Chef and Menu Report: Week of 8/31/14

Every week, we take a look at some new chefs and menus that have been announced across the country
Credit: Grand Central Oyster Bar

Grand Central Oyster Bar Brooklyn has introduced two new menus.

National
Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp is back for a limited time. This year, the promotion features six delicious shrimp varieties, including new sriracha grilled shrimp that’s paired with a creamy sriracha aioli and the back-by-popular-demand dish, Parmesan shrimp scampi. Other flavors include hand-breaded shrimp, garlic shrimp scampi, shrimp linguini Alfredo, and coconut shrimp bites. Guests can enjoy as much shrimp as they like, any way they like, from the Endless Shrimp menu and can even mix and match different preparations. The offer comes with a fresh salad and unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits®.

The NFL season is upon us and Aramark, the food and beverage partner for 11 NFL teams, is debuting the “Tribute Menu Series,” a tribute to each teams’ heritage, hometown culinary scene, and dedicated fans. From the “Bad to the Bone Bologna” in Cleveland, to the “Red Sail Dog” in Tampa, each of Aramark’s new menu items feature local flavors and have names celebrating the team’s history or fan base, and the teams included are the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, and Minnesota Vikings.

New York
Beginning yesterday, Harlow, former host of the First Annual Fashion Media Awards and a frequented destination for fashion elite and celebrities alike, offers a special menu through September 11 in honor of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Executive chef Danny Ye has prepared a $40 three-course prix fixe menu for both lunch and dinner that includes fresh, Asian-inspired flavors for anyone in need of an escape from the chaos of Fashion Week. Diners will begin the chef’s selection of oysters, then choose between a kale and celery root salad and a watercress, watermelon, and feta salad. For mains, select either Korean-style filet mignon, grilled halibut, or cauliflower katsu, and finish off the meal with a trio of dulce frio.

As baseball fans everywhere prepare to say goodbye to New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter this season, NYY Steak Manhattan is honoring his legacy with a “Farewell ‘2’ Our Captain” prix fixe menu for $89, with a portion of proceeds benefitting Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation. The menu kicks off on "Derek Jeter Day" this Sunday, September 7, and includes three courses plus an “All-Star” cocktail of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and Cointreau with an orange twist. First course options include watermelon salad, which was created especially for this menu, and their signature thick-cut slab NYY steak bacon. The main course is the “NYY Steak Double Play,” a petit filet that was dry-aged and butchered in-house, paired with a cold water lobster tail, in a nod to one of the shortstop's clutch plays. For dessert, a tough choice is given between decadent crème brûlée and frozen peanut butter and jelly, another special dish created as a tribute to Jeter's favorite pre-game snack, a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Park Slope’s Grand Central Oyster Bar Brooklyn has introduced two new menus. For a quick lunch, guests can enjoy a salad or half sandwich, and a draft beer or house wine for $16. Options include salads like the poached salmon with cucumber dill; seared tuna Niçoise with frisee, and crispy calamari over arugula. Sandwich options include an oyster po’ boy, fried Ipswich clam, and Maine lobster roll. The deal is available Tuesday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. For $7 until 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at the bar, GCOBB will offer seven appetizers, including Pacu Pacu dry-rubbed ribs, fried oysters, and blackened fish tacos. During this time, house wine and draft beer will be $5.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Mandarin Oriental, New York is introducing updated menus and a stylish new look at its award-winning restaurant, Asiate. Under the direction of chef de cuisine Angie Berry, the menus feature sophisticated modern American cuisine with a creative twist. The restaurant’s new interiors include a rich color palette and showcase the panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline. The dinner menu highlights include seared Hudson Valley foie gras with hickory broth, strawberry umeboshi, and smoked duck; uni crémeux with ahi tuna tartare, trout roe, and yuzu; butter poached Maine lobster with summer corn, sauce gribiche, and bacon; and Wagyu beef with smoked potato purée and a red wine reduction. Chef Berry also introduces a two-course prix fixe lunch menu. For the first course, guests can choose from the menu’s new “raw tasting” or traditional-style starters which include scallop sashimi with ginger ice, and tea roasted beets with spiced labneh, maitake mushrooms, and orange. Second course highlights include turbot with tomato butter, herbs, and water spinach, and grilled quail with heirloom summer beans and baby lettuce.

On Tuesday, September 16, in celebration of National Honey Month, the Waldorf Astoria and Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York are assembling the best of New York’s rooftop apiaries for a friendly (yet fierce) competition: The Second Annual Battle of The Bees. Participants claiming to produce the best honey in New York City include Waldorf Astoria and Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York, Brooks Brothers, The Durst Organization Hives at One Bryant Park, The New York City Beekeepers Association's High Line Honey, and York Prep School’s Bee Club Hives. The competition will feature honey-infused cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and desserts using the battling bees’ honey, as well as a blind tasting of raw honey by a panel of celebrity judges.

Houston
With a number of fun festivals, unique breweries (12 of them currently with more to come) and more, here’s a sneak peek Houston’s American-style twist on Oktoberfest this fall:

Big Brew Houston, a three-day beer and food event, will run from October 23 to 25 and feature 1,000 brews, tastings, beer and food pairings, and cuisine from over 40 local restaurants.

Head over to Karbach Brewing Co., where craft brews with fun names like “Sympathy for the Lager” and “Weisse Versa Wheat” are waiting to be discovered. Or, for a cold one that is “unapologetically Houston,” check out Buffalo Bayou Brewery. Even the flagship beer, “1836,” is named after the year Houston was founded.

Take a seat at the “community” table inside The Hay Merchant, where 80 craft beers are on tap at any given time and are being served alongside unique tavern food like meat chips and sweet and spicy pig ears.

Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.

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