mission to fight food insecurity and foster a more
Extolled by New York City’s finest restaurants, from Daniel to Eleven Madison Park and abcV, as well as a growing coteriDavocadoguy, is seemingly everyone’s go-to guy for the best avocados. He keeps his supply consistently stocked and perfectly ripene
Supermarkets put billions of pounds of perfectly fine, edible food to waste each year for the very silly, Goldilocks reanearly half of all harvested produce is never eaten. The home-delivery start-up Misfits Market aims to right the wrong of this senseless global food crisis, selling only produce that is certified organic, non-GMO,
Marfa may be known as a site of pilgrimage for lovers of minimalist art—its expansive desert sky, open landscape, and ofCooking in Marfa: Welcome, We’ve Been Expecting You (Phaidon). The collection of essays and recipes, featuring local ingredients and dishes, from prickly pear to chicharrón
The idea of “pantry cooking” connotes a sense of resourcefulness—the humble term focused on the shelf lives of whatever Esquire food and drinks editor Jeff Gordinier told us on Ep. 10 of At a Distance, canned food can be every bit as delicious as the fresh stuff, if not exceedingly so. Conservas, tinned seafood products from Spain and Portugal, can last for months, if not years, in the cupboard, but that seems topiquillo peppers stuffed with bonito tuna. Chicken of the Sea, these are not. Fortunately, you can browse and find all sorts of conservas online from grocers such as La Tienda and Chicago’s Wixter Market, and fuel those wanderlust dreams of a trip to the Iberian coast. “The other day I tried zamburiñas,” Gordinier told us on the podcast, with excitement. “Have you heard of that? See, this is interesting. I'm still seeki
First came the sourdough craze; next, homemade cheese. Ricotta, to be specific. Since pandemic times, home cooking has ta recent episode of At a Distance. “For me, it was so wild how far away we had come from that, as a species—the fact that most people don’t know how to htry this recipe), requiring only two ingredients: milk and lemon. Add a bit of patience, which is something we could all stand to pract
Dr. Brian Fisher, an entomologist and curator at the California Academy of Sciences, has studied and identified countless species of antadvocating for an insect-focused approach to nutrition and natural conservation. Here, Fisher tells us why eating insects is a healthy practice for both our bodies and the planet.
Whetstone Magazine Co-Founder and “Origin Forager” Stephen Satterfield on Food, Culture, and Identity
The co-founder of Whetstone magazine and host of the food anthropology podcast Point of Origin, food writer Stephen Satterfield spent more than a decade working as a sommelier before venturing into the world of medEsquire, Food & Wine, New York magazine, and other publications, Satterfield tells us about his role as a self-described “origin forager,” and why the
With Memorial Day weekend behind us, summer has officially begun, and for many home-growers, this signifies the busiest Kitazawa Seed Company, founded in 1917 by a Japanese American family, sells some of the best, and offers more than 500 seed varieties of dento yasai, traditional heirloom varieties of a diverse array of Asian vegetables used in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines, Browse the extensive catalog to learn about all the delicious varieties, and pick up some recipes for dishes such as sunomono, a simple and refreshing cucumber salad, and kinpira gobo, a savory side of burdock root sautéed in sweet soy sauce.