Pop-Up Restaurant Has 60K People Waiting On A List To Eat Twitching Seafood Covered In Ants

In one of those, “Someone has got to be jerking us around” bits of pretentious restaurant news, today we caught wind of a pop-up restaurant in Tokyo that has 60,000 people on a waiting list to eat things like dead-yet-still-wriggling-because-of-needle-in-brain langoustine covered in ants. What? We know. But really.

Gogo Lidz at Newsweek writes that not only did she snag a reservation for the five-week residency in Tokyo of Noma, a much-buzzed about Copenhagen restaurant pop-up, but she was “the very first customer seated for the very first meal on the very first day.”

She goes into great detail about the 14 courses on Chef René Redzepi’s menu, which reads like a litany of grossness that really makes us think this whole thing is a huge joke. Also, juice pairings are really big.

The first of 14 courses involves “a langoustine on a bed of ice, the tail shell peeled back to expose the raw flesh, which is speckled with large black ants.” YES, ANTS.

She bites the prawn, and the tentacles start moving, so she freaks out and asks the chef if it’s still alive. It’s dead, so she asks how.

“A needle to its brain. For three to four minutes after the langoustine is killed, it moves as if it were electric.”

And then there are the ants…

“I close my eyes and bite into the ant-y tail. It’s…delicious! Almost like lobster ice cream. With salted ant jimmies.”

It goes on: “citrus segments with tiny, pickled Okinawa chilies in a puddle of roasted kelp oil”; “shaved monkfish liver that’s frozen and served on lightly grilled toast”; “cuttlefish sliced into ribbons that mimic soba noodles” with “a bowl of pine broth and rose petals” to dip each noodle in and oh yes, “freshwater clams and wild kiwi paste on a sea kelp pastry shell.”

That one sounds particularly insane, as Lidz writes: “The staff is particularly proud of the clams. There are 45 per tart, and 13 people spent eight hours shucking them. The amazingly complex flavors linger, continually changing like one of Willy Wonka’s everlasting gobstoppers.”

There’s so much more in this that is real, but cannot be. Because ants. And that’s not even to mention the various juices paired with everything and a hacked apart duck.

All of the ants and other things are apparently pleasing to people, as Lidz writes “the guests leave the dining room happily swooning.”

One half of a Consumerist discussion between MBQ and #BossMeg went as follows, after yours truly expressed a willingness to try such a menu:
#BossMeg: You can go ahead and eat ants. I’m going to be over here trying to keep them out of my food
MBQ: I would love to try those ants. The twitching langoustine… eh.
#BossMeg: I would not eat ants. Honey is as far as I go.

How about you?

A Restaurant With a Waiting List of 60,000 [Newsweek]