: Much is made of the fact that in 1972 Leslie Revsin was the first woman ever to cook in the kitchen of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. But Leslie's large and faithful clientele responds to her cooking not because she is a woman but because she is a first-rate chef.
: She started cooking at a time when the phenomenon of the young American chef forging his or her own style had not yet made its way to every corner of the land. Trained in the hotel and restaurant management program at New York City Community College (now New York City Technical College), she first attracted notice at P.S. 77, and soon thereafter opened her own place in Greenwich Village. Restaurant Leslie was almost too good to be true: a cozy atmosphere, a limited menu, bring-your-own wine, and distinctive food.
: Revsin recently took over the kitchens at One Fifth Avenue, a large restaurant decorated in Art Deco glamor with many fittings from the cruise ship Coronia. Here she cooks the way she always has, rarely calling attention to the chef's technique but, rather, seeking to highlight the flavors of the ingredients themselves. In dishes such as pan-roasted rabbit, for example, the emphasis is on heightening the rabbit's own flavor, careful browning in olive oil to create a rich glaze in the pan, deglazing the crusty bits with white wine to release the flavor into the braising liquid; slow oven braising to keep the meat moist. The finished dish is served with a bright mix of coarsely pureed beets and a toss of spinach and beet greens. This is masterful composition of tastes, textures and colors.
: Revsin's cooking rangers from simple bistro fare to delicate dishes, such as a butter blanquette of fish, yet it is always marked remarkable play of taste, texture and temperature contrasts, are not conventional beignets (fritters), but cheese-stuffed crepes that are dipped in a light batter and fried crisp. Another such dish is an unexpected but successful pairing of sweetbreads with caviar. Her food is uncluttered and without artifice.
in this country, she takes a much broader view: "Great cooks," she believes, "are genderless. they must have both feminine and masculine components. A great cook can express the entire range of human capacity and feeling.
: "I get impatient," she explains, "with cooking that is so refined that the food has no real depth of flavor, and with food that is over complicated with multiple components and garnishes. What I am interested in is real food. After all, with food, the point is pleasure."
: Menu: One Fifth Avenue
: Roquefort Beignets with Apple Puree
: Fish Broth with Oysters and Saffron : (A rich broth with seafood, cellophane noodles, and : radicchio.)
: Pan-Roasted Rabbit with Fresh Herbs : (Marinated rabbit pieces with white wine and sweet : garlic cloves, served with roast beet puree and spinach : and beet greens.)
: Fresh Pineapple with Rum Cream : The Knapp Press, Los Angeles, 1985
: Chef: Leslie Revsin, One Fifth Avenue Restaurant, New York
From: Karen Mintzias Date: 08-03-94 (22:12) Sound Advice (628) Cooking
Your One Fifth Avenue is ready. Good luck!
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