Jason Hall Doesn’t Want to Ever Leave Michael PsilakisName: Jason Hall
Restaurants: Anthos and Mia Dona
Background: Hall Worked at San Francisco’s Aqua and One Market, followed by a long period as a line cook under George Morrone, at the four-star restaurant the Fifth Floor. Hall then spent five formative years at Craft, first under Marco Canora and then Damon Wise, before joining with Michael Psilakis and eventually becoming executive chef at his restaurants.
Get the Best of West Coast Charcuterie at Mia Dona
If you’re not going to the Astor Center’s Head-to-Tail dinner with Chris Cosentino on Tuesday, you can also find his food at Mia Dona, the only New York restaurant serving Cosentino’s charcuterie. Cosentino met Mia Dona owner Donatella Arpaia when shooting The Next Iron Chef, on which he was a contestant, and goes way back with the restaurant’s executive chef, Jason Hall. “We use their lonza (pork loin). It’s amazing. The fat cap is like the finest lardo. And the meat itself expresses the purity of pork — it’s perfectly seasoned and cured, ” he enthuses. Mia Dona serves the lonza on two crostini — one with sheep’s-milk ricotta and Sicilian oregano, and the other with winter-citrus mostarda — but Hall would like to use even more: “I want to use a lot of Chris’s stuff, but we can’t overwhelm the menu all at once.” Cosentino, whom we think of as California’s answer to David Chang, also sells his charcuterie online. Visit Boccalone to order for yourself.
Related: Back-to-Back Feasts Will Break the Bank, Blow Your Mind
Video: Inside Mia Dona’s Kitchen
Psilakis Promises the New and the Gnudi at Dona 2.0
When Dona shuttered unexpectedly last year, the impact was cushioned by the knowledge that Michael Psilakis has two other restaurants: the informal Kefi and the ambitious Anthos. Well, both places are big successes, but some of us still miss Dona — its Italian inflections, its suppleness, the width of its menu, and of course that world-class gnudi. We checked in with Psilakis the other night, and he tells us that he and his boyish chef de cuisine, Jason Hall, are testing recipes like crazy: “We’re constantly cooking, doing different things than we’ve been doing at Anthos. I really love filled pastas, so there’s going to be some of those. And the gnudi will definitely be back.”
Restaurant Insiders Launch Secret-ish Industry NightLet’s say you’re a hard-partying cook, a leggy hostess, a put-upon waiter — whatever. You want to rock out after work in a chill environment surrounded by your friends in the business. You want what is typically known as an Industry Night, right? But where do you go? This was the question Anthos chef de cuisine Jason Hall asked himself. “We need a place where we can all go and relax without dealing with a bunch of 20-year-olds from Jersey throwing up,” he explained. Don’t we all want that? Anyway, cue the birth of a regular industry party that’s invite-only, and, in these nascent stages, relatively on the DL, as they say. NB to fellow food bloggers: This might be the one you want to crash.
IN, as it’s called, will be held on Wednesdays; the gathering will feature no cover and food cooked by the guests themselves (think freestyle, improv offerings). If you’re in the business and want more intel, drop us a line and we might be able to help you out (no promises).
Why Wasn’t I Completely Floored by Craft?Dear Grub Street,
I’m hoping someone can explain Craft to me. I was taken there the other night for my birthday dinner and came away completely confused and disappointed. Really, what’s the big deal? What’s with all the glowing reviews?
Psilakis, Pretty Much a Greek God, Has Another OpeningMichael Psilakis’s ambitious new restaurant, Anthos, opens Monday in the old Acqua Pazza space. It’s been a busy, up-and-down year for the chef: His critically praised Dona closed, unexpectedly, one week into 2007. Just a couple of weeks later, he converted his high Greek eatery Onera into the more casual Kefi, which went on, in this week’s issue, to win four stars from the Underground Gourmet. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning, as they say. Looks like it’s lifting Psilakis back up. We went inside Anthos and got all the evidence.
What to Eat Tonight
Nantucket Bay Scallops, Ripe for the Shucking
Rob and Robin recently described, in mouthwatering detail, the nuances of Peconic Bay scallops. Our thoughts quickly turned to their Nantucket Bay cousins, which are currently appearing on some of the best tables in the city.