July 10, 2012 | Short Order
Top Chef Winner Tests New Texas Menu on NYC Foodists
He became a television star, winning what may have been the most disappointing Top Chef season yet, but that hasn’t stopped Paul Qui from becoming somewhat of an underground sensation in his own right. Within months he won a James Beard Award, Best Chef Southwest and left Uchiko, the Texas restaurant where he’d been flexing his utensils, to open his own Lone Star place, not yet named. So why is he testing recipes for an Austin kitchen at a “culinary salon” on Prince Street? Are New Yorkers the crucial focus group for restaurant concepts?
The chef rhapsodizes about cooking in NYC and wanting to show Texas appetities are more than just tacos and BBQ. But clearly exposure to our town’s ravenous food press and competitive eaters can’t hurt his resume.
Though “summer is the theme,” expect the meal to be indicative of the chef’s menu, which he has, until now, refused to discuss. Anticipate a mash-up cuisine like one planned dish pairing Asian ingredients (dashi, uni) and fetishized garden picks (sunchokes, summer squash). Another pits pork jowl and corn milk against coriander and black lime with a bourbon-aged fish sauce while a third seems more straightforward — tomato water, mussels, celery, basil blossoms.
Chef Qui says he will be tweaking his seasonings and bracing for slaps and pats of criticism throughout the one-week run at City Grit, July 30th through August 4th. His hipster-Asian seven-course meals ($95 plus tax) should be irresistible for the dedicated foodists determined to be first mouths on every scene. The same people sipping beers while cooling their heels in line for hours at Pok Pok Ny and Mission Chinese in these hot summer evenings. Of course, we may be there as well. Tickets available here.
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