The "Not Pizza" Carpaccio

By Amelia Schwartz | Caroline Hatchett

By

Amelia Schwartz
Caroline Hatchett
Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio, Tomato Conserva, Opal Basil, Basil-Jalapeño Oil, and White Ponzu
Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio, Tomato Conserva, Opal Basil, Basil-Jalapeño Oil, and White Ponzu

In tasting Chef Robert Newcomb’s tuna carpaccio, we were embraced with waves of umami. We were enamored by a harmonious balance of flavors. We were smacked in the face with something oddly familiar: pizza. Newcomb, chef de cuisine of Vernick Food & Drink had no intention of creating a “carpaccio pizza,” nor did Morimoto’s sushi pizza cross his mind. Rather, the yellowfin tuna carpaccio is “basically a take on umami,” says Newcomb. Maybe it’s the way the components of the dish are carefully layered, or the way the umami duo—a tomato conserva and white ponzu sauce—recalls marinara and aged cheese, but this elegant carpaccio lit up our ‘za radar.


“The Bread”: There is no rising, rolling, or tossing for this base. Newcomb pounds sushi grade yellowfin tuna from Samuels Seafood until flat. He delicately cuts and presses 3-ounce portions with a paring knife, forming a disc-shaped canvas laid atop a bed of basil-jalapeño oil.


“The Sauce”: A first hit of umami, rich dollops of Roma tomato-based conserva top the carpaccio.


“The Cheese”: Servers pour a bold white ponzu tableside. Shiro dashi, white soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and dry sake are an acid spike with floral notes from Meyer lemon, yuzu, and orange juice.


“The Toppings”: Newcomb sprinkles a crunchy, panfried ginger-garlic crumb over the tuna, and finishes the dish with (what else?) fresh opal basil leaves.
 

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