The Perfect Pair
Pao’s Sous Chef Mauricio Quezada highlights three new dishes on the restaurant’s acclaimed pan-Asian menu with sommelier recommended pairings.
“The dishes at Pao are designed to be shared,” says Quezada, which is a relief since choosing just one from the innovative menu proves to be a challenging endeavor for most. Beyond must-try classics like the kinilaw, fried chicken and sea urchin, the chefs at Pao are turning out new globally inspired dishes that showcase their collective creativity.
First up: the Maguro. “It’s made with bluefin tuna akami that we get from Balfegó, Spain,” says Quezada. The sauce is made from tamari, sesame oil, tomatillo and cilantro, and finished with an avocado puree and a mix of raw vegetables that harmonizes the dish. Pao’s sommeliers recommend a Pinot Grigio or a Brut Champagne, medium-plus bodied, to mirror the notes of the dish.
“For the Wagyu beef tartare, we use the Teres Major—a shoulder cut that’s as soft as a tenderloin and has a great umami flavor,” explains Quezada. Mint, shishito relish and parmigiana Reggiano balance the dish. “The tartare is seared and brushed with brown butter and placed atop homemade brioche bread (a recipe developed specifically for this dish); then, we sprinkle it with shredded parmesan and top it off with a quail egg.” The dish pairs well with the Blanc de Blancs, which uses chardonnay grapes and the champenoise method. It’s refreshing and crisp with high acidity and neutral flavors.
Last but not least, try the Motobu Gyu, made with authentic A5 graded Wagyu beef imported from Japan. “These Japanese black cattle (kuroge) are fed a mix of Orion beer grains and molasses, which are fermented for 10-14 days,” notes Quezada. “This tenderizes the beef and gives it a sweeter flavor profile.” After searing the motubu, the chefs brush it with farro misobrown butter and add a garnish of celery root and potato flavored with a yuzu kosho aioli, shio kombu and lime zest. The perfect pour? A full-bodied Bordeaux. Its slightly earthy notes stand up the marbling of the motobu.