Taste of Tribeca chefs talk

THE CREW AT WALKER'S

THE CREW AT WALKER’S

(Originally posted May 5, 2014)  Keep it simple. That was the message from some of Downtown’s great chefs when we asked them for a seldom-used spice that would help amateur cooks.

To our delight, some of this year’s Taste of Tribeca chefs took culinary license by ignoring the parameters of our questions. A few suggested more salt — butter and pepper were other answers.  Some did give more exotic suggestions for all of us to try.

The Taste event, which benefits Tribeca’s two elementary schools, P.S. 150 and 234, is celebrating its 20th year.

It will be Sat., May 17 from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Duane St. between Hudson and Greenwich Sts. Tasting cards allowing six samples from some of the neighborhood’s most expensive restaurants are $50 the day of the event and $45 online (tasteoftribeca.com)

As part of this preview, we once again asked the chefs to answer a few of our questions. We’ve printed a sampling of the chefs’ answers. To read all of the chef’s responses visit downtownexpress.com

— Josh Rogers

 

Chef – Vincent Nargi

Chef – Vincent Nargi

Chef – Vincent Nargi
The Odeon
145 W Broadway
212-233-0507
theodeonrestaurant.com 

What dish are you serving at taste of Tribeca and why?
Odeon House Made All Natural Ice Cream — the people love it!

If you could speak with any chef living or dead, who would it be and what would you ask?
Chef Patrick Clark. What was it like to open The Odeon in 1980?

What seldom-used spice or condiment would improve most amateur chefs’ cooking?
Salt and pepper are surprisingly underutilized spices in the home kitchen.

If your doctor said you had to stop eating a particular food, what would be the hardest to give up?
Steak.

A diner comes in and says, “surprise me with your best dish,” what do you prepare?
Brioche French Toast with fresh berries and N.Y. maple syrup.

 

 

Chef – Chase Elder

Chef – Chase Elder

Chef – Chase Elder

Macao Trading Company
311 Church Street
NYC, NY 10013
212-431-8642
www.macaonyc.com

Dish served?
I will be  preparing a house cured pastrami sandwich on mini “flauta” bread with kimchee and pickled jalapeno relish.  I like taking  a classic dish like the pastrami sandwich and putting a fun new twist  on it.  I am also obsessed with kimchee and put it on any and everything.

Chef to speak with?
I would love to have met M.F.K Fisher.  Her writing and appreciation of food runs so deep.  When she talks about eating it takes me back to a time that I never experienced, but surely would have wanted to be a part of.  She is brilliant. I’d ask her what it was like to travel the world by boat, and eat and drink in those times.

Recommended spice?
Cardamom.  I love how powerful and subtle it is.  It’s great for baking, but offers the most amazing accent when added to savory dishes.

Hardest food to give up?
Rice. Meat, no problem. Cheese, OK. Sugar, I’d thank them, but rice would be a problem.

Best dish?
I actually really dislike questions like thatLike what’s your specialty? Only because I want to hear from the diner what it is that they want, and then decide from that info. I want to cook food that I know will make them feel good after they’ve eaten it. I would want to offer something wholesome, and comforting like a perfectly seared striped bass over a warm salad of Israeli cous cous with tons of fresh herbs, delicious tomatoes, and yogurt.

Chefs: Shawn Reilly and James Mather (answers submitted by Reilly)

MARC-FOGIONE

MARC-FOGIONE

My Belly’s Playlist
57 Murray Street, 2nd Floor
917-388-6846
www.mybellysplaylist.com

Dish served?
We are serving a yuzu gazpacho soup shot and a chicken pestolada submarine. The Chicken Pestolada has herb roasted zucchini, pickled red onion, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, all natural chicken and an almond pestoda gremolada. The submarine is pared with bread from Tribeca’s own Grand Daisy Bakery.

Chef to speak with?
Alan Ducasse. I want to know when he sleeps.

Recommended spice?
I would suggest they use more salt, vinegar and or lemon juice. Start playing around with all three, they complement all foods very well.

Hardest food to give up?
Eggs. They are so dynamic, they would leave a massive hole in my belly.

Best dish?
Its spring, so I have to highlight one of our new salads on the menu. It’s called Peas and Thank You. Fresh English peas, edamame, avocado, arugula with a parmesan aioli. its so good.

