Inspired by his younger days whipping up culinary creations with produce from his grandmother's garden, Square Bistro chef and owner Jaret Havanchak's love of bold, eclectic cuisine shines through in this stackable sensation ($12). He artistically layers vegetables, rice and tuna for a fun spin on an Asian favorite. "It's just like making a sushi roll or nigiri," he says. "There's multiple components that all come together as one."Sushi Rice: To make his own version of sushi rice, Havanchak blends rice vinegar and salt with orange and lemon. "Part of having sushi rice is it has to be vinegar-based," says Havanchak. "The addition of citrus is something that brings up a hint of freshness."
Cucumber: Havanchak uses a slice of fresh, chilled English cucumber as the base for the tuna tower. " With the tuna being the spicy part of the dish, you can consider the cucumber being the cooling effect," he says. "They complement each other."
Daikon Radish Sprout: Dont mistake this delicate sprout as a garnish. "It adds that little bit of fresh bite," he says. "It's just another form of having that radish taste but not something that's too overpowering."
Sriracha: A dollop of Sriracha adds a bold color to the plate but also brings a serious layer of flavor. "The cajun spice [from the tuna] is more of a medium heat," he explains. "We wanted to have one little extra kick to the dish."
Avocado: A piece of Hass avocado serves an artistic purpose. "We cut the avocado into small cubes so it fits right in the middle, and you can see the tuna around it," he says. "It's a visual thing."
Blackened Tuna: After cutting the fish into squares, Havanchak dusts it with a cajun seasoning and then lightly sears it in olive oil. the tuna is sliced and served rare. "That really, in my opinion, the only way you should eat tuna," he says.
Sesame Sauce: You won't find your usual triad of wasabi, ginger and soy sauce here — at least, not as we know it. Havanchak blends sesame oil, wasabi, miso and ginger for his own sauce. "I didn't want to just serve it with a glob of wasabi," he says.
WHEN YOU GO: 205 Main St., Chardon, 440-279-0101, square-bistro.com