Lobster Bar Sea Grille Executive Chef Eric Baker Looking Forward to Proving Himself
It's been nearly a year since the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group announced plans to open Lobster Bar Sea Grille in the thick of East Las Olas. The wait seems finally over.
The plan is to open July 30, according to Executive Chef Eric Baker.
He was named to the job earlier this month, and the restaurant's Facebook page has been abuzz with his resume; there's the Culinary school at L'Ecole Ritz Escoffier in 2003, a stage under Michael Roth at the Ritz Hotel, and some time with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Restaurant Market in Paris.
He returned to the U.S. and found what was supposed to be a temporary position in Palm Beach at Café Boulud.
What was it like working for Jean-Georges, did you ever see him?
Just being over there and seeing the level of discipline and respect for the cuisine, just living in that culture and visiting the markets daily was everything. You live it over there, and it's the education that you probably wouldn't have gotten here in the early stage. It immersed me into cuisine as a lifestyle rather than just a career or job.
How did you end up in South Florida?
I moved back from Paris and I was looking for jobs. I met with Daniel Boulud and at that point he was opening up a restaurant at the Wynn in Las Vegas and I was offered a position there, but it wasn't opening for a few months. So he sent me down to Palm Beach, to Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court Hotel that had been open for a year. I came down and a couple months turned into a couple of years.
This is your first job as an executive chef, what's that like?
At first it can be a little bit overwhelming, but you work for a long time to prepare yourself for this and it feels great. This is a fantastic opportunity. The restaurant is going to be amazing. I'm looking forward to proving myself.
What can we expect from the menu?
It'll be focusing on fish, seafood, and lobsters with a very heavy [emphasis] on the Mediterranean -- very, kind of, focusing on the pristine nature of seafood. We'll also have prime steaks. Whole fish will be a big focus on the menu; Mediterranean fish, grilled served simply with olive oil oregano, lemon and capers. There'll be a raw bar and crudo section but we'll also have the option of steaks for those looking for that. We'll have a nice bar menu and a large bar area and a cocktail lounge.
Proteins and sides will be served a la carte. The restaurant will offer a handful of smaller, composed for under $30, Baker said. A spokesperson for the Buckhead Group said other dishes will cost $26 to $38.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.