From Mark Raab, Owner/Chef/Artist
Braise 116 offers a unique fusion of creativity that’s a nod to my collaborative love for food and art, and fulfills my ultimate goal of offering a dining experience that’s more about evolution than revolution. Our menu offers skillfully-prepared, artfully-crafted, small-plate dishes featuring impeccable presentation, all designed to bring people together, open the mind to new tastes, and provide an unforgettable experience.
Braise is a slight play on words. My background is in fine art with a focus on sculpture, mostly metal work, which required a lot of brazing. These days, I do a lot of braising, yet my approach and creative focus are innately similar. What I find the most exciting is when traditional formalism takes a turn on the contemporary dance floor to produce results that are somehow both surprising and comforting at the same time. Traditional methods and heirloom ingredients juxtaposed against the ever-evolving science of food technology is what makes today’s commercial kitchens contemporary. What could be more old fashioned than farm to fork? Yet this “novel” approach has become almost cliché, even kitschy, and we love it more and more.
At Braise 116, we strongly believe that procuring the freshest ingredients and humanely, responsibly-raised meats results in the most indulgent and delicious food. Animals that are pasture-raised, allowed to roam freely and to feed on their natural diet; animals naturally-raised, void of growth hormones and antibiotics, are not only better for the environment and ethically treated, but taste better.
We also believe that small plates are the best vehicle, the best palate, to bring this dining experience to you. Hors d’oeuvres, tapas, appetizers, and side dishes are masterpieces in and of themselves, and fit seamlessly into today’s modern culture of American cuisine. At Braise 116, we prepare works of art that fully maximize every ingredient on the plate, where each component has a place and a purpose, to create a truly memorable experience that nurtures the body and spirit.
At the very heart of it, food is part of what defines us as a culture. It’s central to every holiday. It’s what brings family and friends together. It’s the backdrop of every party. As such, every meal should be a feast. A memorable experience. A celebration.
America is still the great melting pot and we are so fortunate to have such a wealth of cultures to draw from. American food is international; it’s dim sum, sushi, pizza, hummus, shepherd’s pie. The most iconic of American fare is, after all, named for a city in Germany.
The challenge isn’t that we are limited to a cuisine, but rather how to make a concise and cohesive menu with such an abundance of resources. A big part of that creative process is editing. It’s a true art form. And sometimes, less is more.