Mary Rosenbauer knew her husband James loved to cook and with proper training she believed he could be a great chef. So even though he was 28 years old and had worked at the New York State Department of Transportation for eight years, she encouraged him to consider a career change.
His workday at DOT began at 6 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m. He could take classes at the New York Restaurant School after his shift ended so he enrolled. Once his studies at NYRS were completed he enrolled at the French Culinary Institute. As before, he attended classes following the completion of his workday at DOT. When he graduated in 1986 with honors from FCI, he had to make a choice - stay at DOT or embark on a new and very different journey - he chose the later.
His first job was a brief and uneventful introduction to the restaurant business at the West Village carriage house called One if by Land, Two if by Sea. But then he embarked on a remarkable career-buildng path rubbing elbows with some of the most brilliant chefs in the business on their way to stardom.
Rosenbauer trained under New York City's leading chefs
His mentors included Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and David Burke. He worked for Daniel Boulud at Le Regence in the Plaza Athenee Hotel from 1986 to 1987. Boulud later founded Daniel, the haut French gem of the Manhattan dining scene, and was named Best Chef, New York City by the James Beard Foundation. Next he cooked with executive chef Andy D'Amico at Sign of the Dove.
He joined Rakel as sous chef working for the convention-defying Keller - Keller would go on to open the three-star, Michelin-rated Per Se.
He then worked as poissonier/saucier in David Burke's challenging kitchen at the River Cafe in Brooklyn. Burke now owns nine restaurants and has received awards ranging from France's coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d'Honneur to Best Culinary Prankster by Time Out New York.
From 1991 to 1996, Rosenbauer served as chef de cuisine and executive chef at 44, a contemporary American restaurant popular with the publishing set (in Manhattan's Royalton Hotel at 44 West 44th Street). Regular customers included Conde Nast media tycoon S.I. Newhouse, Jr., Vanity Fair and The New Yorker editor Tina Brown and Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine.
Rosenbauer flirted with culinary fame when his hamburger was lauded as one of the best in town by New York Times restaurant critic Eric Asimov in a treatise on hamburgers published 16 years ago. Hamburger didn't actually appear on 44's menu but any one who asked could get one at lunchtime. During five years as executive chef and chef de cuisine at the hotel restaurant, Rosenbauer started a catering business and introduced many new dishes.
But his days at 44 may best be remembered for his awesome burger thanks to its great admirer Anna Wintour who usually ordered it for lunch. Her name may not sound familiar if you aren't into the fashion world.
But remember the movie The Devil Wears Prada that came out in 2006 with Meryl Streep playing a tyrannical fashion magazine editor called Miranda Priestly? That movie, based on a 2003 bestselling novel by Lauren Weisberger, is widely believed to be based on Vogue Magazine editor-in-chief Wintour. Author Weisberger formerly worked at Vogue as Wintour's personal assistant.
Prior to joining Bistro Z 18 months ago Rosenbauer spent two years as executive chef at the Shorehaven Golf Club in Norwalk, Connecticut. Before that he was the executive chef from 1997 to 2005 at the Field Club of Greenwich. He served as president of the Club Chefs of Connecticut from 2003 to 2005.
Rosenbauer joins Bistro Z
Rosenbauer came on board at the Doubletree Hotel shortly after a major renovation had closed the facility for more than two years. He began updating the menu, put emphasis on the use of fresh, local produce, introduced his cooking style and applied his classical training with respect to seasonal ingredients.
The lunch menu at Bistro Z includes Portobello mushroom panini ($14) and a hamburger with choice of cheese on a multi-grain bun served with fries ($14). Dinner entrees range from $20 for osso buco ravioli with Asiago cheese, accompanied by baby spinach and gremolata to $32 for surf and turf. At $26, the Long Island duck breast served with mustard and pine nut spaetzle and roasted baby spinach is becoming one of the restaurant's most popular main courses says the chef.
"My recipe for spaetzle," says Rosenbauer, "is much like the one my Italian mother cooked for my German father. I always loved it as a kid."
