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Chef Jeff Black’s Republic Restaurant Opens in Takoma Park

Chef Jeff Black’s Republic Restaurant Opens in Takoma Park



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After months of anticipation, Takoma Park, Md., finally welcomed its newest resident on Dec. 8. Republic Restaurant is the most recent addition to chef Jeff Black’s Washington, D.C.-based Black Restaurant Group, known for its strong focus on fresh, local seafood with occasional touches of Cajun-Creole influence. Republic offers a rather offbeat menu meant to reflect the eclectic nature of the quirky neighborhood in which it resides. Guests can enjoy a meal with family or friends in a comfortable yet trendy setting.

The space, formerly a video store, has been converted into a charming and elegant venue. Rustic wooden tables create a homey feel, while Victorian red velvet booths along one side of the restaurant add a splash of grandeur. The interior is spotted with reclaimed items meant to serve as an ode to the restaurant’s surroundings and provide a down-to-earth humility to the décor. The Black Restaurant Group has held onto the original floors, fashioned light fixtures out of jet engine parts, and proudly left the neon sign, which reads "Video Americain," hanging on the wall of the outdoor patio.

Sticking to the core concept of Black Restaurant Group, Republic’s menu features a variety of fresh seafood options, but supplements these with heartier meat and vegetarian dishes. The raw bar serves a selection of oysters that rotate daily and include both East and West Coast varieties. Black’s very own Old Black Salts, custom-cultivated by Rappahannock River Oysters, are among the local Virginia oysters featured. For those with a larger appetite, the savory house-smoked chorizo appetizer comes highly recommended. Juicy slices of chorizo are served on crunchy grilled bread smeared with a fluffy layer of whipped blue cheese. The chorizo is also topped with a sweet red onion marmalade that offsets the salty meat nicely. Another popular favorite is the duck confit Cubano entrée. Tender flakes of confit duck are paired with salty country ham, sweet slices of bread-and-butter pickles and poblano chiles layered between two slices of toasted baguette. While some menu items are borrowed from chef Black’s other restaurants (wood grilled oysters à la Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Addie’s mussels with tomato, lemon, and garlic) most of the menu is unique to executive chef and Takoma native Danny Wells’ culinary vision. Republic’s signature burger, for example, is adorned with a mustard-ale cheese, house-smoked bacon, and crispy onions — all served on a pretzel bun.

Charismatically named specialty cocktails, creations of bar manager Brett Robison, add a sense of adventure to the beverage list. The libations menu also features local craft beers, a carefully curated wine list, and classic cocktails such as the Manhattan and the Negroni. One signature named "The Localist" nods at the Takoma Park community’s strong advocacy for environmental sustainability and preference for locally grown products. The cocktail is a mix of Green Hart Gin, BeeGeorge honey lemon juice, orange flame (produced with a lighter), and a "citrus hat." The statelier Fascist Killer (according to the menu, "It’s the Democratic Way") consists of Bulleit bourbon, Green Chartreuse, Averna Amaro, basil, and lemon peel.

While most D.C. residents might initially think of Republic as the newest outpost of the Black Restaurant Group, the restaurant was designed to be a Takoma Park landmark. The name "Republic" itself hints at the neighborhood’s nickname, "The People’s Republic of Takoma Park." Opening just in time before what seems will be a long, snowy winter, Republic will provide the city’s residents with another great reason not to have to venture all the way out to D.C. on date night.

Lili Kocsis is a self-proclaimed gastronome. She graduated from Harvard University in 2011 with a BA in linguistics. She dedicates her spare time to purposeful travel, food photography, and writing about regional cuisine under the penname MyAmusedBouche.


Esquire Names DC Chef North America's Chef Of The Year

D.C. has some of the best new restaurants in the country, according to a new ranked list by Esquire​. (Shutterstock)

WASHINGTON, DC — Esquire food critic Jeff Gordinier has released his list of the 22 best new restaurants in North America for 2019, and he has named a D.C. chef as his favorite of them all.

In addition to Seven Reasons and the Green Almond Pantry making the list, Kith/Kin at The Wharf was also among the 22 selected. Gordinier went even further, naming its chef, Kwame Onwuachi, the chef of the year.

"The long-overdue rise of African-American chefs around the country is the most exciting culinary movement in the world," Gordinier wrote. "Kwame Onwuachi—who came back from early failure to score big with his cooking at Kith/Kin and the publication of his essential memoir, Notes from a Young Black Chef—has become a leader in an ongoing conversation about where we've come from and where we're headed."

In his write-up of Kith/Kin, he acknoledged that the eatery — located at 801 Wharf Street SW — opened two years ago, but "sometimes a great restaurant takes a while to hit its stride."

He added that it would be a "travesty not to raise a toast to the audacity and originality of his cooking down by the Wharf," noting the restaurant's unique blend of cuisine from Nigeria, New Orleans, and the Caribbean.

"Nowhere else are you going to find delights like Onwuachi's bracingly spicy crab jollof rice or his meltingly tender goat roti or the scallops and brassicas," he writes. "And nowhere else are you going to eat sweets like the ones created by pastry chef Paola Velez, who deserves a James Beard Award nomination for trailblazing a way to serve habanero peppers as a dessert—accompanied by tres leches cake and elderflower snow."

For this column, Gordinier — Esquire's Food & Drinks editor — logged "countless miles" over the last 12 months, "crisscrossing this big country looking for the best eats, the best drinks, the best backstories, the best vibes."


Remembering Jefferson Evans, the “Jackie Robinson” of Black Chefs

Jefferson Evans ’47, the first African-American graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, passed away in January at age 94. He has been called the Jackie Robinson of culinary arts, in part because Evans was a student at the CIA’s original campus in New Haven, CT before Robinson ever played a game with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The New Haven Restaurant Institute—which would eventually become the CIA—had just been founded to provide training and new skills to World War II veterans hoping to rejoin the post-war workforce. Evans, who had served in the U.S. Army during the war, applied and was accepted—after being turned down by Yale University.

The Georgia native spent a lifetime working in various restaurants, finally opening his own, “The One ’N’ Only,” in New Haven in the 1980s. He also served as a chef-instructor at the CIA from 1970 to 1975.

“Throughout the years, Chef Evans remained an inspiration to all of us, but especially to our students and alumni of African-American heritage,” said CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. “He was one-of-a-kind and will be remembered fondly.”

“Jeff the Chef” last visited his alma mater in 2014 for a special evening in his honor. The CIA chapter of the Black Culinarian Society (BCS), along with The Veterans Association & Auxiliary Club and The Word Poetry Club, joined together to celebrate Jefferson Evans and his career. During the event at the Hyde Park, NY campus, the BCS presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Veterans Association bestowed upon him its Warrior Leadership Award, and the Word Poetry Club gave him The Damien Williams Impact Award in memory of the club’s founder. Representatives of each student organization said they felt Mr. Evans had influenced them in a different way.

“Of all of the awards I’ve been given, these mean the most because this is where it all started,” Mr. Evans said after receiving the three awards.

