Barbuto chef-owner Jonathan Waxman, the seasonal steward who helped engineer California cuisine at Michael's following his early run at Chez Panisse, bounced back to the beach last night, preparing a five-course dinner with Strand House chefs Neal Fraser and Greg Hosinsky in Manhattan Beach. Waxman was the first chef appearing at the restaurant's guest chef series from out-of-state, following previous dinners this summer held with Walter Manzke and Michael Cimarusti. During last night's affair, paired with the unveiling of Opus One's new 2009 vintage alongside other Napa Wines selected by winemaker Michael Silacci, Waxman recounted a period when he actually lived on the grounds of Opus One's winery and would ride his Alfa-Romeo along the road and "open the door and just pick chanterelles up off of the ground" as he cruised by.
In a speech following the joint dinner, which featured grilled cibatta spread with bone marrow and Parmesan, roast Jidori chicken with double cooked fingerling potatos, and spot prawns served atop a Dungeness crab and jalapeno spaghetti, Fraser recounted the time he first encountered Waxman. "I first met Jonathan twenty-something years ago," Fraser noted, to which the New York chef unexpectedly interrupted, "We did not have sex!" Nonetheless, Fraser finished his speech and sincerely told Waxman, "I love you."
We're not sure what Waxman was fixated on last night, but soon he was comparing his ongoing efforts to pin down an L.A. location for a return to his native West Coast to "having sex with your neighbor's wife."
In any case, the visiting chef did insist on some form of intimacy by demanding communal tables and family-style plates of his shaved squash salad with toasted macadamia nuts and a warm salad of local squid with field greens. "This is how we serve guests at Barbuto...I believe food should be shared this way and that conversation is crucial at dinner," he explained.
Following Waxman's appearance, Philadelphia chef and Iron Chef star Jose Garces will be next to work alongside Neal Fraser and Greg Hozinsky at The Strand House. On October 29, Garces will cook a prix-fixe menu at the restaurant for one night. Garces recently revealed to Grub Street his plans for a new restaurant called Volver that he's intending to open in Philly next spring. See Garces' full planned pan-Latin menu below.
Jose Garces at Strand House
Passed Hors doeuvres:
Causa de Atún -- Chilled Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Tuna, Lime, and Chiles (Peru)
Anticuchos Mixtos -- Grilled and Skewered Veal Sweetbreads, Beef Short Ribs, and Cremini Mushrooms, with Rocoto Allioli (Peruvian Chile Aïoli) and Salsa de Huacatay (Black Mint Sauce) Dipping Sauces (Peru)
Frituras de Bacalao -- Salt Cod Fritters (Cuba)
Ceviche de Atún -- Tuna Ceviche with Citrus and Chiles (Ecuador)
Paired with Presidente Pilsner Beer
Aguadito de Pato -- Stewed Duck in Broth with Potatoes, Peas, and Chiles (Peru)
Paired with Hand-crafted Pisco Sour Cocktails
Merluza en Salsa Verde -- Hake Fillets in Clam and Herb Sauce, and Calçots con Salbitxada -- Grilled Spring Onions with Almond Sauce (Spain)
Paired with Martin Codax 2010 Albariño
Lechón Asado -- Achiote and Citrus-marinated Roast Suckling Pig, served with Moros y Cristianos -- Black Beans and Rice, Yuca con Mojo Criollo -- Yuca with Sour Orange Mojo, and Tostones -- Fried Sweet Plantains (Cuba)
Paired with Hand-crafted Mojito Cocktails
Pastel de Tres Leches - Tres Leches Cake with Cinnamon and Nutmeg (Mexico)
Served with Coffee