One part of this blog is the ability to hear from local and regional chefs about how they view not only their work, but food in general.
This Interview Flight, which is 5 questions, is with Syrah Restaurant and Wine Bar Executive Chef Todd Bowman.
Q: Describe Syrah Restaurant's style and what a customer can expect when going there?
A: We have an interesting and unique take on dinner service here at Syrah. We offer upscale dining in a relaxed and casual atmosphere.
We offer a "core" menu (as found at syrahgb.com) plus 5-8 "specials" every night. This allows me to have a dynamic, seasonally appropriate menu while allowing a diverse and ever-changing experience for the repeat diner.
Customers can expect an experience Dennis and I have put all our combined passion into. The menu can rely on a different influence every week and I can easily adapt dishes for special requests or dietary restrictions.
I put a lot of effort into offering a modern menu that still offers the comfort Midwest diners are always looking for.
Q: What's your favorite meal to prepare?
A: We will go with two answers for my favorite food to prepare. At Syrah, it would be the bacon seared scallops. I cut my teeth in this business sauté those golden beauties at The Carlton Inn East, an iconic Green Bay restaurant through the 80's and 90's. I've refined the art of the sear through the years and now it is a Syrah favorite!
At home, we love a fresh a stir fry! Rice or noodles, any kind of meat or eggs, and a slew of fresh vegetables with a good amount of curry, ginger, and heat!
Q: Where do you like to eat, or whose food do you enjoy?
A: The most amazing meal I have had recently was at Chef Dan Brown's Blue Hill in NYC. As a diner, you can tell the attention that has gone into every plate. Most of his ingredients come from his own farm. Such amazing detail is put into every move at an establishment like that. It's shows us that food is about more than taste and appearance, but also texture, aroma, the surrounding environment, etc.
Locally, I'm a fan of sushi and bistro concepts, Little Tokyo and Plae being among my favorites.
Q: In your mind, what's one ingredient that's under-utilized that people can find at their local store, farmer's market, etc?
A: My first reaction is acids. It will blow your mind as you play with flavored vinegars, fruit juices, and some liquors and see firsthand how they add depth and complexity to even the simplest dishes.
The thing that puts our signature mushroom and roasted garlic soup over the top is that addition of champagne vinegar at the end. Don't be afraid of the food, add a little and taste and repeat as needed!
Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
A: I am such a Wisconsin boy for saying it, but sausages! Brats, andouille, Italian, polish, any of them, sautéed with veggies and topped with egg and Siracha! Now that is comfort food, if you ask me!
Syrah Restaurant and Wine Bar is located at 3597 Bay Settlement Road in Green Bay. You can follow Syrah and Chef Bowman on Facebook (SyrahGB) and on Twitter (@SyrahGB).