It’s time again for Beard nominations, and the whole kerfuffle over Jason Neroni last year isn’t stopping the shameless shilling. A Grub Street reader alerted us to the Facebook group "Vote Evan Rich for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award," created by a friend of Rich, chef at Sumile Sushi. Rich is in a good spot if the group’s twelve current members are any indicator. Nice of the moderator to invite them all to Sumile! Let’s hope for the sake of propriety that there won’t be any comped green-tea ice cream.
Vote Evan Rich for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award [Facebook]
This season, we’re planning on kibitzing about the show every week with a variety of fellow viewers, all of whom will help us to dissect that episode’s round of flashy dishes and behind-the-scenes treachery.
Josh DeChellis’s Japanese-inspired cooking at Sumile Sushi is especially attuned to seasonality. Just look at tonight’s special, spring-vegetable sushi. Says DeChellis, “Spring’s first vegetables are so precious — just like the most prized fish of the sea — and deserve an equally simple preparation to highlight their annual arrival and delicate flavors.” Tonight’s vegetables include fresh wasabi peas, glazed spring onions, young Japanese peppers, steamed ramps, wild asparagus, enoki, water spinach and sesame, and daikon sprout “kimchee.” The special will change as it reappears from time to time throughout the spring, with different vegetables making guest appearances.
For the remainder of this month, Sumile Sushi chef Josh De Chellis will be preparing a Japanese spring tasting menu incorporating preserved cherry blossoms and leaves. “The whole cherry-blossom experience is an excuse to cook delicately,” says De Chellis. “That’s what spring is: the first grasses and first vegetables. It’s a delicate time of year.” De Chellis works the cherry blossoms and leaves into four courses, all accompanied by a Sparkling Sakura Sake Elixir infused with them. Unagi (eel) is smoked with cherry blossom, touched up with a blossom glaze, and served with a rich foie gras mousse. Boned squab is rolled up with blossom-infused rice, then roasted, sliced, and served over a bitter, smoky burnt eggplant purée. A chocolate-and-cherry-blossom tart rounds out the meal, which costs $70 including sake. On a cold and rainy day like today, you could do a lot worse for a shift in mood.
Morandi gets absolutely slaughtered by Steve Cuozzo. Keith McNally has hardly received a bad review yet. [NYP]
Meanwhile, Moira Hodgson loves the place: “You’ll want to taste everything on this menu.” She seems to have liked all of it, with the possible exception of an overpriced veal chop. Did these two even go to the same restaurant? [NYO]
Bruni one-stars Varietal, calling the food creative but uneven and lambasting avant-garde dessert chef Jordan Kahn, who has enjoyed a lot of critical love. The desserts “don’t so much eschew convention as pummel and shatter it — literally, and often pointlessly.” [NYT]
Some restaurant owners want to bring in garbage disposals as a weapon in the war on rats, but the city won’t allow it, claiming that the sewer system would be overwhelmed. [Nation's Restaurant News]
Fatty Crab gets a liquor license and some original cocktails to go with it; meanwhile, McDonald’s will be giving away free coffee all day tomorrow. [NYS]
Ernest Gallo, co-founder with his brother Julio of the much-maligned but enormously successful California winery, dies at 97. [NYT]
This week’s magazine spans the world of food, from Anna Nicole’s refrigerator to Drew Neiporent’s latest big-box feeding hall, reviewed this week by Adam Platt. Rob and Robin write about one of the most buzzed-about openings of the season, and Gael Greene checks out Sam DeMarco’s Fireside. And to round it out, we take stock of what, if anything, the skinny types consumed during Fashion Week.
Everyone knows a good cook is a frugal cook, and no one takes this culinary code more seriously than Josh DeChellis, the skateboard-riding boy-wonder chef behind Sumile (recently tweaked and rechristened Sumile Sushi). In the spirit of the post-holiday season, DeChellis has come up with an idea that is not only environmentally responsible but also would make Euell Gibbons’s eyes goggle and his mouth water.
“I was helping my parents take down the Christmas tree and the perfume was amazing,” DeChellis says. “So I took a few branches off and roasted a piece of grilled beef over the needles in an aluminum-foil pouch and I loved it!” DeChellis was kind enough to pass along a similar pine-scented recipe, below, so that Grub Street readers can recycle any trees or wreaths they have lying around the house instead of just dragging them outside to the curb. DeChellis also has a suggestion for stale gingerbread cookies: “Grind them up and crust scallops with it. Serve with a sauce of brown butter, gingerbread powder, and milk blended in a blender with Brussels sprout leaves on the side.” Delish! — Rob Patronite & Robin Raisfeld
Jeffrey Chodorow's imminent, elite-meat Kobe Club is out one chef: Josh DeChellis of Sumile will not be helming the kitchen when the restaurant opens in December. "Jeffrey Chodorow and company wanted to take their concept in more mainstream direction. We still maintain a good relationship," DeChellis tells us. (Given how committed DeChellis is to using the very best ingredients and Chodorow's reputation as a supremely efficient businessman, we're guessing things might've broken down over the question of food costs.) Meanwhile, the chef, whose high-powered fusion cooking is still wowing them at Sumile, has plenty of other sashimi to slice: "I'm installing a sushi bar at Sumile [in mid-December], and I'm opening Sumile Tokyo next week."