by Dan Gibson
The guy who seemingly wins all of Tucson's culinary competitions, Ryan Clark, is leaving the Lodge on the Desert to take over Agustin Kitchen (formerly Agustin Brasserie, which answers the question "What on earth is going on with that place?"). Clark, who also has a cookbook coming out this week, will launch the new look of the Mercado San Agustin restaurant space in four to six weeks after what the press release calls "selective remodeling and refurnishing."
The press release is below the cut.
In a very exciting bit of local culinary news, one of Tucson's most acclaimed chefs, Ryan Clark, formerly with Lodge on the Desert, has accepted the position of Executive Chef/Partner at Agustin Kitchen (formerly Agustin Brasserie) in the Mercado San Agustin. The re-launch of the restaurant is scheduled to take place in the next 4-6 weeks after some selective remodeling and refurnishing takes place.
The Chef driven restaurant will feature Chef Clark's special brand of Local New American Cuisine, focusing on ingredients"made and grown in Southern Arizona" including beef, produce, olive oils, breads and flour, cheese, wines, artisan brews, spirits and more.
"When I think of sourcing local ingredients the first thing I look at is quality" says Clark. "And it's not all about the food. Agustin Kitchen will have an amazing bar program that will showcase creative craft cocktails, over 15 wines by the glass and a large selection of Arizona seasonal draft beers".
A redesigned open kitchen in the dining room was a key factor for Chef Clark. "An open kitchen was a must for me. I want to see the guest's experience and I want them to see ours."
Changes in furnishings will be made in the bar/lounge seating area, adding a casual, relaxed feel that Tucsonans love. "We're making some big changes in the restaurant. We want our guests to feel comfortable and welcomed. That's the direction we want to take things" says Clark.
The menu, currently in the works, will feature a wonderful variety of "Big Dishes" like Diver Scallop and Pork Belly, Baked Artichoke Casserole, Sous Vide Hanger Steak and more; Starters like AB Tartare, Brulee Goat Cheese, etc; Hand Made items like Chicken and Spaetzle and Daily Cavatelli; as well as Fresh Oysters and Clarks famous "Current Jars" - four fabulous seasonal spreads served with garlic toast like Smoked Salmon and Capers, Chickpea-Chipotle Hummus, etc.
Owners of the Mercado San Agustin Adam Weinstein and Kira Dixon-Weinstein are thrilled that Chef Clark has joined them. "Ryan is the ideal fit for our public market concept, where vendors understand the commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and products. His sensibility and talents are remarkable - we couldn't be more pleased."
The three time Tucson Iron Chef champion and two time World Margarita Champion will not disappoint! More details including hours of operations, and opening dates will be forthcoming over the next few weeks.