Chefs play musical kitchen stools with professional speed, but the shift at Palihouse was a more complete game than most. Just weeks after Brendan Collins and pretty much his whole staff decamped from Palihouse to Waterloo & City, Gary Menes took his entire staff from Marche, which closed May 8th, and took over the kitchen.
Menes started his new job as executive chef at the hotel's restaurant, the Hall Courtyard Brasserie, a little over a week ago and already the menu is completely his. "I was actually going to take some time off," said Menes by phone this afternoon. "But here I am. I took my whole staff." He also brought over from Marché, the restaurant he owned with Andre Guerrero, the pig candy, the foie gras terrine, and much of the style and technique that the chef picked up along his culinary route, from Long Beach to Patina and The French Laundry and Palate Food + Wine to Marché. Menes said that he was so accustomed to changing the menu every Friday at Marché -- as well as a few times during the week too -- that when he got to Palihouse and they asked him when he wanted to change the menu, he just said, "how about Friday?" Look for Harris Ranch côte de boeuf cooked sous-vide; moules marinière with mussels from Brittany; 72-hour braised pork belly.
As for moving from the white tablecloths of Marché to the bistro setting of Palihouse (one thinks of other chefs who have made such transitions, not least of which being Walter Manzke, David Myers and Thomas Keller), Menes sounded by turns both circumspect and inspired. "I'm excited. It's not fine dining, but technique is technique. It's like The French Laundry for the masses."
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Palihouse: 8465 Holloway Dr., West Hollywood; (323) 656-4020.