Round two with chef Patrick Hartnett: "C'mon people, call ahead"
Part one of my interview with Patrick Hartnett, exec chef of Kachina Southwestern Grill, ran yesterday; this is part two.
Favorite restaurant in America: Kaya, in Pittsburgh. It's a restaurant I opened about twenty years ago, and it's still putting out the most interesting Caribbean food I've ever had. They really push the envelope, and the guests just keep coming back for more. My niece, who was just a couple years old when we opened it, goes there weekly.
Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: Second Home Kitchen + Bar. I worked there when I was doing research and development for Kachina, and I just think they do a great job with their food, and I love the comforting aspect of it.
Favorite cheap eat in Denver: Pho 97. Ten bucks and you're full. It's consistently great, and I go there when I just want to relax and have a simple bowl of goodness.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: More innovation from chefs and restaurateurs, so we can make the Denver-Boulder area the next culinary hot spot in the nation. There are several talented chefs in the area, and the public needs to embrace them by going to their restaurants.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Low-quality establishments. I'm tired of going out to a place that has good reviews only to find that it's mediocre at best. I'd like to see restaurants that don't put out good food get called on the carpet because of it. If you're writing a review, don't just give a restaurant credit for showing up.
Most memorable meal you've ever had: My wedding reception at Bouchon with my family and new wife. My friend and chef Mark Miller called and talked to the director of operations, who was one of his former managers, and they made us a meal we'll never forget, followed by a tour of the kitchens for twelve of us at 8 p.m. on a Friday night, right in the crush of service. Amazing.
Favorite childhood food memory: My family had some apple trees in the yard, and one year they were so full that my dad made pies...so many pies: Dutch, streusel, lattice, you name it. That was a great year for us kids.
Favorite junk food: Most days I have the diet of a teenager. I eat burgers, chili, chips and salsa and fries. But deep down, at the core, I'm a candy man. Jelly Belly is my go-to brand.