Chef Randy Zweiban
At Nacional 27, Excecutive Chef/Partner Rady Zweiban has crafted a cuisine that is grounded in classical method and technique and inspired by the flavors and ingredients of Central and South America and the Latin islands of the Caribbean.
Born in Queens, New York, Zweiban learned the restaurant world from a customer’s perspective. Working as a diamond-setter, pursuing a dream of being a drummer in a rock band, Randy explored New York’s tremendous restaurant scene with the passion and curiosity of a true gourmand. As he tasted through the cuisines of the world, available as only in Manhattan, he soon realized his passion was in the culinary field.
Zweiban enrolled in Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now called The Institute of Culinary Education) in the mid- 1980’s. After graduating, he opened a boutique catering business in Manhattan, creating food for exclusive gallery openings, private parties and other prominent events.
In 1989, Zweiban headed south to Miami, where he could open a catering company with a similar clientele in a warmer clime. He then went to work with celebrated chef Norman Van Aken, first at mano and then at Norman’s, where is was chef de cuisine a partner. Over the seven and a half-year period that the two collaborated, Zweiban immersed himself in the vibrant culture and cooking of Miami’s Latino community while continuing to work with Van Aken’s New World Cuisine. He also, during this period, took a one- year hiatus from Miami to work as Executive Chef at The Gate, a popular Los Angeles supper club.
In the summer of 1998, Richard Melman and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE) brought Zweiban to Chicago to unveil Chicago’s first nuevo Latino concept, Nacional 27. At Nacional 27, Zweiban focuses on foods from 27 countries of Latin America in the southern hemisphere.
Nacional 27 has received
numerous accolades, including
being named “Best New
by Chicago magazi
ne, and has been featured
Appetit, Gourmet, Newsweek,
Nacional 27 is located at 325 West Huron. Dinner reservations can be made by calling 312.664.2727 or on the Internet at www.opentable.com.
Nacional 27 is a Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE) restaurant. Based in Chicago, LEYE is one of the nation's leading independent restaurant groups, owning, managing or licensing more than 50 establishments in Illinois, Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada and Japan.
The establishments range from the casual style and cuisine of the original restaurant, R.J. Grunts, to the formal elegance of the company’s AAA five- diamond Everest.
Copyright Randy Zweiban
For the Adobado:
3.5 oz Cleaned Fresh Garlic
10 each Chile Anchos
1oz. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
¼ oz Fresh Ground Cumin
2 oz. Kosher Salt
¾ oz. Oregano
2 Cups Orange Juice
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Annatto Oil
Stem and seed the Anchos and soak in hot water for 10 minutes to re-hydrate.
Drain the Chiles and combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until fairly smooth.
For the Shrimp:
16 pieces 16-20 count
Peel the shrimp leaving the tails on and devain them as well.
Marinate with a ¼ Cup of the Adobado for at least 2 hours.
For the Slaw:
1 Cup Julienned
1 Cup Julienned Jicama
2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
½ teaspoon Fresh Orange Juice
¼ teaspoon Sherry Vinegar
½ teaspoon Chopped Cilantro
In a small bowl mix together the Sour Cream, OJ, Sherry Vinegar and Cilantro.
Season the dressing with Salt and Pepper.
Toss with the Carrots and Jicama and chill.
For the Pineapple-Vanilla Salsa:
½ each Jet Fresh Pineapple
½ each Fresh Vanilla Bean
½ teaspoon Turmeric
Skin and Core the Pineapple and cut into Chunks to place in a blender.
Split the Vanilla Bean and Scrape.
Add the scrapings to the blender with the turmeric.
Blend until smooth.
Cook the Shrimp on a grill
until just done.
Place some of the Slaw in the center of the plate and surround with 4 of the Shrimp.
Drizzle with more of the Adobado and some of the Pineapple-Vanilla Salsa.