A spotlight illuminates your place setting. Overhead laser projectors bring to life animated characters head chef Nya and sous-chef Ned on the table as they battle the evil Dr. Animator who brings food to life at various locations around the world. Each animated scene served up between four edible courses.
Dinner and a show takes on a whole new meaning in the James Room at 317 Main Street in Farmingdale this fall with the debut of “Nya & Ned Save the World” from TableMation Studios, giving Long Island its first recurring 3D-animated dining experience for brunch or dinner.
“We wanted to offer something that Long Island has not seen before that was family-oriented and all ages could participate in,” says co-owner Joe Fortuna. “Whether you are on a date, entertaining your kids or with a client, this works. Everybody has done the murder mystery dinner or the big steakhouse. Nobody has done this.”
How 3D dining works
Guests are seated at a table of four. “The animation is built to be viewed from the unique perspective of a guest sitting down, giving it that 3D effect,” says Jake Bickel, vice president of TableMation Studios. “Essentially, you are looking at a flat surface but the animation makes it seem like the characters are walking on your table.”
The key is each scene correlates with the food course being served to the guests.
“The animation projection on the table creates the experience and the food is what really pulls everything together,” says 317’s chef/partner Eric LeVine. “There are all different flavors and textures relative to the dish itself. There’s a moment in the show that references bow tie pasta, therefore, in one of the dishes we are using bow tie pasta that crunches. During another moment, there’s a fire in the story therefore the second course is a grilled romaine salad with a pork short rib relating the fire to the grilling.”
The show gets paused as each of the four courses is served. However, the animated action continues at the table.
“During an eating loop, you are still immersed in the scene,” says Bickel. “One scene is in Venice and while you are eating the water is rippling with gondolas going around keeping you fully engaged.”
At opening night, Alvaro Aleman, 68, of Farmingdale was amazed at the graphics he witnessed during dinner.
“The 3D caught my eye,” he says. “You see the characters on top of the table. It almost seems like they are coming from underneath. It was fantastic.”
Aleman, enjoying what he ate as well, adds: “The ribs didn’t even need a knife, you could just cut them with a fork.”
Cathy Sabatella, 59, of Farmingdale was tickled by the humor incorporated into the first showing.
“I loved the banter between the two characters. They are funny," she says. “You want to laugh at dinner and enjoy yourself. I think that was the best part.”
Sabatella even got adventurous and expanded her palette a bit.
“I tried raw tuna, which I never tasted before,” she says. “I never thought I would have enjoyed it, but I did.”
The dinner menu offers a first course of tuna carpaccio with avocado mousse, sticky rice and a pickled cucumber salad followed by a second course featuring pork short rib with grilled romaine caesar roasted garlic salad. The third course is comprised of wild mushroom stuffed French chicken and red wine demi herb gnocchi mushroom confit plus a bow tie crunch pasta while the fourth course boasts an orange crepe, crème brûlée spoon and a vanilla macaroon. The brunch spotlights a mini cinnamon bun with caramelized apples and vanilla ice cream for the first course. The second course has a chicken and mushroom crepe with Gruyere cheese. Course number three is a vegetable ratatouille mini omelet, mushroom hash, small pancake “muffins” plus a fruit skewer vanilla yogurt and the fourth course concludes with wild berry crème brûlée and a berry macaroon.
“NYA & NED SAVE THE WORLD” — 3D ANIMATED DINING EXPERIENCE
WHEN | WHERE Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays (10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. seatings), Dinner: Wednesday-Friday (6 p.m. seatings) and Sunday (5:30 p.m. seatings) in The James Room at 317 Main Street, Farmingdale
INFO 516-512-5317, 317mainstreet.com
ADMISSION Brunch $127.36 per person ($77.18 for 10 and under), dinner $165.96 per person ($64.31 for 10 and under), $198.12 dinner with wine pairing