Rekindling his love affair with Asian flavors, Wolfgang Puck hits a home run in LA. Hugh Garvey takes note
Wolfgang Puck is hungry. “Can you bring me something sweet?” he asks Cassie Ballard, the pastry chef at WP24 Restaurant & Lounge, Puck’s latest restaurant, perched on the 24th floor of the gleaming modernist glass tower that is home to The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles. “You know dessert is my favorite course,” he says. Ballard comes back with a plate on which vivid orange Wong Farms mango, sweet sesame rice crackers and lemon sorbet are stacked architecturally, layer upon layer. Puck takes a bite and nods with approval. “You can add one more layer,” he suggests. When Wolfgang Puck has a say in it, life can always be sweeter.
That single, conscious bite — the deft assessment, the elevating decision — is the sort of moment on which Puck has built a vast and successful empire of restaurants. And the culmination of those moments is WP24 by Wolfgang Puck, a modern Chinese restaurant that combines every lesson Puck has learned in his nearly four-decade career as a restaurateur: It is convivial like the seminal Spago; it is Asian-inflected like Chinois; it uses artisanal meats and produce like his modern steakhouse CUT. And, as all of his restaurants are, it is in a neighborhood that is thriving. Right now, that neighborhood is downtown Los Angeles. …
Click here to read more in the Winter 2012 issue of The Ritz-Carlton Magazine
Mongolian Style Grilled Lamb Chops
Adapted from WP24 by Wolfgang Puck, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles
Chef de Cuisine Sara Johannes
1/2 cup pickled sushi ginger
2/3 cup ginger flavored vinegar
2 tablespoon Chinese mustard
1/4 teaspoon sambal chili paste
2 egg yolks
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 1/4 cups Mint leaves
2 cups peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
Blend ginger, vinegar, mustard, chili paste, egg yolks and garlic in a blender until smooth. Add cilantro and mint, blending quickly, until leaves are incorporated and mixture is bright green. Emulsify oils into mixture in blender. Season with salt and sugar.
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup Kochujang Korean Pepper Paste
1 tablespoon Red Miso Paste
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together.
4 cups mirin
4 cups soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon dried chili flake
Combine ingredients and whisk to incorporate. Pour over lamb chops and marinate for one hour.
Hunan Style Eggplant Glaze
1 cup Shaoxing rice cooking wine
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon sambal chili paste
2 ounces blanched garlic
In a hot wok, caramelize the garlic and deglaze with the shaoxing. Cook off the alcohol and reduce by half. Add rice vinegar and sugar. Reduce until sweet. Add soy sauce and sambal. Adjust sugar as necessary.
5 Japanese eggplants
1/4 cup snow peas, cut into thirds
Deep fry oblique cut Japanese Eggplant till golden. In a hot wok, add cooked eggplant and a pinch of blanched bias snow peas. Add prepared Eggplant Glaze and toss in wok to coat. Serve immediately.
Grill marinated lamb chops to desired level of doneness. Place a small pile of seasonal bitter greens (arugula, mizuna, chicory, etc.) in middle of plate. Place the prepared Hunan Glazed Eggplant on top of the greens. Stack chops in center of plate. Drizzle with Cilantro-Mint Vinaigrette. Finish the whole plate with a drizzle of Gochujian Aioli.