|Garces Group sales director Judy Moore, Jose Garces, culinary director Michael Fiorello|
Zagat: Will you really be personally cooking at Volver?
Jose Garces: Absolutely. Volver means “to return,” and I’m really excited to get behind the line. This is something I’ve been working towards for years, to cook exactly the food I want to cook, and be creative.
Zagat: How often will you be there, since you do have 15 other restaurants?
JG: 10 nights per month, October through May. Guests will buy tickets in advance so they’ll be able to tell if it’s a night I’m there or not.
Zagat: So... Volver will open this October?
Zagat: And who will be cooking when you aren’t around?
JG: I’m bringing Natalie Maronski over to the Kimmel Center from Chifa. Natalie is fantastic.
Zagat: Will there be one seating per evening?
JG: Actually, we’re going to do two separate evening meals. The way it’s laid out, the first room is a caviar and champagne bar. Very dark and sultry decor. Then there’s the main dining room, a show kitchen with 16 seats. We’ll do an early, pre-theater service there, for the orchestra crowd. Then, once each night, we’ll do the main dinner, the real Volver experience up close with the chef.
Zagat: We hear there are more windows coming to the Spruce Street side of the Kimmel, where the restaurant will be.
JG: Yes, we’re doing a lot of renovations where the gift shop used to be. There are these window that arc out over the street - it’s an architectural element of the design. It’s going to look great. There have also been upgrades and changes on the Kimmel Center roof garden, and we’re doing a lot of catering up there.
Zagat: You’re a busy guy. What else is new?
JG: We just launched Yuboka, a noodle bar at Revel in Atlantic City.
Zagat: What does Yuboka mean, and what will guests find there?
JG: It’s a made-up word, actually. We knew we were doing a noodle bar, and we came up with a lot of great names, but all of them were taken or trademarked. We thought “Yuboka” captured the Asian-Latin fusion idea. The food there is mostly Chinese-inspired, noodles, dumplings, dim sum. It’s a quick stop for the guests, but that cusine actually takes a lot of effort to prepare well.
Zagat: You have your hands full! How do you keep up with all these different menus?
JG: Last year we formed a small culinary brain trust - me, Garces Group culinary director Michael Fiorello, a couple of my best chefs - and we’ve been brainstorming and testing out new items for all the restaurants. We’re building out a test kitchen for this, in the Cira Centre, below JG Domestic. It’s going great.