After just four months, Alex Patout has left his postion as executive chef of the popular Christabelle’s Quarter in Coconut Grove. “It was an honest difference of opinion about the direction of the menu,” owner John El-Masry told me, and then quickly added words of respect for the departed Patout. “We love Alex. He’s a talented chef and we wish him the best.” El-Masry says that while he is looking over applications for the suddenly vacant chef position, “we have some very talented guys on board right now” (the sous chefs). The way he said it suggests that the replacement will likely come from his current crew.
Christabelle’s menu is being revamped as well, and the owner’s comments on upcoming changes hint at what the split with his chef was all about. “The core of our menu will remain authentic New Orleans cuisine...but we have to be aware that we’re in Miami. We’ll be adding lighter fare, possibly some fusion.”
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Blackened gefilte fish, anyone? --Lee Klein