Chef and Menu Report Week of 6/29/14
Every week, we take a look at some new chefs and menus that have been announced across the country and around the world. Here’s this week’s roundup:
French chef Akrame Benallal, of Paris’ two-Michelin-star restaurant Akrame, is presenting a summer degustation menu in July and August in his first overseas restaurant, Akrame Hong Kong. Available for lunch and dinner, the new menu is served in three, four or six courses during lunch, and four, six, or eight courses for dinner. It includes white asparagus soup with almonds, orange blossom, and smoked Haddock; zucchini with crab, mayonnaise, and brown butter; cockles with tarragon and lettuce; an Indian-inspired Pollack with fermented milk, tandoori, coulis of pine nuts, and cauliflower; and Benallal’s reinterpretation of traditional fish and chips: crumbed fried lobster served with tartar sauce, capers, and apple. When commenting on the creation of the menu, the chef said, “I begin a dish based on an idea, an ingredient, a feeling, sometimes a mood…For me, creation depends on two inseparable poles, like the North and the South: technique and inspiration.”
F.T. Marinetti, founder of the Futurist movement, had very strong feelings about nutrition and food, calling for a revolution of cuisine in his 1930 Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine. On July 15, the Guggenheim is holding a special dinner, ANTI-PASTA: A Dinner Inspired by Italian Futurism. Hosts cookbook author and restaurateur Mimmetta Lo Monte and Vivien Greene (curator of the current Guggenheim exhibition Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe), will introduce dishes from Marinetti’s 1932 Futurist Cookbook with accompanying wines in the museum’s Wright Restaurant. Prior to the feast at 8 p.m., a special performance of FUTURISMUSIC by pianist Daniele Lombardi will take place at 7 p.m. in the museum’s rotunda while guests enjoy a private viewing of the Italian Futurism exhibition. Tickets for the dinner are available to Guggenheim members for $200 per person, including the concert. Space is extremely limited and reservations are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
NYC & Company announced that NYC Restaurant Week will take place July 21 through August 15. The event offers New Yorkers and tourists alike four weeks of dining deals at some of the city’s best restaurants Mondays through Fridays, with Saturdays excluded and Sundays optional. Diners can enjoy three-course prix-fixe lunches for $25 and three-course prix-fixe dinners for $38 excluding beverages, tax, and tip. Check out the complete list of participating restaurants and make reservations starting July 9 at NYCgo.com/restaurantweek.
Italian restaurant Il Mulino Trattoria in Gramercy has just launched a Sunday Family-Style Italian dinner. Guests can enjoy a taste of executive chef Michele Mazza's popular dishes for only $24 per person. A great casual Sunday night dining option, the dinners include Italian salad, meatballs, sausage, and ribs, and end with homemade pasta. Some of the available dishes include rigatoni Bolognese, linguine with clam sauce, and gnocchi alla Sorrentina.
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar continues its summer celebration of international cuisine with a tribute to World Cup contender, Germany. The three-month long series, crafted by executive chef Miguel Aguilar, adds to the restaurant’s regular menu of Global-Latino small plates and craft cocktails. The summer tasting menu will be available during lunch and dinner every Wednesday throughout July and will include German classics such as Bratwurst, Spätzle, Rouladen, and Radler, as well as German beer with lemonade.
The Bishop Arts District seafood restaurant Driftwood has been refreshed under the guidance of management with overhaul of the beverage program, an updated menu, and an extension of the bar area. The absinthe list boasts the largest collection of premium absinthes in North Texas, and eight taps have been added to allow for appropriate absinthe service. The wine service now includes an ambitious wine-by-the-glass program that offers 25 new and old world choices, perfect pairings for oysters or small plates alike. Some of the new menu offerings are Kushhi and Duxbury oysters with traditional accoutrements, and raw selections include day boat fluke with candied melons, finger lime caviar, and house crème fraiche with Hawaiian tuna, compressed watermelon, pickled rind, and lotus chips. Some of the small plates are baby beets with goat cheese croquettes, baby radishes with Meyer lemon gel, truffled snow crab, and Frisee, while larger plates include Nova Scotia Halibut accompanied by green cabbage, Muscat grapes, and lemon celery root purée, as well as a Cervena venison chop served with red and black quinoa, dandelion greens, stone fruit, and huckleberry jus.
Ba Bar is excited to introduce Roger Martinho as the new head of their pastry program. Martinho comes originally from France and more recently from Queen Anne’s La Rêve. He joined Ba Bar at the beginning of the year and will be introducing classic desserts like tiramisu and Portuguese flan to the pastry case. Martinho’s years of travel have taught him multiple cuisines and pastry traditions, and the chef brings a vast knowledge of traditional French pastry as well as flavorful innovation to the pastry program at Ba Bar.
The Gage presents an array of seasonal dishes and cocktails ideal for the long-awaited summer. The Michigan Avenue restaurant takes advantage of the warmer season with an expanded patio and an updated menu of lighter dishes, such as roasted market beets with Thumbelina carrots, ricotta, pistachios, and a honey vinaigrette; Nantucket sea scallops with butter lettuce, apricots, grilled cucumber and toasted sesame vinaigrette; and a crispy shrimp sandwich with bell pepper slaw and jalapeño crème fraiche. Executive pastry chef Mitsu Nozaki utilizes an array of fresh, seasonal berries and fruits of the season, and spirits director Mike Page has also unveiled a fleet of new spirited summer concoctions that utilize Ford’s gin, Botran Reserva rum, and Encanto Pisco.
Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @theconversant.