Chef Mina Newman

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | April 30th, 2012 | Chef Interviews

After a brief stop in the DC area, we continue our journey toward our home base of New England.  Of course, that includes a stop in New York City.  With so many fabulous restaurants located within this city, it comes as no surprise that we found three to feature in our spring menu series.

We start first with Christos Steakhouse, located in Astoria.  We spoke with Chef Mina Newman, who in addition to being the Executive Chef, also has been a competitor on Food Network’s show, Chopped.  Not only did Chef Mina compete, she was the winner on her episode!

TT:  How many new dishes have you added to your menu?

CM:  We’ve added about eight.  We are focused on more affordable, more old school cuts that aren’t as prized as they should be.

TT:  Out of these dishes which is your favorite spring menu item?

CM:   The wedge, which is one piece of sirloin that has filet mignon, culotte, and tri-tip.  It is aged, so it has the same texture but four different flavors.  All cuts are the same thickness, all cook relatively at equivalent times.  We rotate it while its cooking for the sirloin (longest), tri-tip (shortest).  It is served over potato shavings, which are crisped.  We cut the steak on the potatoes and pour pan drippings on the potatoes, which have all the fat and all the flavor.

TT:  Are any of the ingredients in this dish locally sourced?

CM:  There is a farmer’s market nearby; we get corn, ramps, peas, fava beans.  During the year we make eight or nine different mashed potatoes.  Currently our seasonal is grilled ramp pesto mash.

TT:  Tell me about your favorite dessert.

CM:  We have a great dessert, Baked Astoria.  It consists of red velvet & chocolate cake, meringue, and ice cream.

TT:  Did you find any inspiration for the new dishes from your experience on Chopped?

CM:  I competed in March 2010.  It was totally fun; I always work like that.  As a chef, you’re always under the gun, constantly under pressure at work.  You have to be creative at a split of the moment.  You don’t know what will be at the farmer’s market; you have to be create like that all the time.

TT:  What makes your spring menu unique?

CM:  We offer value meats at a prime grade with our seasonally changed mashed potatoes.  You don’t see many restaurants offering these cuts.

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