Desi graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1980, receiving an Associate in Occupational Science Degree. He then apprenticed at the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, one of only eight five star resort hotels in the country. During the culinary revolution of the eighties New York City was home to some of the greatest restaurants in the world. One of those, Le Cirque, was to be Desi's most valued experience, and he worked under the famed Allain Salliac.
An introduction to Roger Verge one night led to a stint at the Michelin three star Moulin De Mougins in the south of France during the summer of 1984. Upon returning to New York, Desi teamed up with Michel Jean, who opened Provence, in the Soho section of New York. Provence quickly became, according to Gault-Millau, "white hot," and one of the top rated bistros in the city. Desi garnered many writeups during the four years he was Executive Chef between 1986 and 1990, including 2 stars from Bryan Miller, the New York Times Restaurant Critic. This led to a partnership with the Tatou Corporation, where Desi was Corporate Chef for four years and opened Tatou's in New York (also a two star rating from the New York Times), Aspen, and Beverly Hills, and consulted for Tatou Tokyo.
After traveling to Japan, Desi took over the helm at Ocean Avenue Seafood and is developing regional American specialties using the freshest and widest selection of seafood from Hawaii and Alaska to the Eastern seaboard.
Wasabi Crusted Hawaiian Yellowfin Tuna with Ginger, Basil and Miso
Dungeness Crab Cakes with Grilled Red Onion Vinaigrette
Seafood Sausage with Napa Cabbage, Mustard Sauce, and Tobiko
Coriander-Cumin Crusted Santa Barbara Thresher Shark with Green Peppercorn Sauce
Grilled Alaskan King Salmon with Mousseline of Asparagus and Pinot Noir Demi Glaze
Desi Szonntagh, Ocean Avenue Seafood
Sear the beef strips with olive oil in a large saucepot, cooking until brown. Add the rest of the ingredients up to the fish stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and reduce by half. Strain and reserve.
Bring three cups of water to a boil and cook the orzo 5-6 minutes, or until cooked but al dente. Cook and reserve. sauté the cabbage in olive oil, adding the stock or water a little at a time, until the cabbage is well cooked. Add the cooked orzo, mixing well and reserve.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring the red wine reduction to a boil in a casserole or large saucepan. Add the four fillets, cover and bake in a 350 degrees oven for 6-7 minutes. Place the cooked fillets onto a serving platter and keep warm. Bring the red wine to a boil and reduce by a third to yield approximately 2 cups. Lower the heat and slowly add in the whole butter, whisking until fully incorporated. Pour some around the grouper, serving the rest in a sauce boat. Heat up the orzo-cabbage mixture in a sauté pan and serve immediately.
To make the compound butter wrap one small head of garlic loosely in a 5" x 5" piece of aluminum foil ( or use a clay garlic baker) and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the garlic cloves feel soft. Remove from the foil, cut off the top, and squeeze out the garlic cloves that are now a paste. Combine this with the parsley, lemon juice, butter, and margarine. Reserve.
Carefully clean the Manila clams, discarding any that have opened. In a large heavy saucepan heat up the olive oil. When almost smoking add the clams, stirring until all are evenly covered. Add the wine, clam juice and shallots and cover until the liquids boil. Add the compound butter and cover again, continuing to cook about 2 minutes or until all the clams have opened.
Serve immediately with plenty of sourdough or country bread.
Provided by Ocean Avenue Seafood
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified January 2007
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