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By Scott Roberto / September 6, 12:00 AM
Boston Accent: Wining & Dining

Executive chef Jason Gorman balances innovation and approachability at City Winery


Chicago native Jason Gorman has, in his words, “been very fortunate to work all around the country,” yet when the chef had the opportunity to take over the kitchen at the Boston outpost of City Winery, he couldn’t turn it down. “The dining scene in Boston is such a great melting pot of styles and ethnicity. Being right on the coast with all of the abundant seafood, which I love, is a huge inspiration.” 

While City Winery locations in other cities share many core menu items, Gorman has had the chance to make his own mark on the local culinary offerings with the Maine lobster bruschetta, his take on the classic lobster roll. “We take beautiful, fresh Maine lobster and toss it with heirloom cherry tomatoes, a little roasted garlic aioli and fresh-torn basil over grilled baguette. It was one of our top-selling dishes and there might be an uprising if we were to take it off the menu.” As far as new dishes, Gorman is particularly enthusiastic about the Indian-spiced vadouvan carrot cake with lime coconut cream cheese frosting. “It has all the elements you would expect from a carrot cake but taken to the next level.”

City Winery lives up to its name in that it produces its own wines in-house. Although Gorman isn’t involved in that aspect of the business—“unless I am recruited to crush grapes,” he states—he “is more focused on how to create dishes that complement our wine program and find innovative ways to incorporate our wine into the food.” And then there’s the live music focus of City Winery. “The meal supports the experience and we don’t want to detract from that. We have a concert every night and the artists are from all genres, so we strive to create a balance with our menu offerings and hopefully feature something that appeals to everyone.”

As far as his favorite dish, Gorman has a personal connection to the one dubbed Mom’s Sunday Ragu. “Growing up with an Italian mother, Sunday nights were spent with the family enjoying a meal that took Mom the whole day to cook. In our rendition, we take slow-cooked pork shoulder that has been braised with roasted garlic, house-made City Winery cabernet, San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, basil and toss it with casarecce pasta, Italian sausage and finish with Nonna’s meatballs. Mom hasn’t been to Boston yet to approve, but I think she’ll love it.”

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