Chef – Michael White

Chef – Michael White

Chef – Michael White
The Butterfly
255 W Broadway
646-692-4943
thebutterflynyc.com

Dish served?
We are serving deviled eggs & ice cream sandwiches this year because we wanted to give a taste of both a sweet and savory dish that we do at the restaurant.

Chef to speak with?
I’d love to talk to Julia Child for a while. She was so animated and so passionate about food. I think it’d just feel good and quite inspiring to be in her presence for just a few minutes.

Recommended spice?
Salt — never under-season and never over-season. Seasoning needs to be balanced. But all food needs seasoning.

Hardest food to give up?
I really love a great burger preferably grilled on my rooftop at home — but realistically,  if I had to stop eating Asian food (i.e. anything with M.S.G.), I’d be pretty devastated.

Best dish?
At Butterfly, the patty melt has become a staple. It is a dry aged burger patty on toasted rye with caramelized onions and gruyere cheese, served with thousand island dressing on the side and triple fried fries. Oh and our pressure fried Fried Chicken with honey glazed biscuits is also a crowd favorite.

 

Owner & Chef: Ron Silver

ESTANCIA

ESTANCIA

Bubby’s Pie Company

120 Hudson St.

212-219-0666

www.bubbys.com

Dish served?

Rhubarb Brown Betty. It’s the perfect spring dessert as rhubarb is just coming into season.  After such a long winter we are excited to be playing with fresh new flavors of spring in our kitchen.

Chef to speak with?

James Beard — I would ask him to cook with me.

Recommended spice?

We love using fresh tarragon.

Hardest food to give up?

Bacon — we cure and smoke our own in house from hogs that we buy whole and butcher ourselves.

Best dish?

The Bubby’s Burger — its got the best of everything that we do — local beef from a small farmer, fresh hamburger buns that are baked in house, housemade pickles, juicy tomato, crisp lettuce.  Served with light, crispy french fries.

 

Executive Chef Pascal Condomine

Cercle Rouge

241 West Broadway

 212.226.6252

cerclerougeresto.com

Dish served?

We are serving Pain Bagnat. It’s a sandwich from the south of France, where our owner Georges Forgeois is from and from where we take inspiration for the spring and summer menu. It’s the best way to enjoyed a Nicoise salad on the go.

 

Chef to speak with?

There are too many to list, but I would start with Taillevent, Brillat-Savarin, Escoffier and many more. I would ask them if I could spend a day next to them in their kitchen.

Recommended spice?

None in particular. I would just tell them to experiment, try and be adventurous with their food. We all started that way. Any chef will tell you to try your food it, taste it as you cook. This will develop your taste buds.

 

Hardest food to give up?

First I would get a second opinion. And asking that question to a chef is a tough one to answer. Bread. As a Frenchman, I like to clean my plate with bread.

Best dish?

And that’s the famous question everyone asks a chef. I can’t really answer that question. It will depend of the season and what I have available. I like the challenge of preparing a dish that’s not on the menu, but the season will dictate what will end up on the plate. My question for that guest will be more what he or she is in the mood for.

ECCO

ECCO

Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner

Blaue Gans

139 Duane St.

(212) 571-8880

KG-NY.com

 

Dish served?

Strawberries and Elderflower Coupe  —  local fresh strawberries with elderflower mousse. This is a dessert my children chose and absolutely love. Given my experience with this dish, I have no doubt that everyone in Tribeca will love it!

 

Chef to speak with?

I’d talk to the last chef that cooked an excellent meal for me whether it was last year or last night and find out how he did it.

Recommended spice?

Nutmeg. It’s an extremely underrated spice that adds elegance and mystery while having the ability to balance different flavors and spices on a single dish.

 

Hardest food to give up?

That’s why I don’t like to visit my doctor.

 

Best dish?

This is very hard for me. Look, I have four kids and I love them all tremendously. The same thing goes for my menu — I have nothing on there I would single out over another dish.

What I’d do is look at the person who I’m cooking for and listen to my own mood that day to come up with something special.

 

Chef Ioanna Koutroulos

 

The Greek

458 Greenwich St.

646-476-3941

81180027

Chef Ioanna Koutroulos

thegreektribeca.com

Dish served?

I’ll be serving hand-rolled grape leaves with a small serving of Greek salad. Taste of Tribeca coincides with the celebration of St. Constantine and Helen, which is a really big day for outdoor fairs in Greece. The food served there is fresh and represents the fare that is prevalent in Greece at the end of spring/beginning of summer. The food also is a communal effort with people contributing different vegetables and expertise in the preparation of a feast that is communally made and consumed.

