New Menlo Park steak house names chef Ryan Ellison
The apron, toque blanche and chef knives are at the ready, and with any luck, LB Steak Menlo Park will open by its target date — Monday, June 25 — in the Santa Cruz Avenue space formerly occupied by Marche restaurant.
Ryan Ellison, now heading up the kitchen of the LB Steak restaurant in San Jose's Santana Row, will don the toque as the new steak house's chef de cuisine.
The announcement naming Mr. Ellison was made last week by Roland Passot, owner and chief culinary officer of LB Steak and Left Bank Brasserie, which also has a restaurant in Menlo Park.
In addition to working with Chef Passot and master French Chef Joel Guillon at the San Jose steak house, Mr. Ellison, 37, worked at Oliveto in Oakland with Paul Bertolli. (He says with some pride that his hand is shown in a photograph in Mr. Bertolli's book, "Cooking by Hand.")
He has also worked in several other restaurants in San Jose and in Hawaii.
Mr. Ellison says that the menu for the Menlo Park restaurant is nearly completed. One of its signature dishes will be a "tomahawk chop"; diners will be able to choose from a variety of sauces for the steak.
Although there will be plenty of choices for a steak entree, the menu will also include fish and fowl, as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes, Mr. Ellison says.
"It's a prime steak house, but we try to broaden the appeal" to accommodate a range of tastes and preferences, he says.
In preparation for opening the restaurant, he and other staff are working with local farmers and developing relationships with local fishermen to guarantee fresh foods for the seasonal menu.
Sommelier Eric Entriken has put together a list of domestic and imported wines, many of which will be available by the glass, according to LB Steak spokesman Tom Walton. The restaurant will also feature "contemporary and signature handcrafted cocktails," Mr. Walton says.
Mr. Ellison says the restaurant has been completely renovated. A dimly lit dining space has been transformed with an abundance of windows that provide natural light and a more open feel. The design changes were the work of architect Mark Stevens of Architecture & Light.
With about 4,000 square feet, the restaurant will seat 130 people, according to Mr. Walton.
The restaurant is at 898 Santa Cruz Ave., at the corner of University Drive. It will be open daily.