Chef Ryan Ratino’s solo debut is Bresca, a French “bistronomy” with an affinity for flair.
Talk to Chef Ryan Ratino, and he’ll tell you this year has been a roller coaster ride. Just a few months after Ripple closed in June, Ratino sprung back into action with a new avant-garde restaurant called Bresca (1906 14th St. NW, 202.518.7926, brescadc.com).
With his RAMMY award in tow, the chef is wellpositioned for a future that revolves around serving the four seasons, including hearty fall and winter dishes like foie gras cake pops and veal sweetbreads topped with black garlic, onion, red cabbage and chervil.
You went from Ripple to winning a RAMMY to opening your own restaurant. How does it feel? The closing of Ripple was definitely sad for me, but I believe it was the push I needed to materialize my dream of having my own restaurant. I think this pushed me to try and find something new— something of my own. Luckily, the stars aligned, and I was able to find an amazing place, in a booming neighborhood, and partnering with some of the greatest people in the industry to make this happen.
Your team includes Jose Arguelles from Ripple. Why did you bring him along? We’ve known each other for more than 10 years and have worked together in many kitchens, including Todd English’s BlueZoo in Orlando and Ripple. We share the same vision and goals, and that is something that is very important when you are building up your team. Jose is superb at commanding a kitchen. What I admire most about him is his unbelievable sense of humor even in the most stressful situations.
How do you stand out from the competition? We are not the first seasonal restaurant in the city, but I do think we are the first concept to embrace this groundbreaking wave of “bistronomy.” This movement began in Paris a few years ago and is now spreading throughout Europe and making its way to the U.S. One of bistronomy’s trademarks is that it’s more casual and experimental approach to cooking than traditional French cuisine, using responsibly sourced and seasonal ingredients.