Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Odd Couple Dinner with Danny Serfer and Brad Kilgore @ Blue Collar

Chef Serfer and Chef Kilgore


You may be wondering why last nights' dinner at Blue Collar with chef Danny Serfer and chef Brad Kilgore was dubbed "The Odd Couple."  Well, it was a combination of two things.  You have the five star hotel chef ex-chef and the motel chef plus their contrasting styles.  Danny has been excelling at straightforward comfort style food since opening Blue Collar a little over a year ago.  But Danny knows a thing or two about fine dining from his numerous years in Chef Allen's kitchen.  On a side note, if you haven't been to Blue Collar yet you really need to go and enjoy one of his incredible burgers or the already legendary "Corben" named after the University of Miami's biggest fan and rising star movie director Billy Corben.  I know Billy is a big fan of both chefs and was in attendance last night. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to meet him but I am a big fan of his movies.  Anyway, the "Corben" is an outstanding braised brisket with dipping jus served on an awesome Portuguese muffin. I'd also highly recommend "The Big Ragout" featuring hollowed out crusty bread, pork and veal shoulder, brisket and fresh mozzarella. Yes, you read that right and the rumors are false. It is not named after me.

On the other hand, we have Brad Kilgore, the young rising culinary superstar who is about to take Miami by storm.  You've heard this from me for over a year now so I'm not going to elaborate further about his impressive skills in this post.  If you want to know more about his fantastic food you can read about it herehere and here.   It should be noted that Brad had the fifth best meal on my Best Meals 2012 list.


Everyone's favorite "savvy gadfly," Lesley Abravanel partly attributed the "The Odd Couple" dinner to me in her piece but I cannot take any credit for curating the dinner.  Although I happily connected the two and suggested collaborating, the dinner and the concept were all theirs.

"The Odd Couple" was a great name for the dinner but I preferred the "White Collar" moniker.  When we had our Cobaya dinner at Azul, Andrew Zimmern called Brad "Wall Street" because of his slicked back hair that night.  I continued calling him Wall St. because his food is always money!  Thus, Blue Collar morphed into White Collar for one night.        

Chef Danny, who happens to be one of the genuinely nicest chef guys I know, happily and warmly opened his kitchen to Brad Kilgore and his wife Soraya for this fun filled night.

FOOD FIGHT!!!!!!!!!
Danny and Brad came up with a fun dueling course concept.  Each chef prepared five courses using the exact same protein each round.  They wisely enlisted the services of five stand outs, Stone Crabs, Rabbit, Shrimp, Duck and Lamb.  The concept provided the twenty-five diners the rare opportunity to experience contrasting styles side by side, course after course.

There were no misses amongst the ten dishes served. But there were a couple knockouts for sure.

As good as the food was, the overall event was even better.  Great food with great guests and a fun environment is a winning combination. Sure, the three free bottles of  social lubricants bourbon that made their way around the room didn't hurt.  Yes, Danny is sharper than he leads on.

*I apologize in advance for the awful poor quality of the following photographs. It was dark inside and I promised myself to always go flash off despite the dinner or group.  Hey, it leaves a little to your imagination.

Chef Danny playing the role of the always hospitable "Jewish Grandmother" made sure from the get-go that no one left his house hungry.  Thus, he welcomed us to plates full of "latke clubs." He topped his popular latkes with bacon and manchego.      

Grandma Danny continued to warm up our palates and our bellies with a pre-dinner plate of Saffron Arancini with parmesan and tomato jam from his regular menu.

Wonderfully curated trio of Bourbons

Did someone say Bourbon? 

Guests were treated to free flowing bourbon throughout the night.  Fortunately for me, the bottles never made it back to my table.

Danny also generously sold fantastic bottles of red and white wine at cost.

                                         Nick Cannon to Replace Michael Buffer in Announcing the Andre Ward/Chad Dawson Fight

Let's get ready to rumbleeeeeeeeeee!!!



The boys came out swinging early.  Round one featured a favorite item of mine, Stone Crabs.  Danny wisely used his secret weapon, the Portuguese muffin and created a clever stone crab "po-boy" topped with smoked trout caviar, tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion.  This dish hit a lot of sweet spots for me and was one of my favorite bites of the night.  The stone crab was dominant yet the supporting cast was  prominent.  This would be a hit on the regular menu for sure.

Brad showcased his modern techniques right off the bat via an uni-ricotta emulsion paired with braised bacon, bottarga and of course stone crab.

I enjoyed both dishes but round one went to Danny.


Round two featured an item I rarely see on Miami menus, Rabbit.  Danny, served a self explanatory, "Chicken fried thumper" paired with a light macaroni salad and watermelon gastrique.

Brad delivered a huge right hand to the palate with his delicious cinnamon smoked rabbit paired with a unique and wonderful gingerbread gnocchi along with  porcini mushrooms.

Round two went to Brad.


C'mon Serfer!!  You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!



Popcorn shrimp, orange shrimp, pineapple shrimp...

Shrimp posed a difficult challenge for the chefs because they are wonderful in their simplest form.

Brad unsurprisingly tapped into his creative culinary mind as well as his cutting edge skills and served his shrimp "a la chorizo."  His chorizo looking and tasting shrimp were paired with Meyer lemon and dill.

Danny took the more traditional route via a scampi.  He paired Royal Red Shrimp with garlic, crushed red pepper and lemon which were served on grilled bread.  This dish would have been a home run for me if it was served hot.

I enjoyed both dishes and this round was a draw.


Both chefs were clearly in their comfort zone with Daffy.

Brad served a cured and delicious duck tartare with kewpie mayo gelee and duck yolk sabayon.

Danny sticking true to form went with duck lardons, frisee, duck fat vinaigrette, beemster and a quail egg.

Two great dishes but the edge went to Brad.

The boys in action.


I unknowingly at the time had Brad up a round heading into the fifth and final round.  Danny and Brad ended the fight with a flurry of powerful blows to our bellies.  Both delivered knockout dishes via different cuts of the lamb.

Brad swung first and plated a very tasty yogurt braised lamb belly with olive fruit oil, Grand Marnier and roasted herbs and leaves.

Danny Boy was not going down on his home turf without a fight.  He walloped us with an awesome lamb neck braised in red wine. He paired it with a delicious parsnip puree, mustard greens and feta huancaina.  This was one of the best dishes of the night.

Two great dishes to end the fight night. Edge does to Danny resulting in an overall DRAW. 


After the Thrilla in Manilla Blue Collarilla ended, Brad's talented wife Soraya showed off her pastry skills with a dynamite bite via her "cayenne chocolate lollie" with toasted sesame and kumquat jam.

She followed that up with another sweet treat.  A citrus soaked white cake was paired with blood orange froth, foie gras crumbs and sea salt caramel ice cream.

Perfect ending.


There was no loser.  Honor and friendship amongst chefs was the story of the night.  Truth be told,  the winner was clearly the twenty-five food lovers who got to enjoy a fun concept along with great food, wine, bourbon and company.

Blue Collar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

6730 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138
(305) 756-0366

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