Wednesday, March 14, 2012

With Alvin and Friends in New Rochelle

With Alvin Clayton 

Chef Raymond Jackson, in talking about being a chef, says, “ It’s not that you choose the [restaurant] industry; it chooses you!”

In the kitchen of Alvin and Friends with Chef Raymond Jackson
And just one bite of his food will tell you: The industry has chosen well. Alvin and Friends’ head chef is a man whose passion is evident in every dish he prepares.

Last week my friend Karen and I visited, and enjoyed  a wonderful selection of appetizers: Crispy Cornmeal Fried Oysters, lightly drizzled with Buttermilk-Herb Aioli, Jerk Shrimp (what a wonderful layering of flavors—Karen called it simply beautiful...) with Ginger Sweet Potato Salad, and silky smooth Scallop Ceviche with Bajan Spiced Avocado and Plantain Chips. I will soon return to enjoy  Jerk-Rubbed Duck Breast, Calabaza Bread Pudding and Figs with a Port Wine Reduction, and more. The menu showcases Chef Raymond's talent of combining Caribbean and southern-infused flavors and textures, to yield delicately layered, satisfying combinations--delights for the eye and, of course, the palate. 

But it’s not just Chef Raymond who’s the charm of Alvin and Friends.

  Oysters--as described--with Alvin's luscious rum punch on the right...
Like his chef, owner Alvin Clayton boasts both an interesting history, and a plethora of talents. He’s a restaurateur, chef, and painter. In addition, he’s a former supermodel, for both Wilhelmina and Ford, who has spent time living in great cities like Paris, where he became influenced not only by the fascinating cuisine, but also by the magic of artist Henri Matisse. Clayton's artwork, colorful and inviting, beautifully dons the walls of his restaurant.

Lucky for us local folks that the Claytons are in New Rochelle! (And if you're not local, this place is definitely worth a trip to the Queen City of the Sound!) What we can most enjoy, is the fact that in addition to a seasonally-changing menu of perfectly-prepared Caribbean and southern dishes, a wonderfully welcoming staff, and a restaurant that is such a pleasure to be in and to behold, Alvin Clayton guides you through your Alvin and Friends experience as if it were his home.    

Both Clayton and Jackson make one thing very clear: Heart and soul are key ingredients for anyone who wants to be successful in the restaurant industry. Clearly, these two are models to emulate.

49 Lawton Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801
(914) 654-6549

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