Here at The Daily Meal, we often find reasons to celebrate. Last Wednesday was no exception, as Chef Michael Ferraro and his impressive team from Delicatessen helped us break in the new and beautiful addition to our office: our bar, sponsored by Plain and Fancy, Hafele, KitchenAid, and Silestone.
“I like to call our concept ‘international comfort food’,” said Ferraro as he briefly paused from overseeing his staff in The Daily Meal kitchen. “The great thing about using seafood is that it helps keep it light.” Ferraro is a man of his word, as comforting, light fare is exactly what the party guests had the pleasure of enjoying. Every dish was a nod to the chef’s love of the sea—even the beef meatballs were served in tiny bamboo boats with olive skewers to represent masts. The inventive presentation was a symptom of the thought and care with which Ferraro and his team treats their food, as cooking is a passion passed down to him from his parents. “Those meatballs are my father’s recipe. I grew up in a house where we made everything from olive oil to wine. You name it, we did it. I definitely have to credit my parents for my palate.”
Delicatessen is a wonderful ode to his upbringing then, as all the dishes he served that night are on the restaurant’s menu. Located on the boarder of Soho and Nolita, it’s a neighborhood favorite and great place to bring friends and family for refined but joyously familiar fare. The crowd of diners that keep coming back, as well as the warmly-lit space and retractable garage doors lends a home-like vibe to the eatery, which compliments the comfort food-laden menu perfectly.
As a special treat, Ferraro gave a demonstration of how to prepare his crowd-wowing Skuna Bay salmon tataki. The chef explained how simple and easy the dish is as he went through the process step-by-step. Although he used salmon, his treatment can be applied to many types of fish, such as tuna and hamachi. The salmon was ocean farm raised to ensure a high level of fat content in the protein. The audience looked on as Ferraro cut the gorgeous fillet with his signature Fire and Ice kitchen knife into 2” strips and then pieced the fillet back together. He seasoned it with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, fennel pollen, and homemade pomelo ponzu sauce. Still keeping the filleted pieces together, the chef seared the fish in a medium-heated pan for 10-15 seconds on each side, keeping the center rare but warm to melt the fat in the protein and bring out the richness of it. Once the salmon was plated, the chef drizzled ponzu sauce on the fillet once again, along with lemon, sea salt, pepper, olive oil, mashed avocado, and toasted hazelnuts.
While watching the chef cook and respectfully supervise his staff, his calm demeanor and easy smile made his love for food all that more apparent. “I’m a very lucky guy” Ferraro repeated throughout the evening, and we were lucky to have the chance to spend time with him and savor his delicious offerings: