Friday, December 16, 2011

Gallery of Recent Dishes

I apologize for the lack of posts latley. Here are some food shots of some of the dishes we are working on for the winter menu.....
Blue Fish Lox....Blox , smoked cod roe "ranch" , pickled cauliflower

1 Hour Farm Egg, Hopkins Southdowns Lamb Belly Bacon, Evas Kitchen Sink Greens, Mustard Vinaigrette

Bomster Scallops, Glazed Crispy Pork Belly, Pickled Cabbage, Violet Gastrique

Just for Fun......Foie Gras & Chocolate Lollipops!

Hopkins Southdowns Lamb Neck Ragu, Housemade Pasta, Pistachios, Narragansett Creamery Ricotta, Mint

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seafood NOT Turkey at the first Thanksgiving


Turkey is the star of the modern Thanksgiving feast,  but the true star should be the food that enabled the Pilgrims to survive, New England caught seafood!

In the only official written account of the first Thanksgiving, Turkey is not even mentioned. The feast consisted of cod, eels, and sea bass. Shellfish including clams, lobster, and mussels as well as duck, venison and vegetables like corn, beans and squash.

The following account is from “Mourt’s Relation,” mostly written by a Plymouth MA resident, Edward Winslow: “Squanto went at noon to fish for eels. At night he came home with as many as he could well lift in one hand, which our people were glad of. They were fat and sweet. He trod them out with his feet, and so caught them with his hands without any other instrument.”

While your planning your menu this year, think about paying homage to the first Thanksgiving with some New England seafood on your table.To get you going,  below is my  interpretation of what a Thanksgiving dish in 1621 could have been.

 Enjoy!

Cod & Clams in Parsley Sauce

4 servings:

4 6 -8 ounce Hook & Line Caught Cod fillets
16 littleneck or mahogany clams, soaked in salted water for 30 minutes and
drained
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups hot water
3 tablespoons flour
2 large Yukon gold or similar potatoes, very thinly sliced

-Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add salt and cook potatoes until softened.
Drain and set aside. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add olive
oil sufficient to generously skim the pan. Place clams into pan, cover and cook
until clams open. Remove immediately and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add garlic and 2 tablespoons parsley to pan, sprinkle salt and pepper on both
sides of fish and add to pan. Sprinkle flour around fish and add water slowly,
whisking flour to prevent lumps. Turn heat to low and cook, spooning liquid
over fish to cook top of fillet. Continue for 10 – 12 minutes until fish is just
done. Slice into fish – it should barely be opaque. Remove fish to heated
plates, and add clams and potatoes to pan to reheat. If sauce is thick, add hot
water until just thin.
Arrange clams and potatoes around fish, divide sauce among plates and
sprinkle remaining parsley over fillets.
Serve this with a dry white wine such as a Sancerre or a full bodied Sauvignon Blanc, either domestic or from New Zealand. This recipe takes some extra time and effort, but results in a memorable meal for you and your guests.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Garcia Family,
Rich, Nicole, Bry, Savanna, Summer & Adrianne ( the dog)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yellow Tail Flounder: The Controversy

Its 4:35pm on a Monday afternoon and my email alert goes off on my phone. Wild Rhody fisherman sending the weeks projected landings. Small selection this week.  Fluke, Yellowtail Flounder , Skate.  The excitement of seeing the first of the season Yellowtail landings is always welcomed. Delicate, firm, white fleshed and sweet the yellowtail flounder is a New England Winter delicacy. Fish are no more than 2lbs, have a beautiful yellow tail and............ I'm torn
The Yellowtail flounder stock in many parts of the Northeast is over fished, on many red lists and no secret the fishery was in need of a little TLC.
Lucky for me in 2010 NOAA announced new measures intended to end overfishing and continue the rebuilding of Northeast groundfish such as cod and flounder.
For the first time ever, there was a cap on the amount of all groundfish of any species that are permitted to be caught. In addition, there were measures to mitigate if the catch limits are exceeded. These measures have provided some of the strongest safeguards to date for recovering groundfish stocks.
In addition to the new caps,  fishing vessels were now able fish with others as a group, or “sector.” Sectors, which are voluntary and formed each year are given a portion of the total available groundfish catch.
Fishermen who participate in fishing sectors have more control over where and how they want to fish in order to target healthy fish stocks and avoid the stocks in the worst condition and the fisherman must agree to stop fishing once the sector catches its allotment of fish.

I am fortunate to have developed relationships with fisherman who believe that by fishing in sectors they are fishing responsibly and part of the solutionn to help rebuild Yellowtail stock and continue to fish and provide for their families at the same time.
This is the information that's not  out in the open, making decisions to buy this species seems like the worst crime on earth on the surface. I do allot of research, ask allot of questions and get advice from those in the field both on the scientific side and fishing side. I feel confident that those I choose to support, fish responsibly. For me knowing that under the "sector" fishing method the fisherman are targeting healthy stocks by design and allowing poor stocks time to recover I'm comfortable buying some of these beauties. My guests and I will enjoy a New England delicacy for a few days. 100% traceable, fished responsibly and by far some of the  highest quality fish in the city of Boston.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Orleans: Chefs Collaborative National Summit 2011

Something happened to me in New Orleans during the Chefs Collaborative National Summit. Problem is I don’t know what it is just yet. What I can tell you is that I fell in love with the city more than any other place I have ever been. Some might say that’s because of the “Bourbon Street Buzz” but although that was fun, its not the reason. The architecture and history remind me of walking through the streets of Logrono, Spain the capital city of Rioja. Every time the wind would change direction you would get a new aroma drifting by that you just want to follow as if you were in a cartoon looking for that apple pie in the window. I can close my eyes right now and smell the distinct aroma of the French Market, the coffee shops and even the smoke filled Jazz bars had a distinct aroma that fit the venue. The sounds of music, all types of music from every type of bar you can imagine filled the streets well into the nights.

The group of people from all over the country assembled for the 2011 Chefs Collaborative National Summit was amazing. Chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, ranchers, fisherman, conservation and sustainability experts all gathered to learn, share and have fun in a city with so much to offer the rest of the country. What was very humbling to me was the sense of pride that I sensed from every local chef that cooked for us during the 3 day non stop feast of some of the most unique and delicious food I have had in a long time. No foams, sous vide or multi-level presentations, just local chefs cooking the food they love to eat. It was if they each told a story about themselves with every bite of every meal. These chefs all want you to feel the pride they feel when they cook. When they speak they speak from the soul. They make you feel the passion they have for their culture, their food traditions and each other. It was such an emotional experience for me personally to hear every chef, and I mean every chef talk about the other chefs in the city and not themselves. No competition, no egos, just so real that I will forever strive to emulate these amazing people who cook because they just plain love to cook.

Another almost surreal experience was being able to walk up to some chefs that I have looked up to for years and just say thank you for their inspiration. Chefs like Michael Leviton and Sam Hayward, Susan Spicer and many more are so humble yet have a presence that will always inspire me when I put my chef jacket on.

The Chefs Collaborative team did such an amazing job putting this together, the discussions, demos and networking opportunities were all very informative and I feel much more prepared to work on some of the projects I have been wanting to start but haven’t had the proper knowledge to get the ball rolling.

The thing Ill remember most about this trip though…….the company I had with me. A small group of us that just thought alike to the point of being somewhat creepy. We had remarkable conversations about each others kitchens, projects and lives. The interest in every little conversation was too a little daunting but fascinating at the same time. A connection between people who understand each other’s labors in this profession and can work through solutions with each other all while having such a great experience.

When you first log onto the Chefs Collaborative web site the first thing you read is... Chefs Collaborative is a national chef network that's changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of connections, education and responsible buying decisions. but in reality its so much more...By reading and thinking about each of the guiding principles (which you can read by clicking here) Chefs Collaborative is a way of life...a way of doing business...and most importantly its a family of people from around the country who are all working towards the same goals.

As I finish this up I guess I do know what happened to me in New Orleans, I became a better cook and a better chef and I hope that you will consider becoming a part of this great organization and share your experiences and best practices to achieve the vision.

Our vision: As a result of our work, sustainable practices will be second nature for every chef in the United States

Friday, October 14, 2011

Head To "Tail FIN" Dinner Pictures


What a great night last night! Our partners Chefs Collaborative, Slow Food Boston and bostonchefs.com really made this dinner possible with their outreach and enthusiasm for the event. The wine of course was phenomenal, I always expect nothing less from Jack "The Man" & Jorge Ordonez Wines. And the biggest thanks to our guests who really came ready to ask questions and enjoy a great culinary & wine experience. Here are some shots of lasts nights dinner.



Squid taking at 59C bath

Local Mass Conch Ceviche

Simply Sea Urchin

The entire team killed it last night!

Yellowfin Tuna Marrow Tartare
whipped tofu, nori cracker,"pacotized" wasabi,  purple ninja radish


Monkfish Carpaccio & Crispy Monkfish Gillls & Skin
cherry tomato, red shiso, monkfish liver pate, truffle, ponzu

Roasted Cod Tongue & Fried Cod Cheek
cod tongue relish, smoked cod roe, paprika, baby mustard green

Rice Wrapped Gulf White Shrimp
tempura shrimp heads, Hudson Valley foie gras "mayonnaise"

Point Judith Squid Sous Vide
Hill Farms Pork Belly, Black P-Nut Milk

Maple & Anise French Toast
Lavender Bud Custard, Lemon Sorbet, Blue Berry Textures




Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yes we do have more than Seafood!


I've been slacking on the pictures of food lately, our world has started to get busy again at the hotel and everyone is back in the groove. Banquets is off to a strong start of the "busy" season and our restaurant is starting to develop an identity for having some of the best seafood in Boston. I looked at my posts and was overwhelmed by the amount of seafood focused posts in the last few months...nothing wrong with that but we do serve more than seafood! Pictured is our American Wagyu Short Ribs. We purchase our short ribs from the family owned and operated Strube Ranch located in Eastern Texas and these ribs are by far some of the best I have ever had! 48 hours in a sous vide bath then quickly seared and sliced, these ribs are still medium rare and the most tender short ribs ever.
We finish the dish with a simple locally sourced winter squash cooked sous vide with butter for 1 hour at 85C then pureed in a vita prep, pickled mustard seeds and roasted Rhode Island grown cipollini onions accompany the dish and a light dusting of organic black lava salt which comes from Hawaii and is a blend of sea salt  and purified volcanic charcoal. This salt is evaporated in above ground pools that formed naturally from lava flows.
By far my favorite non-seafood dish on the current menu!

Monday, October 3, 2011

WIN 2 Tickets to the Head to "Tail FIN" Dinner!

follow the link to get a chance to win 2 tickets to our Head To "Tail FIN" Dinner from BostonChefs.com
http://www.bostonchefs.com/static/events/tailfin/

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Massachusetts Oyster Project


I stumbled upon the Massachusetts Oyster Project this morning as I was searching for something to do with all the oyster shells I anticipate having after the Boston Local Food Festival. We have decided to host a Raw Bar at this years festival and one of the agreements in order to participate is to pledge to have a Zero Waste booth.
I had heard of recycling oyster shells but had absolutely no idea where to take them. So after a few quick searches I was thrilled to find this great project taking place right in our own backyard.
The program will send used oyster shells back to the Harbor to become refuge and fertile oyster growing beds for future generations of oysters. James Wright of Seafood Business writes, “Living oysters are capable of filtering 40 to 60 gallons of seawater each day, improving the clarity and quality of intertidal waters by removing plankton, sediment, and excess nutrients. After shucking and slurping, their shells keep on giving, too.” Because oyster shells are such a limited natural resource, returning them to the Bay and its tributaries is critical. Recycled oyster shells are reused and replanted in the Bay with baby “spat” oysters attached. These “spat on shell” oysters are placed in sanctuary reefs and provide a natural habitat for new oysters and other marine life to grow. One used shell can host up to 30 individual baby oysters that will then grow naturally into clusters and repopulate sanctuary reefs.
So this Saturday from 11am-5pm come and enjoy this amazing event and stop by our booth for the following Local Shellfish extravaganza and help restore the Harbor!

Powder Point Oysters ( Duxbury MA) $2 ea
Katama Bay Oysters ( Marthas Vineyard MA) $2 ea 
Taylor Bay Scallops ( Cape Cod Bay) $1 ea
Wellfleet Littlenecks ( Wellfleet MA)$1 ea

We even sourced all the ingredients for the accoutrements locally from farms in both MA & RI to include a killer green tomatillo salsa, first of the season apple mignonette and a spicy Nobu style ceviche sauce.
Hope to see you this weekend!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Response To The Passionate Foodie

The Passionate Foodie went on a rant today about our upcoming Head to "Tail FIN" dinner read his post here.

I am always willing to answer any questions from anyone who may question my decisions in my kitchen.

So to The Passionate Foodie:

First of all we are not hosting a "Blacklisted" seafood dinner, we are hosting a dinner to show how we use the whole ocean animal and we are doing that using seafood that is in no danger of being over fished. We work directly with fisherman & seafood distributors(Wild Rhody, Sea 2 Table, Foley Fish) who all take great care to make sure that the seafood they catch and sell are done so using responsible and sustainable fishing methods.


Your concern over monkfish is valid if the only list you use is Monterey Bay, but there is much more to the species that Monterey Bay fails to mention. Monkfish is a true certification that correctly managed fisheries can restore a particular species. Monkfish was the first real fishery that was noticed to be in danger and through fisheries management, quota based fishing and gear changes to help with the by catch issue we have seen a species come back to more than acceptable levels. I am proud to support fisherman and fisheries who are doing the right thing and the Monkfish fishery is a perfect example of how to change the direction of a fishery that was in a bad place a few years ago.

I assure you ALL of the seafood we are using for the upcoming dinner are at extremely healthy levels and the decisions we make are based on scientific facts and ethical beliefs that we are working with fisherman and seafood distributors that are concerned with the future of our seafood.

I am happy to discuss why each of the species I am using is on the menu.

Green Sea Urchin- Nova Scotia , best managed urchin fishery in the world. Diver Caught Sea Urchin have virtually no impact on the sea floor , no by catch and strict quotas are in place to assure overfishing does not occur.
Yellowfin Tuna-long line yellow fin tuna specifically from the Atlantic has strict bycatch regulations making it a good choice for Tuna. Also the fast reproduction at early ages make it a species that is in no danger of being overfished today.
Monkfish- completely restored fishery. Biomass levels are higher than normal. Although deepwater gill nets and trawlers can have some negative environmental impact, gear restrictions and by catch laws have made this a fishery that is moving in the right direction and I am proud to support that.
Atlantic Cod- another Atlantic Fishery that is on the upswing in its restoration process. Gulf Of Maine Cod is no longer being overfished. Strict Catch limits and sector laws have made a huge positive impact on the North Atlantic Cod Fishery.
Head On Gulf Shrimp- Fishery that is strictly managed and some of the toughest bycatch laws in the country. Fast reproduction and no threat of overfishing. By catch reduction devices and Turtle Excluder devices are mandated by law to be used by Gulf Fisheries.
Atlantic Longfin squid- absolutely no sustainability issues and most seafood watch lists have this as the best choice for squid

I am proud to offer all of these items for our Head To tail FIN dinner and am confident that we have sustainability and responsibility on our minds with every menu that we write. The lists that are out there(including Monterey Bay) are great tools for those who are learning about sustainable seafood and I use them myself if I have a question.  But there are so many factors that play into why a species may be blacklisted by one organization and considered to be a good choice by others.
At the end of the day the decisions I make are based on knowing where my food comes from, knowing how its being fished and knowing who is eating my food. Empowered with this information I feel 100% confident in my decisions, I am proud to be supporting my local fisherman and seafood distributors , I am proud to be supporting the efforts of the regulators who have proven that a well managed fishery can be restored and I am proud to be teaching my staff, guests and those who are willing to listen that there is more to seafood choices than what a list has to say.

The opportunity to work directly with fisherman, environmental organizations like the EDF, Chefs Collaborative and more has given me the tools I need to make decisions that I am proud of. I now make decisions based on my knowledge and the knowledge of those willing to share their expertise with me. I admit nothing is perfect and I learn something new everyday about sustainability and responsibility.

 I am confident that we are hosting a responsible dinner to get people together to enjoy the bounty that the ocean offers us, learn about seafood and seafood sustainability issues and most importantly eat some amazing food and drink amazing wine all while meeting new friends and enjoying the time with old ones.

Monday, September 19, 2011

FINAL DETAILS: HEAD TO "TAIL FIN" DINNER OCTOBER 13, 2011

As promised the final details of our upcoming dinner are all set!

We have teamed up with Chefs Collbaorative,  Slow Food Boston  and our amazing Wine Partner, the undisputed master of Spanish wines,  Jorge Ordonez to host a 7 course seafood dinner on Thursday October 13, 2011 at 7:00pm. The Cost of the dinner will be $100 pp (++) and let me tell you that the wines alone are worth it!

Please see previous post for menu and to make reservations call 617-342-5606.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cape Cod Sea Snails, Conch , Channel Whelk. A New England Delicacy?



Yesterday morning I went to visit a small seafood distributor on the docks of the Boston Fish Pier, our primary goal was to try and continue to grow the list of participants for the Trace & Trust program. During our visit the owner of Reds Best (Jared Auerbach) showed us around his small and empty warehouse ( empty coolers are what you want to see in a Seafood distributors place). Some amazing fish but most interesting for me was the Sea Snails or Channel Whelk he had. Snails are considered an esoteric foreign sort of delicacy, certainly not associated with a New England fishery. But our largest snail, the channel whelk or conch, is a multi-million dollar product based around Cape Cod.Whelk are really very large snails with relatively ornate coiled shells. They slide along the sea bottom in shallow waters. Jared was generous enough to let us take some back and work with them to see what we thought.

I have known about local "Conch" for years but have never thought about using it on the menu. But as I continue to dive deeper ( no pun) into the local New England fishing scene I am discovering an abundance of local delicacies that I am now committed to sharing with my guests.



We noticed that right off the bat the Sea snails were very tough, rubbery and difficult to chew. We sliced and grilled a few pieces and both Chris (Executive Sous Chef) and I were not impressed with the cooked version.
Chris went ahead and made a ceviche with diced meat and I took one of the larger sea snails and sliced it on the slicer as thin as possible for a carpaccio. Both of these preparations were awesome! The carpaccio style was by far the best dish but the ceviche continued to get more tender as it sat in the ceviche style we made.

I am very excited to continue to explore the possibilities with Cape Cod Sea Snails....maybe sous vide is the answer to the cooked version, stay tuned to find out. In the mean time support your local conch fisherman a multi million dollar industry that gets exported away. Help keep the money local and buy Cape Cod Conch!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Annual Head To "Tail FIN" Dinner coming soon!


October will once again be upon us in 30 days or so and the harvest dinners will start to pop up everywhere, Nose to Tail events and Beer tastings....great, been there,done that, lets do something different.

Although we are still finalizing details of the event as we speak, our First Annual Head to "Tail FIN" Dinner will be in October and were excited to be celebrating seafood like no one has done before. Seven amazing seafood courses using the philosophy of head to "tail fin" dining , using parts of the ocean creature many of you have never experienced. Cod Tongue, Tuna Marrow, Monkfish Liver are just a few of the ingredients on our menu. Our goal is not to show you how to use 1 animal in a whole meal, but how to use parts of different species that are not typical and show that YES YOU CAN use the whole fish.

We will be sourcing our seafood from responsible fisherman up and down the east coast including our Trace & Trust fisherman out of Point Judith Rhode Island.

Stay tuned for additional information including date, cost and wine partner!

MENU

Live Green Sea Urchin (New Brunswick, Canada)
lemon, sea salt

Yellowfin Tuna Marrow Tartare (Montauk, New York)
fresh wasabi root, nori cracker

Monkfish Carpaccio (Portland, Maine)
monkfish liver “ponzu” , chives, greenhouse cherry tomatoes, crispy monkfish gills & skin

Deep Fried Cod Tongue & Cheek (Gloucester, Mass)
smoked cod roe sauce

Head On Gulf Shrimp (Port St. Joe, Florida)
Hudson Valley foie gras mayonnaise, crispy rice

Sous Vide Long fin Squid & Hill Farms Pork Belly (Point Judith, Rhode Island)
long island cheese pumpkin gnocchi, peanut milk, squid ink

Maple & Anise French Toast
lavender custard, lemon sorbet, blueberry





Sunday, August 14, 2011

Restaurant Week Menu @ 606 Congress 8/14- 8/26



2011 RESTAURANT WEEK SUMMER DINNER MENU

Beginnings

"Round The Bend Farm” Pork Terrine
radish, greens, sauce gribiche

Chicken Liver Mousse
parsley gelee, pumpernickel ficelle, pickled cherries

Preserved Lemon Agnolotti
arugula puree

Mains

Bombster Sea Scallops & Crispy Braised Pork Belly
pickled cabbage, mustard gastrique

Local Blue Fish Escabeche (Trace & Trust Certified)
santa sweet peppers, parsnips

Half Roasted Guinea Hen
creamy olive oil poached tuna & caper dressing, potato puree, market vegetables

Indulge

Spiced Ganache
Toscanini strawberry ice cream

Coconut Rice Dumplings
dulce de leche

Friday, July 29, 2011

Attention Boston Chefs & Hospitality Professionals -A Letter From Chefs Collaborative



FYI a letter from Chefs Collaborative Network Coordinator , Rob Booz, sent out this past Tuesday
(please share with anyone you think may be interested)

Hello All!



I hope this email finds you enjoying your summer. This past winter Chefs Collaborative undertook a new approach to fostering sustainability within specific communities. As an organization we're committed to establishing what we are calling Chefs Collaborative "Locals" in specific geographic areas. The thinking behind this is that every location has its own community of forward thinking food professionals grappling with issues of sourcing and sustainability. In Rhode Island, for example Chefs Collaborative is helping chefs to increase their access to fresh, locally raised meat. In the Seacoast area of New Hampshire and Maine, we are working to improve access to fresh fish that doesn't have to travel through so many different hands from boat to kitchen. Because we think these "Locals" work best when they're self defined, we rely on leaders from within the community.

With this in mind, we are pleased to introduce Chef Richard Garcia of 606 Congress and the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel as our "Local" leader. Rich has committed to Chefs Collaborative, and to the greater Boston community of food professionals, some of his time and resources to try help to steer us all towards a more sustainable, productive, and delicious future.



We would be thrilled if you would join us on Monday, August 22 at 10:30AM for an informal meeting to help establish what are the successes and challenges to running a sustainable, locally sourced kitchen in the greater Boston area so that we can help the group go about solving these challenges. We want you to have the power to shape the future of food in the area so please join us at the Renaissance Hotel for this important planning meeting and help bring a unified direction in solving the problems you are having and enforcing the successes.


If you can attend, and we hope you can, please RSVP no later than the 20th of August directly to me. We look forward to seeing you and hearing what you have to say.


Sincerely,


Robert Booz
Network Coordinator
Chefs Collaborative
89 South Street
Lower Level
Boston, MA 02111
617 236 5258 (direct line)
617 236 5272 (fax)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Current Menu @ 606 Congress

I apologize for this being so late, I always like posting my most current menu and this one has been running for about 4 weeks at the restaurant. You'll notice a little more casual approach as we are in the middle of the Boston tourism season with lots of transient guest at our hotel. Interestingly as I continue to evolve as a chef understanding the guest base at a hotel is so much different than understanding it at an independent restaurant. Since we have a specialty restaurant we can get away from the more traditional hotel fare, but always keeping in mind that our valued guests at the hotel are people we want to make sure we make happy during there stay. The demographics change weekly and that has been an interesting challenge in my career that I have never had to deal with in the past very much. Without losing focus on who we are in our restaurant, always providing an indigenous experience focused on Modern Farm cuisine and Modern New England Seafood dishes we did add some casual items focused on the summer season.

SNACKS

Flash Fried Point Judith Calamari…. 10
pickled red peppers, lime, scallions

Duxbury Oysters ..….18
summer melon, fennel pollen

Octopus Carpaccio…. 12
ceviche sauce, sea urchin

Blackbird Farms Grilled Beef Heart ….10
horseradish “mayo”, roasted beets



SOUPS & SALADS

Vegetable Garden …. 8
organic lettuces, herbs & vegetables of the season, banyuls vinaigrette

*Caesar Salad…. 8
white anchovies, croutons, Parmesan, lemon

Smoked Haddock Chowder…. 9
house made oyster crackers

 Gazpacho Verde ….9
grapes, toasted almonds

Evas Pea Tendrils …. 10
sea salted ricotta, crispy shallots, preserved lemon vinaigrette

MAINS

Bone In All Natural Ribeye (24oz)…. 38
sweet corn puree, roasted cippolini onion, pickled mustard seed

Chicken² …24
spelt risotto, baby arugula
Brandt Farms Filet Mignon ….32
duck fat fingerlings, glazed thumbolina carrots,bone marrow, sauce bordelaise

Hand Cut Papardelle …. 26
fresh summer truffle, 1 hour farm egg

Bombster Sea Scallops… 27
farm raised cockles, popcorn chowder, dehydrated corn, basil, chorizo

Wild Striped Bass “Pastrami” ….29
rye spaetzle, brussel sprout kraut, whole grain mustard

Local Catch of The Day  ( Trace & Trust Certified Fish)….28
white coco beans, Spanish sausage, dill, Narragansett yogurt

Escoffier Burger …………21
Hudson Valley foie gras, truffles, Madeira sauce, brioche,  truffle fries



Sunday, July 24, 2011

SO What Is Trace & Trust?

Everyone is putting emphasis on locally sourced meat and vegetables,, it’s only a matter of time until the majority of people will want to ask about where exactly everything on their plate comes from. More Often than not is up to us as chefs to pass along the information to our servers in order to tell their customers what’s on the menu.

 However, a new program called Trace and Trust has taken an extraordinary step towards seafood transparency. I have been involved in this program now for aprox 8 months, many of you who read my blog regularly have seen the funny QR codes and a fish id almost weekly telling you about the fish I am using at the restaurant. But alot of people still ask me ...SO what exactly is Trace & Trust??


Trace and Trust is program developed last year by a small team of fishermen in collaboration with a small number of local area restaurants in Providence and Boston. The general idea was to allow both chefs and their guests alike to know exactly where their seafood came from. Everything from who, what vessel, when and how much was delivered to what restaurant. The information is obtained through a FISH ID number assigned to each individual  catch and species. You can go to the web site http://www.traceandtrust.com and enter a fish id on the home page, or I am currently giving all my guests who order a dish using Trace & Trust certified seafood a business card with a QR code and the ID so that the guest can scan the code at their leisure using their smart phone, the link takes them to a mobile version of the T&T website that again allows the guest to input the FISH ID in order to get the information.

I've been testing QR codes on my menus for a few months, the goal is to enable guests to pull out their smart phones and “track” their fish. In my opinion it’s getting a rave reviews.



Additionally, Trace and Trust has local Facebook pages that show fans where their fish are coming from and to which restaurants they’re going.

As a chef I can call my fisherman now and ask him when and where he is going fishing. Believe it or not the  fisherman can call me from his boat, at sea, telling me what the weather is, how far out to sea he is, what waters the fish are biting in, and exactly what and when he’ll be able to get to my kitchen within the next 24 hours..... It’s something that I am confident in saying that only a few restaurants that I know of in the country can claim this type of freshness and connection to the source.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Compressed & Grilled Watermelon Salad
grapefruit & tarragon vinaigrette, french breakfast radish, ricotta salada

I  grilled  pieces of watermelon and then seasoned them individually using salt pepper, tarragon & purslane from Evas Garden.I then vacuum sealed them with their seasonings and cooked them at 85°C for 20 minutes. Once the melon  were cooked  I dropped in ice bath. After they cooled I trimmed them up and served them as is, the flavor of the taragina nd purslane were embeded into the flesh of the watermelon, awesome flavor and even aroma.
In this case I made a simple salad, Im sure the possibilities are endless with flavor combinations and even cooking times. I was even thinking about making a grilled watermelon and purslane sorbet......

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sustainable New England James Beard Dinner Photos

Here is a preview  of the Beard Dinner we did on Thursday night. Amazing lineup of chefs and friends I was fortunate enough to cook with.

Matt Maue -  now cooking in the Cobble Hill Section of  Brooklyn NY at Strong Place, ( Formerly Executive Chef of Tastings Wine Bar)
Matthew & Kate Jennings-  Farmstead Inc.
Will Gilson- Eat

A great group of assistants from the French Culinary Institute and a great surprise "assistant".... Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa & Toro (also Food & Wine Magazines Peoples Choice Best New Chef) came down from Boston to help us out.

Sous Vide Scallop "Crudo",Popcorn Puree, Corn Textures, Toasted Almond Milk Foam
"me"

Crispy New England Heritage Pork Torchon with Radishes, Eloté Velouté, Fennel Pollen, and Chicharrón Crumbs
Matt Jennings


 
Roasted Lamb Loin with Summer Vegetables, Romesco, Watercress Salsa Verde, and Potato Espuma
Will Gilson


 
Brambly Farm Goose Sausage with Rhubarb Mostarda, Buttermilk, Soft-Boiled Egg, and Summer Greens
Matt Maue


 
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake with Ward’s Strawberry Ice Cream and Brown Butter Crème Anglaise
Kate Jennings


 
Great night, great friends, great food & great wine provided by Frogs Leap Winery which by the way is awesome juice!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fish Head Terrine

After a post from Ideas in Food a couple of weeks ago about Fish Head cheese, I was intrigued and needed to attemptt a version of my own. Chef Chris our exec sous, took the striper heads & added the carcass and put them in a CVAP at 58C over a bed of fumet ingredients, salt & pepper and some white wine. We cooked the heads for the recommended amount of time from the Ideas in Food post, but found that due to the size of the heads and possibly the additional ingredients it needed much more time. All in all it took about 1 hour 45 minutes to get to the texture we felt was enough. We picked the meat and Chris packed it into a mold with 6lbs of pressure for 12 hours in the blast chiller. The result......see for yourself

the finished terrine, seasoned perfectly from the fumet ingredients and held together just as good if not better than traditional pork head cheese (without additional gelatin)

cube of fish head terrine served in striped bass spinal cord vessel for amuse bouche ( used this for the Starchefs tasting last night) preserved lemon vinaigrette & micro seacress

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Striped Bass Spinal Cord


We received an amazing 50" Striped Bass today out of Rhode Island, by far biggest striper Ive seen. Ive been drawn to fish this year, and the acquisition of my Winston CVAP oven has given me a whole new outlook on the way I cook fish. Being able to cook fish in a vapor controllled environment at precise low temperatures has given me the opportunity to do things I have never been able to do with fish.

After my exec sous broke down the fish , we decided to try a technique we learned a few weeks ago using the CVAP on Ideas in Food Blog, Fish "Head Cheese". We decided why only the head?So we put together a standard fumet set up (without water) and cleaned the head of gills and put the head and remaining skeleton into the cvap on the fumet set. (Onions, fennel, celery, carrots, lemons, white wine, sachet on sheet pan)
We cooked the fish for 1hr & 45minutes , at 58C. When we took the fish out of the oven we were left with the most tender meat just falling off the cartilage and bones cleanly. Clean enough that I was left with a perfectly clean, large spinal cord. After breaking each joint apart and washing, I deep fried the spine to get rid of any lingering cartilage. What was left were these awesome serving pieces that I will utilize for serving a trio of striped bass. Maybe a belly tartar, ceviche, escabeche combo.

Using the whole fish usally means scraping the flesh off the bones for various applications and if big enough using the ribs as a little scooby snack. But using the usually unusable parts as serving pieces is something I'm going to continue to explore.

Friday, June 17, 2011

British Tamworth Pig

Half of the Tamworth Ready For Butchering

Ready To Brainstorm Menu Ideas

Mustard Braised Pork Sliders For Our Velocity Lunch

Pork Trotter Terrine

Last week we received the first of this seasons Tamworth Pig, a 200lb beauty from Round the Bend Farm in Dartmouth, MA. Antone “Tee” Vieira is the farmer responsible for raising heritage breeds of cattle, goat, sheep and hog who wander freely over the landscape along with free-range chickens. Tee raises harvest animals and work the land the old way, by rotating the animals.Their urine and feces are worked into the land. They eat different grasses. All are a part of a natural farming system.Some of the other heritage animals include Irish Dexter cows, Black Welsh mountain sheep and Swiss Oberhasli dairy goats.

I took my time with this one, its been a little bit since having a 200lb animal in front of me. It brought back the almost "zen" like feeling I remember when running Tastings and we would bring in these and other whole animals to break down and figure out how to use in different applications on our nightly tasting menu.

Already we have braised shoulder for mustard braised pork sliders for our lunch menu, Trotters were slow cooked in stock made with the pig bones and then made into a cold terrine for use with our charcuterie plate,The chops and T-bones were a huge hit served with cauliflower textures and frisse salad and a pork demi made with the stock used to cook the pig trotters. 

Tonight the boys will feature pork butt that was brined and then cooked in our Winston Cook & Hold Oven with CVAP technology for 12 hours at 175F for a "Surf & Turf" featuring the  seared slow cooked pork butt,  little neck clams, fingerling potato, pickled ramps and a beer (Harpoon UFO) and whole grain mustard sauce.

