Friday, July 21, 2006

Indebleu’s Executive Chef, Vikram Garg
Shares Liquid Inspiration


Indebleu is popular among DC hipsters for its lively bar scene. The lounge won “hottest bar scene” at the 2005 Rammy Awards, it’s creative ‘metro’ cocktail map got national attention, and Cosmopolitan Magazine included Indebleu in its ‘Hot-City Guide.’

But do the young’ins of Washington know that upstairs, in the dining room, Chef Vikram Garg’s cuisine placed IndeBleu on Conde Nast’s ‘top 80 new tables in the world’ list? Or, that just after opening, Chef Garg was invited to present his “Spice and Ice” menu at the prestigious James Beard House, in New York? I didn’t think so…

Vikram is one of my favorite chefs in town. Not only has he earned respect for his colorful and flavorful Indian, French and ‘infusion’ culinary creations but he is one of the most charming personalities in DC’s ‘foodie’ landscape.
Additionally, he is a guy I can relate to on all levels… the man enjoys a good drink!

I recently learned that Vikram makes his own limoncello. He showed me a corner shelf in his office where he keeps a vat, or two, constantly brewing. And, let me tell you, that stuff is not only delectable but potent! He has also found a way to incorporate his specialty booze into his food…

Chef Garg recalls, “I was drinking limoncello, one day, in my office, and realized it’s fresh flavor would be great for salmon. So, I created this limoncello-buttermilk reduction sauce - and I tell you, it’s out the door! It sells like crazy!”

Finally, it’s hard to resist a chef who explains his philosophy on cooking this way: “To me, food isn’t just a material. Its something you put inside your body. People who sit down to eat here trust us with their stomachs. I tell my kitchen staff that we don’t just throw it on a plate. We cook with love.” Aww, Vikram, we love you, too!

Below, Vikram shares the recipes for both his limoncello and salmon dish with the Liquid Muse community. I definitely recommend trying your hand at Limoncello – impress your friends at your next shin-dig. And, by all means, send in your cocktail creations using Vikram’s limoncello to The Liquid Muse. I’d love to post them. (include photos!)

As for the salmon… I don’t know about you, but I’d rather leave the cooking to Chef Garg!


Limoncello

18 Lemons
1 1/2 qts. grain alcohol
1/2 stick lemon grass
2 kaffir lime leaves
5 1/2 cups sugar
5 cups mineral water


1. Wash and dry the lemons then using a peeler, strip away the rind.
2. Place the lemon rind strips in a big plastic tub and add grain alcohol. Store in an airtight jar for 12 days, shaking it vigorously every day.
3. On the 12th day, boil and cool the sugar and water.
4. Strain the lemon and alcohol mixture and add it to the sugar syrup. Store this mixture in an air-tight jar for 21 more days in a cool dark place, shaking it every day
5. On 22nd day bottle and store in freezer
6. Throw a party – you deserve it after all that patience and dedication!

Wild Alaskan Salmon
slow-poached in olive oil, limoncello-butter milk reduction

4 wild Alaskan salmon fillet 6oz.ea
150 ml olive oil
1 lemon zest
1/4th tsp. salt

Warm olive oil, lemon zest and salt to 120 F. Place salmon fillet and poach at for 20 minutes.


Limoncello-Buttermilk Reduction Sauce

3 oz. limoncello
4 oz. buttermilk
4 oz. heavy cream
4-5 flakes red chili
to taste salt

Bring all ingredients to a boil and reduce to half. Serve over poached salmon.


*all photos in this post are courtesy of Moshe Zusman: www.carish1.com

8 comments:

DC Celine said...

Haven't had the pleasure of sitting down to dinner at Indebleu yet, but did get to sample the fare at the www.dtkmmovie.com after-party...one of the best lamb chops I've had in a while (and they're a regular choice), and the mini-burgers - yum! The only downside to the whole experience was the Red Bull "inspired" drink menu. But, as Babsie D wrote, it's just not a good idea - and thank goodness it wasn't Indebleu's doing, but rather the sponsor's. The mango martini (with thick mango nectar) we sipped one Friday night, though, will keep the Red Bull memories at bay.

Natalie@theliquidmuse.com said...

Ooooo, yes. Those "lamb lolipops" are delish! And, will remain a staple on the menu year-round, according to Vikram...

Venerable Matt Talbot said...

I like drinking limoncello in my office too. It helps me deal with the stress. But isn’t grain alcohol a little strong to be drinkin’ in the office? That’s upstages even Bukowski.
Is the chef a real one that cooks, or does he drink in his office like an underpaid secretary?-just kidding. :)
Went there a long time ago and thought everything was a bit sweet. Whats good to eat to eat there now. Web site looks like it hasn’t been updated.

Venerable Matt Talbot said...

I like drinking limoncello in my office too. It helps me deal with the stress. But isn’t grain alcohol a little strong to be drinkin’ in the office? That’s upstages even Bukowski.
Is the chef a real one that cooks, or does he drink in his office like an underpaid secretary?-just kidding. :)
Went there a long time ago and thought everything was a bit sweet. Whats good to eat to eat there now. Web site looks like it hasn’t been updated.

Natalie@theliquidmuse.com said...

Hello Venerable Matt Talbot,
I wouldn't mind sipping limoncello myself, all day, alas...

If you pick up a Georgetowner or Downtowner on Wednesday (July 26), you can read my piece on the newest incarnation of Indebleu's lunch menu. My new restaurant column is called "Savor the Good Life."

Vikram is doing small plates, and the menu is divided into French dishes and Indian dishes. There are some of his signature dishes as well...

I'd love to get your feedback whenever you make it over...

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Anonymous said...

hey whats this lemoncello?is it some heady drink?wud luv 2 try it some time.