Since Rishi Singh took over as executive chef at Boheme, the food has gone from microwaved bar fare to truly top-notch. The inventive chef is constantly dreaming up ways to elevate the cuisine at the space that's better known for being a bar than a restaurant, and he's doing it all from a food truck.
That's right. Boheme still doesn't have a kitchen. Singh and his crew are able to feed as many as 600 people on busy nights exclusively out of a food truck parked behind the bar, and the quality of what they put out under those circumstances is pretty darned impressive.
Take, for instance, the lobster pizza. Singh recently replaced the crab and shrimp pizzas on the menu with ones specifically designed to highlight the flavor of lobster claws. 'Cause go big or go home, right?
The pizza menu now features four different lobster pies, each one totally unique from the others. They're all served on Boheme's signature lavash crust, which is so thin that it mainly serves as a crunchy vessel to get the gourmet toppings from cardboard platter to hungry mouths.
"It's all about designing a menu which is simultaneously efficient and delectable," Singh says. "I generate the menu with considerable thought about the tools I have on hand, my main tool being the pizza ovens, and my space constraints being a truck. It forces me to be innovative."
While lobster on pizza may not sound like the most innovative culinary trick in the world (remember Max's Wine Dive's chicken fried lobster?), it's the fact that the combination of crustacean and pizza actually work so well together that make the dishes so impressive.
Singh admits that his first hurdle was trying to pair lobster and cheese. Lobster pairs with cream sauce, sure, but cheese? And tomato sauce? So he went back to the pizza drawing board and started with one of the most basic and classic pizzas: The Margherita.
On the menu, it's called the Lobster-ita, and it's a lot like a traditional margherita pie, only with a few gourmet twists to enhance the lobster. Instead of fresh tomatoes, this pizza employs dark red roasted tomatoes, big fresh basil leaves, mozzarella and a bit of truffle oil and garlic. Then the butter-poached lobster is laid on top and a bit of the poaching butter is drizzled on as well.
Singh figured out quickly what a lot of chefs don't always get about lobster--it's best left alone. He doesn't fire it along with the pizza or try to slice it up like pepperoni. It's literally just sitting on top, which I think is the ideal way to serve a big red claw on a thin, cheesy slice.
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The Lobster Verde pizza heads in a different direction, globally, from the margherita. The sauce is green pesto, and it's topped with mozzarella, more roasted tomatoes, onions marinated in spicy Mongolian oil, a few crumbles of goat cheese and more butter-poached lobsters.
Then there's Singh's take on carbonara, which employs Parmesan, mozzarella, pancetta and peas to evoke the classic pasta dish. The pie then gets a generous topping of lobster claws and two sunny side-up eggs. This is probably my new favorite pizza on the menu, including all of the non-lobster versions. It's truly divine.
The newest pizza isn't even on the menu yet, but I recommend you order it as soon as you see it printed. It's called Mesopotamian Lobster, and it evokes the flavors of the Middle East with a muhammara spread featuring aleppo peppers, walnuts and olive oil. There are big green daubs of fresh mint chutney dotting the lobster and a sprinkling of dark red sumac for color and texture. I was dubious about the strong Middle Eastern flavors paired with the subtly sweet lobster, but it works.
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Singh explains that in order to make a lobster pizza that really tastes like lobster, the crustacean must be the last thing you taste as you're eating. First you get the crust, then the spices, and once you're done chewing those, there's still a big hunk of lobster inundating your mouth with a delicate but briny seafood flavor.
"I'm really into pushing the pizza envelope these days," Singh says. "I get to entertain and indulge myself on a daily basis whilst serving the community. It's a win win for everyone."