Mountain View Voice

News - December 21, 2012

New chef embraces the old at Chez TJ

by Andrea Gemmet

The new chef at Chez TJ's, Mountain View's only Michelin-starred restaurant, says that diners shouldn't expect to find agar noodles or other hallmarks of molecular gastronomy on the menu.

Jarad Gallagher, 34, who took the helm of the one-star Chez TJ a couple of weeks ago, says his aim is to be true to the experience of dining in a historic house.

"It's a unique opportunity as a chef," Gallagher told the Voice. "These places don't exist anymore. It's easy to build a modern restaurant, but house built in 1800s?"

"This is an old Victorian house, that's a unique experience on its own."

He says Chez TJ's menu will play on the characteristics of being both old and modern.

"We'll use some newer techniques and flavor profiles, but they'll be presented in a little bit more of a throw-back style," Gallagher says. "Molecular gastronomy is not a word we're going to use in this restaurant. You're not going to see agar noodles."

At the moment, he says he's in the process of selecting proteins for the restaurant, which include Dungeness crab, free-range antelope from Broken Arrow Ranch and live lobster and uni. He's still searching for a source of grass-fed beef within 100 miles of the restaurant. It's not easy, because most of the beef is grain finished, he says.

"Local (sources) are only important if it's good for the world and good for people to eat," Gallagher says. "I'll buy scallops from Massachusetts and support that fishery. I'm not going to slight myself by saying everything has to be local if it's not good and it's not consistent."

Gallagher, whose credentials include One Market and Michael Mina, and chef de cuisine at the Plumed Horse in Saratoga, is no stranger to restaurants with Michelin stars.

"Being a Michelin restaurant speaks to the care, the love and respect that the chef is showing to the staff and the food," he says. "It's more than just being crazy — everybody can be crazy — but being controlled, staying inside your concept."

So far, the reaction to Chez TJ's new menu has been positive, Gallagher says.

"I've changed a lot dishes really quickly, and (the staff) has been nothing short of amazing," he says. "In terms of the guests, I've been talking to every table, and they say they're enjoying it."

Chez TJ's former chef, Joey Elenterio, left in early November, reportedly saying that he was ready to move on to something bigger.

Comments

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

(It seems the Dec. 21 print version of this article generated a new online copy, so I'll repeat the comment posted to the original online version two weeks earlier.)

Here's wishing the best of luck to new chef Gallagher (the 11th in that role, by my count, since "TJ" himself died in 1994).

If anyone's interested, link below is to an archive of Robert Rich's 20th-anniversary (2002) Voice review of Chez TJ, containing little-known background details. (Robert wrote Voice restaurant reviews 2002-2004. Some are classics, still displayed in downtown restaurant windows.)

Web Link


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields