East Side Showroom has a new Executive Chef, Fermin Nunez, who was previously sous chef at La Condesa under Rene Ortiz. Nunez started at ESSR about a month ago, and recently introduced an entirely new menu that moves away from the "rustic farm food" concept toward "elevating" familiar classics. The new menu fits on a single page and focuses exclusively on small plates like grilled cheese with tomato confit and a branzino given the fish n' chips treatment.
Nunez says that when he started at East Side Showroom, he noticed that the tables were packed but the "kitchen was dead," because so many patrons were there to have cocktails rather than a full meal. He decided to offer bites so "if you want a meal, you can have two or three," but the food can also compliment the drinks-focused atmosphere.
Nunez will continue the focus on local sourcing, which he says is "something Rene showed me how to do right." He chose a focus on "updated classics" because he likes to play with ingredients and techniques starting with dishes "people recognize." Nunez also hopes to make East Side Showroom a place for chefs to "come in on their day off, have drinks and have good food." He has friends "in lots of different restaurants" and wants to create a space line cooks will enjoy without going to "high end" dining like Qui or Barley Swine.
East Side Showroom was previously helmed by Paul Hargrove, who departed this summer to start his own restaurant, the forthcoming Pleasant Storage Room. Founding chef Sonya Cote moved on last year to focus on her other projects, Hillside Farmacy and Eden East.
East Side Showroom's New Menu
Snapper, Green Apple, Thai Chilli, Pumpkin Seed $12
Chevre, Chimichurri, Six-Minute Egg $11
Anchovies, Parsley, Grilled Sourdough $13
Buttermilk, Grits, Pickled Vegetables $14
Tomato Confit, Granbury Gold & Chabrin $10
Salsa Brava, Sourdough $14
Pecan Porter, Potato Puree, Charred Onion $16
Malt Vinegar Aioli, Espellete, Chips $16
Seasonal Jam, Burnt Marshmallow $8