Things you should know about the new Custom House
1. Effective immediately, the new name is Custom House Tavern, and it has a new logo:
The change has been in the works for a while now. "It's an idea that's been ruminating in my head for the last couple years," says owner Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky. The idea was to do something a little more like New York's Gramercy Tavern—something a little more casual, a little more affordable and a little heartier.
Shawn McClain is not involved. You probably knew that already, but it's worth repeating. "[Shawn] has a different sense of what he wants to accomplish as a chef," Kim-Drohomyrecky says. "So we started philosophically parting ways there."
The new chef, Aaron Deal, was found as a result of a nationwide search, the three finalists of which coincidentally all came from the Carolinas. (Deal is from Charleston, SC).
It's the only place we've heard of so far that's using winter ramps (which are essentially ramp bulbs). Find them in the pork cheeks over black-pepper-parpadelle.
Deal is cognizant of the overporkification of America. "I'm a big fan of pork," he says. "But you know what? I'm to a point where it's like: There are other things. I think it's time to move on and search out other things. And that was my motivation behind doing an all-fish charcuterie program."
A contender for the restaurant's new signature dish: duck rice. The rice, prepared with duck stock, is topped with confit of duck leg, foie gras mousse and toasted hazelnuts.
The new pastry chef is Bryce Caron. He was formerly the pastry sous chef at Blackbird.
The wine program has gone more global, less expensive, more rustic and more by-the-glass. "I'm going out of my way to find the best values...that I can right now," says Kim-Drohomyrecky. "Currently my staff is giving me some grief, like 'It's the freakin' U.N. of wine over here.'"
The restaurant makes these changes official on Feburary 1. But you can get a pretty good feeling of the new menu if you head there now.