Sated is the hottest new restaurant in The City, currying rave reviews from influential food publications and diners alike, not just for its food, which is personally prepared by internationally renowned chef and television host Juan Maures of the three Michelin-starred Maurade in San Sebastian, but also for its philanthropy. Sated donates one percent of each $2,500 reservation to Bread for Bairns, the UK-based humanitarian organization that dates back to the late-1800s when it was a Rhodesian division of the British South Africa Company. But Sated takes its dining experience even a step further. While eating, the diner can choose to watch his/her/their beneficiary dine live on a tablet.
I was lucky enough to experience this myself (on The City Times company dime, of course), and for ten courses of Maures’s exquisite signature dishes such as duck confit a la orange, quail eggs that taste like salmon roe, and the sustainable and organic lemur en gelee, I watched Mebane, a seven-year-old boy from Dhaka eat a bowl of rice pudding, which he told me was his first meal of the week and was so plentiful that he almost immediately darted off-screen to use what appeared to be an outhouse. Now, you are not forced to converse with the hungry foreign child if you choose not to. Many Sated diners I surveyed decided to mute their beneficiaries, though a few did choose to engage them in light conversations about widely available global pop cultural topics such as teen singer Jason Hentai or even more serious issues such as the corruption of the local authoritarian regimes. Safe conversational “zones” are suggested on screen, as well as links to the beneficiary’s nation’s Wikipedia pages and a map showing the geographical location of the country, which this food reporter found especially handy.
The feeling of being able to experience a world-class fine dining meal while helping young Mebane was unforgettable, or as Sated and Bread for Bairns calls their joint venture, UnforgetTable™. When Mebane returned from the outhouse, I gave him my social media handles and asked that he follow me so we could stay in touch. He nodded blankly, and while I was wondering whether he even had any social media accounts, due to some latency issues, our streaming video connection was lost. Despite the technical hiccups, which I’m sure will be smoothed over in short order, I highly recommend Sated. The food and its forging of a new trend of Fine Dining to Do Fine Things™ absolutely lives up to the hype.
A MacDowell Colony and Hawthornden Castle Fellow, Leland Cheuk is the author of the story collection LETTERS FROM DINOSAURS (2016) and the novel THE MISADVENTURES OF SULLIVER PONG (2015). Cheuk’s work has been covered in VICE, The Millions, The Rumpus, and Asian American Writers Workshop, and has appeared in or is forthcoming in publications such as Salon, Catapult, Joyland Magazine, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, [PANK] Magazine, among other outlets. He teaches at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute. He is the fiction editor at Newfound Journal and the founder of the indie press 7.13 Books. He lives in Brooklyn. You can follow him on Twitter @lcheuk and at lelandcheuk.com