Just last year, Evans self-published his autobiography, Why Do People Treat Me the Way They Do? The book’s foreword is written by CIA alumnus Alex Askew, who founded the Black Culinarian Society while a CIA student and co-founded the Black Culinarian Alliance—now BCA Global—which was originally an alumni chapter of BCS.

Mr. Evans died at Yale New Haven Hospital, in the same city where, as a student, he broke down color barriers and began a successful culinary career.


Eater 38 D.C. Archive

Eater recently changed how it updates its quarterly Eater 38, the site's guide to the best neighborhood restaurants around town. Instead of writing a new post each month, we're updating the same post each month so that readers can avoid stumbling on outdated maps while they're searching. But sometimes it's fun to see what restaurants were important during a previous quarter or year. So starting this month, for those who are curious which restaurants used to be on the list, Eater will keep a running tally of former Eater 38 restaurant players. This list will be updated each quarter at the same time the Eater 38 gets updated.

Cork Wine Bar: Eater's giving this excellent wine bar, famous for its avocado toast, time to settle in with a new chef.

Fishnet: Fishnet's Shaw location, home to the stunning FishNook tasting menu, closed this summer for a revamp.

Blacksalt: Jeff Black offers stunning seafood at this Palisades favorite, which has temporarily closed for renovations.

DCity Smokehouse:The barbecue joint is temporarily closed before it moves to a new location, though some of its food can be found at sister bar Wicked Bloom.

DGS Delicatessen: A premiere destination for Jewish cooking. DGS will change things up in January with a hummus bar in the basement.

Graffiato: Mike Isabella's restaurant is known for its Jersey-style Italian food.

Bayou Bakery:Now with two locations, Bayou Bakery is a rare source for Cajun cuisine in the D.C. area.

Pizzeria Orso:Neapolitan-style pizza is what to find at this Falls Church restaurant, which recently got its pies certified.

Kapnos: Eater swapped out the original Kapnos for the buzzy Kapnos Taverna in Ballston (which is a bit more seafood-focused).

Crane & Turtle: This ambitious, French-Japanese restaurant is slated to close later in April.

Ben's Chili Bowl: A D.C. icon and home of the half-smoke (though the sausage has become widespread since, even with some artisan takes), this is a late-night haunt for tourists and locals alike.

Water & Wall: Tim Ma's Virginia Square restaurant shows some Asian and Southern influences, though its menu defies easy categorization.

Mintwood Place: This casual Adams Morgan hangout is the place to go for dishes like escargot hush puppies, elegant French bistro fare, and a terrific hamburger.

Proof: This longtime wine bar in Penn Quarter is known for its cheeses, charcuterie, and dishes like a shrimp burger.

Osteria Morini: This New York transplant has some of the best desserts in the city, and also excels at pastas and wood-fired items.

Peter Chang: This roving chef has opened two locations in D.C. to highlight his Szechuan cooking.

Tico: Michael Schlow's first restaurant in D.C. is a festive and colorfully-designed restaurant with influences from Mexico and his other travel destinations.

Ripple: Marjorie Meek-Bradley cemented her reputation as one of the city's top chefs at this wine-focused restaurant in Cleveland Park she's since opened Roofers Union and Smoked & Stacked.

Brine: This seafood restaurant, from the Rappahannock Oyster Company, is known not only for its oysters and fish, but for its killer burger. Located in Virginia's Mosaic District.

Toki Underground: It's worth the wait for a bowl of the Taiwanese-style ramen that includes varieties like curry chicken and kimchi. Original chef Erik Bruner-Yang recently parted ways with the restaurant.

Espita Mezcaleria: This Shaw spot is one of the most exciting Mexican restaurants to debut in the area in recent years, with mezcal as a major focus. The kitchen really shows off its skills with its mole preparations.

Bar Pilar: At this 14th Street hot spot, try dishes like fried chicken skins, roasted sweetbreads and lamb belly Bolognese while sipping a Pimm's slushie.

Sushiko: Under brothers Piter and Handry Tjan, Sushiko has become one of D.C.'s best destinations for sushi.

Beefsteak: Chef Jose Andres is working to shake up the world of fast-casual dining with this vegetable-focused restaurant concept.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon: This Adams Morgan mainstay boasts a Southern-style restaurant, rooftop tiki bar, and embedded speakeasy (Dram & Grain).

SER: Specializing in Spanish cooking, imported sidras, and four-course, family-style tasting dinners.

The Source by Wolfgang Puck: The award-winning, Newseum-adjacent restaurant bids farewell to executive chef Scott Drewno in April 2017.

Wiseguy NY Pizza: Home to thin-crust, New York-style pies, thick Sicilian-style pizzas, and buttery, herb-covered garlic knots.

Bantam King: From the team behind Daikaya and Haikan, Bantam King is D.C.'s first restaurant dedicated entirely to chicken ramen.

Bourbon Steak: The newly revamped lounge is the most affordable — and really, the best — way to experience this Georgetown restaurant. Chef Joe Palma recently departed to serve as culinary director of Isabella Eatery in Tysons Corner.

Osteria Morini: Though this restaurant, an import from New York, built its early D.C. reputation on its pastas, charcuterie dishes and Italian cocktails are also worth exploring here.

Barrel + Crow: This neighborhood eatery is doing some retooling following the departure of Tabard Inn alum Pedro Matamoros earlier this summer.

Jaleo: A fixture of the D.C. culinary scene for about 20 years, Jaleo remains the standard-bearer for tapas in the minds of many local diners.

The Partisan: Find a dizzying array of charcuterie at Neighborhood Restaurant Group's gift to meat eaters.

Requin Brasserie: This Mosaic District restaurant is in transition following the departure of co-founder Jennifer Carroll.

Kapnos Taverna: The seafood-friendly version of restaurateur Mike Isabella's Greek-themed eatery now boasts multiple locations in the D.C. area.

Hai Duong: This Vietnamese standby serves traditional fare including banh xeo (savory crepes) and herb-laced pho.

Bombay Club: Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj's Bombay Club is one of those old school D.C. restaurants that has been a favorite among politicians for ages.

Del Campo: Restaurateur Victor Albisu closed his South American grill in March 2018. The Penn Quarter location is being split between the first permanent Taco Bamba in the District and Albisu's forthcoming Mexican restaurant, Poca Madre.

Proof: This wine-friendly establishment is part of the Fat Baby, Inc. family of restaurants (Estadio, Doi Moi).

Range: Top Chef alum Bryan Voltaggio closed his debut D.C. restaurant in April 2018.

Zaytinya: Jose Andres' Mediterranean-style eatery may be even more popular than his flagship Jaleo.

Zenebech: This decades-old Ethiopian restaurant relocated from Shaw to Adams Morgan in mid-2017, but has been closed for most of 2018. Management says it plans to re-open.

2941: This Falls Church mainstay manages to strike a balance between elegant and casual, and between straightforward and elaborate cooking.

All-Purpose: Crowds continue to pour into chef Mike Friedman’s gourmet pizza spot to indulge in artful appetizers, seasonally themed pies, and spirited beverages.

