With three US Opens under his “racket,” Prime’s Executive Chef Pedro Avila feels as if he has a pretty good handle on tackling the masses who come far and wide to watch world-class tennis and eat world-class cuisine. Starting a good month in advance, Chef Avila set to work with Chef Burke on the menu selection, and this year’s new dishes were met with love, love, love.
“Our bacon-on-a-clothesline appetizer was a huge success,” says Avila. Glazed with a house-made maple syrup glaze, the bacon is put in the oven for a total of seven times in 15-minute increments. “It’s extremely labor intensive. During the process, it shrinks about 25 percent and gets nice and crispy. The last time it goes back in the oven, we add more glaze and pink peppercorn.” The bacon is then hung on a miniature clothesline set on an apple wood plate. This year’s menu also featured a quinoa and artichoke salad and a surf and turf consisting of a Wagyu filet mignon and heads-on prawns. In true Burke fashion, the filets were brought tableside on blocks of Himalayan salt.
“Every year it gets easier,” adds Avila. “Last year I re- member it took us one day to cook 10 cases of corn, for ex- ample. This year, we cooked 15 cases in three hours! It’s an intense couple of weeks of working every day, both lunch and dinner shifts. The excitement within our team was incredible. Out partner- ships with Levy Restaurants and the USTA is what brings us back every year.”
Like Avila, Goglia points to the challenges of such a huge event made easier over time. “The biggest issue is getting all the team members up to speed in a very short period of time to perform at a very high level. Doing this in a pop-up-style situation takes intense organizational skills and an amazing work ethic, which is where Chef Avila comes in. His strong culinary abilities enable us to execute much more than your typical steakhouse menu and offer a broad range of items that appeal to more guests.”