There’s a lot of history in Bar Cento: The West 25th Street spot turned Jonathon Sawyer into a household name and has a knack for promoting chefs — such as Adam Lambert — from within. Chardon native Schrenk is the first executive chef hired from outside. He’s already melding his creativity with its Italian menu for new dishes such as Parmesan gnocchi topped with candied bacon and a cracked egg.
One day Schrenk glanced at a ball of focaccia dough and took a chance. He cut it into 1 1/2-inch balls, fried and tossed them into crushed chocolate, powdered sugar and cinnamon to create focaccia doughnuts. “Italian cuisine is very classic,” he says. “There’s tons of room to modify it and come up with really exciting dishes.”
As chef de cuisine at Table 45, he trained others on the Indian tandoori oven. That smoky style seeps onto Bar Cento’s menu with a romaine grilled Caesar salad. “It only needs to be on there for 45 seconds,” he says. “But when you bite into the romaine, you really taste the smoke flavor coming off the grill.”
West Side Wanderer
Spot Schrenk shopping at the West Side Market every Wednesday for fresh finds to build a special for Thursday’s menu. “Having the West Side Market right across the street is a gift,” he says. “I like coming up with ideas, cooking the food and then seeing people eat, enjoy it and be happy. It’s instant gratification.”