The Bird: This poultry-centric Logan Circle eatery features offerings such as pheasant ramen, foie gras bread pudding, and vegan-friendly curried vegetable offerings.

Hank’s Oyster Bar: Regardless of the location (there are also Hank’s restaurants in Alexandria, Dupont Circle, and now at the Wharf), find delicious fish and chips, lobster rolls, oysters, and more.

Hazel: This Neighborhood Restaurant Group member is in transition following the departure of chef and founder Rob Rubba.

Izakaya Seki: This underrated Asian restaurant puts out some of the best raw fish in the area.

Lapis: Here’s somewhere to go for modern Afghan cooking, in an atmosphere that manages to be both classy and homey.

Republic: This Takoma Park restaurant from chef Jeff Black and Danny Wells has lots of oysters and a strong brunch menu (especially the seafood offerings).


Recipe Summary

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 10 large button mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups red wine
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Season chicken thighs all over with salt and black pepper.

Place bacon in a large, oven-proof skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate, leaving drippings in the skillet.

Increase heat to high and place chicken, skin-side down, into skillet. Cook in hot skillet until browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon drippings from the skillet.

Lower heat to medium-high saute mushrooms, onion, and shallots with a pinch of salt in the hot skillet until golden and caramelized, 7 to 12 minutes.

Stir flour and butter into vegetable mixture until completely incorporated, about 1 minute.

Pour red wine into the skillet and bring to a boil while scraping browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir bacon and thyme into red wine mixture simmer until wine is about 1/3 reduced, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour chicken broth into wine mixture and set chicken thighs into skillet bring wine and stock to a simmer.

Cook chicken in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Spoon pan juices over the chicken and continue cooking until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 30 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Transfer chicken to a platter.

Place skillet over high heat and reduce pan juices, skimming fat off the top as necessary, until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper remove and discard thyme. Pour sauce over chicken.


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WASHINGTON DC RESTAURANT NEWS ARCHIVE

Chop’t Creative Salad Company has opened its second Washington, DC location in Dupont Circle. As at its first location in Penn Quarter, each salad on the menu also includes a pairing suggestion for the most complementary of the 26 homemade salad dressings otherwise diners can choose their favorite from Chop’t’s selections. These DC locations are the first restaurants in the country to offer Boylan’s “vintage soda pop” as a fountain drink. Chop’t, 1300 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 202-327-2255.

Cork Wine Bar has opened its doors at Logan Circle in the 14th Street corridor. It will offer 35 wines by the glass and 130 bottles from small producers in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria. The kitchen features chef Ron Tanaka, formerly of CityZen, who cooks modern and classic fare. The owners worked in collaboration with wine consultant Vickie Reh to develop a list of over 130 old-world wines, partial to France–particularly the Rhône Valley–and Italy. Cork Wine Bar, 1720 14th St., Washington, DC, 202-265-2675, www.corkdc.com.

The multi-level Alto Plaza opens its doors to a Nuevo Latino dining experience. The first level features a bar-lounge area and casual dining that continues onto the second floor. Also on level two is a large meeting room, wired for presentations, complete with a plasma screen and internet access. The third level is reservations-only and features fine dining, live music and a cigar bar. Good for al fresco dining during the warmer months are the wraparound patios on all three floors, with big floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding each lounge. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch with hours on Mon.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m.-midnight. For reservations or further information call 703-266-8811 or visit www.altoplaza.net. Alto Plaza, 5800 Old Centreville Rd., Centreville, Va.

Vinifera Bistro & Wine Bar opens in Reston this May. Vinifera is named after the vine species that produces over 99 percent of the world's wines today. With Matthew Mohler acting as executive chef, the restaurant-bar will serve innovative American cuisine with global influences, showcasing seasonal, local and sustainable products. The restaurant’s bar area will offer more than 200 local, domestic and international wines, plus signature cocktails and microbrews. Located in the soon-to-open Westin Reston Heights, the restaurant will be accessible directly from the street. An outdoor patio that seats 70 will also open when weather allows. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Vinifera Bistro & Wine Bar, 11750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston, Va.

Co Co. Sala opened its doors in the heart of the Penn Quarter as a coffee, chocolate and cocktail lounge. The 130-seat restaurant will initially offer dinner and late-night service, and will begin offering breakfast and lunch service in early March. Co Co. Sala will specialize in espresso and chocolate-based drinks, artisanal chocolates, and pastries. Along with the desserts, Co Co. Sala’s kitchen offers selections like the Trio of Sliders, which includes a spicy Moroccan swordfish, blue cheese-stuffed sirloin burger and tandoori-spiced chicken. For the ultimate chocolate indulgence, the evening menu will feature multi-course chocolate desserts with flavors derived from cuisines of various countries. The restaurant will also feature displays of remarkable sugar and chocolate sculptures appropriate for the seasons. Co Co. Sala, Penn Quarter, 929 F St. NW, Washington, DC.

Commemorating one of America’s earliest presidents, Jackson 20—in honor of Andrew Jackson—has opened in Alexandria’s Old Town featuring, not surprisingly, American fare. Chef Jeff Armstrong’s menu emphasizes ingredients sourced from local farmers and local waters, highlighting American dishes with Southern influences. Armstrong worked most recently as executive chef of Keswick Hall at Monticello in nearby Charlottesville, Va. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, bar snacks and dinner. Jackson 20, 480 King St. in Old Town, Alexandria, Va., 703-549-6080.

Chef-owner Howsoon Cham opened the doors of his new restaurant, Café Tropé, just two short blocks from Dupont Circle at 2100 P St. NW, Washington. The intimate 75-seat restaurant features the distinctive flavors of French Caribbean cuisine. Starting in February, the restaurant will serve lunch Wednesday to Friday and dinner nightly plus brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The name Café Tropé is derived from France’s charming port town of Saint Tropez. The chef owns Red Ginger Caribbean & Latin American Bistro in Georgetown. For more information, call 202-223-9335.

Taking Penn Quarter by storm, the all salad/all the time eatery Chop’t is jam-packed with greens-loving folk who want a salad their way. This idea should catch on big when other locations open up metro-wide. Chop’t, 730 Seventh St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-347-3225.

Wildfire will open its first DC-area location at Tysons Galleria in McLean, Va. The restaurant, a 1940s-style steak and chophouse, offers an extensive menu that features broiled steaks and chops, wood-roasted seafood and spit-roasted meats, as well as salads and sandwiches. Wildfire also offers a gluten-free menu for both lunch and dinner for guests with celiac disease. In addition, the Wildfire kids’ menu includes wood-fired cheese pizza and barbecued ribs and fries. Wildfire will be open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Wildfire, 1714U International Dr., 3rd floor, McLean, Va., 703-442-9110, www.wildfirerestaurant.com.

