Ernest Loves Agnes transitions into fall with an exciting culinary line-up led by Chef David Nichols. A new food and beverage duo will be formed with the addition of Veronika Groth behind the bar and the wine list will be refreshed by consultant, Edan Smitchz.
A Pacific Northwest native, Chef David Nichols brings his taste for the Mediterranean flavors to the menu, Thursday November 3rd.
David was raised on his family’s working farm in Cashmere, Washington (between Wenatchee and Leavenworth) and has a deep appreciation for fresh and locally grown food. In 2003, he moved to New York City where he attended the French Culinary Institute and worked for Chef Marc Murphy at the Landmarc Tribeca. Immediately following culinary school, he moved to Italy and worked in the small northern town of Meduno for 8 months. Then David was off on more world adventures working in the Turks and Caicos for a year and Sydney, Australia for 10 months. In 2006, he returned to New York where he was named Executive Chef for the Landmarc at the Time Warner Center and in 2011 he was appointed as Executive Chef for Benchmarc Restaurant Group. In 2014, David opened Irvington at the W Union Square with the Gerber Group.
David’s cooking is enthused by the romance of world travel and the destinations that coincide with many of the countries visited by Ernest Hemingway; the restaurant’s namesake. He has an affinity for the rustic, regional seafood dishes found in southern Italy and the Mediterranean, the classic feta, pickled peppers and lamb served in Greece, chickpeas, cumin, merguez sausage and tomatoes from North Africa, and citrus, spicy sausage and cheese specific to southern France and Spain. At dinner, Nichols brings spice-forward dishes to the Ernest Loves Agnes menu to include an Octopus Terrine-‘nduja, apple, potato, chicory or a piquant assembly of Braised Chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, merguez sausage. Those dishes will be joining the house made pizzas and pasta for which the restaurant is well-known; classics like a comforting Tagliatelle Carbonara-egg, house cured bacon and parmesan and versions with a southern Italian influence like the Chitarra pasta with crab, watercress, preserved lemon, chilies and breadcrumbs. “The flavors of the Mediterranean are just a part of my cooking DNA,” says David. “I love those big, bold, bright spices and I feel like the ingredients from those regions fit in well with the premise of Ernest Loves Agnes.”
Happy Hour fans will find the same Mediterranean thread woven into the menu: Albacore Tartine- kohlrabi, white beans, olives and smoked onion aioli, Shrimp Escabeche- fennel, chilies and herbs and Lamb meatballs-whipped ricotta, red onions and mint. “I think that the menu changes will make our regular neighborhood diners pleased,” says Nichols. “And adventurous eaters should be happy, too.”
The bar at Ernest Loves Agnes gets a fresh shot when bartender Veronika Groth, whose many fans have enjoyed her inventive cocktails at Poppy restaurant on Capitol Hill, joins the team in early November. She’ll be connecting the drink experience to Nichols food, inspired by spices like turmeric, thyme, fennel and cumin as the foundation for the cocktail experience. There will be a healthy selection of Italian amari and spirits on the menu, alongside local and regional beer on tap and bottle and cans from Italy, Spain and France.
Wine drinkers will be delighted with the restaurant’s restyled wine list by Edan Smitchz, former wine director at Ray’s Boathouse with a level 2 credential from the Court of Master Sommeliers. The list that Edan has assembled for the restaurant will highlight lighter varietals from Washington State, whites from Germany and Spain and lesser known white and red wines from southern Italy that will stand up to Nichols’ spicier dishes.
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