Published March, 2016
By By Allyson Oken, Photos By Luke Phillips
Anthony Reeves of Union and Vine at Springhill Suites
American fusion with harmony in mind
The perfect bite is usually composed of a little bit of everything on the plate, at Springhill Suites new restaurant — Union and Vine. It does not matter how the fork is loaded, chef Anthony Reeves’ plate composition and understanding of flavor promises the perfect harmonious bite.
Union and Vine is open seven days a week, beginning with the cocktail hour from 4 to 6 p.m. and dinner service from 5 to 10 p.m. with a special chef’s menu of food and wine pairings that are outstanding and feature all local wines. Chef Reeves is also responsible for catering all of the events in the banquet hall.
Reeves has been in the business of packing plates full of flavor for well over a decade and comes from what he calls the school of hard knocks. He said he started from the bottom and worked his way up, at some of the most prestigious restaurants in Seattle and on the Oregon Coast.
“I got the majority of my training in Seattle, in the school of hard knocks,” Reeves said. “I have since become a certified pro-chef level two at the CIA in Hyde Park. Seattle was my first full service restaurant position I was a corporate trainer for a restaurant concept that was expanding at the time so that is how I got started in chef-dom.”
Reeves now lives in Atascadero and is a native of Santa Maria that made good on his dream to become a chef and move back to the Central Coast. In his last 10 years here he has worked as the chef at Hearst Castle, the Inn at Morro Bay and now Union and Vine.
“When I saw that Springhill Suites was being constructed, I was on my way to work at Hearst Castle and I thought to myself I want to work there,” Reeves said with enthusiasm. “When living in Seattle, I had the opportunity to work for a company that enabled me to open 17 restaurants and I feel it was this experience that paved the way to getting the opportunity to help open this outstanding restaurant in Atascadero. It is really a dream to be working where
I live and with the people who started it all with me. Everyone is so passionate about what we do here and it speaks volumes of our service and the quality of the food.”
Chef Reeves is an artist with an uncanny attention to detail that allows him to create dishes that are inspired by the melting pot of cultures in America today. He said that he cooks what he loves. A signature dish that will be on the menu this spring is crispy skinned duck, with a mole sauce, polenta infused with jalapeño and cheddar cheese and topped with a cabbage salad.
“I really love duck so I wanted to feature a dish that was a play on chicken mole, but with duck,” Reeves said. “I also love mole so any chance to put that type of sauce on the plate I take advantage of it. I paired these flavors with the polenta because of the corn flavor. Then I added the jalapeño and cheddar cheese and it just brought all of these flavors together with the Spanish and Mexican flavors. I lightened it up with the cabbage slaw.”
The components of this dish are true to the American fusion mentality and tie in flavors from traditional French-style cuisine with duck, South American influences with mole, Italy is represented with the polenta, then back again to South America with jalapeño and to America with cheddar cheese and cabbage slaw. This paired with any red wine chosen by front-of-house manager and wine aficionado, Jessica Guerrero will help bring out the flavors of the dish.
Chef Reeves is not just a master saucier and a certified professional chef he is an accomplished baker and boasts arguably the best cheesecake around. Guerrero said that people come in just for the cheesecake and a glass of wine.
“We are in the business to inspire everyone that comes in through our food and the welcoming environment,” Reeves said. “We want people to create memories here and inspire reminiscence of grandmas’ cooking.”
Make a reservation by calling 462-3500 or stop by Union and Vine located inside Springhill Suites at 900 El Camino Real in Atascadero. For more information, visit springhillsuites.marriott.com.