Frank's Americana Revival and Chef Kevin Naderi of Roost: 2013 Menu of Menu's Big Winners
The annual Menu of Menus grand tasting is much more than just a night for our readers to come out, meet their favorite restaurants, find new favorites and get their faces stuffed with delicious grub. It's also a fierce competition.
Photo by Abrahan Garza Frank's Americana Revival took home the Best Restaurant award last night.
A wooden token was given to each guest as they entered Silver Street Station last night, good for one vote to the restaurant that wowed them the most. Newcomers Maine-ly Sandwiches and the Eatsie Boys -- serving buttery lobster rolls and Shipley's donut-flavored ice cream topped with specially-baked mini donut holes, respectively -- looked poised to win, but it was another newcomer that swept the competition last night.
Frank's Americana Revival, which opened just this past December, won in a landslide of tokens for its beautifully presented plate of braised short ribs, carrots and pearl oninos over a creamy scoop of jalapeño-cheese grits. Classy comfort speaks to the heart every time.
In the second annual Iron Fork competition, defending champion Kevin Naderi -- chef and owner of Roost -- beat the odds-on favorite, chef Ryan Hildebrand of Triniti, to take home the [literal, and quite heavy] Iron Fork once again.
Photo by Marco Torres Ryan Hildebrand cooked perfect bay scallops for the Iron Fork competition.
In the course of the 45-minute live cooking competition, the chefs were responsible for creating two dishes out of a secret ingredient chosen by Iron Fork emcee Randy Evans -- chef and owner of Haven -- and presenting them to a panel of judges. That secret ingredient? Quinoa, which the creative chefs quickly pulverized into flour to make gnocchi and fettuccine.
Photo by Abrahan Garza
Along with a full pantry of food supplied by Whole Foods Market, the two chefs cranked out an appetizer and an entree in the 45-minute timeframe, with Hildebrand assisted by his trusty chef de cuisine, Greg Lowry. In the end, however, the Triniti team didn't finish plating its fettuccine entree and therefore lost on a small technicality. That said, Hildebrand and Lowry did turn out an amazing appetizer of perfectly-cooked bay scallops coated in quinoa, over a bed of fresh vegetables with a surprisingly lovely banana puree.
Photo by Marco Torres Iron Fork winner Kevin Naderi is congratulated by emcee Randy Evans, also his former boss.
Naderi's entree of quinoa gnocchi didn't turn out exactly as he'd planned -- "It's tough to get the consistency right; the flour didn't get as fine as I wanted," he told emcee Randy Evans -- but the fluffy pillows of pasta in a truffle cream sauce made for a fine feast regardless. Naderi will be back next year to defend his title once again, and we hope to see you there once again as well.
Photo by Abrahan Garza