JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – The passion Chaz Lindsay has for his new restaurant is perhaps best illustrated in how he prepares a filet, one of his favorite dishes to cook.
“We sear it super-hot on both sides, baste it with brown butter, dip it in garlic confit and then roast it in the oven to whatever temperature you like. And it’s got a port demi reduction on it… We take like a gallon of port and half a gallon of red wine, reduce it down together, steep it with some black peppercorn, garlic and thyme and just marry that with some veal stock that’s been reduced down to where it’s super thick,” he said. “It’s primo.”
Lindsay recently opened Pulito Osteria, a new restaurant in the Belhaven Town Center. The Belhaven native and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America held his grand opening recently.
And in just a matter of a few days, the restaurant already has had repeat customers.
“Seeing how well we’ve been received by the public has been absolutely incredible,” he said Monday. “We’ve had people… we’ve been open five days and they’ve been here three nights.”
“It’s incredible. I just love it. I love what I do.”
Lindsay discovered his love for cooking at 15, when he started working the register at Pizza Shack. That was back when the restaurant was on North State Street.
“I got hired as a cashier and within two weeks I was working in the kitchen, and then just fell in love with it,” he said. “I worked at a couple of other restaurants in town, and then decided to go to culinary schools in New York, upstate New York, two hours north of the city.”
After culinary school, he spent the next five-and-a-half years again working in the Big Apple, polishing his resume at some of New York’s top restaurants.
“11 Madison Park. I did a year there… the No. 1 restaurant in the world. And in 2017, the year I was there, we got three Michelin Stars. Won Best Chef in New York City, James Beard,” he said.
Michelin Stars are awarded based on the quality of food offered. Three is the most a restaurant can receive, Michelin’s website states.
“And then I worked for Tom Colicchio for just shy of four years at both Colicchio & Sons and Craft. And that’s where I really fell in love with this style of cooking, was my time with Colicchio.”
Colicchio is a celebrity chef who is a judge on the cable show “Top Chef,” according to Bravo TV’s website.
After that, Lindsay ended up in Italy, where he ran a restaurant on a farm about an hour-and-a-half north of Rome.
“I moved back after a year because I never really had a proper visa,” he said. “I was traveling to Morocco to reset my tourist visa like every three months.”
He thought about returning to New York, and was considering a job offer in Australia, but came back to Jackson after he was offered “a really good job” with Derek Emerson at Parlor Market.
“And then my wife matched her medical residency, and we moved out to El Paso for the past four years,” he said. “Now, we’re back.”
He and his wife Kim got married in 2020. Lindsay met her after he got back from Italy.
As for Pulito, he decided on opening it early last year.
“I think in March of last year was when we decided that this would be the space for us and it’s just been, it’s been the best move ever,” he said.
He initially thought of naming the restaurant the Italian words for “clean sheets.”
“This used to be the Baptist Hospital laundry facility… so, it was kind of an ode to the building. But then, you know, we’re making pasta and [that] just made sense to me,” he said.
However, he settled on something easier to spell and pronounce. “We just shortened it to Pulito, which means cleaned up,” he said. “And then, osteria is one of five restaurants in the Italian tier. You start with the lowest, being a cafe bar, and then cafe bar pizzeria trattoria, which is kind of a fast casual, maybe a sit-down restaurant.”
“An osteria is like, we serve nice things here. We have a $96 Porterhouse on the menu, but we also have a $14 pizza,” he explained. “It’s really a nice environment but it can be casual. It’s not just a place to celebrate, it’s a place to just come and enjoy yourself.”
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