Industry Nights is a semi-regular column featuring the haunts of chefs, restaurant owners, F&B managers, and other marginally sane people with good eating recommendations.
Francesc Fernández Almodóvar. It's a name that seems more befitting of a title like "Don" rather than "Chef," so for the purpose of this column, we'll call him "Franki." When Franki isn't deconstructing Spanish cuisine at El Patio, you'll find him degusting in one of these joints.
The Gin and Tonic at Mardi Gras
The upstairs lounge at Mardi Gras is the best place in town for a drink. This is a great place to unwind after a hard day at work. Kasuke, the bartender maintains this chiled out vibe in the place. If you want to see some true showmanship, sit at the bar. He plunks two massive chunks of ice, which seem never to melt, into a glass, squeezes a lemon slice along the inside and rim of the glass, then he pours the gin carefully avoiding splashing it over the ice. Finally, he tops it with three precise drops of Angostura bitters. It’s simply the best gin tonic in town.
Steaks at Jimmy's Kitchen
It hasn’t opened yet, but I was lucky enough to be invited by Grant the manager, for one of their soft opening evenings. I was really impressed by the aging room. Dry-aging steaks makes the meat meltingly tender. Sitting down to a nice cut of top quality beef is pure luxury. Top it off with a few bottles of wine poured into a Spiegelau glass and you’ve got one of the greatest pleasures of the life. Please open soon! I can't wait to come back!
Charmant at 1am
It was 1am on a Wednesday after hard day at work and I was so hungry; that's how I discovered Charmant. For me it’s the best option at that time of night, the chicken nuggets, beef with vegetables are my favorites. I always go for a cold beer with my colleague Sergio. The place is practically our office. It’s where we plan the next evening at El Patio, how the service will be and where we plan our next football match. One of the things I also like about this restaurant is the smiles and great attitude of the staff. I mean, they’re open until 4am, they should be run down and tired by then, but they always look fresh and friendly. Definitely a great place for F&B types, especialy after a long day in the kitchen.
Sunday at Kagen
After a good morning massage, Kagen is my Sunday choice. It’s all-you-can-eat at a extremely reasonable price considering the high quality of the food. Scallops, shrimp, miso steak; there is enough variety where each week you can keep trying different dishes. I enjoy sitting upstairs where I can enjoy the lovely garden views.
Please, whenever you have time, which, in my case, is not very often, go to Franck. Simply put, the food is excellent; mozzarella with tomato, steak tartare, lamb, and of course amazing French wine. It feels like Europe and reminds me a lot of a bistro I used to eat at when I was working in Paris. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of most restaurants and return to an honest dining experience check it out.