Round two with Madison Street's Rob Michaels
This is part two of my interview with Rob Michaels, chef de cuisine at Madison Street. In part one of this interview, Michaels dishes on dumbing down menus, the pitfalls of parsley, and pork heaven.
Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: I love the comfort food at Steuben's -- plus I only live two blocks away; the best mussels I've ever had are from Root Down; the duck rillettes at the Squeaky Bean rock; Euclid Hall is awesome for late-night food and, oh, man, the boudin noir; and everything at Lola blows my mind, plus their tequila selection makes me do bad things.
Favorite restaurant in America: Lola, right here in Denver. I've been blown away with everything I've eaten there. I really enjoy the comfort food at Steuben's, too, and there's this little brewery -- Half Moon Brewery -- in Half Moon Bay, California, that I really enjoy, especially since it overlooks the ocean. And I really love the original Smith & Wollenksy in New York.
Best food city in America: Undoubtedly, New York, but Denver is the underdog city that's blowing up the culinary scene. We've got so much talent here, and our local ingredients are just amazing. I've been to New York a few times, but I can honestly say that I think Denver can take on New York any time and any day.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: I'm from the Philippines, and there's such a dearth of Filipino food here, which is so sad. Hey, Denver, we really need to work on that.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Subpar chicken wing places. I've been here for more than a year, and all I've found are chicken wing places that suck.
Current Denver culinary genius: Geez, they're going to get a huge head, but Troy Guard, along with Jensen Cummings, have been my mentors here in Denver and have changed my cooking completely. It's because of their patience that I'm where I'm at today. Mark DeNittis, for sure, the chefs and mixologists at Steuben's, chef Jamie Fader at Lola and Jennifer Jasinski from Rioja.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? My Shun Classic ten-inch chef's knife that was a birthday gift from my girlfriend. I literally slept with it, because it's really that amazing. It's my workhorse, and I use it 95 percent of the time.