Archive for the 'Joey Allaham' Category

11
Dec
13

The Prime Grill Cookbook


David Kolotkin, one of our favorite Chefs, has authored a new cookbook together with Prime Hospitality Co.’s CEO Joey Allaham. Some of Prime Grill‘s tastiest recipes are in this book, many of which SYR and I have tasted over the years, now everyone can make and enjoy them anytime they want!

PrmCookBk

The book starts out with a history of Prime Grill, photos of the original location and some of the kitchen crew. Then it has a section on Chef David, menus and a listing of potables. The recipe section is organized as follows:

  • Hors d’Oeuvres
  • Appetrizers
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Side Dishes
  • Dessert
  • Cooking Foundations
  • Dressings and Sauces
  • Rubs

It was hard to find just one favorite recipe to feature here, but after reviewing the book a few times I opted for this one:

Porcini Mushroom Soup

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra-light olive oil
  • 2 cups onion, small dice
  • 1/2 cup celery, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups defrosted frozen porcini mushrooms, rough chopped (reserve defrosted liquids)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 cups liquid (defrosted liquid + chicken stock to equal 6 cups)
  • 2 cups pareve cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 cups pareve cream cheese
  • Caramelized onions (optional)

In a heavy gauge soup pot, heat extra-light olive oil and sweat the onions and celery until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Add the porcini mushrooms and stir in the flour and cook for another three to four minutes. Add the liquid slowly, working out any lumps from the flour and add salt. Once the liquid is combined bring to  a boil and immediately lower to a simmer in on low heat for a half hour, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add the pareve cream cheese and combine till smooth. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool. Puree in a blender until smooth. Serve with croutons or a toasted piece of bread and garnish with caramelized onions.

Chef’s tip: Because you are working with roux, you want to add the water slowly, So that there are no lumps, use a whisk to ensure proper incorporation. In addition, because it is a thick soup, it should be stirred very frequently.

We’ve had this soup quite often as we ate both at Prime Grill and at Solo, we just can’t get enough of it!

Whether you want a recipe to impress the in-laws or your boss, whether you need something fast or you are looking for that special dish for a festive occasion, this is the cookbook for you!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

22
Aug
13

The New… Prime Grill – Elegance par Excellence


I knew I was in for serious trouble when walking back to our cozy, ellipsoidal, tufted leather booth with a bite size bread squarely in my mouth – from the washing station – I ached to skirt a bee-line for seconds of the freshly brick oven baked flatbread pieces. Good thing I didn’t, because Chef David Kolotkin prepared CS, myself and my son, a feast of heavenly scope and perfection… it will take days to walk off and countless years to forget. kosher-scene-copyright-copy22

A Partial view of the main floor.

A partial view of the main floor at opening time for dinner – 5:00pm

The place is the new Prime Grill (25 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019 – 212.692.9292) surrounded with neighbors on par like: Henri BendelGucciAbercrombie & Fitch, and the Consulate General of Argentina. The venue is elegant, Great Gatsby meets luxury cruise liner enormous, yet sedate and optimally planned to seat all dining scenarios in shades of warm beige to deep teal. Beyond the reception and a welcoming long marble appointed rectangular bar, accented by the most ‘fabulous darling’ huge black crystal chandeliers that made my Hungarian heart sing. There is seating for up to 350 persons; with intimate balcony seating for two or for large private parties. The layout is so well done, it flows unobtrusively at near full capacity with the soft low hum of a well tuned engine. Our meal was nothing short of spectacular! New distinct flavors from the charcuterie board that tasted totally traif; I’ll be adding ‘al chets‘ for the Pepperoni and the Spicy Beef Prosciutto Cotto this Yom Kippur, that served along with thinly sliced Salami, cured Bresaola, and Spicy Smoked Beef Coppa became nothing short of ‘blonde svelt shiksa, you can’t possibly be Jewish’ when condimented with Prime Grill‘s Whole Grain French Mustard & the toasted flatbread. I’ve skipped ahead, sorry, premature palate excitation…

Hard to believe, it's actually all deliciously kosher!

Hard to believe, it’s actually all deliciously kosher!

