The Food Chain

Ignacio Mattos Goes Wild for the Poussin at Bar Jules

Photo: Courtesy Bar Jules

Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Oakland’s own Russell Moore delighted over Ignacio Mattos’s empanadas at Il Buco in New York. What’s tickled your fancy, Igancio?

Who: Ignacio Mattos, chef at Il Buco, New York
What: Wood-grilled poussin with bone marrow sauce and artichoke hearts
Where: Bar Jules, San Francisco
When: 2009

“I visited Bar Jules on Hayes Street when I was in San Francisco about a year ago. I was visiting friends and we went to many different places, we went all over, and one day we just went there for lunch and I had this magnificent poussin with artichokes and chanterelles in a bone marrow sauce. It’s really, really really good. I don’t know if it’s on the menu regularly, but I know she does it pretty often. It’s so rich. It’s light and at the same time it’s decadent — like really, really decadent. It’s amazingly good.”

Chef Jessica Boncutter at Bar Jules responds:

“At the restaurant we are lucky enough to have a wood burning grill, which makes everything delicious — seriously, it could make baby poop taste delicious. The poussin (which is a baby chicken) gets a lot of its flavor from the grill. And the bone marrow sauce: what’s not to love about rich bone marrow, dried and fresh porcini mushrooms, breadcrumbs, a rich chicken broth, and butter?

“The inspiration for the dish came from the wood-oven-roasted chicken at Zuni. I worked there for about six years and I worked the oven station for a long time, cooking thousands of those chickens, and I could never get over that wonderful crispy skin and the incredible smoky flavor from the wood.”

Ignacio Mattos Goes Wild for the Poussin at Bar Jules