A braised entree always appears on the dinner menu. "I favor this slow, labor intensive method of cooking meat because the result is rich, tender and flavorful," says the chef. At the current time the braised entree is lamb shank with Gorgonzola, grits and steamed broccolini, priced at $25.
Desserts include pear bread pudding with a cookie crumb topping and orange sauce ($8), warmed chocolate moulton cake with ganache occupying its center ($9) and Doubletree's famous chocolate-chip with walnut cookies and milk.
The chef's lobby menu lobby includes Asian duck confit with Granny Smith apples, dried cranberries and citrus pea shoots ($10), a Cuban panini made with smoked ham, roast pork, swiss cheese and dill pickle ($14) and a selection of three local cheeses served with marinated olives and hot sopressata ($13).
Rosenbauer, an ex-resident of Huntington, Long Island, lives in Trumbull, Connecticut. His wife Mary, a former teacher, works part time at a Westport law firm. She still loves his cooking.
He let us in one little secret - Bistro Z will have veal osso bucco on the regular menu in the fall.
Bistro Z is located on the main floor of the Doubletree Hotel Tarrytown, 455 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591. It is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. 914-524-6410. www.bistroz.com.
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ tsp of ground pepper
- ½ tsp of ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup of milk
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp of minced parsley
- 3 tbsp of unsalted butter
- ¼ cup of pine nuts
- 2 tbsp of minced chives
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, pepper, parsley and nutmeg. In another mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk and Dijon mustard together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Beat the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and thick. Cover bowl and let rest for 1\2 hour in the refrigerator.
Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a gentle boil. Press the dough through a spaetzle maker or a large holed colander. Do this in small batches so you don't crowd the pot. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, spaetzle will float to top. Use a skimmer or large slotted spoon to remove cooked spaetzle from pot and give it a quick rinse under cold water.
Sauté spaetzle in butter with the pine nuts a couple of minutes to give it color. Sprinkle with chipped chives and season with salt and pepper.
Braised Beef Brisket with Aromatic Vegetables
- one 4 to 6 pound beef brisket
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- garlic powder
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 6 sprigs of rosemary and thyme
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
- mirepoix (small dice of 1 carrot, 2 leeks, 1 stalk of celery, 1 Spanish onion )
- ¼ cup of tomato paste
- 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 3 cups of red wine
- ¼ cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 2 Bay leaves
- 6 cups of beef stock or veal stock
Season brisket generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Cover and let marinate in refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the brisket and brown on all sides. Remove to a large platter and set aside. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add the brisket and brown on all sides. Remove to a large platter and set aside. Add the mirepoix and smashed garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and tomatoes, stir to coat the vegetables and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the vinegar, red wine and herbs. Bring to a boil.
Return the briskets to the Dutch oven and cover with the stock bring back to a boil. Cover and transfer to a preheated 325 degree oven and braised for three to 3 ½ hours until fork tender. Remove brisket from the pot and strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan. Bring liquid back to a boil and remove clear fat and any scum that rises to the top. Reduce cooking liquid over medium-high heat until thickened and sauce consistently.
Ravioli with Braised Beef Brisket and Aromatic Vegetables
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- ¼ cup of finely diced shallots
- ½ pound of rough chopped porcini mushroom
- ¼ cup of finely diced celery root and carrots
- ¼ cup of chopped Italian parsley
- 3 cups of braised beef brisket, shredded
- 4 tablespoons of cooking liquid
- two bunches of red Swiss chard, washed and chopped
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, thin shaved
- 40 wonton wrappers
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add shallot and porcini mushrooms. Cook until lightly brown, about 12 minutes. Add diced celery root and carrots, cook until wilted. Add braised beef and Italian parsley, toss to combine. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add enough cooking liquid to make mixture moist.
Place wonton wrapper on cutting board. Top with a tablespoon of filling. Lightly brush edges of wonton with water. Top with second wonton and gently press down to seal edges. Cut out into circles and keep cover with a lightly dampened towel to prevent from drying out.
Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water for about four minutes and drain. Served with sautéed red Swiss chard and top with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.