Accented by such touches as two giant chandeliers designed by Dale Chihuly, The Park features creative American classics, from vine-ripened tomato soup with a crouton of grilled artisanal cheese and tomato concassé, to short ribs two ways: slow-roasted oven-braised barbecue short ribs and classically braised beef short ribs. For dessert, offerings include a fresh homemade cinnamon sugar donut with a frozen cappuccino custard topped with a cool cream foam. The first two floors are devoted to dinner service, where guests can watch the chefs at work in an exhibition kitchen, creating their take on classic American cuisine. The top two floors serve as lounge areas and private event space. Dinners only. The Park, 920 14th St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-737-7275.

The restaurant at Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center Bethesda, OZ. Restaurant (pronounced oh-zee), is a full-service eatery in the venue’s new Great Room. It features Zen flair and centers its offerings on mental and physical well-being. All proteins are priced and served by the ounce, all non-entrée items are less than 490 calories, and all desserts are “served by the spoon.” OZ. Restaurant, Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center Bethesda, 8120 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, Md., 301-652-2000.

Wolfgang Puck has introduced Washingtonians to The Source, his first fine-dining restaurant in the nation’s capital. The modern, 11,000-square-foot, three-level restaurant is the signature dining experience at the Newseum, an interactive museum dedicated to the news. Puck tapped Scott Drewno to serve as the executive chef of the 200-seat restaurant. While the cuisine draws inspiration from Puck’s renowned signature fine-dining restaurants, including Spago Beverly Hills, Chinois on Main and CUT, the concept for The Source is the first-of-its-kind for the company. The Source offers two distinct dining experiences plus a private dining room that seats 40 guests. The diverse menu ranges from smaller plates, such as Prime beef sliders with smoked onion marmalade and white cheddar, to Puck’s signature pizzas from the wood-burning oven including the smoked salmon pizza with dill cream and caviar. Workday lunch, bar menu, and late-night dining is available in the lounge, which seats 70. In the upstairs dining room, guests can enjoy a fine-dining experience, with a menu that features modern interpretations of Asian dishes. Menu offerings include roasted suckling pig with a plum-fig chutney steamed black bass “Hong Kong”-style with baby bok choy and lacquered Chinese duckling with wild huckleberries and glass noodles. The restaurant’s wine list features more than 300 labels featuring a majority of American producers with a strong selection of international wines from Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and New Zealand. In addition, the list includes nearly one dozen bottles of saké plus saké by the glass. The Source, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC, 202-637-6100.

Big, big news for DC’s gourmets, gourmands, and devoted foodies. Opening in early November at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C. in the West End: the Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert, a casual American bistro. The restaurant will open to the public for dinner on Thursday, November 8, and for lunch and brunch starting in December. Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert, The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C., 1190 22nd St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-974-4900.

The Carlyle Club is slated to open October 18, offering the Washington metropolitan area live entertainment and fine dining. Located in the heart of Alexandria, the new Art Deco-style space features a large center stage and dance floor, a private dining room for 25 persons, and an expansive lounge and bar area. The opening weekend will feature big band entertainment, including Radio King Orchestra on the 18th, Doc Scantlin and the Imperial Palms Orchestra on the 19th, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on the 20th and 21st. The venue will be open for lunch and dinner, and provide entertainment at all services including a set dinner menu for the big name shows. Daily entertainment at lunch will typically feature piano performances, while evening entertainment will range from three-piece jazz ensembles to national headliners. Dinner for the national headliner shows will be in two seatings: the first show at 7 p.m. and the second show at 10 p.m. Dinner prices for the big name shows will range from $75-$100, which will include a four-course menu, (exclusive of beverage/alcohol) and can be reserved now. The Carlyle Club, 411 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, Va., 703-549-8957, www.thecarlyleclub.com.

Chef-owner Jamie Leeds and partner Sandy Lewis plan to bring the New England beach fare of Locanda is the newest addition to Capitol Hill and the brainchild of Aykan Demiroglu, former director of operations of Le Paradou. Executive chef Brian Barszcz, formerly of Obelisk, Tallula and Bistro Bis, presents a menu featuring Italian cooking with Mediterranean influences. Locanda, 633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC, 202-547-0002.

Owner and local entrepreneur James O’Brien is opening RedRocks FireBrickPizzeria, a pizzeria and café located in DC’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. The restaurant will offer both traditional and gourmet pizzas straight from the 800-degree brick oven, as well as café fare, including fresh panini with house-made bread, salads and starters, wines by the bottle and the glass, Chimay Triple and Allagash White on tap and 30 beers and microbrews by the bottle. RedRocks’ brick-oven pies will come in more than a dozen varieties, including the classic margherita. Open for dinner and weekend brunch. RedRocks FireBrickPizzeria, 1036 Park Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 202-320-7161.

Bluepoint, a contemporary seafood kitchen and bar, is opening in DC's Penn Quarter. It features seafood, generously cut USDA Prime Allen Brothers steaks and raw bar specialties, all complemented by hand-crafted, signature cocktails and a selection of wine and beer. Fresh fish is one of Bluepoint's specialties, including scallops, Atlantic salmon, and twin lobster tails. Bluepoint will be open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. and weekends for dinner from 4 p.m. Bluepoint, 1299 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 202-783-4545.

Replacing the now-closed David Greggory Restau-Lounge will be Hudson, slated to open in early fall. Named after the Elizabethan explorer-navigator-adventurer, the eatery will offer classic and contemporary comfort food. A protégé of chef Timothy Dean, chef Kyle Schroeder will add a touch of creativity to the restaurant’s cuisine, which will include breakfast pastries small and large lunch plates of entrées, salads and sandwiches and dinners with inventive and retro main courses, pizzas and salads. On the weekends, Hudson’s brunch will offer everything from fresh buttermilk pancakes and challah french toast to sourdough toast topped with poached eggs, jumbo lump crab cake and red pepper hollandaise. Hudson, 2030 M St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-872-8700, www.hudson-dc.com.

Il Fornaio plans to open in the Reston Town Center in August, and will bring to Northern Virginia its brand of upscale Northern Italian cooking. Claudio Zorloni, chef-partner, hails from Milano, in the Lombardia region of Italy, where he learned to cook by assisting his mother in the kitchen. Zorloni is noted for his fresh pastas made daily on-site. In addition, Il Fornaio's kitchens feature equipment like a wood-fired oven for pizza, a wood-burning rotisserie for chicken and duck, and a wood grill for the authentic bistecca alla Fiorentina, a 22-ounce certified Angus porterhouse steak. The eatery will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and for brunch on weekends. Il Fornaio, 11990 Market St., Ste. 106, Reston, Va., 703-437-5544.

King Street Blues expands its operations with its opening in Arlington’s Courthouse district. Look for its brand of barbecue and blues after mid-June. King Street Blues, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, Va., 703-243-4900.

Opened at the beginning of 2007, Grape Legs Fun Wine & Spirits on the Ninth Street corridor specializes in unique and well-priced wines. With a small selection from domestic vineyards, the focus is on wines from Argentina, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Eighty percent of the bottles are in the $7-$15 range. Grape Legs Fun Wine & Spirits, 1905 Ninth St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-387-9463.

