City Grit—chef Sarah Simmons's wildly successful restaurant and culinary salon that's brought dozens of American chefs to cook for a New York audience—needs to find a new home. Details on their move, how you can help, and a look back at some of the restaurant's meals after the jump.
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At City Grit Culinary Salon, chef/owner Sarah Simmons plays host to the "unsung heroes" of the industry nationwide, giving them an affordable platform to showcase their own menus for our diverse and discerning New York audience. But Chef Jason Dady is no amateur, and the San Antonio restaurateur with five restaurants under his belt brought a lot of muscle to City Grit this past Friday night. While guests enthusiastically imbibed and sailed their way through savory macarons, a course playing on the flavor profiles of a banh-mi and threats of dessert being "a jar of Nutella and a few spoons", Sarah and Jason's teams worked together to execute the menu that was crafted all in good fun. We stayed in the kitchen to snap each element of the meal. Check it out.
Sarah Simmons runs a culinary salon out of a space that's an antique store by day. Some nights she's executing a themed menu of her own. Others she's on the line cooking with chefs from all over the country, giving them an opportunity to stand in the spotlight for New York's hungriest eaters and media personnel. But with six years of supper club hosting at her back and a huge boost from Food and Wine magazine, this consultant-turned-chef is more than able to take it all on. Here she tells us how she does it, and why.
The parmesan sauce on these grits is a revelation. I've always just stirred in grated cheese to hot grits, but making a sauce adds another layer of creaminess to the dish, not to mention helps keep the cheese from breaking.
I grew up with grits. Whether they were instant with extra salt, slow-cooked with chunks of cheddar, or tented with a Kraft Single and a puddle of Tabasco (a la Waffle House), I'd eat them every which way. And I'd still eat them every morning if I didn't have to mail-order a good bag. Even though menus today are replete with Southern-inflected versions of the Bible Belt breakfast staple, it is still surprisingly difficult to find a bag of white ground corn labeled "grits" above the Mason-Dixon line. It's a good thing Sarah Simmons's recipe for Creamy Parmesan Grits from Food and Wine's new book America's Greatest New Cooks still works with "polenta."