The last week and a half has been full of so many emotions. From excited to nervous to pissed off to disappointed to happy to extremely satisfied back to pissed off and finally, so grateful for the staff that we have and the sense of family that is forming around the restaurant. Thank you to everyone that supported us this week and the time leading up to it.
Lets go back to Thursday the 13th of July around 15:00. We were still waiting for the kitchen to be finished. The kitchen builder asked me if we were opening in a couple weeks and I smiled and casually said that we had our first test dinner in 24 hours. He laughed like I was joking around. We officially entered an almost complete kitchen at 15:30 and started to clean. We cleaned for almost five hours. It was a construction site and we had to get rid of the layer of dust and dried grout that was left all over the tiles. We started to organize the fridges. We have no walk-in refrigerator mostly due to the fact that our menu is constantly changing and products are being used on a day-to-day basis. It also forces us to stay organized and tight. I can honestly say that the kitchen is actually a bit larger than I anticipated. Trust me, I am not complaining in anyway. As soon as they cleared all the construction equipment out and we cleaned we all kind of stepped back and thought “oh shit, this is amazing.” It’s pure minimalism. And because of that we’re able to stay nimble with our constantly changing menu.
While we are on the subject of constantly changing menu, I should talk about the process of how we are changing our menu. Before the restaurant opened, René was kind enough to let me use the test kitchen at night and on Sundays and Mondays. A couple of the dishes we are serving now came from those sessions. The menu we served at the test dinners was in no way the one that I wanted to open with. I was really hoping to be inspired by the dinners and to be able to learn and adjust from those two services. Because the kitchen workers were still finishing sealing up the kitchen two hours before service was to begin, we we did not get a chance to learn from our service and our mistakes. The second night we really took the time to examine our movements and to reconfigure the service. We tweaked a couple of the servings and opened with a much stronger menu.
And on top of all this, one of our investors came to town from the US and was going to eat on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. I wanted to do a different menu for them everyday. While I was writing the menu for them, I had this overwhelming need to change the menu and our approach to it. That night, I talked to the kitchen staff after service and discussed every dish. In the end we decided that we would try not to be so calculated in our changes and instead focus on the ingredients’ intensity and complexity. We changed things everyday for the rest of the week and I truly believe that the food that was coming out of the kitchen on Saturday was so much more exciting for us to be cooking because it was so spontaneous. We did three different menus for Manny and his wife Willette and from that experience it defined how we were going to approach the kitchen day to day. To Manny and Willette. Thank you for pushing us. See you on Wednesday for your fourth menu.