Garlic lovers are in for a treat this month at CHAYA Venice with the return of its 17th annual gastronomic “Garlic Fair” available through Sept. 30.
The “Garlic Fair” menu is available nightly Monday through Sunday for dinner from 6 p.m. to close in the dining room and bar-lounge area along with the regular dinner menu.
Chef de cuisine Yuichi Natori said the fair is truly a blast with excitement and anticipation from diners as the aroma of sautéed garlic makes the restaurant feel even more like home for its regulars and new guests.
Natori said most of the items are inspired by recent travels.
“Filiberto, our sous chef at CHAYA Venice, recently took a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, and brought back many delicious ideas,” Natori said. “My trips back home to Japan also inspire many new ideas and I love incorporating international flavors and ideas into our CHAYA cuisine.”
All of its produce comes from local farmers markets while the garlic is sourced from local vegetable markets nearby.
The Garlic Fair menu has an array of items.
Some items have quite a kick of garlic, like the Angus Flat Iron Steak, with 40-cloves roasted garlic, while others have just a perfect subtle hint of garlic, like the Heirloom tomato with wild arugula and garlic Boursin cheese.
Natori said his favorite dishes were the Kurobut Potstickers, the Sweet shrimp and garlic pickles ceviche, and the “Kurobuta” pork chop with cinnamon sesame puree with Spanish olive tapenade and garlic green risotto.
“I think I am most excited for guests to try the pork chop, although we are all very excited about this year’s menu,” he said.
As it is only a once a year tasting menu, Natori said customers really embrace the month-long event and ask about it often throughout the year.
“People seem to love their garlic and as soon as we put up the promotional materials the reservations start to come in,” he said.
“We always seem to have at least a few new faces in the restaurant, eager to try the much anticipated 40-clove steak or any of our other garlic dishes.”
The restaurant anticipates using about 120 pounds of garlic throughout the month.
Natori said he uses garlic as a main ingredient in many items on the restaurant’s regular menu, although the Garlic Fair is the one time of the year that he really focuses on garlic as a main ingredient to highlight its flavor profile.
He said the special garlic menu items generally don’t make it onto the regular menu as he enjoys the anticipation for many of the favorite dishes for the following year.
“When we initially started Garlic Fair, we really wanted to offer our guests a delicious way to boost their health and finish off the summer,” he said. “Garlic has a healthy dose of antioxidants, is great for your joints, increases absorption of necessary minerals such as iron and zinc, and even helps thin the blood and aid in the prevention of heart attacks and stroke. Who would have thought that something so delicious could also be so healthy?”
Walk-ins are welcome. Reservations are not required, but suggested.
110 Navy Street, Venice