Wednesday, October 1, 2008

PUTTING A STAKE IN THE CITY: A 27-year-old chef from Las Vegas has been hired to head Bourbon Steak, the future restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) in Georgetown, says Michael Mina, the celebrated San Francisco chef whose restaurant company counts similarly named restaurants in Detroit, Miami and Scottsdale, Ariz.

David Varley, most recently the chef de cuisine at Trump International Hotel and Tower in Sin City, expects to begin work in Washington early next month in preparation for Bourbon Steak's December launch.

The New Jersey native, one of 15 contenders for the job, says he is eager to return to the East Coast: "Las Vegas is a good restaurant town but not a good food town." He says the chance to join a vibrant dining scene, feed locals rather than transients, work with area growers "and not have to FedEx everything" appeals to him.

Varley was in San Francisco recently, working on recipes for the new restaurant. He's hoping to create some buzz with, among other ideas, a lunch list that will highlight six "refined" entree salads. Those will include pecan-crusted walleyed pike, served atop chicory with an orange dressing, and butter-poached lobster with a trio of pumpkin accents (the squash will be pureed, steamed and diced, and featured in a vinaigrette).

The chef promises "light, clean flavors" on his menu. "No foam cuisine," he adds. "Nothing crazy."

-- Tom Sietsema

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