With innate talent, an eye and taste for innovation, a commitment to quality, and a dedicated determination to be the best in her field, Executive Chef Allyson Thurber has been instrumental in establishing Water Grill as one of the best seafood restaurants in the country.
With her leadership in the restaurant's 2,000 square food kitchen, combined with General Manager Phillip Larimore's knowledge of wines and savvy for operations, Water Grill has received numerous awards, repeated accolades from restaurant critics and has been consistently voted "L.A's Best Seafood" in Zagat's guide each year since it's opening in 1991.
Thurber's tireless dedication to offer patrons an exceptional dining experience, "one they will remember," is illustrated in the restaurant's diverse menu, which changes daily to feature the freshest of fish and shell fish from the Pacific Northwest and other regions in the United States.
"I strive to combine the highest quality ingredients, in conventional and unconventional ways, to create dishes that more than satisfy our guests," says Thurber. "When all is said and done, to me the greatest compliment is seeing a customer finish every last bit of a meal I prepared."
Among Thurber's special dishes are appetizers such as a Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Napoleon flavored with the essence of Porcini Mushrooms, and Sashimi of Big Eye Tuna with a Spicy Radish Salad and Wasabi Vinaigrette. Some favorite entrees include sautéed Copper River King Salmon with Hazelnut Mashed Potatoes. Shitake Mushrooms, and a Port and Shallot Sauce; Potato crushed New Zealand Dorade with a Smoked Salmon and Caviar Sauce; and, Grilled Rare Big Eye Tuna with Blue Prawns, Spicy Soba Noodle Salad and Chinese Pesto.
Graduating Valedictorian from the famed Culinary Institute of America in 1988, Thurber brings a wealth of experience and balance to her position at Water Grill.
Growing up, she enjoyed experimenting with new recipes and spent seemingly endless hours in the kitchen. Against the advise of family and friends, who believed that it was "no career for a woman," Thurber first decided to pursue her dream to become a chef when a friend offered her the opportunity to help out in the kitchen of his small Sacramento-area restaurant. Realizing the opportunity to make a living at something she truly loves, she left a successful career as a graphic artist and the rest is history.
Her official apprenticeship began in 1981 in Sacramento, California at the exclusive Grand Island Mansion. Four years later, she was drawn to New York, where she served as Chef Tourant at the famous American bistro, Mortimers. In 1987 she accepted a position with Larry Forgione at New York's An American Place. A year later, she moved to London to further cultivate her art, and excelled under the tutelage of noted British Chef, Stanley Berwick. Just over a year later she returned to her native California, to serve as Sous Chef at downtown's esteemed Checkers Hotel. From there, she was recruited to the Water Grill in 1991.
In her little free time, Thurber is active in several local and social causes, teaches seafood workshops to novice and accomplished cooks, donates her talents to charitable events, and enjoys preparing gourmet cuisine for her four cats.
|Hours:||Lunch--Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Dinner--Monday and Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Seating: 125 in the dining area, and 75 in the Bar/Oyster Bar areas.
Bar: Featuring a vast selection of fine spirits and non-alcoholic beverages, a choice of micro beers and an extensive wine list, the Bar at Water Grill is a popular gathering spot for the Who's Who of Los Angeles.
Oyster Bar: Serving up to eight varieties of fresh oysters, as well as other fresh shell and specialty fish (such as Purple Sea Urchin, Gooseneck Barnacles, Canadian Spot Prawns, Prince Edward Island Mussels, Maine lobster and Dungeness crab). Water Grill boasts the only Oyster Bar in downtown Los Angeles.
Parking: Validated valet parking $3.50.
Cuisine: Specializing in fresh seafood from the Pacific Northwest and other regions within the United States; all prepared with the tasteful innovation that has earned Water Grill renown as Los Angeles' best seafood restaurant. The menu changes daily to feature the freshest of seasonal catches and harvest. A variety of pastas, steaks, chops and poultry are also available.
|Price Range:||Lunch, $8.00—$20.00
Wine List: Emphasizing exceptional varieties from California and the Pacific Northwest, Water Grill's comprehensive wine list is presented in a helpful format, offering patrons a guided tour through the characteristics of each wine, as well as recommendations for inspired food and wine pairings.
Design/Ambiance: Designed by Hatch Design Group (Costa Mesa, California), the interior design of Water Grill combines classic richness with playful eclecticism to create an ambiance of lighthearted elegance.
Awards/Recognitions: Zagat's Survey, L.A.'s Best Seafood, '93, '94, '95
Zagat's '95, "Water Grill is Downtown's Favorite Power-Lunch Spot."
"Water Grill has become the leading seafood restaurant in Los Angeles," Gourmet Magazine
"The fish is fresh, the desserts luscious, the service insouciant," Los Angeles Times Magazine
"The Water Grill may be the best seafood eatery in Los Angeles," Los Angeles Reader
Attire: Contemporary sophistication.
Parking: Validated valet parking $3.50
By Allyson Thurber
Toss together all ingredients and dress with vinaigrette.
Combine all ingredients.
Combine all ingredients and let sit for 2 hours in refrigerator.
Season Barracuda fillets with salt and pepper. Grill over medium high heat for approx. 2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness and desired doneness.
Place tossed salad in center of the plate, place grilled fish on top of salad and top with relish. Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.
By David James
Everybody loves Tiramisu, the Italian dessert made with mascarpone. Here is a version which is frozen like an ice cream or semi-freddo. The ladyfingers give the taste and texture of a granite when frozen. Serve this alone or with a bitter chocolate sauce.
Provided by Water Grill
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified March 2007
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