Chef Chat, Part 2: Mike Potowski of benjy's on Washington
EOW: Could you describe the menu for someone who has never been to benjy's on Washington?
MP: It is American cuisine. With myself being from Japan, I try to incorporate a lot of Asian ingredients into our menu. We share proteins at each restaurant (referring to the other location in Rice Village). The chef has the creativity to do whatever they want with it. Over here, I try to steer it to my background, but then again, we are benjy's. And benjy's is known for American food.
EOW: You have a background in sushi preparation. Are you able to utilize those skills here at benjy's?
MP: I try to, but sushi is something you make ahead of time. In our specials, yes, I try to do it.
EOW: How often do you change some of the menu items?
MP: We do it seasonal, but then we are a paper menu. So, we can change the menu anytime we feel like it. Changing-wise, maybe every three months.
EOW: Any particular menu items diners can look forward to in the near future?
MP: We'll be going back to the lighter fare. For appetizers, getting away from the fried items and doing more sashimi--using local olive oils. Just getting back to my roots. During the spring and summertime, we've always done very light and refreshing seafood dishes.
EOW: Could you tell me about the Sunday Suppers?
MP: It's a three-course meal--$19.95. It starts off with a salad. We focus on comfort food. For example, we've done a buffalo meatloaf in the past. Then we finish it off with Mom's Chocolate Cake.
EOW: If I came here and could only order one thing, what should I get?
MP: One thing?
EOW: Just one thing.
MP: Just one thing.
EOW: What should I get?
MP: The House Cured Salmon Sashimi. It's my forte.
Check back tomorrow as I sample a few of Chef Mike Potowski's other fortes.
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