Super-chef José Andrés moves his beloved Oyamel Cocina Mexicana to DC’s Penn Quarter, and celebrates a soft opening with dinner service now lunch service to follow soon. Hip, happening and colorful, with divine food, of course. Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, 401 Seventh St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-628-1005.

Quick-casual restaurant Bear Rock Café has opened in The Village at Shirlington in Arlington. The nature-themed eatery features a wide variety of hot sandwiches, fresh salads, oven-baked breads, soups, baked potatoes, desserts and coffee. Bear Rock Café, 2751 S. Stafford St., Arlington, 703-575-8055.

Il Mulino New York has opened. The menu features the vibrant flavors of Italian cuisine, drawing upon the Abruzzi region in Italy. All meals begin with a complimentary antipasto tasting of soppresatta, bruschetta, Reggiano Parmesan, fried zucchini and homemade garlic and focaccia bread. Additionally, all guests receive a complimentary glass of signature house grappa at the conclusion of their meal. Il Mulino New York, 1110 Vermont Ave. NW, 202-293-1001.

Jack’s Restaurant & Bar in Dupont Circle replaces Le Pigalle with a more European and neighborhood-friendly menu. At the stove is owner and executive chef Herbert Kerschbaumer, formerly of Bistro Bernoise on Macarthur Boulevard in DC. Jack’s Restaurant & Bar, 1527 17th St. NW, 202-332-6767.

Look for the opening of a new concept in steakhouses come August when BLT Steak opens at 1625 I St. NW. While the design will reflect the traditional appeal of the American steakhouse, its approach—BLT's signature "blackboard" menu will be prominently featured highlighting the menu offerings of the day—will be simpler, and more modern to appeal to the neighborhood crowd. BLT Steak, 1625 I Street NW, Washington, DC.

LIA’S, from chef and entrepreneur Geoff Tracy, owner of Chef Geoff’s (3201 New Mexico Ave. NW, 202-237-7800) and Chef Geoff’s Downtown (13th St. between E and F Streets NW, 202-464-4461), is slated to open at the end of June in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The restaurant will feature a predominantly Italian-themed menu, a “wine wall” in the dining room, twenty-plus wines by the glass, a full bar and twelve beers on tap. A patio for outdoor dining will be available during the warm season, and a private room will accommodate special events. LIA’S, 4435 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, Md., 240-223-5427, www.liasrestaurant.com.

The Blue Duck Tavern (24th and M Streets NW) is slated to open June 16. Executive chef Brian McBride will incorporate farm-fresh produce and meats in addition to freshly caught seafood on the American menu. Expect an all-American wine list with 60 wines available from California, Washington, Oregon and several other states, as well as a selection of 300 wines from around the world. The contemporary neighborhood restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily.

Chef and seafood specialist David Craig has opened his eponymous restaurant, David Craig, to showcase the modern interpretations of classic rustic preparations for which he has become well known. Craig made his debut in Washington ten years ago at Dupont Circle restaurant, Pesce, then subsequently worked at The Tabard Inn and Black's Bar & Kitchen. David Craig, 4924 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda, Md., 301-657-2484.

Tandoori Nights has unveiled a second location in the trendy Clarendon area and showcases a new type of bar scene with its Agni Lounge (fire in Hindi). The bar features unusual cocktails plus assorted Indian appetizers including the Calcutta specialty, raj kachori (chickpea patty) and jhal muri, or puffed rice, cucumber, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and roasted peanuts tossed with a sweet and sour tamarind sauce. For more information about restaurant and bar hours, visit www.tandoorinights.com or call 703-248-8333.

Rasika has opened at 633 D St. NW, (Penn Quarter), Washington, DC (202-637-1222). The name is derived from Sanskrit meaning "flavors," and the restaurant features those created by chef Vikram Sunderam, who relocated to DC after being at Bombay Brasserie in London for 14 years. The concept promotes authentic Indian fare with a modern emphasis. Signature dishes include the crispy spinach salad with date and tamarind sauce black cod with fresh dill, star anise and fennel seeds cooked in a clay oven and tawa Dover sole hand-rubbed with chile and prepared on the griddle.

Lucky Strike Lanes has opened in Chinatown, with a Hollywood-influenced take on dining and bowling. Bowl on state-of-the-art lanes and enjoy gourmet dining and cocktails in this spot that offers lounge seating surrounded by the work of local artists. Lucky Strike also features a sports bar with three high-definition screens and eight 40-inch plasma TVs, as well as billiard tables and a patio. Lucky Strike Lanes, Gallery Place, 701 Seventh St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-347-1021.

Fogo de Chão has opened in downtown at 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (202-347-4668). This steakhouse is a churrascaria, where meat is slow-roasted in the “gaucho” tradition and carved tableside.

Sette Bello, a sister restaurant to DC’s Café Milano and Sette Osteria, has opened in Arlington. Sette Bello offers an exotic "Italian sushi" bar that includes carpaccio, tuna, octopus, salmon and Italian rice. In addition to the raw bar, this newcomer also presents a full Italian menu as well as a 46-foot bar, expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, a fireplace, private party room and an open pizza oven. Sette Bello, 3101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va., 703-351-1004.


Newcomer Oya Restaurant & Lounge brings the style and appeal of Los Angeles to Washington, DC’s Penn Quarter, with food by executive chef-partner Kingsley John. Oya offers a world cuisine with flavors of Asia, West Africa, Morocco and St. Lucia, drawing from the background of its native West Indies chef. Dishes at Oya include lentil soup with plantain-oxtail gnocchi braised short ribs with vanilla pear purée and tostones and grilled green curry lobster with red rice. There’s a late-night dining menu as well, served until 1 a.m. Oya, 777 Ninth St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-393-1400, www.oyadc.com.

Old Homestead Steakhouse has opened in Bethesda in the Chevy Chase Bank Building at 7501 Wisconsin Ave., offering Kobe beef as its signature item. Other locations include New York (56 Ninth Ave., 212-242-9040) and Chef-restaurateur Richard Sandoval is slated to start construction on a second

Named for its central downtown-DC location, Central Michel Richard came into being because of Michel Richard's desire to have a place where his children could dine on delicious yet straightforward cooking that is American, French and whimsical—and less expensive than his signature and very upscale Michel Richard Citronelle located in Georgetown. Central features creative twists on American classics, such as lobster and beef burgers and roasted chicken. The menu also features homemade charcuterie and fresh oysters. The restaurant seats about 220, with private dining spaces giving guests a choice of a wine room view or a media dining room with flat screen HDTV. The wine list, created by Citronelle's Mark Slater and Brian Zipin, is a 100-bottle list focusing on small producers, predominantly from France and the U.S., with representation from the best of other regions including Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain. Central Michel Richard, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC.

Eric Ripert, chef at New York’s Le Bernardin and Barça 18 restaurants, will be opening Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C. sometime this spring. Ripert’s menu will feature organic produce and fresh seafood prepared in a shielded open kitchen providing diners with a behind-the-scenes view.

