Weekly Chef and Menu Report: August 2, 2013

A look into this week's new chefs and restaurant menus

Chelsea Market where Rana is celebrating watermelon for an entire month.

Every week, we take a look at some new chefs and menus that have appeared across the country. Here’s this week’s roundup:

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar: According to a release, Clay Miller has been named the new executive chef at Miami’s Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. CEO and Founder John Kunkel said that they’re thrilled to have Miller on board as he was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs of 2010” and boasts over 18 years of experience. Miller replaces Chef Jeff McInnis but the restaurant will continue serving their same classic Southern food.

Hoboken, New Jersey
The Fig Tree: Chef Claude Chassagne has joined the culinary team at The Fig Tree in Hoboken, according to a press release. Previously he owned and operated Chubo in Manhattan and was the executive chef at Montparnasse. Chassagne is happy to be part of the team and continue making great American cuisine and says he shares “the team’s commitment to fine dining every day.”

New York
The Sea Fire Grill: On Monday, August 5, The Sea Fire Grill will have $1.50 happy hour oyster specials all day and Ainsworth Park will have $1.00 oysters from 5:00 p.m. to close to celebrate National Oyster Day, according to a release. Sea Fire has always been big on seafood with menu items like Madagascar prawns and yellowfin tuna tartar, pan roasted scallops, and whole Maine lobsters, not to mention a wine list with over 500 options, and the swanky, upscale happy hour spot Ainsworth has a new menu that features oyster and braised lamb shank. Come celebrate at one of the two New York hotspots.

Hawker Bar: According to a release, Hawker Bar in Brooklyn will be offering a special menu in celebration of Singapore National Day from August 9 through August 14. The menu will include items like curry puffs with potato, hardboiled egg, and beef, shrimp laksa with curry broth, laksa noodles, shrimp, and tofu, and mango sago with mango tapioca and pomelo. The menu is three courses and will be $22 per person.

Whiteface Lodge: David S. Haick has joined the culinary team as executive chef at Whiteface Lodge’s KANU and KANU Lounge in Lake Placid, according to a release. Haick has an extensive culinary background, most recently being his experience as executive chef of The Mayflower Inn and Spa in Connecticut. He was a chef instructor for the Lincoln Culinary Institute in Hartford, Connecticut, has a bachelor’s degree in Food Systems Management from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.

Off The Wall: According to a release, Off The Wall frozen yogurt chain will be opening a Times Square location soon. Details have not been specified yet, but the opening will be Off The Wall’s fourth New York City location.

Rana: Chelsea Market’s Rana will be hosting a month-long Watermelon Celebration where you can expect to find tons of food and drinks centered on the delicious summer fruit, according to a release. Co-owner Antonella Rana will celebrate the watermelon with items like a watermelon martini, watermelon granita, heirloom tomato & watermelon salad, and tuna & watermelon carpaccio.

Clement at The Peninsula New York: Brandon Kida has been appointed Chef de Cuisine at Clement at The Peninsula New York, according to a release. Clement won’t launch until this fall, but Chef Kida will bring over 10 years of culinary experience involving a deep understanding of farm-to-table cuisine. Kida will develop a contemporary American menu for Clement and will use ingredients sourced from the Northeast.

San Diego
The Grand Del Mar: According to a press release, The Grand Del Mar has new menu offerings for this fall. At Addison, Chef William Bradley is offering sea scallops with cauliflower, caviar and celery and Petit Crevettes with matsutake mushrooms, water chestnuts and dashi. Wine director at Addison, Elizabeth Huettinger, is introducing unexpected wines for high-end food pairings like Igneous Cabernet, Napa Valley 2007 and Burn Cottage Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand 2010. Mixologist at the Grand Del Mar has autumn-inspired cocktails, and Club M has fine rums and live salsa music. Check out everything The Grand Del Mar has to offer here.

