BIG IRISH DUDE HEADS TO SAN DIEGO
Ciarán Duffy — he of the chrome dome and the live chef cam — has left Tristan in the Market and headed west for a job as executive chef at the Marriott Del Mar property just outside balmy San Diego. There he will work with Chef de Cuisine Jason Maitland at the award-winning Arterra and will oversee the banquet operations at the hotel. According to restaurant manager Amy Enking, the California fusion restaurant has won numerous awards since it opened five years ago and focuses on fresh, local fare with a menu that changes daily. Duffy says he's supremely lucky to have landed the job and departs Wednesday for his new town.
Over at Tristan, they've installed Duffy's longtime back-up Aaron Deal as chef. Tristan owners Anita and Jerry Zucker promise in a press release announcing Deal's promotion that "Tristan's guests will enjoy a contemporary American menu that continually evolves with the seasons and that reflects [Chef Deal's] commitment to sourcing quality local and sustainable ingredients. Along with Chef Deal's new dishes, he will continue to feature many of Tristan's anchor menu items." Charleston will miss Duffy's influence, as he was an avid participant in local culinary events and planned to instruct at the new Art Institute (AI). He says he'll hopefully be able to find a similar spot at the AI out in San Diego. We wish him the best and can only hope that he'll return in the future. —Stephanie Barna
DON'T BE FOOLED
Ruby Tuesday has repackaged and repositioned itself as "Simple Fresh American Dining." We stopped by for dinner after a press release arrived touting "a completely different look, reflective of the changing taste among the public. Memorabilia is a thing of the past replaced by original artwork. The Tiffany lamps are gone. The restaurants now have a more upscale, bistro feel."
It looks good. Really it does. The menu has a fresh and clean design, but the food is anything but — they've got the same fare as always: chicken slathered in cheese, potatoes topped with cheese, burgers covered in cheese. Speaking of cheese, the same old clotted bowl of broccoli cheese soup made an appearance. Actually, it wasn't the same old bowl, since it came in a square-shaped white dish (very modern), but the soup itself was salty, gelatinous, and wholly inedible, just like it's always been. Ruby Tuesday may be co-opting the fresh and simple trend for its marketing, but it's too bad they're not translating that philosophy into the food. —Stephanie Barna