Bastille features updated Franco-Mediterranean cuisine with vintages to match. It is the culmination of chefs Christophe Poteaux and Michelle Garbee's dream of opening their own restaurant. Both are formerly of Aquarelle at The Watergate. A variety of small plates and entrées are available with wines selected with pairing in mind. Bastille, 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria, Va., 703-519-3776.

Chef Shuffle

Bobby Varua is the new executive chef of 701, bringing with him plenty of experience. His previous jobs include stints with China Grill, Nougatine, Aureole, Daniel and The Plaza hotel in New York City. Joining Varua is pastry chef Christine Plante. 701, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 202-393-0701.

Executive chef Matt Hill will be returning to Charlie Palmer Steak in DC to helm the kitchen starting February 15. Hill, who currently heads up the kitchen at the newly opened Charlie Palmer Steak and Fin Fish in Reno and was instrumental in the opening of Charlie Palmer Steak in DC nearly five years ago, will be replacing executive chef Bryan Voltaggio, who leaves to open his own restaurant. Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 202-547-8100.

After moving from Maestro in The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner to a short-term assignment in Baltimore, Stefano Frigerio moves to DC’s Mio restaurant as its new executive chef. As Fabio Trabocchi’s right-hand man, Frigerio has sterling kitchen credentials and should help put this struggling newcomer on the DC dining map. Mio, 1110 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 202-955-0075.

Chef Ricky Moore, who recently departed Agraria Restaurant in Washington Harbour (3000 K St. NW, Washington, 202-298-0003), has been named executive chef at indebleu (707 G St. NW, Washington, 202-333-2538). No news yet on the destination of chef Vikram Garg.

Jonathan Krinn, who with his father made 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church a must-go destination, has left to open a new restaurant, name and destination still a secret. 2941 Restaurant, Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church, Va., 703-270-1500.

Nongkran Daks of Thai Basil in Chantilly, Virginia, has become a partner in a second restaurant of the same name in Ashburn. Thai Basil, 14511-P Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy., Chantilly, Va., 703-631-8277.

Chef de cuisine Karen Hayes and pastry chef Bruce Connell are overseeing the kitchen at Roof Terrace Restaurant at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-416-8555).

Ashok Bajaj, head of the restaurant group that includes Bombay Club, Bajaj 701, The Oval Room, Ardeo, Bardeo and Rasika, has announced the appointment of Joy Ludwig as pastry chef for both The Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 202-463-8700), and Bombay Club (815 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 202-659-3727). Ludwig formerly baked at Daniel Bortnick is the new executive chef of Dupont Circle restaurant and lounge, Barton Seaver moves from Café Saint-Ex (1847 14th St. NW, Washington, 202-265-7839) to Hook in Georgetown.

Moving from 701 to the kitchen of Ardeo/Bardeo is Trent Conry. He will be replaced at 701 by his colleague Alexander Powell, a native of Jamaica who has cooked in Manhattan with Jean-George Vongerichten and in the Bahamas.

Replacing Anthony Chittum at Dish + drinks, Peggy Newbold Thompson will take over the kitchen, coming from the Georgetown Club.

Jamie Leeds, owner and executive chef of Hank's Oyster Bar, has appointed William Beck as general manager and Karen Hayes as sous chef to the 65-seat restaurant. Hank's Oyster Bar, 1624 Q St. NW, Washington, 202-462-4265.

Daniel Kenney has been named executive chef for the Willard InterContinental Washington, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 202-637-7318.

Chef-owner Bob Kinkead of Kinkead’s has announced the appointments of Hichem Lahreche as the restaurant’s new pastry chef and Todd Schiller as chef de cuisine to his downtown restaurant. In Virginia, at Bob Kinkead's Colvin Run Tavern (8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, 703-356-9500) he has promoted Chris Newsome to its chef de cuisine. Jeff Gaetjen, formerly the establishment’s chef de cuisine, has been named corporate chef for all of Bob Kinkead’s restaurants, including Kinkead’s, Sibling Rivalry in Boston (525 Tremont St., 617-338-5338) and Bob Kinkead's Colvin Run Tavern.

Owner Ashok Bajaj has tapped Matthew Secich to be the new executive chef of The Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 202-463-8700).

Duane Keller has been named the new executive chef at Dupont Grille Restaurant (1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, 202-939-9596). Keller, a veteran of DC restaurants including Potowmack Landing Restaurant and the Hyatt Regency Reston’s Market Street Bar & Grill, will maintain Dupont’s menu of modern American cuisine with regional influences and a focus on seasonal seafood specialties. In addition to his duties at Dupont Grille, he will also serve as executive chef for Jurys Washington Hotel, where Dupont Grille is located.

Jeffrey G. Potter has been named the new executive chef-in-residence and general manager of Market Salamander in Middleburg, Va. Oversight of special events including wine and cooking classes is included among Potter’s responsibilities. For more information, call 540-687-8011. Market Salamander, 200 W. Washington St., Middleburg, Va.

Mark Hellyar is now chef de cuisine of Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt Washington. Most recently, Hellyar was at NoMI in Chicago, Oxford's Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons and The Fat Duck in Bray, England. Blue Duck Tavern, 24th & M St. NW, Washington, DC, 202-789-1234.

Antonio (Tony) Conte has been named executive chef of The Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-463-8700). Conte previously held the position of executive sous chef at


Jeff Mahin

Jeff Mahin is a chef/partner at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) and the creative force behind Stella Barra Pizzeria (Santa Monica, Hollywood, Chicago, Bethesda), Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago, Bethesda), Do-Rite Donuts (Chicago), and M Street Kitchen (Santa Monica). At just 33 years old, Mahin has accumulated several industry accolades including Zagat “30 under 30” list in 2012, Forbes “30-under-30” list of hospitality industry up-and-comers in 2012 and Restaurant Hospitality’s “13 to watch in 2013,” as well as been a contestant on the first season of ABC’s “The Taste.”

Mahin spent much of his teen years using his natural talent and instinct to construct and deconstruct whatever foods he touched within his family’s kitchen. At age 17, Mahin began his professional training at the California Culinary Academy and later studied science and mathematics at University of California, Berkley. Mahin has had experience working in prestigious kitchens around the country from Nobu in New York City to San Francisco’s Millennium, Blackhawk Grill and Patrick David’s. In 2006, he became a laboratory assistant at the three-star Michelin rated restaurant, The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, England under chef/owner Heston Blumenthal.

In 2007, Mahin headed back to the U.S. where he assisted famed chef Laurent Gras in opening L2O in Chicago, LEYE's Michelin-starred, modern seafood restaurant. He then started as a corporate chef within LEYE, collaborating closely with the hospitality group's partners including Lettuce founder Rich Melman to develop new recipes for the group's more than 100 restaurants.

Mahin opened his first LEYE concept, artisanal pizzeria Stella Barra Pizzeria, in Santa Monica in 2011 with LEYE managing partners R.J. and Jerrod Melman. There he experimented with more than 30 different variations to create restaurant’s signature pizza crust, using locally-milled flour and farmer’s market ingredients to make up the ever-changing menu. His California concepts also include M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica and a second location of Stella Barra in Hollywood.

