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Dormont’s Jean-Louis Parisian Bistro has a new executive chef, though his face is familiar.
Vincent Capuano has taken over for world-renowned chef Gaetano Ascione in a planned transition, the roots of which extend back a few years.
Capuano was the executive chef at Needle & Pin, the British-Indian fusion restaurant that preceded Jean-Louis in the same location from May 2017 through October 2019. The owners, Bandhu Brothers Inc. of Winghart’s, brought in Ascione to take the restaurant in a new direction. He morphed it into a French bistro with a namesake that honors Ascione’s mentor, the late Jean-Louis Palladin, the youngest chef to receive two Michelin Stars (at the time they were issued), among many other accolades.
“We made a plan for Chef Gaetano to take over this restaurant,” said Capuano, 31, a McKees Rocks native. “I would be his apprentice for a year, and, at the end of that year, I would take over.”
Since taking the reins two months ago, Capuano has removed five dishes and added seven onto the classically streamlined bistro menu, dishes the new executive chef describes as “more contemporary” than some of those featured previously.
What remains is the dedication to high-quality ingredients — a lesson Palladin brought to American fine dining in the late 1970s.
Abby Mackey | For the Tribune-Review
Executive Chef Vincent Capuano had the pleasure of remodeling Jean-Louis’ kitchen.
An appetizer, Degustation de Notre Charcuterie, brings all the trendiness of charcuterie with a nod to Capuano’s training as a butcher and specialty meat curator.
A main course, La Saint Jacques, exemplifies the seafood expertise Capuano honed under Ascione with an unexpected pairing: scallops, mashed potatoes and pico de gallo.
“If you’ve never had the pairing of scallops and potatoes before with a U-10 scallop from Maine, a divers’ scallop, then you’ve just never eaten a scallop the right way before,” Capuano said.
The octopus is a particular point of pride for the chef.
Courtesy of Vincent Capuano
Executive Chef Vincent Capuano describes Jean-Louis Parisian Bistro’s octopus dish as “silky and smooth.”
“There’s octopus available in the city. Unfortunately, the people serving it are doing it incorrectly. It’s not tender, it’s still chewy, and that’s a big disappointment,” Capuano said before describing the bistro’s octopus as “silky and smooth.”
The guest experience has also undergone a noteworthy change.
Once dominated by the former executive chef, Capuano wishes for the front and back of the house to shine equally.
“It’s not just serving people, it’s serving people who come back. My goal is to establish a friendship,” Capuano said.
Like most chefs, Capuano is self-critical. He has an appetite for articulating himself well, and, with plenty of politeness, he didn’t allow a conversation to end without adding a more artistic description of his mentorship this past year.
“Working with Chef (Gaetano) was very difficult,” Capuano said. “But it’s like going to the moon and back. I can tell you the distance between the earth and the moon, and what that means in terms of miles. But, unless you’ve traveled there, and you look back at the earth from the moon, you don’t really comprehend the distance.”
Jean-Louis Parisian Bistro’s new menu and its executive chef have landed and are serving guests at 3271 West Liberty Ave. in Dormont.
Source: Thanks https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/jean-louis-parisian-bistro-in-dormont-debuts-new-executive-chef/