46th Street, NYC (Restaurant Row)
Nestled among the trendy cafes and bistros of this famous culinary strip is a relative newcomer, and a rebel. This has been the home of Xtreme Fusion for the past four years. You can tell from across the street, this is not your average specialty restaurant. The ‘Daily Specials’ blackboard propped up near the curb outside the entrance, reads like a traditional gourmet’s worst nightmare:
- Lutefisk Enchilada Supreme
- Haggis-Mex Deep Dish Pizza
- Trout Cakes with Real Vermont Maple Syrup and Fresh Garlic
This decidedly different culinary excursion is the brainchild of Head Chef and CEO Barry “Choppers” Gaumont. He started his dream six years ago, originally serving his delectables from a condemned food truck in Harlem before moving to his present, more prestigious location. His restaurant concept is now branching out with chain locations in Upstate New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. More locations will be opening soon.
Mr. Gaumont has a very defined, if unique, vision of what constitutes Fusion Cuisine. He has little regard for the offerings of his neighbors.
“I’ll tell ya, walk into any of these joints along this street, and you’ll find the same damn thing. Over-educated wannabe Ermerils who actually believe they’re edgy, but they’re still glued to Momma’s Betty Crocker cookbook. Gawd-damn short-order slop cooks dribbling sriracha sauce on a gawd-damned taco and calling it “fusion cuisine”. These idiots just really yank my chain, yanno? Fusion means being out on the edge, always seeing how far you can push the envelope. None of these French dips got a clue. Only reason any of ’em wear a chef’s cap is to hide their pointy little heads. Ain’t one of them bright enough to clean up a puke spill at a McDonalds. And you can quote me on that!”
The menu at Xtreme Fusion is constantly changing, with new dishes replacing previous standards at a frenetic pace as Gaumont’s latest creations are rushed from kitchen to table. “A lot of these so-called chefs pat themselves on the back for ‘thinkin’ outside the box’. That ain’t nothing. Here we take the whole damn box and throw it in the damn fire and cook over it.”
Not all of his creations have been a success. “Yeah well, the Carne-Vegan concept combo has been a real bitch of a struggle to introduce. Like anything worthwhile, it just needs some tweaking. And I gotta do a better job educating our clientèle. It’s freaking amazing how hard it can be, to break traditional views on raw pork.”