We meet Chef Bob Griffing at bluezoo

Last Friday evening, we wandered over to bluezoo – hadn’t been since the end of May… we knew that Chad (@chadlobner) had been testing some new cocktail recipes for the summer and wanted to drop by and give them a shot; although we didn’t get to try the two we were expecting, we did try Chad’s barrel-aged Rob Roy

It was tasty, of course. For those who don’t know, a Rob Roy is pretty much a Manhattan made with Scotch instead of Rye or Bourbon. Chad uses Glenfidditch – darn it’s good… but his barrel-aged Manhattans have become somewhat legendary (hi Lisa!), so it’s no surprise.

Wonderful start to any meal at bluezoo = Chad's Barrel Aged Manhattan!

Wonderful start to any meal at bluezoo = Chad’s Barrel Aged Manhattan!

Most of bluezoo’s cocktails from the last year remain on the menu (here are a few)…

bluezoo's smoking sangria

bluezoo’s smoking sangria

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

Old Tom Negroni

Old Tom Negroni

We had a very enjoyable time sitting at the bar and chatting with the many people that we know at bluezoo… feels like home 🙂 We found out that Chef Chris’ replacement was in place… Chef Bobby (Chef Bobby has been with Todd English since 1997, he opened “Olive’s” for T.E. around the world, beginning at the Bellagio in Las Vegas); we were assured that we’d get to meet him this evening.

It soon became REALLY WARM as the place became more crowded, so we asked for a table in the dining room with Joe (if it wasn’t too much trouble or a problem)… Joe understands that we like to “dine” and take it slow – order one course, eat it, relax a bit, and then order the next course (by the way, this is a great way to avoid overeating – and it’s so easy to overeat at bluezoo because their food is fantastic! I already told you that their drinks are great!).

Chef Bobby sent out an amuse bouche to get us started…

bluezoo new Executive Chef Bob Griffing wows us with first tastes - August 2013  - 1

A “carpet-bagger”

Now, somewhere in the deep past, nora had heard of a carpet bagger steak (probably that old copy of Fannie Farmer that she read cover to cover) – the details were murky, but she knew it had something to do with steak and oysters (turns out, it’s a steak stuffed with oysters)…

This particular rendition from Chef Bobby is a fried oyster wrapped in beef carpaccio on cauliflower puree and truffle aioli (hope I got that right). We picked up the oyster shells and slurped these down like they were raw oysters – OMG! they were so, so good. The oyster was nice and crispy but the interior wasn’t overcooked. The beef carpaccio was just barely chewy. We’re accustomed to cauliflower puree at bluezoo, but this was really kicked up a notch – the garlic and chives were evident – they really made an impression. The truffle aioli on top provided just a touch of earthiness. Overall, this was quite toothsome.

the other carpet-bagger

the other carpet-bagger

Wow! what a way to start the food-portion of our evening! Next, we asked for a bread basket (I promise, I’ll try to get a photo next time) – chewy crusty ciabatta, sauteed onion foccacia, and a parmesan rosemary flatbread. We were soon making happy noises, the sauteed onion foccacia is a particular favorite of ours and we haven’t met anyone yet who can stop eating that flatbread!

We decided that our next course would be oysters and clams (we love bivalves and this is the best place to get them in the area)… We each had two littleneck clams and 3 different oysters (I can’t remember the names of the oysters – two were from the Pacific Northwest and one was from Rhode Island)…

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clams front and center, the proceeding clockwise: cocktail sauce with extra horseradish, a variety of oysters, and mignonette sauce (you can see the bread basket in the background)

Nora really liked the clams…

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Oysters: the bottom four were Pacific North West oysters and the top two were from the East Coast

The small dark oysters at the bottom of the photo were quite good – and we were pleasantly surprised by how much we liked the Rhode Island oysters (we tend to prefer pacific over atlantic when eating them raw). Neither of us cared that much for the ones in the middle – they had really big “bellies” and the texture was a bit off-putting… Overall, this was a good choice for us. The East Coast oysters had a very nice brininess to them.

Chef Bobby Griffing came out and said “hello” – really nice man. We enjoyed talking to him (we were there before the big dinner rush started) – we talked a bit about Chef Specials on the menu and he said that he looks forward to having them change more frequently than they might have in the past. In fact, he had created a Chef’s Special Appetizer – a crab cake appetizer (2 crab cakes and 2 pieces of tuna, the chef split them so that we could each enjoy) – there you go, our last course tonight.

bluezoo new Executive Chef Bob Griffing wows us with first tastes - August 2013  - 3

Chef Bobby’s Crab Cake Appetizer (we split it)

A seared crab cake sitting on a sweet corn puree with avocado relish, topped with ahi tuna and a sprinkle of sea salt

A seared crab cake sitting on a sweet corn puree with avocado relish, topped with ahi tuna and a sprinkle of sea salt

This was quite good – you could really taste the crab and the sweet corn puree paired nicely with the crab (notice, it isn’t a “filler” cake). This was a bit tough to eat in small bites – the texture of the crab cake was so soft and moist, that it fell apart (of course it did, there was no discernible filler). And the tuna was fantastic too – give us a good cut of tuna with a sprinkle of sea salt any day of the week.

bluezoo new Executive Chef Bob Griffing wows us with first tastes - August 2013  - 5

One last photo, because two weren’t enough

We enjoyed this and were pleased with our choice. Chef Bobby came out after we had finished and we told him that we preferred the carpet-bagger over the crab cake (but hey! that’s fine too). Chatted with him some more and told him how much we had enjoyed our food. We talked briefly about sake (he speaks Japanese) and about fruitcake made with hisui… Lovely evening…

After we came home, we looked Chef Bobby up on twitter (@BobbyGriffing) – and found photos of the very items we’d eaten at dinner and a few others that looked quite yummy (including the dishes shown below). We’re particularly interested in his rendition of fish & chips and steak & fries (we think that Harry would go bananas for the steak & fries)…

So, we’ll leave you with a couple of pictures from Chef Bobby… It’s getting close to dinner time!

"Beer battered fish & chips. Sometimes it's the little things." from @bobbygriffing

“Beer battered fish & chips. Sometimes it’s the little things.” from @bobbygriffing

Steak and Fries @bobbygriffing

“Steak and Fries. Lobster and bacon stuffed tenderloin. Truffled silky potatoes. Fried asparagus fries.” from @bobbygtiffing

 

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