I have been obsessed with the Argentinian chef Francis Mallman since I saw his of Chef’s Table episode in 2015. Sure, about the only thing we have in common is a desire to set food on fire, you know, artfully. He does so these days to great acclaim on his private Patagonian island (and 8 other restaurants around the world), accessible through two flights, a five-hour drive, and then 90-minute raft across a lake. I live on a busy block of a crowded city accessible by nearly every format of public transportation, and do so to moderate acclaim (relative mostly to how well the patrons slept that day) under a wispy-by-design gas broiler.
A few weeks ago, my obsession led us to a restaurant named Mettā in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where everything is either cooked or finished over an open fire (if you go, do so on a cold night and sit at the counter, you’ll be glad you did) where the chef is protégé of Mallman. On the dessert menu is a highly regarded ash-roasted sweet potato with an infused whipped cream* and while it was delicious, forgive me, I didn’t have the Moment with it that every other restaurant reviewer has, but still tucked it away in my head as something I wanted to get back to soon. I just didn’t expect it to be exactly two days later, when I spotted a slow-roasted and charred sweet potato recipe from Michael Solomomov in Saveur. Obviously — because a jump from Patagonia to Fort Greene and then Solomomov is the very definition of “obvious” — it was fate.