Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.
– Thomas Fuller
Eating is a passion. Many people do it solely for nourishment and sustainability while others, like myself, have a deeply intense love affair with it. We do not to eat for health or wellness, but for the appreciation of the art, experience, and admiration of talent displayed by a chef. There is a measure of chefs’ talent that is seldom given the recognition it deserves, however…the leftover.
The leftover is its own meal category, and a fundamental part of the culinary life cycle. It is just as important as the first bite of a dish. Despite that, some dishes do not make for good leftovers, while others are phenomenal after a day’s tenure in the Frigidaire. Roadhouse LA has a new executive chef, Kyle Schutte, whose culinary prowess packs the power of a roundhouse kick. I dub him: “The Leftover Bearded Ninja (Chuck Norris).” I do not know if a chef takes food being leftover into consideration when preparing it, but if one did, Kyle just might.
I formally met Kyle, after hearing such praise of him from Val at Trippy Food, when he approached my table bearing gifts of warm-ambrosial Cornbread [bread] Pudding, and unheralded breakfast-dinner Root beer-cured bacon & eggs. Immediately I knew this gesture would form a food-loving bond, and friendship that would last a lifetime. It was the next morning, however, when I ate the rest of my Roadhouse LA Brisket, and Crème brûlée Mac & Cheese, that I realized this man was gilded in spades with culinary wizardry, and passion. The honey in the velvety mac & cheese was trenchant. It did not overpower the leftovers, but its presence was more apparent than in the initial serving. The brisket retained its moisture and savor overnight. Sadly the toast did not make it.
Sunday morning arrives and I still have leftovers. Apparently Kyle tried to stuff me to the gills or nearly send me home with the entire menu. I pop the ribs and campfire carrots into the microwave, and the day 2 leftovers were strikingly more impressive than day 1. The flavor profile of the ribs intensified several times over. Each individual flavor was recognizable in every bite. The Niman Ranch ribs did not remit their toothsome texture. The tang of the ponzu sauce seeps deep into the meat which is firmly perched atop the pickled peaches, and boiled peanuts. The three flavors gel with the clearly distinguishable taste of the pork, and create an exceptional Sunday brunch. The gooey thyme-seasoned marshmallow melted over the plump carrots, like lava flow, creating sweet-coated logs of deliciousness.
Kyle takes global barbecue to unseen levels of extraordinary. While staying true to his Georgian chef roots, he adds fanfare to food that creates an experience reminiscent of the amazement felt when hearing and watching Dizzy Gillespie play. Roadhouse LA’s menu is filled with a la carte food items that tell a story, a global story of one man’s interpretation of barbecue. The story of Kyle Schutte, and his global ‘Cue experiment will last well beyond the leftovers I indulged in, and the memory will remain in the cupboard of my heart forever.
Update (September 1, 2014): I have come to find out that Roadhouse LA has since closed, I believe sometime in June 2014. Chef Kyle is in the works of opening his own Flat Bread restaurant in Beverly Hill. It is schedule to be opening sometime around January 2015.
Roadhouse LA at The Improv
8162 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
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