Los Angeles
Fleming’s: According to a media alert, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has a specially-priced Prime Rib Dinner for a limited time for only $29.95 on Sundays and Mondays from August 4 to September 1. The menu is three courses and a list of five paired wines at only $6 a glass.

Wit & Wisdom: Zack Mills has been named executive chef at Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina, located in Baltimore’s Harbor East, according to a release. Mills has been a sous chef with Michal Mina’s The Mina Group for awhile, but as executive chef, he will oversee staff at Wit & Wisdom as well as Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore’s 24-hour room service. He will keep the same menu items, as well as the recently updated addition of the “Bourbon bar” burgers and wood-fired options like Virginia chicken with black truffle mac and cheese, kale, and pan jus. A Maryland Blue Crab Tasting menu has been added to the menu for the season featuring a crab cake, soft shell crab, and a spicy tomato-crab stew.

San Francisco
Sens: Sens in San Francisco’s Financial District will now be offering a Saturday Happy Hour and a new cocktail menu, according to a release. The popular weekday happy hour will now take place on Saturdays, so you can enjoy their outdoor patios and lounge areas on the weekend for great deals as well. The new summer cocktail menu features items like the 209 Cup with muddled cucumber, gin, Pimms, lemonade, and strawberry puree, and the Brooklawn with Four Roses bourbon, Cynar, vermouth with maraschino and bitters. The menu also offers some Mediterannean inspired dishes like the California Lamb Burger with Manchego cheese, tomato-sesame jam, tzatziki, and grilled onions, and the Dry Aged Rack of California Lamb with a potato-pecorino gratin, grilled Treviso, roasted grapes, and peppercorn jus.

O-Ku: According to a release, O-Ku in Charleston, South Carolina now has an omakase tasting menu showcasing everything the chefs have to offer. Diners need only disclose any preferences or allergies at the beginning of the meal, and the chef chooses what he will put on the plate from there. Chef de cuisine Thad Stuckey said, “We utilize modern, forward-thinking techniques in the kitchen to further elaborate on giving Asian fare a Lowcountry twist.” The omakase menu is available nightly at $75 per person, and Tuesday nights from 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. are “Omakase Nights” where four, five and eight-course omakase are available for $35, $50 and $75 respectively.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish: Mike Sheerin has left Trenchermen a year after opening it and is currently consulting at Parson’s Chicken & Fish, according to a release. His next move is unknown besides that he is working with Parson’s. Pater Creig Toalson, owner of Parson’s, expressed that he and other staffers are “extremely lucky to have someone of Michael's caliber and talent helping us out."

Acadia: According to a release, Phil Rubino has been named the sous chef at Chicago’s Acadia. Chef and owner Ryan McCaskey says that him and Rubino “share many of the same philosophies, styles, and goals...I believe Phil will be an important piece." Rubino will join the team in creating tasting menus at Acadia, striving for a second Michelin star.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse: BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is teaming up with Big Poppa Smokers for a seasonal “BJ’s Blue Ribbon Barbeque” menu, according to a release. Big Poppa is an aware-winning pitmaster and with his partnership, this new menu will be available at BJ’s across the nation from June 25 until September 2. CEO of Big Poppa Smokers, Sterling Ball, said “The chefs at BJ’s and I got together in the kitchen and said ‘Let’s see what we can come up with,’ and before we knew it, we were jamming together and creating true competition-style barbeque.” Some of the menu items will include pecan wood-smoked barbeque half chicken, and baby back pork ribs with Big Poppa Smokers’ Sweet Money Championship Rub.

Roy Rogers: According to PRNewswire via a release, Roy Rogers has announced that they will now be offering a new signature Chicken Salad for a limited time. The salad has all white hand cut chicken with glazed walnuts and dried cranberries and it can be served on lettuce or on a multigrain roll. Roy Rogers has also started offering Edy’s Ice Cream in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry flavors.

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We’re always looking for tips about new chefs and seasonal menus, so if you think there are any that we missed, let us know!