In October, Michelin-starred chef Shaun Hergatt opened Vestry, a seafood-focused Manhattan spot that he hopes “continues the legacy of people going out and celebrating their lives in restaurants.” Here, he talks us through three globally influenced dishes that combine for one delicious night out.
“Salmon, salmon, salmon—it’s so common,” Hergatt says. “So how do you make it supremely delicious?”
His answer: Start with a good source (Yama Seafood) and cook the fish on a binchotan (Japanese white charcoal) grill, giving it a cracker-crisp skin.
A side of wakame seaweed and a sauce of koji (fermented rice) and kombu oil round out the plate. “When you put the seaweed with the fish, it naturally blends well, because this is the environment where the animal lives.”
Big Eye Tuna
“Tuna tartare is a classic thing that everyone loves, so I thought, let’s be a little bit playful,” says Hergatt, who shapes his potato-chip base into a fish, like an adult take on a Goldfish cracker.
The tartare itself combines flavors of black olive and tarragon, inspired by niçoise salad. “You have to be delicate with tuna,” the chef says, “and make sure the flavors enhance it and don’t take it over.”
Growing up by the ocean in Australia, Hergatt would eat oysters right off the rocks. He says the key with the bivalves—rich, creamy Shigokus from Washington state’s Taylor Shellfish Farms, in this case—is to keep things simple: “You got the shell, you got the oyster, you got the little bit of fluff on top.”
The “fluff” is an acidic, salty-sweet ponzu-and apple foam that “does the same as a squeeze of lemon or a teaspoon of mignonette.” These oysters are also served in a unique way—warm, atop a bowl of hot Hawaiian black salt.