If you’ve seen caviar appearing on more local menus, you can thank WorldClass. Their motto is to “Discover Hidden Treasures” all over the world and share “the rare, the unique, the intriguing, the finest quality” with chefs and restaurateurs. As the founder is a Phoenix resident, we’re among the first in the country to experience these sought-after ingredients. One such luxurious delicacy is caviar from Polanco, a sustainable fish farm in Uruguay.
Caviar traditionally is sourced from sturgeon and the texture, flavor, color, and size depends on the species, time of harvest, and salt cure. Previously harvesting from wild-caught fish, the industry has moved to high-quality farms to prevent aggressive over-fishing while also improving consistency and accessibility. These farms now produce the finest caviar, and Uruguay has emerged as one of the world’s premier sources.
Polanco is located in Central Uruguay on the banks of the Rio Negro (Black River) and its moniker is an homage to the small fishing town of San Gregorio de Polanco. Raised in the river’s fresh, clean waters, their sturgeons breed in conditions similar to their native Caspian sea and Russian lakes. The feed is specially prepared on-farm by Estuario del Plata, and the eggs are harvested during the austral winter for peak ripeness and flavor before being salt-cured to produce this exquisite buttery, creamy, nutty indulgence.
Here are how some of Arizona’s best chefs are using WorldClass caviar.
Brent Menke of The Mick Brasserie
“The caviar is top-notch,” says chef-owner Brent Menke. “It’s such high quality, and you can see it in the size of the pearls and the firmness. When you press the caviar against the roof of your mouth, they should pop nicely with the flavor of the sea, and the Polanco caviar does exactly that.”
The Mick Brasserie is a modern French brasserie with inspiration drawn by Menke’s world travels as a former executive chef on luxury yachts. He uses WorldClass caviar as a garnish for wonderful dishes such as his oysters with green apple mignonette created for a recent Charles Krug wine dinner. You’ll also find it on the daily menu as a classic Caviar Service, served with the traditional accoutrements of diced shallot, chopped hard-boiled egg, crème fraîche, and capers.
The Mick Brasserie serves dinner Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays). It is located at 9719 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85258. For more information, visit www.themickaz.com
Chad Bolar of The Peppermill
Chef-owner Chad Bolar is another fan of the quality and flavor of WorldClass caviar - “it’s completely different from Russian or French caviar, and at a great price. I love being able to introduce their caviar to people on this side of town.”
At The Peppermill steakhouse in Tempe, Bolar crafts a menu where guests are just as happy with his burgers, tapas, and steakhouse favorites as they are with his more refined dishes. Order the Caviar Service and you’ll be introduced to accompaniments such as crispy-airy black truffle pork rinds and velvety wedges of 63-degree sous-vide eggs.
For one-of-a-kind culinary creations, choose the Chef’s Whim menu option and let Bolar run with specialty ingredients and what’s in season. That might mean a flaky chorizo empanada with morel mushrooms, WorldClass Chilean king crab, and Polanco caviar nestled in a pool of silky corn pudding.
And since no two Chef’s Whim are alike, you could be just as delighted with fantastic white and green asparagus draped in a lemon beurre blan, topped with WorldClass Polanco caviar, and finished with a dusting of truffle powder.
The Peppermill serves dinner Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday). It is located at 7660 S McClintock Dr, Tempe, AZ 85284. For more information, visit www.peppermillaz.com
Jason Alford of Pa’La Downtown
At Pa’La Downtown in downtown Phoenix, chef Jason Alford oversees a menu that’s a brilliant marriage of his Japanese techniques and owner Claudio Urciuoli’s Italian roots.
Be sure to check out the chalkboard for daily specials that might include melt-in-your-mouth wild bluefin tuna flown in from Boston adorned with Polanco Siberian Gran Cru caviar, smoked olive oil, and a special soy aged in clay pots.
Or you might be spoiled by Alford’s prowess as seen in an incredible presentation of Japanese milk bread fermented with squid ink and toasted in beef tallow, and topped with bluefin tartare, Santa Barbara sea urchin, and Polanco caviar.
Caviar may find its way into pasta presentations too, such as tender cavatelli bathed in a brown butter-yuzu sabayon, studded with sweet nuggets of WorldClass Chilean king crab, and gilded with dollops of Polanco caviar.
Pa’la Downtown is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday). It is located at 132 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information, visit www.palakitchen.com
Coming soon to the caviar line is the addition of Antonius Caviar, one of the leading farms in Europe. Their sturgeons breed in the water of the Lyna River in Poland and the roe is prepared with the traditional malossol salting method, including their 6-star Oscietra Gran Reserve harvested at 12 years.
For the current catalog of WorldClass products, go to www.worldclass.com/products