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A Fine Dining Destination to Share

By Sarah R. Squire / Photography By Jayme Burrows | June 06, 2016
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One of the first things evident about Brasserie Communautaire, which opened recently in the Seabridge neighborhood of Channel Islands Harbor, is that the restaurant is true to its name: from the long communal tables in the center of the dining room, to the ingredients sourced from regional farms, this place values community. It is animated by the friendly, low-key manner of its owner, award-winning Chef James Chan, a Bay Area transplant and entrepreneur.

But don’t let the amiable atmosphere fool you: This is a fine-dining experience. Chan and Executive Chef Kurt Steeber bring sophisticated flavors and techniques to every dish, gracefully blending French cuisine and American classics so that even free-range fried chicken and mac and cheese have a subtlety to keep the diner intrigued.

“Kurt has brought modernist cuisine to bear on familiar foods,” says Chan. “Together we’ve brought classic brasserie cuisine to bear with modern American sensibilities.”

There are signs throughout the menu of Chan’s philosophy of “promoting discovery.” He’s building relationships with local farms, like Rio Gozo Farm in Ojai and Harry’s Berries in Oxnard, searching for truly special ingredients.

“Our goal is to make sure all our provisioning comes from within 50 miles, and the wine from 35 miles.” Some beer is local, too, including Poseidon Brewing Company in Ventura.

In the spirit of discovery, everything on the wine list is offered at a flat rate, so flavor becomes the only basis for the pairing decision. Each week Chan also picks a personal favorite beer to offer, off menu, as “James’s Beer.”

The backbone of the menu is daily prix fixe offering, Wednesday through Saturday, with summer entrees like a 72-hour sous-vide steak from Carpenter Cattle Company with Bordelaise, smashed potatoes and glazed baby root vegetables, and Roasted Hen with Sumac with Heirloom Tomato Panzanella and Toasted Garlic Vinaigrette.

An a la carte menu is also available, and continues to develop. With enticing happy hour specials, and a private room for parties and meetings, Brasserie Communautaire might just have something for the whole community.

—SRS

Brasserie Communautaire
4308 Tradewinds, Oxnard
805-985-5614;
BrasserieCommunautaire.com

Kurt Steeber and James Chan
Article from Edible Ojai & Ventura County at http://edibleventuracounty.ediblecommunities.com/eat/fine-dining-destination-share
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