It was Zahav vs. Lacroix night at Cook and photo ninja Yoni Nimroad of Cook was there to capture it all
Last night was another in our series of Foobooz Open Stove Night‘s at Cook–our knock-down, drag-out, no-holds-barred cooking competitions that pit up-and-coming local kitchen crews against each other in honorable combat. The guys we bring in for these contests are not the chefs whose names you know now, but the ones who you should be watching in the future, and this time around we had two serious competitors.
On one side, Adam Lazarick, executive sous from Lacroix, who brought along as his second Michael Griffiths, currently of Rittenhouse Tavern and an old buddy of Adam’s. On the other, Yehuda Sichel of Zahav, ably backed up by Erik Morgan. And their challenge? Four courses in two hours for twenty people while we did everything we could to screw with them and throw them off their game.
Let’s see how things went, shall we?
Appetizer course from Team Lacroix: Lobster chawanmushi. Those radishes? Adam swore he grew them in his own garden. Swore it over and over, in fact, in a blatant attempt at wooing the judges.
But then Team Zahav countered with bacon. Sure, it was duck bacon, but still. Is there any such thing as bad bacon? No, there is not.
Then it was time for secret ingredient number 1 to be revealed: Cool Ranch Doritos. The rules say the secret ingredient has to figure substantially in the first course, so what did the guys do?
Made Cool Ranch grits, of course. This was Adam’s first plate and it was friggin’ delicious.
At this point, we decided it would be funny to have everyone start drinking more, so out came the shots: Tequila for Team Lacroix, Bulleit bourbon for Team Zahav. Guess which side that handsome fella on the left decided to drink with?
The chefs in their natural environment.
Secret ingredient number 2? An American IPA in honor of Beer Week.
Team Zahav put up lamb loin, a rice pilaf (finished in just 30 minutes, which is very nearly miraculous) and a honeyed beer sauce.
The guys from Team Lacroix answered with a little bit of personal service…
…and the slices of black truffle didn’t hurt either.
Desserts came next–one from each side. This was a multi-layered custardy, yogurty fruit thing with rugelach presented by Team Zahav. Ten seconds after this picture was taken, there wasn’t a single one left in the house, and it was this plate that put Zahav over the top and gave them the win.
Because we weren’t forced to have a sudden-death tie-breaker round (which was either going to be a blindfolded knife fight or a dance-off in the street out front of Cook), everyone parted as buddies. Thanks to the chefs and congratulations to Yehuda and Erik for vanquishing all foes and coming out on top in the Foobooz Open Stove Night.
Zahav [Official website]
Lacroix [Official website]
Rittenhouse Tavern [Official website]
Cook [July schedule]