At Brooklyn’s Clover Hill, creativity is to be expected, especially with a chef like Charlie Mitchell. Mitchell, who honed his skills working at some of NYC’s top restaurants, delivers a seafood-heavy tasting menu, with no dish exemplifying his meticulous attitude more than a spring roll-inspired fluke crudo.
Preparing the fluke is a two-day process. Mitchell says it’s imperative to start prepping the fluke early because it needs to cure for 24 hours. “We take the fluke, scale it, clean it, and then we cure it in salt kombu. Then the next day we’re able to come in, pound it out flat.”
“Every day we bring in the fluke so we’re always a day ahead,” says Mitchell. “So, even though we’re closed Monday, someone comes in to process it so it can be ready for a Tuesday-night service.”
Once the 24-hour cure is up, the fluke’s texture becomes “tacky,” as Mitchell describes. He then puts them into a tortilla presser to make them thin enough to be ready for the spring rolls. “We want them to be very thin, but we don’t want them to disintegrate on us.”
Another chef cuts all the vegetables and vacuum-packs them with lime juice to infuse flavor. “Veg is cut measured to an inch and a half so that all the rolls are pretty consistent,” says Mitchell. “[The chef then] takes each portion of fluke essentially and tries to get as many rolls as we can out of one piece.”
Mitchell says they can usually get around two or three rolls from one piece of the flattened fluke. Rolling the fluke is labor intensive; it takes about one or two hours per day to roll all the fluke, and that’s on the low end. But once the last fluke is complete, the rest of the day is a breeze.
“Now the rest of the day will fly, and we’ll have a good service,” says Mitchell. “I knew [the dish would] be a lot of work but, you know, if you wanted to get something that delicate and that precise, then it just takes a lot of time.”
Watch the full video to see how Mitchell and his team prepare other dishes like king crab tartlet, farro porridge, and more.