Beautifully Bohemian

Raise the Roof for this Modern Take on French Bistro Cuisine

WRITTEN BY: MICHELLE SLIEFF | PHOTOGRAPHED BY: PATRICK MARTIN 

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Imagine the comforts of dining at home without the mess to clean up afterwards. Throw in a couple waitstaff and a private chef, and it lands you at Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap. Executive Chef Katherine Humphus dishes up comfort to her guests one plate at a time, no matter what your dietary concerns are. They say the way to a person’s heart is through his or her stomach. Bo-Beau is the new neighborhood hangout, no matter what occasion. Dine in for a romantic evening on the first floor of this two-story restaurant or get flighty with friends on their second-story, open-air beer garden. This traditional French bistro offers modern twists throughout to keep the concept contemporary. This little gem, located in Downtown Long Beach, is new to the LA scene and is kicking things up with fun menu items like beet burgers.

Do you ever find yourself sitting in a restaurant, chewing on the most- decadent bite of food, and think to yourself, “How did they make this?” We met up with Chef Kat at Bo-Beau where she deconstructed one of their popular dishes, the Chicken Fricassee, to the point where we felt like we could even go home and try to make it for ourselves! The Chicken Fricassee is an airline cut chicken that is pan seared and slow braised, served with a creamy sauce that’s prepared with the chicken resting in the pan for even more infused flavors. It’s paired with crunchy broccolini from LA Specialty Produce, probably the best produce company ever, and the most amazing tarragon and cayenne dumplings that made me feel like I was floating on air with each bite.

Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap is the third location of the Bo-Beau French bistro concept. What’s Bo-Beau you ask? Essentially, it’s a made-up word, but it stems from the terms “beautiful” and “bohemian.” You are free to interpret it as you like, but, thanks to Chef Kat, it has also come to mean a place where family can come together and enjoy large portions of amazing food that makes you feel like every day should be a cheat day. Bo-Beau started in San Diego’s Ocean Beach, with a second location in La Mesa. Now it’s come to LA County in the LBC. Chef Kat might be new to Long Beach, but the restaurant concept is tried and true. Welcome her with open arms, as if she is family.

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INTERVIEW WITH | KATHERINE HUMPHUS,  Executive Chef at Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap

Q: Congrats on your new restaurant! Can you talk about the concept?

Katherine Humphus: Bo-Beau Kitchen is a French bistro, and there’re three versions of that. The location in San Diego is very homey and quaint in Ocean Beach. It has a farmhouse, cottage feel to it. The La Mesa location, which is Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden, has a huge outdoor patio with a kid’s play area. It’s very family-oriented. This location, Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap, offers two different dining experiences, one downstairs that is more of an intimate romantic dining experience, and one upstairs that is more of an open-space beer garden. We offer 50 beers on tap.

Q: Would you say that all three of the locations embody that “French bistro” concept even though they are different?

KH: Totally! All three locations have similar menu items and are almost identical with the exception of about four items. All three locations provide a casual French bistro dining experience with a modern twist.

Q: Favorite tool in the kitchen?

KH: I love a rubber spatula. I was going to culinary school in Paris, and I found this lime green spatula and it had a metal hollow handle. I found it at the Monoprix, which is the Target of Paris, and I loved it. It was my thing—everyone knew it was mine in class. It scraped the bowl well which is what I look for in a spatula. It was flexible when it needed to be and firm when it needed to be, and so it was the perfect rubber spatula. Fast forward to me working at WD-50 in New York and my rubber spatula, after so much use, had started to break. It had cracked. One day I was scraping out a blender, and Wylie Dufresne walked by and saw that it was starting to crack. He thought I had blended the spatula in the blender with the sauce, and I explained to him that it had just had a rough life and was old. He decided to throw it away, and my heart sank. It was like my blankie. It had some serious memories attached to it. I forgave him for it. It was time.

Q: What’s your favorite toy in the kitchen?

KH: We have a Wood Stone pizza oven which is pretty cool. I went to this training course, which I didn’t think I really needed because I had been using one at one of our other restaurant locations for fours years, but it was in Washington, and I was excited for a free trip. We get there for this all-day training seminar at this beautiful open test kitchen with food everywhere, and this guy Frank starts talking to us for about an hour with weird metaphors about purple alligators. I’m starting to get cranky, so I interrupt Frank and ask him if we are going to cook today. He starts cooking immediately and puts out 50 different dishes of food out of a pizza oven in about an hour. It was the most incredible thing! He made Dutch babies, chocolate souffle, omelets…you can do anything in that oven, and everyone that attended the training was blown away. It was pretty much the coolest day of my life. Frank’s the man! Ever since that training, I have a new appreciation for the Wood Stone pizza oven.