Chef David said: “G-d will forgive me for introducing my people to the real tastes of the world.” We started our meal with three sushi appetizers, all superbly fresh, tasty, well sauced & beautifully served: Prime Grill Roll – with grilled yuzu-miso glazed black cod, cucumber, sesame-teriyaki sauce, topped with tuna & avocado; Fire Dragon Roll, consisting of spicy tuna wrapped in avocado; and a Spicy Tuna on crispy rice served with jalapeno aioli sauce, teriyaki & julienne tri-colored peppers – my personal sushi favorite, it’s that coalesced well blended harmony so reminiscent of Prime Ko‘s similarly named dish. Then it was all mouths on zest deck for a Merlin the Magician’s feast set for kings, queens, knights, and… can this round table get any larger? The Crackling Duck Salad leads the appetizer queue because it too had that artfully fused flavor that is so signature Chef David; duck confit and cracklings, arugula, frisee, tomato, red onion, poached egg and champagne vinaigrette. That champagne vinaigrette tied the flavors together in such a wonderful way – the duck confit was sublime, I do hope the dressing is included in Chef David‘s new cookbook – set to appear on September 15th and available at amazon.com. If not, we’ll try to squeeze Chef David for the recipe. It was a delightful marriage of flavors. Next came the Crispy Veal Sweetbreads – a light tempura based coating served with fennel puree, fennel fronds, enoki mushrooms, cipollini onions & pomegranate port sauce – a tad saliferous as is the tendency with sweetbreads, but lovely and light. The Classic Beef Tartar served over beef carpaccio with citrus-caper vinaigrette, sun dried tomatoes & pistachio baked crostini –was excellent. My intent was to sample lightly; who makes a meal of beef tartar? I couldn’t stop forking it – the fresh robust meat flavor vibrated with the citrusy capers and the pistachio crostini; oh my, I shamelessly kept eating. My son, a basic meat and potatoes kind of guy, recently has been expanding his palate; he couldn’t have been in better culinary hands as he explored Chef David’s taste odyssey taking him around the au couture comestible world in 80 minutes. Literally every single dish & accoutrement of the many consumed, possessed unique noble flavors artfully combined in what I’ll acronym as QTTP (Quality, Taste, Texture and august Presentation). CS tried a new Wood Grilled Veal Chop served with cipolline onions, peppers, vine ripened tomatoes, haricot vert, grilled radish, arugula with that marvelous whole grain mustard vinaigrette. The sliced Prime Grill Filet on garlic toast w/ crispy onions & horseradish sauce drew big yummms from my budding gourmand. Prime Grill‘s beef whether aged, cured, marinaded, reserve or Wagyu are all unrivaled and delectably supreme. Every sauce is well thought out – marrying components so brilliantly executed.

Prime Reserve Cut steak

Prime Reserve Cut steak

We all three salivated over the Prime Reserve Cut – I was at my happy zenith savoring my slices [cut with their fabulous steak knives], when CS insisted I taint perfection with some Béarnaise Sauce. Again, a shiksa moment of exotic buttery steakiness that was exquisite. We munched on brick oven Bresaola Flatbread seasoned with light bean puree and drizzled with truffle oil, as we reveled in entrees of Long Island Breast of Duck served with the most adorable quarter sized medallions ‘you can’t believe it’s made of quinoa’ pancakes – topped with a cranberry relish that was a lingua zoetic burst of flavor.

Long Island Breast of Duck...

Long Island Breast of Duck…

CS savored a Veal Chop with peach fritters, porcine mushrooms, infused whipped potatoes & apple brandy sauce; ahhh, King Arthur was reborn – smiling with Guineverian pleasure. Who did have room for dessert? None of us did, but gluttony prevailed after a short interludatory walk. The place was packed with that eclectic mix of clientele that gathers together over the shared commonality of a superlative dining experience. Three spanking new Escalades lined the near exterior with a bevy of well dressed chauffeurs in luxury cars in tow. I was totally out of time and place, enjoying every extravagant moment of gashmiut physicality, knowing I’d have to pay the price for my body stoops to conquer mind jaunt.

A potpourri of luscious, scrumptious, desserts

A potpourri of luscious, scrumptious, desserts

But Chef Felenciana‘s desserts were about to be served. I have adored this woman through her cakes and desserts ever since I first met her in person at Sòlo many years back, over a Tiramisu, what an extraordinary talent. I have kept up correspondence with her through the years via her pastries. The latest having been her Hazelnut Roche, of which I’ve had several deliveries through CS from the Prime Baker Butcher shop on 2nd ave. This night too, she did not disappoint. How amazing was the Bourbon and real Vanilla Bean non-dairy ice creams that tasted totally milk real, beside Whipped Cream drizzled with rich chocolate sauce, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Molten Chocolate Cake, and the exquisitely ethereal Tiramisu… nobody does it better! Felenciana – you are the Queen of Sweets. How can I go home again and cook for my family? Saving grace is Chef David himself, if you haven’t met him, he is an unpretentious, soft- spoken tender bubbale, who has every right to be proud of his monumental achievements on a personal and professional level. The Prime Grill Cookbook – Redefining the Kosher Experience, the Chef’s first published effort, co-authored with Joey Allaham - fourth generation butcher extraordinaire and CEO of The Prime Hospitality Group – will be on a shelf near you in September, or at amazon.com. Chef David has kindly chosen around 250 carefully explained recipes that will require some skill and time but not keep you in the kitchen for weeks trying to recreate the Prime Grill experience. I want to personally thank Chef David, our waiter Tony and all the superb servers, as well as the entire Prime Grill family for a delightful evening. A happy and healthy new year to you all! SYR

