On April 10, junior Ben Haber cooked in the second of five Top Chef competitions in Restaurant 108. This week’s menu showcased Spanish classics with modern interpretations. This is Haber’s first year working at Restaurant 108, but he has experience working at Barcelona Wine Bar and is one of the top line cooks at Porto Maltese in Washington Square.
We came in during third lunch, so the restaurant was getting ready to close. However, the restaurant staff was accommodating and we were given a plate to sample appetizers and entrees of what was left over.
Inside, the restaurant was not filled with the usual line of students waiting for their chicken fingers and french fries. Instead, there were neatly set tables with flowers. When we sat down, crispy bread was on the table with an olive oil mixture on the side.
Haber’s menu featured the starter patatas bravas, fried potatoes with a mildly spicy cream sauce topping. The potato was crisp and perfectly flavored with the right amount of salt and pepper. The cream sauce on top was flavorful and displayed a great mixture of a tangy and spicy sauce.
The plate also featured the main entree of Cajun roasted chicken, which was served with broccoli and chorizo stuffed red peppers. The chicken was well seasoned, but a little dry. However, one of the main highlights of the meal was the chorizo stuffed red pepper. They were perfectly seasoned and warm, and the chorizo and peppers complemented each other very nicely.
The plate also had the bacalao pil pil, which is a traditional Spanish fried fish from the Basque country. The fish was fried an impeccable golden brown and had a wonderful savory flavor.
Unfortunately, because the restaurant was closing, we were not able to get the dessert. However, the offerings were tres leches cake, churros and caramel flan.
Overall, the service and the food were great. Top Chef will resume May 1, with the third of five competitors.