Fresh Fish from The Stone Hearth
By Matt Kurnick
Philip Young, executive chef at The Stone Hearth in New Haven, CT knows he’s just one fish in an ocean of East Coast chefs that pride themselves on their seafood.
With that in mind, Young is meticulous when it comes to ordering, storing and preparing his fish dishes.
“Being on the East Coast, near the water it’s essential to have fresh seafood,” Young said. “A piece of fish that’s three days old tastes different than a piece that’s a day old. So freshness is extremely important.”
The Stone Hearth receives fresh fish daily. After it’s received, it gets expertly butchered, cleaned and portioned. Once it’s ready for the line, it’s set into third pans and placed into a True TSSU-48-12 for storage.
The True prep table, originally designed for sandwich and salad prep, meets Young’s needs perfectly. In addition to providing a workspace for Young’s line cooks, the unit holds the fresh fish at the correct temperature.
Holding the fish at temperature before it’s cooked is essential when trying to wow customers with fresh dishes that include Lemon Verbana Halibut, Blackened Swordfish and Pacific Rock Bass (as seen below from left to right).
“We couldn’t do without the True unit,” said Young. “I take temperature logs every single morning and every single night to monitor these things and keep the fish as close to 32°F or 34°F at all times. That’s how important it is to me. I check them every single day.”
Young’s attention to detail extends past his fresh fish offerings. Dishes at The Stone Hearth are usually finished with one of their scratch-made sauces including a demi glace made from a veal stock reduction. The Stone Hearth also offers a variety of soups that start with any one of their homemade stocks.
To keep the stocks and sauces fresh, Young takes advantage of different sized clear food pans from Cambro.
“We use the 5, 3 and 2-gallon Cambros with lids,” said Young. “They’re great products because you can store them. They’re good for pretty much everything.”
The Stone Hearth is named after the hearth-style oven that acts as the centerpiece of the restaurant’s open kitchen. The majority of Young’s fish dishes are roasted in the oven. The Stone Hearth also features a variety of specialty, personal-sized brick oven pizzas.
Because the pizzas are prepped in the open kitchen, it was important to Young when settling on a pizza prep table, that not only was the table functional, but also aesthetically pleasing.
As such, Young went with the True TPP-93. It was a decision he and his team made based on their experience with True.
“When we put this restaurant together, we looked at different things we had worked with,” said Young. “We all had experience with True stuff at one point or another, so we knew True made a good quality product. It’s a critical piece of equipment.”
A combination of the freshest seafood, scratch-made sauces and soups, and brick oven style pizzas are Young’s recipe for being a big fish, no matter the ocean he’s swimming in.