Cooking is an art, a violent art or a violent sport like football. Every day is game day and you are always on. The timing is crucial. You need a good team and I have one,” according to Todd Jacobs, Executive Chef and Business Manager of the Atlantica Restaurant and Catering at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach. An accomplished chef and businessman, he is proud of his new venture with Allen Rosenberg. Together they transformed King David’s Nursing Home on the boardwalk in Long Beach into the stunning Allegria Hotel with a rooftop pool, breathtaking ocean views and modern décor featuring the Atlantica Restaurant, L’Onda Lounge and Jacks on the Rocks Bar.
Todd’s journey began at the French Culinary Institute in NYC and continued to Le Regence Restaurant where he worked with his inspiration Daniel Boulud. Eventually, he became chef at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor. Todd opened his own restaurant Tierra Mar on the highway in Westhampton before moving it to the Westhampton Bath and Tennis Club. Later that restaurant reopened as the Atlantica and had a very successful run. The Atlantica Restaurant is now at the Allegria Hotel.
“The cuisine is New American with classic French overtones. My mission is to provide healthy cuisine in a unique, luxurious, but unpretentious setting. You have to have fun, mix it up, mix textures and taste because customers get bored with the same old dish. You have to make it better each time.”
Different is an understatement. Imagine butter sculptures and a silver tower of hundreds of spoons offering small bites on each spoon from steak to sushi.
For his love of food, Todd credits his grandmothers. For his love of cooking, he credits close friend Alex Lee, the Hong Kong-style kitchen of Alex’s grandmother and the boys’ frequent trips to Chinatown. He is especially grateful to Esteban Vaqueros, who has been by his side for 23 years, starting as kitchen worker and now chef.
“I love to cook. When I retire, I just want to cook!” he declares.
Executive Chef Todd Jacobs is not retired yet and definitely winning in the sport of cooking. allegriahotel.com.
Signature Dish / Crisp Tempura Crab Cakes with Carrot and Pommery Mustard Purée
The American Hotel staff once challenged Todd Jacobs to create the perfect crab cake. After years of trying, he came up with this version with a slight Asian twist to the traditional Maryland recipe. This was served at Tierra Mar, the first restaurant he owned and because of its popularity remains on the menu even now at the Atlantica.
The recipe is in two parts;
Part I: Crab Cakes
Part II: Puree
Crisp Tempura Crab Cakes
Yield: 8 each
Portion: 1 each
Number of Portions: 8
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 1 minute each
Shelf: 1.5 weeks
7 oz jumbo lump crab meat
7 oz fresh Maine crab meat, picked clean
1/3 cup Hellmans mayonnaise
1 ¾ tablespoons Dijon smooth mustard
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 each extra large organic egg
¼ teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup finely diced organic celery
½ cup finely diced scallions
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
.8 quarts tempura batter (recipe below)
After the crabmeat is picked clean, use a china cap to squeeze out any excess liquid.
Do not squeeze the crabmeat too dry, it should still be moist.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, egg, celery salt, and cayenne pepper.
Put the bread in food processor and pulse until it is flulffy and crumbly. Mix in remaining ingredients.
Use a 2 oz ladle as a guide to stuff the crabmeat and portion out the crabmeat into 2 oz portions.
Press into flat round cakes about ¼ inch thick.
Dust cakes lightly in flour and set aside on a sheet pan for frying.
Drop the fryer baskets into the hot oil first.
Coat cakes evenly in tempura batter and quickly but gently lay each cake into the baskets.
Do this one cake at a time per basket, and fry long enough to set the batter.
Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place in refrigerator to cool.
Carrot & Pommery Mustard Puree
Portion: 1 fl oz
Yield: .25 qt
8 oz organic jumbo carrot
1/3 cup superfine sugar
½ cup water
.5 oz organic ginger, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Dijon grainy
Combine sugar and water over medium heat, bring to a boil.
Cook carrots and ginger in this syrup.
When carrots are tender, puree in food processor.
Then strain through china cap.
Lastly, whisk mustard into carrot puree.
Tempura Batter Recipe
Yield: .8 quart
Portion: .1 quart
Number of portions: 8
1 cup organic flour
2 cups beer (your choice)
Mix ingredients. Fry off 6 oz batter and mix back into the remaining batter. Add more beer if needed.