Chef Ashwani Ahluwalia

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | April 25th, 2012 | Chef Interviews

Traveling the Atlantic Coast, we move from Singer Island, Florida, to Great Falls, Virginia.  Here we found a great dining destination in BRX American Bistro.  This interestingly named restaurant is not named for an owner’s monogram, rather as play on the wine term of “Brix”.  It is explained as such on their website, “When grapes reach 25 degrees ‘brix,’ they have reached their optimal time for the wine harvest. We want our restaurant to be the perfect place for you to gather with family and friends.”

We were able to speak with the chef/owner of BRX, Ashwani Ahluwalia.  Chef Ashwani’s travels have brought him from Bermuda to the Grand Cayman Islands and finally to Great Falls.  His experiences in these different locations show clearly in his menu.  I spoke with him to learn more about BRX.

TT:  Your menu is a combination of many different ethnic flavors.  How do you choose what items to add?

CA:  The menu reflects the countries that I worked in, traveled to, and lived in.  My background is Indian/fusion-type cooking.  I like different flavors because everybody gets to try different flavors.  We have International Night every Thursday.  We have repeat and loyal customers who want to try something different.  Our variety brings people back.

TT:  I noticed that today’s menu has six daily specials.  Do you always offer this many?

CA:  Yes.  Typically we have three or four main dishes, a couple appetizers, soups.  We keep it fresh.  The menu is a base; what is in season we put on our specials feature board.

TT:  Do you have any dishes with locally sourced ingredients?

CA:  We do collaborate with a farm, Fields of Athenry Farm in Purcellville.  We get lots of meat from them (free range, no chemicals, no hormones).  We also collaborate with a produce farm, which has 68 acres and will be producing solely for BRX.

TT:  How often do you change your entire menu?

CA:  We change it at least twice a year, sometimes three.  We create a fall/winter menu and a spring/summer menu.

TT:  Why do you change it with that amount of frequency?

CA:  It is very hard to change the menu a lot.  There are so many favorites of the people who come here regularly.  That’s why we find it best to change our daily features.  Our customer policy is, “The answer is yes; what is the question?”

TT:  What makes your menu unique?

CA:  We provide a wide range of variety, but we keep it fresh and simple.  We makes all of our sauces in-house; we also make our ice cream, our barbecue sauce, bread.  We try to do everything in-house.  All of our veggies are fresh.  Our stocks are fresh.  We also have an amazing kids menu.  We feature salmon fillet, though we still have grilled cheese.

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