Banana brownie cream pie. Salmon eyes. Harissa. Not exactly the trio you'd expect Ed Silkaitis of the Shore to discuss in our interview, but he manages to discuss all three.
Your earliest food memory:
The smell of bacon crackling in the pan.
Some would say the Shore is more a bar than a restaurant. What do you think?
Only after dinner hours (9:30 p.m.) when the great local music starts up.
Favorite meal growing up:
Dumplings. My mom made them for dinner at home, growing up in the Lithuanian neighborhood on South Side of Chicago. It was a simple, basic meal that was very satisfying with the extreme weather outside. The ingredients used were seasonal–from seasoned ground beef or farmers' cheese seasoned with mint to wild mushrooms in the fall and blueberries in the summer.
Your best recent food find:
Harrisa, a spicy tomato-based red sauce from Northern Africa/Turkey. It's in our Mediterranean lamb burger, and our hand-cut fries are also seasoned with it.
Most undervalued ingredient:
Kosher salt. It has a depth that iodized table salt cannot match.
What do you recommend for first-timers to the Shore?
Shrimp and grits. Vineyard burger. Cedar-planked salmon. Lamb chops. Housemade flatbread.
What is your beverage of choice, and where do you get it?
A Manhattan shaken for 45 seconds, minimum, served in a martini glass. It creates crystallized ice chips in your glass . . . at the Shore bar, of course.
What's in your Jamaican voodoo sauce?
It's a homemade barbecue-style sauce made with Red Stripe Jamaican beer and a voodoo chant.
One food you can't live without:
Our homemade potato chips and dip. Because it's a good reason to reward myself for head work and be a little bit sinful.
Where was your most recent meal?
At the recently opened FEED on Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach. Rotisserie chicken with quinoa, grains and roasted rainbow carrots. Very, very healthful and fresh ingredients.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Always buy fresh, not frozen. Seasonal and quality ingredients guarantee a good meal!
How late do you serve breakfast?
Weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Eggs Benedict Roma: one poached egg, thinly sliced prosciutto and sautéed shiitake mushrooms on half an English muffin with bernaise sauce. Then a French-style crepe with Swedish lingonberries and powdered sugar for dessert.
Mario Batali. He seems to use all the proper ingredients and techniques to make cooking effortless, fun and enjoyable, but with the professionalism to guarantee a perfect culinary experience.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Salmon eyes with my Chinese dentist friend. He took a group of us out to his favorite seafood restaurant filled with Chinese delicacies and ordered for us. When a whole salmon platter arrived, he plucked the eye out and swallowed it whole. He looked up at me and dared me to try the other eye.
Favorite places to eat (besides your own):
Javier's, Gulfstream in Newport, the Vine, the Cellar.
What's in Joe's three-way tacos?
Mazatlan-style street tacos, three mini corn tortillas available with seafood, New York steak or grilled, seasoned chicken. Add housemade salsas, avocado, shredded cabbage and radish.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
To re-create a pasta that the customer ate in another restaurant. No, it's a little hard to re-create something we never tasted.
What's for dessert?
Banana brownie cream pie. Tower of chocolate cake. Hot fudge sundae.
Is there a dish that you'd like to learn how to make?
I'd love to learn the art and patience of barbecue and smoking meats and fish as they do in the South.