When Comal was still in its germinal stage, we decided to purchase a wood grill and rotisserie. Our unit was hand built in Florence, Italy by Universo, one of only 3 such grills in the Bay Area. Of course in the months leading up to opening, there were many test dinners in which dishes were developed, but it wasn’t until the fire inspector signed off just days before our soft opening that I was able to fire up the grill and see what she could do. The first thing that was kissed by fire was a ribeye steak sample provided by our butcher. Just simply seasoned with salt and black pepper, we knew that we were on to something.
The grill not only is a cooking apparatus, but truly is a focal point of the kitchen, the hearth, the heart and soul of the restaurant. The intention of the “platos fuertes” portion of the menu is to bring the same sentiment from the kitchen to the table. Just as the kitchen is the soul of the home around which people congregate, the “platos fuertes” are large portions coming from the hearth that are intended for friends and family to gather at the table and share.
Grilled over a combination of local walnut and mesquite charcoal, our 22 oz bone-in ribeye steak is accompanied by rice, black beans, tortillas and salsas, as well as seasonal vegetables. Currently the steaks are served with Brussels sprouts and winter squash sautéed with chile pequin, lime and cilantro. I feel that the act of sharing food is one of the most intimate human connections that we make, and what better was to connect than over a “plato fuerte”.