04
Mar
12

Prime Butcher Baker


Butcher shops have never been the type of store one cares to linger in any longer than necessary to do one’s shopping, but that has suddenly changed!  Having heard so much about Joey Allaham‘s brand new venture, I felt compelled to visit his Prime Butcher Baker (1572 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028 – Tel: 212.616.1502) this past Thursday afternoon. Clean, very upscale looking, competitively priced, it offers everything you need for a take out or do it yourself meal, except for fruits and vegetables.

A partial view of the store...

This 3000 square ft. establishment combines a meat aging room (facing the street), a full butcher shop with fresh and aged meats, salads, prepared Ashkenazi and Sephardic dishes (cooked to perfection!), a bakery and freezer shelves laden with soups, sushi, sauces, salads and more! Above all, the staff is courteous, knowledgeable and very helpful with hints and full explanations on what and how to cook.

One of the shelves laden with meat cuts in the aging room...

Meat is tastefully presented, in fact, just looking at it makes your mouth water as you envision the possibilities…

Crown of lamb...

As for the bakery… let me warn you! If you are a cake lover, or an unrepentant chocoholic like I am, you are for a incredible feast for both your eyes and your palate…

I had to really restrain SYR and myself, else this mini chocolate cakes would never have lasted long enough to be photographed...

Prime Hospitality Group‘s Corporate Chef David Kolotkin repeats his stellar performance at Prime Grill, by preparing Ashkenazic cuisine favorites. Chef Souad Nigri, a Lebanese caterer prepares the Sephardi delicacies (her Lahmadjine is incredible!); Chef Makoto – from Prime Ko – makes the sushi and the Japanese dishes; Solo’s Pastry Chef Felenciana, makes the most decadent, tempting looking, succulent confections adorning the bakery showcase. If you want a butcher shop like you’ve never seen before, Prime Butcher Baker is the place to go to; if you want a bakery like you’ve never seen or tasted before Prime Butcher Baker is the place to go to!

What are you waiting for?!?

CS

21
Jan
10

The Making of a Corporate Chef


Chef David Kolotkin is no stranger to these pages, but every time he reveals more and more about the Chef’s art. This time I went with him to Manhattan’s Union Square Farmers’ Market.

Chef David Kolotkin looking at mushroom varieties

We looked at tomatoes, cucumbers and some interesting varieties of mushrooms as the Chef explained about their flavor nuances, how the various types differed from each other. Next we turned to stalls carrying mesclun, arugula, and a few other salad greens. I really got an education today! Before we left the Chef picked up about four pounds of fresh Jerusalem artichokes for The Prime Grill.

But who is David Kolotkin? What makes him tick? He was barely in his teens when his interest in cooking first manifested itself. His mother had taken him to a restaurant where the food was prepared table-side. David watched fascinated and decided right there and then that one day he too would join that profession.

After high school he attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America from 1991 t0 1993, he then went on to apprentice at the legendary Club 21Club 21 was a favorite meeting place for many of the rich, the famous, powerful politicians and entertainers. After a while he resumed studies at the CIA and returned to Club 21 for another 3 years.

Leaving Club 21, he became sous chef for the Restaurant Associates operated, very exclusive, Trustees Dining Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From there he went on to to become sous chef at Windows on the World, which occupied the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower at the World Trade Center.

After 9/11 he landed at The Prime Grill (60 East 49th Street; New York, NY 10017; 212.692.9292). He left in 2005 for his own venture in Miami, it didn’t work out and on his return to New York he worked for famed restaurateur Kenneth Uretsky, whom he knew from his RA days. Mr. Uretsky hired him for his Butterfield 81 restaurant. In 2007 he went back to The Prime Grill. Since then while still primarily at The Prime Grill he went on to became Corporate Chef for Joey Allaham’s restaurant ventures, including Solo and soon to open up Prime Ko, an upscale Japanese steakhouse.

Unlike others in his profession, Chef David is no prima donna, he puts on no airs, is well aware of his self worth without any need to toot it around. He’s totally dedicated to his profession and the people at his restaurants. Is it any wonder that he rose in the ranks?

CS




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