An ancient cuisine gets an update from rising chef Michael Mazzotta
Basque cuisine might not seem like the obvious springboard for creative fantasies. There are delicious dishes based mainly on seafood and the excellent local cheeses and breads, but there isn’t a wide variety of seasonings or vegetables to work with. It’s hearty and based on natural goodness rather than innovative combinations. Nevertheless chef Michael Mazzotta, who previously worked at the Ace Hotel, Hot’s Kitchen, and R10 Social House among other venues, has been bringing unconventional ideas to A Basq Kitchen on the Redondo Boardwalk.
The restaurant was opened as a passion project by Chef Bernard Ibarra, who spends most days as executive chef at the Terranea Resort. He established the original menu and a succession of assistants executed it with precision but without variation. Then Chef Ibarra met Chef Mazzotta, who impressed him so much that Ibarra invited him to join the business as a partner. Since then Mazzotta has brought careful reevaluations of the cuisine to the foreground with a menu that changes on a weekly basis.
Those who have been enjoying traditional tapas like the pintxos (open faced sandwiches on sourdough rounds), seafood, and shellfish in fragrant broths don’t have to worry – they’re all still there. There does seem to be a new energy and an influx of seasonal items to complement those standard offerings.
On a recent evening a friend and I tried three specials — cashew-mushroom…
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