Q: What inspires you when you’re conceptualizing new menu items?

KH: I like pictures a lot, so if I flip through a cookbook and I see a photo I like, I’ll decide I want to make that. I might not even read the recipe; I will just go off of the picture. We have a Shredded Beet Patty Melt on the menu, and I was flipping through this Persian cookbook and saw this beet burger that looked so pretty and I felt inspired to create something for our menu. It’s hard for me to explain what inspires me. When I worked at WD-50, I asked someone how they come up with stuff and how they pair. I didn’t get it. He told me he had a chart in his head that is sort of like a grid. The first grid is protein, starch, vegetables and sauce. Inside that grid is another grid: texture, color, blah blah blah. Inside that grid is salty, sweet, umami, bitter and savory. He broke it down for me, and it stuck! I draw out grids for a menu special and create dishes from that. It’s a tool I use when training my chefs.

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Q: What does Bo-Beau mean?

KH: It’s a made up name. It’s bohemian, beautiful and social dining experience. To me, Bo-Beau means a neighborhood dining space. It’s for people who want to celebrate their cousin’s birthday; that’s what it is to me. You know your favorite bartender is going to be there, and they’re going to chat you up. We have a lot of community dining areas as well.

Q: What style of cuisine can guests expect when they dine?

KH: Traditional French bistro cuisine with a modern twist.

Q: What dish have you prepared for us today? And is there a story behind it?

KH: It is the Chicken Fricassee, which means it is cooked in an oven, cut into pieces and braised. What we do is we have an eight ounce airline chicken breast, and we sear it, skin side down, then flip it over and add chicken stock and champagne, and of course butter! Then we put the whole skillet into the oven and let it braise for 20 minutes. After you pull it out you make a pan sauce with the chicken still in the liquid. You add cream and whole grain mustard and reduce it till it’s thick and so delicious you can’t stand it. We serve it with Broccolini and Tarragon Dumplings. The dumplings are made out of the same dough that you would use to make eclairs. It has parmesan cheese with a little bit of cayenne and tarragon. They’re airy and light and not your traditional dumpling. It’s one of the few items that has been on the original menu since we opened. I always recommend it for first timers.

Q: Why Long Beach?

KH: We’ve been looking at Long Beach for close to eight years. The Cohn Restaurant Group originally wanted to do a strip club steak place, which is a grill-your-own- steak concept, but the Bo-Beau concept was doing well in San Diego, so we decided to bring it here. They saw Long Beach as an opportunity to bring something new to its culinary scene.

Q: We like to do something we call Native Knowledge. What piece of information could you provide to our readers that they might not already know about this place?

KH: You have to try the Crispy Brussels Sprouts, duh! Also, some people might look at our menu and not see a lot of vegetarian or vegan options but that doesn’t mean we can’t make something for you. Just say you like X, Y and Z, make me something, and we will do it. Another suggestion would be to come with six people; it’s a magic number, and that way you can try a bunch of stuff and not get full. Our portions are huge so if you come with a lot of people you can try different things.

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CHICKEN FRICASSEE

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast (skin on)
1⁄2 cup champagne

1⁄2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • „  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • „  Heat a stainless steel pan on medium to high heat with olive oil.
  • „  Season chicken with salt and pepper and place skin side down on a hot skillet.
  • „  Once skin is crispy, and chicken is easy to lift up, flip over in the pan (skin side up).
  • „  Add chicken stock, butter, champagne and place in oven at 375 degrees.
  • „  Cook for about 20 minutes or until fully cooked.
  • „  Once chicken is cooked, place the pan on the stovetop and add whole grain mustard and cream.
  • „  Reduce until sauce is thick (about five minutes).
  • „  Eat and enjoy! 

Virtual tour by: Andrew Jorgensen | RoomRotator.com

BO-BEAU KITCHEN + ROOF TAP
144 Pine Ave
Long Beach, CA 90802
562.983.0056 www.cohnrestaurants.com/bobeaukitchenrooftap 

 

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