The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 115 of 117

1 14  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 W hile he may not be slinging gumbo and jambalaya down in his hometown of New Orleans, Ronnie New's ability to provide dishes that delicately balance familiarity with innovative contemporary cuisine is worthy of some southern praise and hospitality. "I serve good food. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, but I want to put new tires on it," he smiles. Bringing his Southern "stick to the ribs" style cuisine to San Francisco, Ronnie New recently joined owners Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar at the refined, turn-of-the-century Comstock Saloon—a historic space that has served as a watering hole for San Francisco since 1907—to steer the kitchen as Executive Chef and introduce "squash fritters" and "rabbit currywurst" to the menu. "I like to stick to my Southern roots, but I've been here in San Francisco for ten years now. As far as learning how to cook, I did that here in the restaurants—not at the mom-and-pops—but my inspirations come from a gazillion places," explains New. "While I'm not going to change and start using all of these modern cooking techniques, to learn and to grow as a chef is really important to me," he concludes. What about his influence on the bar program? "I know a few damn good whiskey cocktails, but those are best served as my own personal nightcaps—I'll stick to the craft I know best: comfort food."—Brian Kustera THE "5" LIST 3 4 5 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 Ronnie New EXECUTIVE CHEF AT COMSTOCK SALOON IN SAN FRANCISCO, CA Taking Inventory with. . . PHOTO: COURTESY OF COMSTOCK SALOON Executive Chef Ronnie New at Comstock Saloon in San Francisco, CA. Ronnie New's Top Five Faves A giant bowl of pho. No frills, just a hot spicy bowl of pho. A well-made Manhattan. BBQ. I'm looking at you, Austin. Mondays. It's turned into the only day off for me and my close chef friends. Whether we go out to eat BBQ in the park or put in a session at our local dive, we're usually brought together by food, and it's always on Monday. Butterscotch pudding (prefer- ably Michelle Polzine's). Ronnie New's Top Five Pet Peeves When cocktail bars put up a fuss about what you ordered or didn't order. Sometimes a Whiskey Ginger sounds good to me and not the 14-ingredient cocktail. Vegans who don't like a laundry list of vegetables. The term foodie. The word itself just irks me. It's like some sort of self-anointment, just because you enjoy to eat and drink. Customers who want a "small taste of the soup." You're not buying a car: No need to test drive. Just buy the soup. Bottomless Mimosas. It never ends well for all parties included.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - August 2014