In 2012, Mahin expanded to Chicago, partnering with Chef Francis Brennan to open artisanal doughnut shop Do-Rite Donuts and in summer 2014, Mahin and Brennan opened the second Do-Rite location in downtown Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. Do-Rite’s doughnuts are prepared daily in small batches and utilize seasonal ingredients like Meyer lemon in the winter and fraise des bois in the spring.

In addition to Do-Rite, Mahin increased his Chicago presence in fall 2013 with two new Lincoln Park restaurants: his third iteration of Stella Barra, as well as a new concept, Summer House Santa Monica, bringing laid-back California-style cuisine to the Windy City. Designed to evoke a laidback, friendly vibe reminiscent of the Golden State, Summer House serves an ever-changing menu that spotlights locally-sourced produce and ingredients whenever possible, and also boasts Mahin’s signature artisanal bread program.

In early 2015, Mahin expanded to the Washington, DC market, opening the fourth location of Stella Barra and the second location of Summer House Santa Monica in North Bethesda, MD.

Mahin is also an ambassador for Chefs Cycle, a fundraising endurance event featuring award-winning chefs fighting childhood hunger outside the kitchen. Last year, Jeff and over 100 other chefs from around the country raised over 1 million dollars to battle childhood hunger in the U.S. Next year, Jeff plans to ride across the U.S. with fellow chefs to raise money and awareness for No Kid Hungry and Chefs Cycle.

When Mahin isn’t cooking or riding his bike, he can be seen on a variety of cooking shows including Sugar Showdown on Cooking Channel. He also has a passion for health and nutrition, and enjoys discussing food and with some of the country’s leading nutritionists.


B&B Fish Open in Marblehead

B&B Fish Instagram

North Shore diners and anyone looking to take a mini, food-focused road trip – chef Jason Santos’ new Marblehead restaurant, B&B Fish, is now open for business. His fourth endeavor (sister to Buttermilk & Bourbon, Citrus & Salt and Abby Lane), B&B Fish, located at 195 Pleasant Street, is a sleek but casual culinary homage to New England’s classic clam shack but with a bit of a whimsy and some southern flair.

Working with his longtime Buttermilk & Bourbon chef, Jeff DeCandia, Santos has come up with a menu that gives all those classic summertime seaside favorites – lobster rolls, fried clams, fish and chips – their due…and then some. Guests can mix and max flavors with a wide array of sauces (tarragon tartar, crystal cocktail, Creole remoulade and white bbq) and augment their meal with sides like clam chowder, biscuits, Mexican street corn, black truffle parmesan fries and Vidalia onion rings. There’ll be sweets like beignets, fried oreos, soft-serve cones and a variety of creative ice cream sundaes.

The shoreline spot is open every day from 11:00am-7:00pm (‘til 8:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays), for grab-and-go take-out counter-service with limited seating inside and out on their patio. They’ll have delivery, too. Take a peek at the menu and start mapping out your route to Marblehead.


Interview with Ex Chef Jeff Buerhaus And His ‘Forbidden Shrimp’ Recipe

Maralyn: Chef, do you have a favorite recipe? I know that is a difficult question to have a favorite, but sometimes there is one that is special to you.

Chef Jeff: My current favorite recipe is our “Forbidden Shrimp.” It’s an interesting twist on traditional seafood.

Maralyn: Do you have any favorite spices?

Chef Jeff: I really enjoy working with Thai curries and Indian curries, such as vindaloo and house curry mixes. Because they are bold and complex in flavor, it is really fun to incorporate in dishes that might not commonly call for them. As a chef always working to develop new flavors, these spices provide good inspiration.

Maralyn: Do you have a favorite utensil to use in the kitchen?

Chef Jeff: Besides my chef knife that will do 99 percent of everything I need, I love my immersion blender. It can take 5 gallons of ingredients and create a silky smooth consistency in a matter of just a few minutes.

Maralyn: Do you have any tips for those desiring to become a chef?

Chef Jeff: I always tell someone interested in becoming a chef to work a couple of jobs in the field before signing up for culinary school. It’s really the only way to truly know if it is what you want to do, and it definitely opens your eyes as to what to expect from being a chef. Experienced chefs know that it is not just as it’s portrayed on today’s popular television shows.

Maralyn: What is your favorite station to work, appetizers, hotline, pastry, etc.?

Chef Jeff: One of my favorite stations is the hot appetizer station, because you get to create many small plates as opposed to maybe just a few on the hot line. Also, the appetizers are often part of a customer’s first impressions of the restaurant, so I like making sure they are perfect.

Walter’s Forbidden Shrimp” by Chef/Ower Jeff Buerhaus

Ingredients:

4 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Forbidden Rice:

½ cup Chinese black rice, cooked

1/8 cup edamame cooked, chilled and smashed

1 ounce sweet Chinese sausauge, thinely sliced on bias

Korean BBQ Sauce:

2 tablespoon minced cilantro

1 tablespoon Chinese red pepper paste

Combine all in Robo Coup and drizzle in 1/4 cup canola oil until well incorporated.

Method:

In hot black skillet with 1 tablespoon oil, sear seasoned shrimp for 2-3 minutes on both sies till done.

In hot black skillet or wok with 2 tablespoons oil, add Shemiji mushrooms, shallot and Chinese sausage and saute 1-2 minutes.

Add basil leaves and stir-fry till hot.

Serve Hot Forbidden Rice on plate, top with cooked shrimp and drizzle Korean BBQ around shrimp.

Garnish with sliced scallions.

Thank you Chef Jeff. You can learn more about Jeff Buerhaus of Walter’s at:


EDIBLE ESSAY: A COMMUNITY OF FARMERS AND CHEFS


Top, clockwise: Potluck supper at Water Boy Farms Local Yocal owner Matt Hamilton
and his wife Heather Harvest chef Andrea Shackelford grilling cabbage
chef Jeff Qualls and wife Michelle, owners of Rye, with local foodie Adam Pagano. McKinney
restaurateur Rick Wells with Patina Green chef Robert Lyford and chef Andre Bedouret.

Picture a potluck summer supper with a hundred guests gathered in a pastoral setting. A large garden and wildflower meadow are framed by shady groves. Serving tables are heaped with platters of lovingly prepared dishes. A friendly competition and mutual appreciation exists amongst the crowd. Shortly after the long line of diners have settled themselves into familiar conversations and beautiful plates of food, a storm blows in from the west. Tall, looming black clouds bring a sudden shower. With a sense of camaraderie, people begin picking up plates, chairs and glasses, helping each other seek cover amidst the sounds of clinking china, silverware, thunder and lots of laughter.

The scene of the event was Water Boy Farms in Lucas, home of Rick and Robbin Wells. Broadly involved in the local food community, Rick is the owner of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen and Rick’s Chophouse in downtown McKinney. The summer gathering might well have been a family reunion. Half of the attending farmers, ranchers, food artisans and chefs have been friends and colleagues for years, and the others are quickly creating relationships. All are part of a community striving to produce and prepare the best locally grown food in Texas.

