Chef Alex Raij Took Over Industry City for Our Chef’s Lab Series

industry city chefs lab alex raij

The James Beard semi-finalist and half of the couple at the helm of Txikito, El Quinto Pino and the Michelin-starred La Vara was the evening’s featured chef—and she killed it.

industry city chefs lab alex raij

The second dinner in the Chef’s Lab series was sold out.

Industry City is beginning to feel like our home away from home. The Sunset Park venue not only hosts Food Loves Tech, our annual plunge into the future of food, and houses some of our favorite local vendors (like Blue Marble, Extraction Lab and Brooklyn Kurabut it has also proven to be an extraordinary partner for our Chef’s Lab dinner series that returned last weekend for its second installment.

This time, chef Alex Raija James Beard semi-finalist and half of the couple at the helm of Txikito, El Quinto Pino and the Michelin-starred La Vara—was the chef behind the multi-course pop-up dinner.

A taste of Southern Spain

The evening began with a sangria and rebujito cocktail hour that, alongside the passed appetizers of calamari and croquetas, immediately established chef Raij’s Andalusian inspiration and the evening’s culinary journey through southern Spain.

Moving seamlessly from the cocktail hour to the Filament at the Landing dining room (in large part to the phenomenal service provided by Great Performances, whose staff was outfitted in gorgeous Jones of Boerum Hill aprons), Moore Brothers Wine Company greeted guests with a selection of wines.

The first two courses on the menu—Remojon (salt cod, citrus, olive and pistachio) and Ajo Blanco (scallop, pine nut, almond, pressed salmon roe), plated individually on L’Entramise’s beautiful dishware—celebrated the bright and buttery Andalusian flavors of the sea, citrus, olives and nuts. The next three courses—Setas de Cardo (oyster mushrooms, garlic, parsley and sherry), Berenjena con Miel (crispy eggplant, honey, nigella seed, barberry and labne) and Cordero al Ajo Cabañil (lamb butcher steak, garlic vinaigrette, preserved lemon and herb salad)—were served family-style and brought us the smoky, spicy and earthy tastes that arrive with spring in Andalusia, which according to chef Raij, “means ferias, or festivals, and outdoor meals and the first sacas of sherry.”

industry city chefs lab alex raij

Cordero al Ajo Cabañil (served family style), aka lamb butcher steak, garlic vinaigrette, preserved lemon and herb salad.

Until next time

Just when I thought the meal couldn’t possibly get any better, the dessert course arrived and I knew at first bite that it was the night’s highlight. Along with the Torta de Aceite, an olive oil cake drizzled with brandied kumquats and topped with Blue Marble maple ice cream, there was a glass of Spanish sherry and an accompanying night cap: a flamenco guitar performance by Jason Hochman of Rumba Flamenca along with a little takeaway favor from Industry City tenant Colson Patisserie. It was easy to close my eyes for a few moments and imagine being somewhere in the sun, off the coast of the Mediterranean, and I can’t wait to see where the Chef’s Lab takes us next.

Missed the first two Chef’s Lab dinners? Worry not—there will be at least one more this year. Stay tuned for updates by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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