Julep, the highly anticipated new bar from Clumsy Butcher beverage director Alba Huerta, is starting to take shape. Although Huerta estimates the bar on Washington Avenue is still four to six weeks away from opening, Julep has hired former Revival Market/The Pass & Provisions chef Adam Garcia to run the kitchen.
"It happened pretty fast," Garcia tells CultureMap. "I was talking to (Underbelly chef/owner) Chris (Shepherd) one day. He wanted to reintroduce me to Alba . . . We had a meeting. They told me about their vision for a bar with a culinary aspect."
In keeping with Julep's mission of paying tribute to the South's cocktail history, the menu will consist entirely of cold seafood dishes. Huerta explains that the decision stems from the way that seafood and cocktails spread throughout the South as ice became more common. Given the historic connection, "it became a very organic match for the food program at Julep," Huerta says. "The intent is for it to be a very romantic way of serving seafood."
For Garcia, cooking seafood gives him the chance to reconnect with his "first love" in the world of food. "Seafood has been a passion of mine for 15 years," he says.
"The intent is for it to be a very romantic way of serving seafood."
A recent, two week long trip to the West Coast helped remind him of his love for simple preparations, which he's looking forward to exploring at Julep. Keeping it simple will be to his benefit, as Garcia is the only chef in the kitchen. Huerta notes that both Anvil and The Pastry War also only utilize one person for the food at each bar.
Garcia will work with Chris Shepherd and the team at Underbelly to craft the menu. "I'm looking forward to learning from him," Garcia says.
Huerta thinks Julep is six to eight weeks from opening. "The last two months have really gone by fast. We’re getting down to textures and walls. It seems to be moving along just fine."
As for landing the highly regarded up and coming chef for her bar?
"He's great, man," Huerta says. "Just great."