During thousands of elaborate restaurant meals over dozens of piggy years, I’ve received many exacting, even loopy, instructions.
I’ve been prodded to dab a special scent on my wrist before savoring my salad. To proceed through the five microscopic canapés before me from left to right, as if they were words in a sentence that would lose all meaning if scrambled. To exhale a particular way as I chewed an avant-garde popcorn cluster so that the smoke inside it billowed from my nostrils.
Romera New York is the first restaurant where I was told to “make a memory” of my water.
Romera is Manhattan’s newest culinary oddity, an elegant hideaway whose conceits include the pairing of each dish in an 11-course meal with a lukewarm flavored water in a lidded grappa glass. One water might be infused with leek and radish, another with jasmine and dried seaweed. Most taste like indecisive teas, commitment-phobic broths or pond runoff.
“Feel free to smell them,” said a server, as if I might otherwise feel jailed. “And to taste them.” He paused. “Make a memory of them.”
While blazers are optional at Romera, straitjackets would be a fine idea."