Gallery: Behind the Scenes at City Grit with Chef Jason Dady

Amuse-bouche: Bone Marrow Macarons
Amuse-bouche: Bone Marrow Macarons
Dady pipes a bone marrow mousse onto shells brought in from Macaron Café. “The idea was to take bone marrow and make an aioli out of it, but by binding with a little veal stock you get that meaty richness tied back into the flavor of the bone marrow.” Japanese mayo and a touch of egg yolk were also whipped in.
Adding Luxardo cherry jam
Adding Luxardo cherry jam
“We basically took them out of their syrup, pureed and strained them, and added a tiny amount of red wine vinegar. The cherries are just so good by themselves you don’t have to do much.”
Macs ready for their tables
Macs ready for their tables
A touch of Murray River Pink Flake Salt and, “this is the new Cronut: the bone marrow macaron.” Each guest was welcomed with one at the table, along with a crispy baguette and fresh butter.
First Course:
First Course: "Banh Mi"
“This dish is a take on classic banh-mi flavor profiles. A classic banh-mi uses pate, so we made a chicken liver mousse for the irony richness.”

The mousse was the bed for a 2x2 square of pork belly, which had bathed in a 24-hour brine, then was cooked sous vide for another 24 hours before being chilled, sliced, seared and served.

The next layer...
The next layer...
Steamed gulf shrimp and rapini went on next with buttered toast rounds, “like from the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.”
The next layer...
The next layer...
Cucumber, carrot and daikon pearls were tossed with a little Red Boat fish sauce vinaigrette and were followed by finger limes and crostini made from baguette for texture.
Final dish
Final dish
The final layer was a "not shy amount" of Thai mint, micro-cilantro, and Thai basil.
Second Course: Pan-Roasted Papusas
Second Course: Pan-Roasted Papusas
“I discovered papusas in San Francisco. I had moved out for culinary school as a young punk and stumbled upon this El Salvadorian restaurant, and my wife and I ate there more than any other place. I couldn’t tell you the name of it, but I could still tell you how to get there. I wanted to utilize the masa that’s easily available in our part of Texas and so just did a bit of research.”

The idea for the dish as a whole was to put duck and basil together, and corn compliments them both, but he “wanted something more than just corn sauce or kernels. Corn masa adds a lot of toastiness.” The papusas were made with masa stuffed with a little Jack cheese, then pan seared to finish.

Next layer: duck carnitas and sweet corn mousse
Next layer: duck carnitas and sweet corn mousse
The duck was brined, cooked sous vide, picked off the bone, and then finished by caramelizing in butter “so it’s crispy and rich without drying out.”

For the mousse, he juiced and boiled sweet corn until the natural starches thickened it, then strained and chilled it before adding a touch of marscarpone and and aerating it in a N2O charger for volume. Dady noted that Sarah's local corn was sweet and without graininess.

The next layer... local tomatoes
The next layer... local tomatoes
He then tossed a variety of local cherry and tiger tomatoes with a neural olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a touch of salt.
Final plate
Final plate
A lot of micro-basil and crispy duck skin finished the second course.
Third Course:
Third Course: "A Tasting of Eggplant and Figs"
Dady made sure his team built a tight little circle on this dish, to set them up for a good amount of height. The first step was his dead-center “Circle of Trust,” built by a baba ganoush made from toasted almonds, black tahini, Nutella (for depth and creaminess, not its chocolate flavor), almonds, and fresh mint. It was followed by a concentrated red-onion puree.
The circle
The circle
The next layer...
The next layer...
Roasted Japanese eggplant and roasted Black Mission Figs followed.
The next layer...
The next layer...
Yukon gold potato confit with and more thickly-sliced fresh figs were added for subtle flavor and texture contrasts.
The next layer...
The next layer...
Pickled eggplant skins were shredded and layered at the end, contributing a “real beautiful acidity that helps cut richness of dish.” To add to that richness, Dady took some smoked brisket from one of his restaurants, shaved off the fat cap, and roasted the pieces off for a rich, meaty feel without it being a meal full of meat; “kind of like a meat-eater's vegetarian dish.”
Plating
Plating
Because City Grit’s dining space is separated by many corners and a curving flight of stairs, the final step was sauced at the top of its journey; a roasted chicken bordelaise done in the classic French style, it was a dark-red chicken stock reduced down with red wine.

"We wanted a dish that was kind of vegetarian in thought process but beefy in flavor. Eggplant and figs have similar textures when you cook the eggplant down."

Fourth Course: Lamb
Fourth Course: Lamb
Their starting point was “lamb meatballs and the flavors of Morocco.” To begin, they boned out lamb saddle, made a roulade with the loin, and roasted it off before slicing it thinly.
The next layer...
The next layer...
Sherry Gastrique followed, made from sherry wine and sherry vinegar, reduced down for a syrupy sweet.
The next layer...
The next layer...
A caponata of yellow and zucchini squash, a touch of eggplant (not too much since it was featured in the previous dish), fresh mint, and San Marzano tomatoes.
The next layer...
The next layer...
A pistachio tart acted as the starch of the dish, featuring chestnut, honey, and pistachio, and playing upon that honey/nut Moroccan combination.
The next layer...
The next layer...
The lamb meatballs packed a little vadouvan (an example of “the French taking an Indian spice and making it even more awesome), ras el hanout, smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, milk-soaked bread crumbs, yellow onion, and fennel.

To make the vadouvan himself, Dady grated garlic and yellow onion, then caramelized them in butter until dark and golden brown, then add “a ton of spices”—coriander, cinnamon, mace, cloves, curry leaves and powder, cardamom and more he couldn’t remember—for a wet/dry garnish on the dish to add additional texture.

Ready for service
Ready for service
Fifth Course:
Fifth Course: "Nutella"
This came from the need for a high-volume signature dessert that “would still look sexy and refined.” It starts with a Nutella torte topped with shaved chocolate.
5th Course:
5th Course: "Nutella"
Nutella ganache and candied hazelnut nougat followed.
Ready to go
Ready to go
A Nutella powder made with tapioca maltodextrin added a bit of lightness before a quenelle of chocolate Nutella mousse ice cream.