Recommended spice?

Cinnamon because it can be used anywhere and is very good for your health.

Hardest food to give up?

Chocolate.

Best dish?

I would prepare him/her a Kimadopita. This is traditional recipe from northern Greece with ground beef, mushrooms, leeks, peppers and two kinds of cheese that I prepare and bake in my personal signature handmade phyllo dough.

BLAUE-GANS

BLAUE-GANS

Chef Frank Castro

Tablao Tapas Y Restaurante

361 Greenwich St.

212-334-4043

www.Tablaonyc.com

 

Dish served?

Pulpo a la Gallega, no other dish reminds me of home more (Galicia, Spain)

Chef to speak with?

Ferran Adria, What was his favorite meal that his mom prepared for him.

 

Recommended spice?

Piementon (Hot Paprika)

 

Hardest food to give up?

Jamon  (Spanish ham)

 

Best dish?

Langostinos a la Planch ( collassal prawns cooked on the Plancha with olive oil and sea salt)

 

Chef – Lee Scheffler

Sarabeth’s Tribeca
339 Greenwich St.
212-966-0421
sarabethsrestaurants.com

Dish served?
We are serving mini crab cakes. They are simple, yet elegant — like a little black dress. I usually wear a little black dress while serving them.

Chef to speak with?
Grant Achatz. Who and what inspires him?

Recommended spice?
When I am served something that was obviously prepared by an amateur, I usually request some mustard.

Hardest food to give up?
It is uncomfortable for me to imagine even a single day without gluten.

Best dish?
The short ribs we are doing on the menu right now. We braise them on the bone, then trim them well after cooking. We serve them with an unusual combination of kasha, roasted salsify and a Filipino-style adobo sauce enriched with coconut milk and the meat’s braising liquid.

Chef - Gayle Aschenbrenner

Chef – Gayle Aschenbrenner

Chef – Gayle Aschenbrenner
Mrs. Cupcake
646-580-9696
mrscupcake.net

Dish served?
Two bite mini chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Keep it simple. Keep it appealing to kids and adults.

Chef to speak with?
My paternal grandmother. Nora Eileen Tew.

Recommended spice?
Madagascar vanilla, which is produced in Madagascar and neighboring islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean. It is more expensive than imitation vanilla. But what a difference in the smell and taste.

Hardest food to give up?
Cupcakes!

Best dish?
A two bite mini vanilla cupcake. Made with Madagascar Vanilla.

Chef – Yusuke Nose
Ninja New York
25 Hudson St.
212-274-8500
www.ninjanewyork.com

Dish served?
Roast beef sushi, spicy tuna roll and California roll. We give an accent on each dish we offer.

Chef to speak with?
Chef Thomas Keller, and my question would be how do you come up with different dishes everyday?

Recommended spice?
I think it will be “shio-kombu”. you can add it to salad or pasta dish and it will gives “umami” to the dish.

Hardest food to give up?

I like all kinds of meat dishes. It would be devastating if a doctor told me to stop eating any meat.

Best dish?
Since I am in NY, I tried various restaurants representing different countries. So I would make something French based with unique ingredients.

Chef – Wayne Dovan

Chef – Wayne Dovan

 

 

Chef – Wayne Dovan
Billy’s Bakery
75 Franklin St.
212-647-9958
www.billysbakerynyc.com

Dish served?
We’re serving mini cupcakes, fudge brownies and hello dolly bars. We like to keep it simple, sweet and classic at Billy’s. These three desserts meet that criteria.

Chef to speak with?
Anthony Bourdain. When are you, me and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age rockin’ out at Johnny’s on Greenwich St.? (Johnny’s is my favorite N.Y.C. bar, Josh my favorite rock and roll front-man, Anthony my favorite food chef/celebrity)

Recommended spice?
Butter, butter, and more butter.

Hardest food to give up?
Skippy’s Chunky Peanut Butter…right out of the jar. Sorry, I can’t resist.

Best dish?
Billy’s Banana Cake — you can’t wrong.

 

ACAPELLA

ACAPELLA

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One Response to Taste of Tribeca chefs talk

  1. Great to feature these chefs. I will be in NYC soon .

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