When I inquire of his signature dish, chef David Turin is frank: “I get uncomfortable with questions having to do with choosing a favorite thing to cook or defining what my specialty is. The food I want to eat most often is created on the fly, as the ingredients are chosen in the moment based on availability,” he says.
This is the kind of forthrightness that I have come to expect from one of Portland’s most significant chefs, but he does in fact have a signature dish: the pepper-crusted rare tuna with Szechuan citrus dipping sauce and sesame soba noodles, which he claims he has served upwards of 35,000 times, “no exaggeration.” Though he still loves and eats this dish often, I ask him instead to tell me what he is most excited to prepare right now, and this is how we arrive at the Peppered Salmon Sashimi with Norwiss Frites and Apple Salad.
Turin insists that high-quality salmon is imperative here, as it will be lightly crusted in black pepper but still served sashimi-style. The piping-hot frites are dusted in powdered smoked sea salt, and hit with a few lashings of buerre monté combined with potent lobster stock, sherry, and lemon. Crispy Granny Smith and McIntosh apples and a micro basil salad tie the whole things together, and you are left with a multitude of flavors, textures, and temperatures that stimulate the entire palate.
As Turin puts it, “If one dish were a job interview that showed off all of my skills, this would be it.”
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