Ironside Fish & Oyster
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Birth Announcements: July/August 2014

Juliet Glass - July/August 2014

Jesse Schenker, chef/owner of West Village hot spot Recette, nabbed some spacious Flatiron District digs (15 West 18th Street) for his second restaurant, The Gander. The casual American menu is supported by a deep wine list (the work of wine and restaurant director Rick Pitcher, formerly of Gotham Bar and Grill). Pastry chef Christina Lee is a Per Se alum. Apps ($12 to $17): chilled pea soup with ramps, oysters, and borage; crispy calamari with snap peas, grapes, cashews, and ranch dressing. Mains ($20 to $40): beet tortelli with goat’s milk yogurt, coconut, and almonds; suckling pig with vegetable barigoule and charred salsa verde. Desserts ($7 to $10): crème brûlée semifreddo with anise/milk chocolate, walnuts, bacon, and whiskey; chocolate mousse with chiles, cocoa nibs, prunes, and hazelnuts.

Restaurateur Paul Ruppert (also partner of Room 11) introduced the Franco-Japanese Crane & Turtle to the up-and-coming Petworth neighborhood at 828 Upshur Street NW in June. Located across the street from Ruppert’s Petworth Citizen, the jewel box, light-filled space seats 25 indoors and an additional 15 outside. Ruppert scored big with his recruitment of Makoto Hama­mura (recently CityZen sous chef) as executive chef, and the menu aptly reflects Hamamura’s Japanese heritage and classical French training. Apps ($8 to $16): salmon tataki with pickled shimeji mushrooms and avocado/tarragon/yuzu vinaigrette; tempura batter–fried shiso leaf-wrapped skate wing with yuzu kosho aïoli. Mains ($18 to $28): halibut à la meunière with bacon-braised kohlrabi, crispy kabocha pumpkin, fennel seed tuile, and parsley puree; hay-smoked rib eye with roasted celeriac, celery pistou, and Choron sauce.

Chef Jason Smith and his 18 Restaurant Group (18 Seaboard and Cantina 18, both in Raleigh) minted their third project, Harvest 18 (8128 Renaissance Parkway) this spring. The seasonal menu is Southern and, above all, predominantly regional—Smith pledges to source over 80 percent of his product from North Carolina farmers and purveyors. Anchoring the 70 seat restaurant is the kitchen’s wood-fire grill. Small plates ($6 to $8): Sea Island red pea hummus with pita bread and pickled green tomato relish; green tomato/collard soup with pork belly, Aleppo oil, and herb crema. Large plates ($10 to $25): meat loaf “sloppy joe” with cheddar, grilled red onions, and house-cut fries; wood-fire grilled trout with Sea Island red peas, ramps, roasted tomatoes, and warm house-cured pancetta vinaigrette.

The Denver-based Sage Restaurant Group spawned a second branch of its Urban Farmer Steakhouse (the first is in Portland, Oregon) in May in the Westin Cleveland Downtown hotel. The Cleveland iteration is tailored to the local community, both in its sourcing and the 255 seat interior. Leading the culinary team are Urban Farmer director of culinary operations Matt Christianson and executive chef Brad Cecchi (who decamped from Sacramento’s Grange Restaurant & Bar). Apps ($10 to $17): spring onion soup with fiddleheads, morels, and purple potatoes; soft shell crab with hearts of palm, snap peas, mint, and sofrito aïoli. Mains ($27 to $80): Great Lakes walleye with parsley root puree, peas, and black garlic; a New York steak tasting from three Midwestern ranches. Desserts ($6 to $10): devil’s food whoopie pie with fudge; butterscotch sundae.

Having taken over management of French Blue late last year, Mill Valley–based Auberge Resorts completed the restaurant’s transformation, reopening it as the 112 seat Archetype (1429 Main Street) in April. Auberge’s Solage Calistoga culinary team, Brandon Sharp and his protégé, Ryder Zetts, run the kitchen. The award-winning design remains intact, but the food offerings have been completely revamped as a California Wine Country restaurant, with an emphasis on wood-fired cooking and locally sourced, seasonal product. Apps ($13 to $16): buckwheat blini with burrata, morels, and pickled cherries; warm sugar snap peas with egg, black trumpet mushrooms, braised daikon, and crispy rice; peanut-crusted soft shell crab with hearts of palm, green tomato relish, Russian dressing, and purslane. Mains ($24 to $30): wood-grilled Niman Ranch leg of lamb with merguez sausage, fresh garbanzo bean falafel, chile/mint salsa, and fromage blanc; Bodega Bay king salmon roasted on barrel staves with crispy artichokes, spring onions, fennel, and sea beans. Desserts ($9 to $19): strawberry turnover with crème fraîche ice cream and basil; Meyer lemon meringue pie with brown butter crust and blood orange syrup.

Chef Jason McLeod, best known for his Michelin-starred cooking at Chicago’s RIA, partnered with the San Diego–based CH Projects (known for its trendy watering holes Polite Provisions and Craft & Commence, among others) for the April launch of Ironside Fish & Oyster (1654 India Street). The seafood-centric theme is fully integrated into the 205 seater’s playful design by Basile Studio. Along with the requisite raw bar, there’s a wall adorned with hundreds of faux piranha skulls and a five-foot lobster tank. The kitchen team includes Jose “JoJo” Ruiz (late of Tower23 Hotel), Donna Antaloczy (whose bicoastal experience includes time at Manresa in Los Gatos, CA, and Eleven Madison Park in NYC). Apps ($14 to $16): octopus a la plancha with chorizo and olives; bay scallops with mushrooms and fava beans. Mains ($11 to $34): fish and chips with grilled lemon, tartar sauce, and malt vinegar; beer-braised mussels with andouille sausage and toasted baguette. Desserts ($7): almond panna cotta with mango, apples, and pineapple; chocolate s’mores cake with marshmallows, sesame cake, and chocolate.