“The dish has to be eye catching. I like to tower a dish vertically. Add the sound of it sizzling; the aroma that wafts by the diner, the touch and finally the taste and it is perfect,” Terrence Cave declares.
Terrence Cave is Executive Chef at Nisen Sushi Woodbury, an eclectic American/Sushi restaurant, which entices diners to enter with its elegant Asian style décor and inviting sushi counter. The concept is to give customers a choice by combining fine dining and sushi. Tom Lam is the Sushi Chef and co-owner of Nisen Sushi in Commack and co-owner of the Woodbury restaurant with Robert Beer.
From a boyhood in P Viners Corner, Batavia to Executive Chef on Long Island is quite a trek in culture and cuisine. Terrence started by training at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. Then moved to his grandfather’s dairy farm where they also grew vegetables. “Our family opened a small restaurant, where my dad did basic short order cooking, using all fresh and good ingredients. He was my first role model. The first dish I ever made was a fried egg and mustard sandwich on toast,” he remembers.
He speaks highly of his years at the Blue Ribbon Brasserie in SoHo with Eric and Bruce Bromberg. Known for being the spot where celebrity chefs dine, Terrence cooked for Jean-Louis Palladin, Mario Batali and Daniel Boulud. Terrence also treasures his time with Charlie Palmer at Aureole, Metrazur in Grand Central Station and Alva, where he served as Chef de Cuisine. The Cub Room with Henry Meer and Dock’s Oyster Bar where he accepted his first Executive Chef position were notable too. The Fulton Fish Market was still open then and offered him the opportunity to learn how to select fresh seafood daily.
Documenting recipes is important to Terrence. His staff has a cookbook of his recipes to follow for consistency. “I was most inspired by Fernand Point—called Le Roi of Le Pyramide. His book, Ma Gastronomie tells his philosophy, but he failed to leave any of his recipes. Charlie Palmer had a huge library of cookbooks. He would direct us to choose an ingredient, find a recipe and then make it our own. I learned a lot by doing this.”
“One thing a good chef must have, however, is patience. Everything has to be done quickly. There is an economy of motion, but it can’t hit the plate until it is done. To be perfect, flavors have to marry,” Terrence explains.
Recently, a table of two enjoyed a dinner with a starter of green peppers with sea salt, day scallops on chopped black trumpet mushrooms in a Fumé Blanc reduction, Heirloom Tomato Soup, the Signature Dish Pan Seared Ribeye with Wilted Spinach and for dessert Chocolate Bruno. Each course was served with a well-paired wine.
Describing his life in one word, Terrence Cave immediately says, “Satisfying!” With his family comfortably settled on the island and a career he enjoys, you can understand why.
Pan Roasted Ribeye Steaks:
This Ribeye recipe was on the menu at The Cub Room in SoHo when Terrence worked there. It is still one of Terrence Cave’s favorites and easy to duplicate at home. This recipe serves four and includes wilted garlic lemon spinach, Maytag bleu cheese (described as clean and bright) and smashed potatoes. It is an easy meal to prepare and will suffice either for entertaining guests or just a hearty family dinner.
Roasted Ribeye Steaks
Wilted garlic lemon spinach
Maytag bleu cheese sauce
Four ribeye steaks cut about an inch thick
(The butcher at your local market will do this for you.)
Six large Yukon Gold potatoes
Baby spinach (2 bags)
12 oz sweet butter
Maytag bleu cheese 4oz.
(available at better markets, any bleu cheese will do)
Garlic cloves (6)
This is an easy meal to prepare and will suffice either for entertaining guests or just a hearty family meal
Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees
Place the potatoes in a pot, cover them with cold water and add three tablespoons of kosher salt. Bring the water to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, so a fork goes in easily.
Strain the water out and add half a pound of butter to the pan and using a masher or a big fork smash and mix the potatoes, skin and all, add salt a pepper to taste as you smash
(Yukon Gold works best for this because the skin is so delicate it incorporates nicely but any potato will do)
Lay your steaks out side by side and season them generously with salt and pepper. Place a sauté or fry pan on the burner at high heat and add two tablespoons of oil. When the oil begins to smoke gently place the steaks in the pan being careful to separate them.
Crowding them will cause them to steam.
Let the steaks sear until they are browning nicely then turn over and place the pan in the preheated oven for about six minutes.
Remove from the oven place on a cool plate to rest.
In a small saucepan place one clove chopped garlic four oz. of Maytag bleu cheese and four oz. of heavy cream add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Place over low flame and stir together slowly as it melts.
Place a saucepan on low heat and add four tablespoons of olive oil and three cloves slivered garlic.
Heat slowly not allowing the garlic to brown for about two minutes.
Then pour it over the spinach add two ounces of lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well.
Warm the potatoes, gently stirring so they don’t burn.
Plate and serve