Its an amazing feeling to take one animal and have the opportunity to do so much with it and still have so much left to do! We have the belly, the head, more shoulder, butt, ham, heart and kidneys, fatback and hocks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not Your Typical Banquet Dept.




One of the personal challenges of my position is that I cant just focus on the restaurant 606 Congress 24/7. I have to remember that all the outlets in the hotel fall under my direction including our Capiz Lounge, In room dining, some of the carry out food we serve in our Starbucks and we cant forget the 25,000sf of Banquet space on the 3rd & 4th floor.

A challenge because  although I worked in a supervisor capacity in a banquet dept when I was starting my career, I was never really sold that you can produce amazing food, use only the best ingredients and give people a restaurant quality experience while serving 200, 300 even 800 people at a time. Maybe it was the hotel I worked at and the practices they used, but it just was something I didn't want to do.

But then I took my current position, I had no choice but to focus on the catering team and the food being produced. Especially seeing that the majority of our food sales come not from our amazing restaurant and the awesome team we have there, but from our great banquet space. I immediately began to notice that the team was well aware that you cant produce amazing food without amazing ingredients to begin with. They cared about every dish that was going out of the kitchen. whether it was a buffet for 600, a plated dinner for 75 or ala carte selections for 300 ( yes ala carte selections for 300 people to be served simultaneously) this crew and the leadership running the crew were top quality cooks and chefs putting out food that could be served on any menu we put in the restaurant.
Today we support farmers that follow all-natural farming methods. We steer our clients towards fish that is environmentally friendly and locally sourced. We prepare practically everything from scratch & to order. The enthusiasm for quality & freshness is ever present in our banquet kitchen as it is in our restaurant kitchen.  We create & customize each menu down to every ingredient & spice,  made just for our clients.

Its also a challenge as a chef to be able to orchestrate a full restaurant, 800 people eating a 4 course meal in banquets, a busy lounge serving its own menu and all to make sure that each person is doing their job to make our guests feel like its an individualized special experience for each of them personally. I cant do it alone and I'm fortunate to have an awesome team.

I'm a chef converted to having a very high respect and desire for banquet cuisine done right.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Textures


I don't claim to be a pastry chef, but every once in a while Ill put a dessert up against a pastry chefs any day....this is one of those. Iwas planning a summer menu and needed a killer dessert to bring with me to Nantucket. When I took this to the St. Emilion dinner it was a huge hit! I had already developed a goat cheese recipe but this just trumped that dish so I decided to start summer a little early put it on the menu.
 Strawberries compressed and macerated with St. Germain Elderflower Liquor. A creme fraiche mousse set with just the right amount of gelatin to have the silky mouth feel of a spoonful of sweetened creme fraiche. Strawberry fluid gel set with agar-agar ,  freeze dried strawberries and short bread pieces. To finish off the dish a small amount of sweetened white balsamic foam.
The different strawberry components give you the sweetness & tartness in different textures and the creaminess of the creme fraiche and buttery short bread add depth and a savory element needed to balance. The white balsamic foam brings the dish together and allows all the components to work together, its the string that holds everything together.
I'm excited to start using some of the local strawberries grown around here especially those from Wards Berry Farm in Sharon, MA.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nantucket Wine Festival 2011

What an amazing time at this years festival! From Thursday nights Harbor Gala where we served 800 portions of our Hot Jellied Lamb Tongue Terrine, to Friday nights exclusive dinner we cooked in one of the Islands most beautiful homes ($600 a head!) for 15 awesome people and two of Bordeaux's finest wine producers. I wont  forget the Gala after parties , dinner at The Pearl, the Grand Tasting , running into great friends and chefs and top it off with a great time with my wife and Chef Maue who came to the island to help me cook.
Denis Toner, the NWF founder and his team of volunteers who make the official opening of Nantucket happen every year for the past 15 years were amazing to work with.

Our culinary assistants from the Nantucket Yacht Club were awesome and the entire experience was truly one of the best off site events I have had the privilege to be part of.

Here are some pictures from the weekend, yes there was also pink shirts and pink drinks involved...pit stops for great wine, expensive bloody marys and random stops for Jager shots along the way, so don't blame me for the bad shots!






When in Nantucket you must wear pink at least once

Bentons Country Ham Croquettes, Cider Aioli, Honey Bourbon

Blackburns Fluke Crudo "Push Pop"

Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Heirloom Rhubarb , Flaming Shiso

72 Hour American Wagyu, Foie Stuffed Morels, Fried Fava, Fava Puree


American Lamb Tartar, 64 Degree Quail Egg, Black Truffle, Comte Cheese, Brioche

Prep Time Saint Emilion Dinner

Prep Saint Emilion Dinner

Table Setting Great Wines In Grand Houses Saint Emilion Dinner