Former Union Square Cafe employees Stephen Paul Mancini and Eric Gabrynowicz have joined forces again, but this time in Armonk, New York, at Restaurant North. North practices a farm-to-table approach to its contemporary yet classic American cuisine, as well as a thoughtful and educated method for the wine, beer and spirit selections and pairings. Executive chef and partner Gabrynowicz, who was nominated in 2011 for a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year award, created this tuna tartar as a vibrant and refreshing starter. It’s perfect for entertaining, as much of the preparation can be done the day before.
North Tuna Tartar
Courtesy Eric Gabrynowicz, Chef/Partner, Restaurant North
For the tuna tartar:
½ sheet gelatin
3 ounces yuzu juice
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 lime, juiced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
8 ounces sashimi grade yellow fin tuna, diced into ¼-inch cubes
2 radishes, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon wasabi powder
1 tablespoon mustard, Dijon-style
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
The day before you want to serve, bloom the gelatin in warm water for about 20 minutes. In a sauté pan, gently heat up half of the yuzu juice. Squeeze excess water from the gelatin sheet, and carefully whisk the gelatin into the hot yuzu juice until fully incorporated. Add the remaining yuzu juice, set aside and refrigerate overnight.
For the dressing, simply whisk together all of the ingredients until fully incorporated; this can also be done the day before and refrigerated.
To prepare the tuna tartar, scoop out the avocado and roughly mash as if you were making a guacamole. Place the onion and lime juice in a small bowl, mix and then incorporate the avocado into the mixture. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Mix the diced tuna with the yuzu gelée right before serving (it needs to be done right before serving or the acid will affect the proteins in the fish, turning it white). In a round ring mold centered on a plate, layer the avocado mixture followed by the sliced radishes and finally the tuna mixture. Remove the mold and drizzle the dressing around the tartar. Serves 4 as an appetizer.
Mancini pairs this dish with Scholium Project’s 2010 Farina Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma, as the wine’s richness goes well with the avocado but the acidity cuts through the fatty qualities of the tuna. For another ideal selection, try a Bordeaux-style white blend, like Bizoe’s Henrietta Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend from South Africa’s Western Cape.