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Restaurant Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen & Bar: A Chicken and Fish Sneak Peek

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To date, we have offered several peeks into the new menu at SPIN Kitchen & Bar, including Chef Robin Bowen’s soon to be released lunch and dinner dishes, bar eats, and hotel staples. This week, we are revealing Chef Bowen’s take on chicken and fish, entrées destined for the dinner menu.

According to Chef Bowen, besides beef, chicken and fish are among the top selling proteins. In fact, beef, chicken, and fish are also the most common options for weddings and catered events. Unlike pork, beef, chicken, and fish are quite versatile, allowing chefs to easily build flavours around them. It can be complicated to serve pork due to longheld worries about safe doneness and some cultural and religious restrictions. That said, many popular chicken and fish dishes can become pedestrian as restaurants include them on menus as “safe bets.” The challenge for chefs is to make chicken and fish exciting.

Chef Bowen chose a mixture of worldly ingredients for his chicken and fish entrées.

Ingredients for the Chicken & Fish entrées

Ingredients for the Chicken & Fish entrées

(Photo courtesy of Sewon Park)

Chicken

Lemon and thyme rubbed Mariposa supreme of chicken with a roasted corn and leek hash, heirloom tomato tapenade, and broccolini

Lemon and thyme rubbed Mariposa supreme of chicken with a roasted corn and leek hash, heirloom tomato tapenade, and broccolini

(Photos courtesy of Sewon Park)

Sourced locally from Mariposa Farms, the chicken breast was seared and then finished in the oven at 350F degrees. The result, juicy, moist, and flavourful chicken breast. A break from the typical mashed potatoes, the chicken was accompanied by a corn and leek hash (reflecting Chef Bowen’s Alberta roots), crispy fingerling potatoes, tomato tapenade, and broccolini.

Fish

Chorizo crusted Pacific line caught Halibut with pommery mustard mash potato, hickory bacon jus & wilted bok choy

Chorizo crusted Pacific line caught Halibut with pommery mustard mash potato, hickory bacon jus & wilted bok choy

(Photo courtesy of Sewon Park)

Side view of Halibut

Side view of Halibut

Before trying one bite, I immediately cut into the center of the fish to check the fillet’s doneness. Moist and flaky with just a touch of rareness in the centre, this was perfectly cooked fish. With some spiciness from the chorizo, and some gentle heat and acidity from the mustard in the mashed potatoes, savouriness and salt from the bacon jus, and a clean greenness from the bok choy, each ingredient complemented the fish.

Once again, Chef Bowen suggested we try some of the wines on the SPIN wine list to pair with a dish. This time, the halibut. While most people associate fish with white wine, Claire thought it would be fun to try to find a red wine pairing as well. After all, there are no rules in wine and food watching, just ideas.

Waiting to try some wines

Waiting to try some wines

(Photo courtesy of Sewon Park)

According to Claire, the key to matching wine is to not only look at the main ingredient, but also to think of the preparation and the accompanying ingredients. As we were limited by the wine list and by the glass options, it was with the chorizo in mind that Claire chose a 2008 Australian Rosemont Grand Diamond Syrah-Shiraz blend. Thinking of the white fish and the mustard, Claire also opted for the 2008 Lucky Country Chardonnay from Australia. Chef Bowen, a fan of Pinot Noir, suggested the 2007 New Zealand Sanctuary Pinot Noir and Alex, the bartender that day, the Pinot Grigio from Bodega J & F Lurton, Argentina, a popular seller.

Front to Back: 2008 Lucky Country Chardonnay; Bodega J & F Lurton Pinot Gris-Grigio; 2008 Rosemont Grand Diamond Syrah-Shiraz blend; 2007 Pinot Noir

Front to Back: 2008 Lucky Country Chardonnay; Bodega J & F Lurton Pinot Gris-Grigio; 2008 Rosemont Grand Diamond Syrah-Shiraz blend; 2007 Pinot Noir

(Photo courtesy of Sewon Park)

The result? In Claire’s words, “The Chardonnay beat the Pinot Grigio hands down.”

“Its rich butteriness complemented the fish while tempering the spiciness of the chorizo. The acidity in the wine clashed with the mustard in the potatoes and made for an unpleasant match [with the Pinot Grigio],” she elaborated.

As for the red, the Pinot Noir was “too light for the complex dish and neither lifted it nor clashed.” The Syrah blend, however, was a “nice match.” In fact, it was a pleasant surprise. A deep red in colour with “lots of jamminess on the nose and cooked fruit in the mouth, it softened the mustard of the potatoes, held its own against the sausage, but did not overpower the delicate fish.”

Claire’s final thoughts, “So, if you’re a rule follower, I recommend the Chardonnay. If you’re in the mood to break the rules, have the Syrah!”

With both dishes well-executed, they should be a hit on the new dinner menu, launching in upcoming days.

We hope we’ve whetted your appetite with the variety of sneak peeks these past few weeks. With the new bar menu already in place, we’re looking forward to returning to SPIN to try more dishes from the lunch and dinner menus. We wish Chef Bowen and SPIN all the best on their continued collaboration!

Particulars:
SPIN Kitchen & Bar
100 Kent Street
(Street-level restaurant at the Ottawa Marriott)
(613) 783-4202

Spin Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Teacher by day and blogger by night, I have always been passionate about food. I grew up watching my mother cook and bake as I sat at the kitchen table doing my homework. In the summers, I happily played in the backyard garden, picking strawberries as my parents tended their crops. A city girl with a love for the outdoors, my goal is to capture the ever-changing Ottawa food scene. When I’m not running, you can find me shopping for ingredients or in the kitchen cooking for my family and friends. Whether you’ve been cooking for a long time or are learning to cook for the first time, I hope you will find something delicious here to inspire you.

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@thefoodca (Jul 07, 07:20 PM)
Restaurant Menu Makeover at SPIN Kitchen & Bar: A Chicken and Fish Sneak Peek (foodiePrints) http://fewd.ca/a28360

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