Communities are born out of shared need and common purpose. That’s exactly what has happened over recent years in historically agricultural Collin County, where the supportive relationship between chefs and farmers has benefited from the accelerated demands of savvy diners with a taste for regional cuisine, locally sourced heirloom produce and grass-fed protein. Contrary to national trends, small family farms are thriving here.


Top to bottom: Slicing up supper, chef George Brown, Experimental Table,
and Andrew Trollinger chef Katie Brown, Experimental Table, with
writer/grower Tom Motley and wife Becca from Harvest, owner Rick Wells
and chef Andrea Shackelford with Patina Green’s chef Robert Lyford
from Pure Land Organic—Allan Couch, Jack and Megan Neubauer.

As a founding vendor at the Historic McKinney Farmers Market, which opened at Chestnut Square in 2007, I have witnessed the natural progression and expansion of our farm-to-table community firsthand. To stand out from the crowd, I offered heirloom herbs and hard-to-find produce like striped Listada eggplant and lemon cucumbers. The first year, I did more educating than selling.

The McKinney Farmers Market often serves as the initial meeting place between chefs and farmers, and both groups offer their support each year to help raise funds for this bustling marketplace. In May, chefs Andrea Shackelford of Harvest, Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market and Jeff Qualls of Rye teamed up for the annual Farm-to-Market Dinner at the market’s historic site. All items for the popular event were donated by the market’s vendors.

Each Saturday, chef Jeff arrives just before the market opens. He surveys the day’s offerings and makes selections for Rye’s weekly planned plates. The restaurant, housed in the former law office of Texas Governor James W. Throckmorton (1866-67), is an intimate, brick-walled space with the feel of a rustic enoteca.

Jeff, a local boy who grew up in nearby Sherman, trained at the Culinary Institute of America, both in Hyde Park, NY, and at the Greystone campus, Napa Valley. His knowledge of wines is impressive, and he frequently joins business neighbor Andy Doyle from the McKinney Wine Merchant to plan wine-pairing dinners. For years, chefs have relied on Andy’s expertise and flawless palate.

Jeff purchases duck eggs and duck from Keelee and Mark Page’s Circle 15 Farms in Gunter. His dish Duck, Duck, Mousse is a crispy quette and duck liver pate with Luxardo cherry-duck jus. “A trio of mini entrees,” says Jeff. “We showcase whole-bird cooking.”

Such unique dishes are invented during the dialogue between chef and farmer, and as these symbiotic relationships progress, farmers grow items by request.

For a July dinner, chef Robert of Patina Green built his tasting menu around produce from Pure Land Organic farm, a 26-acre operation run by father-daughter team Jack and Megan Neubauer, using their shishitos, Rocky Ford melons and fermented chiles. The farm also grows dewberries, blackberries and Golden Nugget tomatoes.

The vibrant exchange over a delicious plate of locally
sourced food provides the common-goal catalyst
for farmer/chef friendships to thrive

Chef Robert, who trained at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, offers cooking classes several times a year in the big farmhouse kitchen of Leslie Luscombe, fourth generation owner of Luscombe Farm in Anna. On the second and fourth Sundays of the month through September, Leslie hosts a seasonal market at her farm, and the farm’s signature line of preserves, pickle relish and sauces are used at Patina Green, Rick’s Chophouse and Harvest.

I first met Leslie at the McKinney Farmers Market in 2010. She had rented a small space, setting out her colorful jam jars on one 3-by- 6-foot folding table, near my big tent’s seasoned display. She had no tent. No chair, so I loaned her one. We hit it off right away. Her preserves tasted like history.

Leslie uses her own fruit, plus seasonal produce from neighboring farms. Old Luscombe family fig trees provide the base for her popular fig preserves. She knows the location of forgotten, weedy groves of plums and pears and ancient stands of berries, far off any road. “As a child,” she recalls, “I loved canning and making jelly with my aunt and Granny, right here on the same farm.”

CIA grads Katie and George Brown met on the school’s Hyde Park campus. Their triplets—Oliver, William and Clementine—are being raised up in the country on the Browns’ rural acreage in Lucas and are valid evidence of the growth of Collin County family farms. Five years ago, the Browns relocated their upscale Dallas catering business to the Lucas property. These days, the children balance baseball and piglets, volleyball and pullets, science-class and lambing.

The farm is home to cows, pigs, sheep and heritage breed chickens, as well as several culinary ventures. George ages and cures beef, ham and charcuterie from his stock and partners on events with rancher and butcher shop owner Matt Hamilton (Local Yocal Farm to Market).

For the Browns’ catering company, Experimental Table, Katie makes her famous pastries using eggs from their pastured flock. Katie says, “The biggest difference I have noticed using eggs from our free range chickens is the way the yolks color cakes and custards. Our hens’ egg yolks are deep orange colored, resulting in true yellow cakes like the pioneers made. I feel I’ve tapped into an American tradition.”

Restaurateur Rick Wells puts his farm-to-table values to practice at both of his establishments. His restaurant Harvest represents the culmination of years of collaborative brainstorming and planning with local farmers. Harvest chef Andrea Shackelford’s extensive work history (with Dallas legends Tim Bevins and Graham Dodds) and her upbringing (as a child of gardeners) prepared her to take the helm of the this farm-to-table venture. She is also the consulting manager of Water Boy Farms and is nearing completion of a coveted Master Gardeners Certification. Andrea maintains excellent rap own planting experience provides her with a genuine hands-in-the-dirt appreciation for the farmers’ eff orts.

At Rick’s Chophouse bar, mixologist Keisha Allen serves up her Garden of Eden cocktail pairing a slice of Water Boy Farms’ cucumber with my own Motley silver lemon thyme frozen in an ice cube.

The drink’s complexity evolves as the melting ice combines the released flavor of the thyme with cucumber amidst the secret mix of lush spirits.

Another of Rick’s initiatives is the important North Texas Farm-to- Table Symposium, begun in 2015. Th ese quarterly dinner gatherings bring together area food growers, gardeners, artisans, brewers and chefs to discuss selected ag production and marketing issues. The chosen topics are relevant and instructive.

Having been privileged to attend most of the symposia, I’ve seen the event’s significant impact on our local food community. But possibly the most important thing that happens is the individual exchange of information and the discussions that occur at each table, up close and personal. The vibrant exchange over a delicious plate of locally sourced food provides the common-goal catalyst for farmer/ chef friendships to thrive. The practice of farm-to-table principles in Collin County is a community effort.

The next North Texas Farm-to-Table Symposium is on October 6. For information, go to Texas A&M AgriLife link: collin. agrilife.org/event/north-texas-farm-to-table-symposium-3-2.

Writer Tom Motley and wife Becca maintain a half-acre garden in historic downtown McKinney, where they continue to grow heirloom herbs and produce for local chefs. An archive of Tom’s food and farm articles is available at Tom Motley North Texas Gardens.


Watch the video: The Tomato Chef: Deaf Chef Jeff (September 2022).