Richard Kuo, Patrick Cappiello and Branden McRill are causing quite a stir on the Bowery. Their restaurant – Pearl & Ash (somewhat of a twist on the wine bar) – is as varied as the owners themselves. Kuo is the chef, McRill is the general manager and Cappiello is the beverage director; it’s the harmonious balance between the three that makes this spot so special. It’s a small plates mecca where sharing is the watchword, and the three guys behind it are just uber-cool, that’s why we couldn’t help but stop by…
RICHARD KUO, CHEF
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Breakfast is Porchetta and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice at Il Buco Alimentari. For Lunch, Akamaru Modern at Ippudo. Then a light afternoon snack at Taqueria of cactus and chorizo tacos. I’d have an early evening snack at Otafuku of octopus balls and okonomiyaki, and a pre-dinner snack at Popeyes’ of one piece of chicken thigh (spicy) and coleslaw. Dinner is takeout from Hot Kitchen – Kung Pao chicken and general Tsao’s chicken. A late night snack (4am+) is takeout from Philly Cheesesteak Factory: Cheesesteak on a sub with sausages, American cheese, onion, peppers, mushrooms and a side of onion rings with chipotle mayonnaise.
What are three favorite menu items from Pearl & Ash?
Octopus, sweetbread, and potatoes
What’s your go-to recipe for eating in? Can you take us through it?
I don’t get the opportunity to cook at home very much, but when I do I like to keep things simple. I love making stews and having them with some rice. I usually start the stew off by using something like bacon or pork belly and slowly caramelize it while rendering it down in the pot. I then add all sorts of aromatics, like garlic, thyme, and shallots, and cook them until they are well-colored, all the while only using the pork fat from the rendering.
I love mushrooms, so I would usually throw in a ton of them, and let the liquid cook out and reduce before I add the rest of the vegetables. The funny thing is that, although I cook with an abundance of proteins at the restaurant, I prefer to steer towards a vegetable heavy diet when I cook at home. The rice is very important as well. I prefer Thai jasmine rice and I always cook it in a double boiler.
If you could advise on the perfect smoothie combination, what would be the ingredients?
I tend to gravitate towards fruity and floral profiles, so for me something like Granny Smith apples, lime, coconut water, cilantro and vanilla ice cream would seem appropriate.
Your perfect way to make roast chicken…
Definitely brine it in a salt solution for eight hours, bag it and let it swim in the immersion circulator. It will guarantee that it be moist and tender. Once it comes out of the water, dry it off slightly, glaze it, and throw it in a really hot oven to crisp the skin.
Your perfect dinner made in under twenty minutes…
Grilled mushrooms with thyme and garlic, a fried egg, lamb sausages, sautéed baby spinach, and fried potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chili sauce.
The perfect afternoon snack to make and how to make it…
Guacamole: Avocado, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, olive oil, and salt.
Take two ripe avocados and mash with a fork in a bowl. Finely chop some red onion and add it to the avocado. Coarsely chop the cilantro and add a generous amount to the mixture. Finally, adjust the seasoning and consistency with lime juice, olive oil and salt.
Your favorite New York restaurants besides your own…
I just ate at Han Dynasty last night. It’s definitely at the top of my list right now.
Any restaurant kitchens in other cities that are your second “home?”
No. I’ve spent the last eight years in New York. I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like working in other cities.
If you could advise on three iconic dishes people should serve at their ideal dinner party what would they be?
Shepherd’s Pie, Coleslaw, and a Chicken and Mushroom Hot-Pot.