This month, without a lot of fanfare, Anna Feinberg stepped into the role of executive chef at Kapow! Noodle Bar. Feinberg (whom you may have recently noticed in a rather badass new ad for the restaurant) assumes the spot previously held by Roy Villacrusis, who parted ways with Kapow! in January.
This was an internal hire: Feinberg has been with the restaurant since its opening last November. She initially worked as manager of front of the house, though her 11 or so years of restaurant experience include many hours logged on the line.
"I've done everything from dishes to the front of the house," Feinberg said recently during a few minutes of downtime before the Friday happy-hour rush.
A Midwesterner by birth (she's originally from Milwaukee), Feinberg previously worked with Cameron
Mitchell Restaurants as a regional lead trainer, which led to her move to
Florida about five years ago. She's spent time on the line at the former Himmarshee Bar
& Grille and at 3030 Ocean working under the tutelage of the likes of Paula
Feinberg, 30, represents a small but growing number of women with power positions in South Florida kitchens. "There has been, over the years, more girls in the kitchen and more women chefs," Feinberg said. "Working for [DaSilva] was a privilege... to see what we can do and accomplish in the kitchen." And although Feinberg is proud of her career move, she said she is more interested in focusing on the team dynamics of the restaurant "from front of the house to the back... The food and the staff are what's important to me."
What changes can diners expect in the coming weeks? Co-owner Vaughan Lazer and Feinberg said many fan favorites, such as the shishito peppers and other small plates, will go untouched. Other dishes have gotten makeovers: The salmon from the small plates section is now cured with peach tea and beet instead of green tea, and the big-plate yellowtail snapper will no longer be fried.
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"I'm trying to get away from [lots of] fried foods," Feinberg said. The chef plans to add a few more light and veg-friendly options, like a small plate along the lines of a vegetable-spring-roll-like wrap. A vegetable ramen already has been added to the mix, and the team is working on new desserts to bring to the table.
The restaurant's drink menu also will get a slight revamp. New wine and sake descriptions will provide more insight, and two new cocktails have been added: a pork-friendly, yet-to-be-named creation (soda water, fresh ginger, and house-made bacon-infused bourbon with a "pork rind" garnish) and Escape from Alcatraz, a twist on an old-fashioned.