Bruce and Eric Bromberg acquired their love of food while accompanying their globetrotting businessman father on his travels, and we are the beneficiaries.
The concept for Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill sprang from the original Blue Ribbon in Greenwich Village, N.Y., an eclectic restaurant that still offers terrific versions of matzo ball soup and fried chicken. Cosmopolitan CEO John Unwin agressively recruited them, and today, big brother Eric remains mostly in New York City, while younger brother Bruce has relocated to Las Vegas with his wife and children.
Eric makes occasional visits to Sin City to ensure that everything is copacetic, and the brothers were recently reunited in their kitchen at the Cosmo. While I watched them go to work, their partner, sushi man par excellence Toshi Ueki, prepared me a spicy lobster roll that was sheer heaven. There are perks to this job, as if you didn’t know. Ueki was actually instrumental in the development of the Blue Ribbon Sushi concept. One evening, the brothers (already successful restaurateurs) stopped in at his tiny New York City sushi bar, Mishima, and saw stars. Their first Blue Ribbon Sushi opened in 1992.
Today, at the Cosmo installation, crafted from blond wood and strewn with Japanese pottery and art, you’ll enjoy dishes such as spicy lobster roll or specials, including king-crab fried rice, along with the brothers’ famous fried chicken and a giant menu of creations.
The Japanese menu is entirely dependent upon the seasons, so when I asked the brothers to cook something simple, they came up with a duo of dishes that are beautiful, deceptively simple to prepare and deeply satisfying for almost any palate. Eric created a heady mushroom dish, carefully arranging the fungi in a baking pan, while Bruce puréed some satsumaimo, Japanese sweet potatoes.
“The two dishes are great on their own,” Eric says, “but if you wish to round the meal out with grilled steak or chicken, the meat will add a nice component.”
Sweet Potato Purée(Serves 4)
- 2 pounds satsumaimo, peeled and cubed (available at Asian markets such as 99 Ranch; or substitute with typical sweet potatoes)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Blend in a food processor until smooth, or use a potato ricer. This can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready for use.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the potato purée and stir until thoroughly combined and heated through.
Broiled Wild Mushrooms with Tamari Butter(Serves 4)
- 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (hen of the woods, maitake, king, shiitake, cremini), washed and patted with a damp towel
- 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (For a vegan option, use soy butter or the vegetable oil of your choice.)
Preheat the broiler to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss mushrooms with the tamari and sake. Arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet and dot them with butter. Place the dish in the broiler, turning once, until they are golden and tender, about five minutes.
The boys favor Oregon pinot noir, such as the recent 2009 debut by local winemaker, Corey Nyman’s Labor Wines. “This pinot is earthy but complex,” Bruce says, “and has a slightly coarse edge that complements the dishes beautifully.” $30, Marché Bacchus, 2620 Regatta Drive, Suite 106, 804-8008.