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Chef Frank Macias Makes His Mark at Lafayette's Park Bistro and Bar

May 24, 2017 10:14AM ● Published by Fran Miller

Chef Frank Macias

By Fran Endicott Miller

There are those, such as an across-the-bay restaurant reviewer, who believe that a hotel restaurant can never achieve distinction. The belief is rooted in the reality that a hotel restaurant must be all things to too many: diners, hotel guests, convention attendees, wedding parties, etc. It is assumed that with so many to please, focus is ultimately lost. Those who hold fast this conviction have never been to The Park Bistro & Bar at the Lafayette Park Hotelpart of the Woodside Hotels Collection. And they certainly have never had a meal prepared by Chef Frank Macias.

Recently appointed to oversee menu development and culinary operations for both hotel and restaurant, Macias brings 20 years of culinary experience from some of the nation’s top restaurants where he worked alongside top talent. He recently served as executive chef at the famed Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, and prior to that, held positions at Bellagio’s Picasso, and Wynn’s Alex. He also served as part of Alain Ducasse’s opening team as chef de partie during the 2008 opening of Benoit in New York City, and he upstarted a number of culinary programs at hotels in California including Yountville’s Bardessono and Montage Beverly Hills.

pressed mary's chicken

His experience with luxe cuisine is evident in the dishes he has newly crafted at The Park Bistro & Bar, a destination dining locale disguised as a humble neighborhood bistro where guests can dine in the relaxed elegance of the main dining room, in the clubby bar area anchored by a rustic cobblestone fireplace, or al fresco on the covered outdoor patio with its two roaring fire pits. Macias’ goal is to serve simple delicious cuisine inspired by the seasonal bounty of the Bay Area and to showcase ingredients in approachable and innovative ways - representative of a classic bistro. As he gradually makes the rustic, farm-to-table menu his own, he is respecting customer favorites, but is adding his own twist, such as with the popular pressed mary’s chicken, to which he’s included ‘dumplings,’ house-made potato gnocchi. The dish also features asparagus, tomato confit, and chicken jus.

California halibut

Other dishes in which Macias’ gourmet touch is evident include the California halibut with peas á la française, new potatoes, and herb butter. He lightly salts the halibut filet and braises it until tender in a fume made from the halibut bones. The peas are blanched and picked up with a compound butter of tarragon. Small potatoes are boiled in water with herbs, garlic, and black pepper. The taste – and the presentation – are sublime.

A seemingly straightforward spring vegetable salad receives the Macias touch: fava beans, leaves, English peas, pea tendrils and sugar snap peas are tossed in a delicate verjus vinaigrette and served alongside burrata cheese seasoned with pepper mignonette and maldon salt. Ciabatta croutons and avocado finish the dish. And Macias’ grilled shrimp and crudité vegetable dish is nearly too beautiful to touch: seasonal vegetables piled high with perfectly grilled jumbo shrimp, tossed with taggiasca olive, sherry-truffle vinaigrette, and parmesan.

spring salad

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Macias’ return is a homecoming. “I am so humbled to be back in the Bay Area and to be able to share my knowledge and collaborate with my new team on ways to take The Park Bistro & Bar to new heights,” says Macias. “Food is not only my career, it’s my passion.”

This passion and artistry is evident in every one of Macias’ dishes. The Park Bistro and Bar is fortunate to have brought this uniquely talented chef into its fold, further elevating the locale as so much more than merely a hotel restaurant. The arrival of Macias makes The Park Bistro and Bar a veritable dining destination.

The Park Bistro & Bar, 3287 Mount Diablo Blvd., Lafayette (855) 382-8632.