Sarah and Evan Rich: Favorite Food Spots + Chefs’ Night Off Pop-up Dinners

| August 25, 2011 | 0 Comments
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Evan and Sarah Rich with their baby, Van
Van, Evan and Sarah Rich. Photo: courtesy of Rich Family

Chefs Sarah and Evan Rich use their home kitchen to test out ideas for their pop-up Chefs’ Night Off dinners at Radius.

    With a dinner coming up on Monday, August 29, the menu is shaping up to be:

  • 1st course: red beets, goat cheese, almonds, arugula
  • 2nd course: squid, black olive vinaigrette, watermelon, crispy onions
  • 3rd course: pork shoulder, black garlic, red cabbage
  • 4th course: “peach cobbler”

Chefs’ Night Off is always priced at $60—excluding beverages, tax and gratuities.
Email: chefsnightoff@gmail.com to make your reservation and be sure to indicate the time you’d like to eat and the number in your party.

Chefs Night Off crew
Chefs’ Night Off kitchen team. Photo: courtesy Chefs’ Night Off

The two chefs have a young baby, Van Robert Rich, born in March of this year. Sarah was previously a sous chef at Michael Mina, and Evan was most recently chef de cuisine for Daniel Patterson at Coi. He worked before that as chef de cuisine for Michael Tusk at Quince. These chefs met nine years ago at Bouley in NYC. Sarah was Evan’s boss on the fish station. They dated for several years while working at various restaurants in New York, got married in late 2007 and moved to San Francisco in early 2008. Sarah Rich caught up with Bay Area Bites via email interview.

How did the pop-up dinners come about? What is it like working on this sort of dinner?
Evan and I were working on opening our own restaurant and we had something that fell through. One night Evan was hanging out with the former GM of Coi and he suggested the idea of doing pop-ups. We’ve both always loved the Radius space, and it’s a beautiful restaurant. Our friend Max does the pastries there, so we talked to him about it. He introduced us to the owners, and the next thing we knew, we were all set!

Where do you do the prep work?
Radius is conveniently closed Sunday and Monday, so we’re able to do all of the prep at the restaurant. The restaurant owners have been great to work with. Currently we have a schedule to do our pop-ups at Radius on the fourth Monday of every month, as we look to open a space of our own. We may also do a couple of other events with different concepts at other locations, more details soon!

How do you come up with menus for each event?
The structure of each dinner is a four-course menu with a few extra small courses included. We visit the various markets (the Marin Farmers’ Market is our favorite) to get an idea of what’s available and what tastes the best. Evan and I bounce ideas off of each other and then over the course of a week or two we’ll test dishes and recipes at home, making the dishes for dinner to clarify and perfect our ideas. We also like to run our menu ideas by the kitchen team so everyone is involved and they feel a sense of ownership.

Chefs Night Off July 11 Dinner - nasturtium namalaka, peach, blackberries and almond streusel
Chefs’ Night Off July 11 Dinner – Nasturtium Namalaka, Peach, Blackberries and Almond Streusel. Photo: courtesy Chefs’ Night Off

Where do you get your cooking ingredients?
Through our past jobs we’ve been able to develop strong relationships with the local farmers and purveyors. Our menus and cooking are influenced heavily by the great produce found at the local markets. We love to use Tomatero, Star Route, Full Belly and De Santis to name a few. It’s easy to get inspired by what they grow.

Where do you live and where are you from?
We live in the Presidio, Baker Beach Apartments. We moved here from the Mission after we had our baby a few months ago. We love it and it has the best views in the city and so many great places to hike around. Evan is from New York/New Jersey and I grew up in Louisiana and Texas.

What are your favorite off-night food & drink spots?
Outerlands is one of our favorites, and they have killer bread and butter. Everything on their small menu is delicious. Brett [Cooper] is doing a great job with the food and Dave [Muller] has fantastic cocktails.

Nojo, because we’ve spent time in Japan visiting and working. We love those flavors and techniques. Greg Dunmore’s food represents Japanese cooking well, and it’s a fun space.

15 Romolo, where we went a lot after long days of work at Coi. Burgers are great and so are the cocktails.

We don’t really go out for just drinks since I got pregnant and had a baby.

What are your favorite local joints?
Ragazza, where the pizza’s great and so is the service.
La Taqueria has the best tacos, and the carnitas doradas are ridiculously good.
The spicy crab is so good at PPQ.

Favorite date spots?
We can’t really get too fancy now with the baby. Cotogna’s great. Anything that Mike [Tusk] has on the menu will be perfect. Aziza is one of the best, and always goes above and beyond expectations. We always spend our anniversary at Manresa because it’s such a special and amazing place. We’ll have to find a sitter this year.

What is your favorite meal to have with friends and/or family?
Sarah makes a pretty delicious fried chicken. Whatever we can make that you can eat with your hands is always fun with friends. Nopa’s pork chop is a favorite meal, and Jai Yun is a great place to go with a big group of friends.

Guiltiest food pleasure?
Sarah: I can’t say no to a bag of potato chips.
Evan: Mt. Tam spread on toasted bread. I could eat the whole wheel.

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About the Author ()

Mary Ladd is a freelance writer and event professional based in her hometown of San Francisco. Her writing has been featured in SF Weekly, Tasting Table, the San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere. She has shuttled Anthony Bourdain around town and mastered the art of properly loading a catering van in a flash. Mary has eaten the world’s hottest burger and loves to cook and eat. Follow her at @mladdfood