Photos By Nicholas Karlin, Words By Arielle Witter
Back in January, Ripple welcomed a new executive chef, Ryan Ratino. Following his takeover from Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley, Chef Ratino has introduced a new bar and dinner menu items.
Our food extravaganza started with two drinks from the bar crafted the restaurant’s lead bartender, Jochem Zjip.
The first one up was the cleverly named farmersonly.com (this is actually the name of the drink, the .com is part of the name, farmersonly.com is also the name of a singles site for farmers and people that love farmers). The purple hued beverage consists of Tyler city gin, beet shrub, yuzu, and egg white. As someone who is typically opposed to egg white drinks, famersonly.com was an excellent beverage to change my perspective on the matter. Instead of the thick, almost yolk like consistency I was expecting on account of the egg white, I was pleasantly surprised when my first sip of the drink was refreshing and light. It was like taking a sip from an alcoholic smoothie – the freshness of the beet shrub paired with the frothiness of the egg white, and topped off with a zesty garnish made for a delicious drink.
The next drink up was the bitter nona. If the farmersonly.com is almost like an alcoholic smoothie, the bitter nona is for those partial to iced teas with a boozy kick. Bitter indeed, the drink is made with Cocchi Barolo Chinato, Cynar, Campari, and lemon. It has a citrus flavor combined with just the right amount of bitterness for nice twist. A little sour at first, but still refreshing.
The first dish up was the morbier grilled cheese from the bar menu. The pressed sandwich is filled with short rib, pickled onions, tarragon mustard, horse radish cream, and morbier cheese. Again, like my first sip of the farmersonly.com, I was more than pleasantly surprised. The smoky flavors of the cheese and short rib work too well with the zesty flavors of the sauces and pickled onions. It’s a very fine combination of savory and zesty.
Chef Ratino’s take on fried Amish chicken, made with green curried ranch and cilantro, strikes the right balance between a sweet lemony flavor and salty crisp.
Like the fried chicken, Chef Ratino’s wagyu brisket dish also balances between sweet and savory. The salty, balsamic flavor of the meat was nicely balanced out by the sweet barbecue glaze.
Served as a mousse, the foie gras is severed with a rhubarb marmalade and a black pepper and chardonnay vinegar honey (both on the side) to all be spread on a mini rye pancake. The marmalade and honey complement the saltiness of the foie gras. It’s reminiscent of a breakfast pastry, if you’re not turned off by duck liver.
Chef Ratino is a well thought out replacement for the well respected Meek-Bradley. The Cleveland Park restaurant is in fine hands. After serving under Richard Sandoval, Ratino is delivering pleasing new American to a Cleveland Park restaurant with a fine reputation.