Chef Katsuji Tanabe – the renowned chef who captured television audiences when he starred on Bravo TV’s hit competition series Top Chef Boston, Top Chef Mexico, and Top Chef Charleston, and whose restaurants have stretched from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, to Chicago and New York City – announced his new Raleigh, North Carolina, restaurant High Horse opening November 19. High Horse is located at 208 Wolfe Street in historic City Market in downtown Raleigh. It will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 pm until 11pm (and until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays, serving drinks and an abbreviated menu). In 2020, High Horse will open for Sunday brunch.
Chef Katsuji Tanabe relocated to Raleigh to open High Horse – a restaurant to celebrate his “American Dream.”
“The South has such a rich food culture and history; I really fell in love with it during Top Chef Charleston,” says Tanabe. “I’ve found a home in the South where I can provide the best possible life for my family, and do what I love in a place that really cares about their food culture.”
At High Horse, Tanabe brings his signature playful style and wildly unique combination of Mexican, Japanese and American flavors to life – influences from his childhood in Mexico City with parents of both Mexican and Japanese descent, two decades in restaurants in major cultural cities across the US, his experience competing on “Top Chef,” as well as his new home in the American South.
High Horse – a play on words – references the original stables which once occupied the City Market area, and serves as an invitation for diners to leave their pretentions behind and enjoy the “fun dining” experience for which Tanabe is so well known.
“When you visit High Horse, we want to entertain you in every way – from the live fire in our open kitchen to the visually exciting cocktails and candy-filled cakes. Our entire menu is designed to share, and to be a really fun, engaging and affordable way for guests to dine together,” says Tanabe, whose signature social media hashtag is, “#itookarisk.”
This festive restaurant and bar features two large wood-fired grills visible from the oval-shaped bar and dining room, in addition to an indoor private event space.
Fans will discover variations of dishes from throughout Tanabe’s life and career – including his grandmother’s cornbread – also offered at his Chicago restaurant, Barrio. This close guarded family recipe also serves as Tanabe’s bread breaking with his new community; a percentage of sales from all cornbread sold will benefit downtown Raleigh’s pay-what-you-can café, A Place at the Table.
The majority of the menu offers dishes original to High Horse, which will be finished on the roaring wood-fired grills, including large format dishes like Spare Ribs in Tamarind Vinegar Sauce, charred Flat Iron Steak with burnt onion relish, and Skuna Bay Salmon with roasted peppers and chilies.
To complement, there is an adventurous selection of smaller and lighter dishes to share which have also been kissed by the flames and Tanabe’s global influences – charred Shishito Peppers with ponzu, Cauliflower with labneh, preserved lemon, burnt honey, chilies and mint, Oyster Mushrooms with black garlic confit and roasted Candy Cane Beets with marcona almond brittle, queso fresco and sherry vinaigrette.
Tanabe’s fondness for local Southern ingredients is as evident as his original take on them – as seen in the roasted Oysters with Country Ham Aioli and Lime, NC Shrimp marinated in Togarashi, Okra with Bottarga and NC Country Ham Tasting.
Like Tanabe’s bold cuisine, High Horse’s cocktails and desserts will also be instantly memorable. Vibrantly colored cocktails, including a keg Margarita, Cheerwine Old Fashioned and “Green Tea” ice shots draw inspiration from Tanabe’s heritage as well as his newfound home in North Carolina.
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