Smoked Chicken w/Slow Poached Egg
Appetizer Runner Up
- The Tavern on Broadway | Newport, R.I.
- Boston Division
“I came up with this dish because I had an abundance of chicken thighs, Brussels sprouts leaves and corn muffins left over from a brunch party,” says Tim Souza, Chef at Tavern on Broadway. “I was strapped for a special and looked around me. I created this dish completely off the cuff, using all the byproduct in my kitchen.”
For Tim, it came together naturally. “You have to roll the dice sometimes and some of your best dishes come that way. I was raised by a single mom and we threw things together all the time. If you cook long enough you know which things go together well.”
The techniques used for the appetizer are not complex, he says, and the only part that needs special attention is the poached egg, made in an immersion circulator to ensure the temperature stays stable. “It’s a huge money maker at a selling price of $12 for a cost of under $3.”
That fits his nose-to-tail philosophy, which is both sustainable and profitable. “There’s a use for every byproduct in the kitchen, and nothing should be wasted. I break down whole chickens and use the breast for entrees, the bodies for stock, leg portions for spring rolls and now for this smoked chicken appetizer.”
Since its inception, the dish grows more popular each month.
Tavern on Broadway racked up a tidy million dollars in sales this past year, a substantial sum for any restaurant, but particularly impressive for an 80-seat restaurant (165 with all standees) in just its second year of operation, with Tim at the helm.
His innate sense for cuisine and opportunity has served him well. When Tavern on Broadway opened in Newport’s historic district in a completely renovated 200-year-old building in June 2013, Tim was working at another restaurant up the street. After the Tavern chef quit three months later, Tim took the job “immediately, on instinct,” he says. His passion for scratch cooking, fresh, local food and creative combinations have transformed the Tavern into a buzzworthy kitchen, bar and restaurant — a standout even in Newport’s dynamic food culture.
“We’re off the beaten path, “says Tim, “So locals know us and tourists usually stumble upon us. But in the winter, when the high-end restaurants are completely dead, we’re busy, staying open until midnight to serve the local workers.”
Tim is well aware that diners come to Newport expecting great New England clam chowder, lobster rolls, fish and chips and calamari. He’s delighted to serve it all up but goes well beyond expectations with unique twists and one-of-a-kind variations. For instance, his fish is made with a special technique that concentrates the flavor and keeps it juicily moist. And the accompanying jalapeño-tinged tartar sauce adds a welcome zest; his balsamic vinaigrette slaw eschews traditional creamy for a savory crunch. “That’s the name of the game for me, familiar but with different twist,” he says.