Superstar chef and Food Network star Aarón Sánchez (Chopped, Chefs Vs. City, Heat Seekers, Iron Chef America) took over the kitchen as the “culinary visionary” at the House of Blues Restaurant, renamed Crossroads at the House of Blues in late March. Go here for an interview with Chef Sanchez.
With his busy TV schedule, plus his duties as executive chef and co-owner of Centrico Restaurant and Mestizo By Aarón Sánchez, it is a special treat when he visits the House of Blues. He did just that last Friday, June 22, for a special media dinner to heat up the summer season at Crossroads.
A terrific meal at the restaurant highlighted his upscale pub grub menu with the expected influence of the Mexican cuisine he learned from his mother, acclaimed chef Zarela Martinez, as well as his own twists to comfort food.
His meatball sliders are not made from ground beef but from short rib meat mashed together with just the right amount of spice. My dining companion praised his grilled flatbread, a Tex-Mex take on the Italian staple pizza. My favorite was the chile braised short ribs served on incredibly moist jalapeño cornbread. The sweetness comes through first, then just when you are saying, “where is the heat?” it hits your palate as a welcome afterglow.
Since I grew up in Ventnor, grits was not something I ever sampled, so I was surprised how much I enjoyed the crispy grit cakes that came with his Shrimp and Grits entrée. Naturally his Mexican heritage was in full blossom with his popular appetizer, street tacos made with marinated skirt steak and Cotija cheese and served with pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa.
The entrees and appetizer served were mostly from the regular Crossroads menu, and also includes pub favorites like buttermilk fried chicken, ribs and a build-your-own burger.
For the summer the restaurant is open daily from 12pm-7am, with a late night menu you can enjoy after a House of Blues concert in the Music Hall upstairs.