Despite telling us he was putting up his sauce pans and leaving the country “for a while,” Chef Avner Samuel is back at the burners in the very place we last spoke with him.
“I’m Israeli -- a month and a half off is enough. If I stay away from the kitchen more than a few days, I start to go crazy,” said Samuel.
Chef Avner (or simply, Avner as he’s known amid the local fooderati’) and his wife Celeste are opening a new casual eatery named NOSH in the old Aurora space.
According to Samuel, NOSH is “completely different, with great food at a great price.”
NOSH is indeed larger (from ten tables to 23) and the food is American made with European techniques (of course) and an Asian twist.
Menu pricing is humble compared to Samuel’s last concept in the same digs off Oak Lawn Avenue. The same menu stands all day, meaning if a guest fixates on the seared diver scallops, they can order it for lunch of dinner.
Diners can nosh (pun intended) on crispy duck confit, a Kobe burger, espresso braised beef short ribs or roasted pork shoulder for less than $20.
NOSH is “completely different,” declared Samuel; adding that he has installed a TV at the new, full bar that will show a non-stop view into his kitchen.
Given his somewhat notorious reputation as a beast in the kitchen, his fantastic talent coupled with some much talked about outbursts toward both staff and guests, we had to ask if he was nervous about his self-imposed eye in the sky?
“Food is my comfort zone. I’m going to make the best food at the best price. This is my thirtieth restaurant, I have no need to be nervous!” said Samuel.
We wouldn’t expect anything less.