International Chefs Showcase Their Stuff

A creative mingling of flavors and textures delighted discerning palates recently during gastronomic feasts in four New York restaurants. The special meals were prepared for events sponsored by San Francisco at the Americano Restaurant & Bar, Northwest Washington State at Bar Basque, Saborea Puerto Rico at Rayuela and Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit at Zengo. Chefs flew to New York to showcase their distinctive specialties for travel writers living and working in the New York area.

San Francisco’s culinary star, Chef Kory Stewart of Americano Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Vitale, featured his specialties at the Americano Restaurant & Bar in New York, located at 25 Cooper Square. Transporting fresh ingredients from the San Francisco Bay area, he complimented the restaurant’s soulful Italian cuisine with seasonal flavors and a robust sensibility. Served with the elegant six-course dinner were a 2009 Twomey and a 2008 Seghesio Zinfandel followed by a 2009 Moscato wine for desert.


Handmade mozzerella with Warren pears, raddichio and

Sicilian pistachios

Crispy Red Hill Farm egg with sunchoke truffle fonduta, pickled breakfast radishes and pancetta

Chanterelle mushroom and pumpkin lasagnette with Tuscan kale and ricotta

Fig leaf wrapped Pacific black cod with Castelvetrano olive tapenade and fennel

Liberty duck breast with California chestnut fondue, pink lady apples and Brussels sprouts

Candy cap mushroom custard with maple pecan sbrisolona.


Bar Basque was the setting for a New York Travel Writers lunch hosted by regions of Washington State. The restaurant recently opened on the second floor of the new Kimpton Hotel, Eventi, located on Sixth Avenue between 30th and 31st Street. The glassed in dining area faces a large screen on the brick wall adjacent to the restaurant, which flashes a variety of subjects, from cartoons to scenes. Although some of the serving techniques have to be worked out, Executive Chef Yuhi Fujinaga (formerly at eighty one) brought his strong foundation of classical French training to create stunningly displayed, exemplary dishes. Included were:

Roasted Local Beets, Jones Farm Greens

Herb Pesto, Caramelized Goat’s Cheese, Marcona Almonds

Chicken Piquillo and Potatoes

Slow Baked Piquillo Peppers, Spicy Roasted Potatoes

“Chocolatina De Terry”

Glossy Chocolate Ganache with Praline, Caramelized Hazelnut

and Brandy with Double Whipped Cream


Rayuela infuses ingredients from Latin American and Asian countries to create a freestyle Latino cuisine. With two floors and a small yard in the back, the restaurant, located at 165 Allen Street (between Rivington and Stanton Streets) is spacious and tastefully constructed. Executive chef and partner of Rayuela Maximo Tejada and Austrian chef Augusto Schreiner together with special guests Mario Pagán and Daisy Martinez provided a background for the cuisine of Puerto Rico

Lobster ceviche
Lobster and shrimp,
grilled pineapple, jalapeno, young coconut water infused with lemongrass and
ginger, garnished with Uruguayan caviar

Mini Tuna Rellena
Shrimp, crab, and
avocado wrapped in sliced tuna served with cucumbers in a soy vinaigrette

A la lolita
Mushroom croquettes,
figs almonds, truffle trumpet allioli

Arepa de Bacalo
Sweet corn arepa
served with cod fish, tomatoes, peppers and hard boiled quail egg

Mofongo con Pulpo
Octopus, olive-caper
tomato sauce, mashed green plantain mixed with garlic and bacon


Another Latin-Asian blend of styles and flavors is Zengo at 622 Third Avenue (40thStreet). The restaurant’s stunning tri-level décor of clean lines and rich wood unites traditional and contemporary tastes. At a bar located on the mezzanine level innovative beverages include hand-muddled cocktails, Latin wines and tequila drinks (the restaurant boasts 400 varieties of the cactus liquor). The niche above the first floor would seems ideal for groups but for the noise level, which can reach an ear-splitting level. Chef Betty Vazquez, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in France and returned to her family-run Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas, joined Chef-owner Richard Sandoval (Bon Appétit Restaurateur of the Year) for the event. Chef Canela’s winning, full-flavor combinations were inspired by her native region. She created an artful, savory group of appetizers and co-created the three-course lunch.

Hors d’oeuvres
Sopa de mariscos in a
shot glass (chef Vazquez)seafood soup with two chiles.

Ceviche de pescado a
la naranja (chef Vazquez)Fish ceviche with orange sauce

Tacos de carnitas de
pato (Chef Sandoval)

Huaraches de hongos
silvestres (Chef Sandoval)

First course
Camarones con finas
hierbas(Chef Vázquez

Chipotle sauce /
sweet plantain mash / canela

Second course
Tablones de res con
achiote (Chef Sandoval )

Oaxaca cheese mash
potatoes / truffled huitlacoche sauce / short rib jus

Dulce de leche
Chocolate caviar /
rum plantain puree (Chef Sandoval)

Sorbete de limon y
hierba santa(Chef Vázquez)

Churros (Chef

Cajeta / chocolate