WGBH's Henry Santoro interviews Jody Adams, Owner/Chef of Porto, Boston's Back Bay's hottest new restaurant, and its Chef de Cuisine, Jon Sanchez, during the latest edition of Henry In The Hub.
Henry Santoro: In the short time that it's been open, the Mediterranean seafood restaurant Porto has very quickly become the go-to place for the freshest and most flavorful fish in Boston. How do I know? Well, I've been there. Porto, located on Ring Road near Saks Fifth Ave. in Back Bay, is the latest creation of James Beard Award-winning chef Jody Adams and it's a pleasure to welcome Jody and her chef de cuisine, Jon Sanchez, to our WGBH studios. Welcome.
Jody Adams/Jon Sanchez: Thank you Henry, it's great to be here.
HS: It's great to have you here, Jody, as always. I have to say that this collaboration, Jody, between you and Jon in my eyes is one of the best partnerships that I've ever seen in a kitchen.
HS: The menu clearly reflects, Jody, your love of travel and food and it also lets Jon's creative talents go crazy.
JA: Absolutely, yes. I mean, it is...you see him in every dish, every decision about every dish came through his head and heart.
HS: So how did you find each other?
JA: Tinder? (Ha ha)
JS: You tried that one already.
HS: I mean, you swiped right?
JA: Did I? Ha. How did we find each other, Jon?
JS: You were advertising for the position.
JA: Yeah. Was it on... It was on one of the one of the sites. Yeah, I think it was like perfect timing because he is a rare talent to find. I mean, that's how I feel. There are lots of you know great opportunities in Boston.
HS: And I should say, Jody...you are very good at recognizing talent.
JA: I like to think so. You know, I think I've done pretty well. I mean, there's so many wonderful people who are out in the world now who came through my kitchens over the years.
HS: So many European ports of call are reflected in the menu. There's Spanish, there's Portuguese, there's Italian, there's Greek there's Morocco, just to name a few. Jon ...what is it about seafood that gets your creative juices flowing?
JS: Really, probably just the clean taste.
HS: And we should say, you're a Missouri guy, right?
JS: I am, I am.
HS: You can’t get more landlocked.
JS: No, not at all. Quite the opposite of what we have up here.
HS: Jody, let’s say that you and I are going on a date and we're going to go out….we met on Tinder. (ha ha) We’re going to Porto. What would you have Jon send to our table?
JA: I would start with the selection of oysters, and as large a selection as possible, because he chose these really cool, actually they're fish steamers to present those oysters on. Sort of an unusual presentation. We have six different oysters they change daily depending on what's available and reflect New England from all the way up in Maine and down here, so that I would start with that. And then the scallop crudo is spectacular. Very unusual since it has a chamomile brine, which if you...I think if you tasted it without knowing that, you wouldn't necessarily pick up on it. And then two different kinds of olives treated in two different ways. One is candied, the other is more savory.
HS: Oh, that sounds great. And Jon, what else would you send out?
JS: I would go straight for the raw fish preparations, a raw bass dish inspired from a trip Jody had in Italy where it was lemon, olive oil, and cracked black pepper with a little bit of sea salt on the fish.
HS: That's really all you need. Well, the restaurant is Porto, located on Ring Road right off Boylston Street in Back Bay in the shadow of Saks Fifth Ave. Jody Adams, Jon Sanchez, thank you so much for being with us here on Henry in The Hub.
JA/JS Thank you, Henry.