Bistec Brasserie opened this week in the Taste Test Restaurant & Bar for a long term pop up. Here's an interview we did with chef and aspiring restaurateur Peter Bova.
Q: What inspired you to go for the European Brasserie restaurant theme? Have you gone to Europe before and experienced the rich food culture? Maybe this inspired you to go the direction of your restaurant
A: The key point of choosing both the "European brasserie" and the name "Bistec" was honestly about flexibility and fluidity. A modern brasserie can serve dishes inspired by any country and serve alcohol in any variety. The idea of serving Moules frite comes from the fact that I lived a block from Monk's Cafe in Downtown Philadelphia. I fell in love with the concept and wanted to create my own version here in York.
Q: Is there any significance in the name Bistec?
A: Bistec is the french word for steak and specifically, the choicest cut of a steak. Being a romance language, derivations of this word exist in spanish, italian, english and other languages. It is not the same as "du boeuf" which is the name for lower quality cuts.(stew beef, brisket, chuck ect)The key to understanding the name "Bistec" is to mispronounce it on purpose.
"Bi- steak" Big steak, bistro steak, beefsteak
"Bye-steak" Buy a steak, buy two steaks
"Biz- tech" A lot of this business is technology driven.
Q: What's your favorite European style dish?
A: Duck confit: either served in a cassoulet to warm my bones or whipped into a rillette and served on toast. Makes a great salad or soup. Keeps for up to 4 months and just gets better with age...
Q: Who/what is instrumental to your success?
A: All the chefs I've worked with and learned from: Chef Angelo from Smallman Street Deli in 2009, Chef Lenny from Lot 17 in 2010, Chef Danielle Cain and Chef David Johns from Soba in 2011, Chef Joe Hornbeck from The Curious Grape in 2012, Chef Mike Solomonov from Zahav in 2013, Chef Yehuda Sichel from Abe Fisher in 2014, Chef Todd Pulsinelli from Restaurant August in 2015 and Chef James Ried from Chais Delachaise in 2016. Also Chef Caroline Peterson.
Q: What makes a restaurant successful with its daily operations? (I've cooked for 3 years on the line and know things can get strenuous) So, what's the key to a good kitchen staff?
A: Unconditional Love. For the staff, for the ingredients, for the equipment, for every customer, for myself.
Q: Finally, why are you choosing York to run your business and do you wish to open a restaurant here after the 3 month run? Could it revitalize downtown?
A: I did not choose York. York is my home. I will succeed but not because I'm the best chef or the most innovative entrepreneur. I will succeed because of the people who believe in me and love me and want the best for me. I am passionate about my family and friends, the downtown community, the county of York and the East Coast. I wish to offer a real value; an honest, open hospitality that modestly offers and over-delivers.