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Special Request: Yakiniku sauce puts global spin on Cobalt Smoke & Sea barbecue

Special Request: Yakiniku sauce puts global spin on Cobalt Smoke & Sea barbecue

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Yakiniku Sauce from Cobalt Smoke & Sea

Yakiniku Sauce from Cobalt Smoke & Sea Restaurant, 12643 Olive Blvd., in Creve Coeur. The sauce is photographed on Thursday, June 6, 2019, with the dish Burnt Ends. Photo By Christine Tannous,

Q • Any chance you can get the recipe for the yakiniku sauce they use on the burnt ends at Cobalt Smoke & Sea? — Matthew B. Borchardt, St. Louis

A • The burnt ends with yakiniku sauce, soba noodles, braised leeks and baby bok choy at the recently opened Cobalt Smoke & Sea isn’t barbecue-as-usual. The spin chef Joe Stamer puts on the barbecue classic finishes with yakiniku sauce, a Japanese condiment that’s sweet, savory and tangy.

“The name translates to ‘grilled meat,’ but the sauce works equally well for shrimp and seafood,” Stamer says. “St. Louis has great American-style barbecue. We’re doing something a little different. We’ve put a global spin on our menu, including the burnt ends, one of our most popular menu items.

“We start them first thing, every morning,” Stamer says. “It’s a 10-hour process. We season the brisket generously with coarse salt and pepper and smoke them to 160 degrees. We remove them and wrap them in foil until they reach 190, then put them back on the smoker until the ends crisp up. We pull them off, cut them in chunks and toss them with the yakiniku sauce. We go through five gallons of sauce or more every week.”

Stamer’s resume includes stints at Sidney Street Cafe, Onesto’s and Balaban’s. He also worked as chef de cuisine at Edibles & Essentials, under chef Matt Borchardt, who requested today’s recipe.

Owner Bernadette Faasen developed the restaurant’s concept, a take on an old guard surf ‘n’ turf restaurant, that pairs smoked meats in combination with fresh seafood in globally inspired dishes. The menu changes seasonally to bring the freshest tastes from around the world to the table.

Stamer is currently developing a new summer menu. “I like to cook what I like to eat. I’m looking forward to the tomatoes, corn and cukes,” he says. He’s also anticipating summer’s new dessert and drink items from pastry chef Ellen Farrell and lead bartender Marlowe Smith.

“We’re introducing a happy hour, beginning June 26,” he says. The menu of small plates and fine drink may be best enjoyed under the land-and-sea décor developed by Faasen.

Sculptural gingko trees anchor the dining space, their golden leaves accented with white lights. The same kind of trees, fitted with blue lights, dot the patio. A pygmy whale skeleton sculpture floats overhead, an homage to the sea.

When the pygmy sculpture arrived in hundreds of pieces, Stamer and Fassen cooked up a way to solve the problem. “My dad had just retired,” Stamer says. “He brought in two friends, one a mechanical engineer, the other a clock repairman. The three of them worked from photos to put the piece together.”

Putting the pieces together in this recipe isn’t difficult. Finding the ingredients may require a road trip, a pleasurable one for cooks.

Cobalt Smoke & Sea

12643 Olive Boulevard, Creve Coeur


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