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Shank’s Bar and Grill Food Director Michael Lowe shares his favorites

ASHLAND – “I always keep in mind what my customers would want,” said Michael Lowe, Shank’s bar and grill head of the food and beverage department.

“I’ve worked every job in a restaurant, from bouncer and bartender to waiter and cook,” he said of his 15+ years in the business.

He arrived at Shank five years ago as a line cook, not long after, to take up his current position in which he oversees just about everything cooking at the former local Ashland Country Club.

Although the recipes on Shank’s menu are a “secret property,” Lowe has occasionally shared some of his favorite dishes around the house as daily specials.

Traditional bistro cuisine

He classifies traditional bar steak, a specialty from a few years ago, into traditional bistro cuisine.

“It basically highlights what isn’t a traditional steak,” he said. “It’s a way of cooking steak in a different style than most people are used to.”

In this case, the steak of choice is a less popular cut like flank, iron, or New York thong, highlighted with a light red wine frosting and half beef frosting. Demi glaze, a gelatinous broth that develops from the bone marrow of beef soup, can be homemade or purchased from your favorite grocer.

“It has a great presentation and a good flavor. It actually mixes with a steak and becomes a complete meal, unlike butter or gravy, ”Lowe said.

Lowe’s culinary preferences developed during his dining experience, ranging from his native Texas to Los Angeles to North Carolina. The enselada del mar (ocean salad in its own words) sits on a large bed of lettuce and features salmon or ahi (yellowfin tuna) sprinkled with blackened seasoning (a spicy and tangy mixture of powders chili, herbs and spices).

“As a cook for a restaurant, presentation is a major concern,” Lowe said.

Enselada del mar by Michael Lowe at Shanks Bar and Grill.  TOM E. PUSKAR / TIMES-GAZETTE.COM

And it does this with a clever arrangement of sliced ​​red potatoes, sliced ​​eggs, diced red onions, and cucumber slices topped with seafood.

Lowe said he sees ensalada as a seafood Lent special this month, as could happen with Baja fish taco as well.

“It’s something anyone can do, and there’s an ‘open space’ where even small things can make a meal different.”

Lowe cited flour options over corn tortillas as well as the seafood breading of choice, which can be simply flour with or without chili powder or a favorite beer batter. It uses shredded red cabbage in coleslaw, salsa as well as avocado and lime slices to provide a pretty nice flavor and presentation.

Diversity with pasta dishes

“In all the bistros that I have worked for, some kind of pasta is served,” Lowe said. The chicken penne, taken from his personal recipe cards, illustrate this.

“There is diversity with this dish insofar as you can change the recipe on the spot. The only need is the pasta, ”he said, adding“ You can adapt to the taste of the customer, ”citing cheese, basil and garlic as adjustable ingredients. “It’s not a heavy sauce but it’s a warming sauce with a lot of flavor.

“I am very enthusiastic about my work,” says Lowe, a resident of Mansfield.

This enthusiasm is sure to peak over the next few months as it helps develop new menu plans that may be unveiled this summer.

“The main thing that I mainly try to remember is that eating is a social experience,” he said.

In this project, he also plans to focus on Shank’s clientele, ranging in age from 16 to retirees. “I always keep in mind what our customers want,” he said.


From the kitchen of Michael Lowe

1 large shallot, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

¾ cup of red wine

1 to 2 tablespoons of butter

½ cup of beef demi-glace

1 flank steak, flatiron or New York strip loin steak, grilled medium rare to medium

Sauté the shallots in the butter until lightly caramelized, add the garlic. Stir in the wine to deglaze, scraping up and dissolving the browned food residue from the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency. Add the demi-glace, bring to a gentle boil.

Cut the grilled steak into medallions. Drizzle the medallions with the sauce or serve on the side for a dipping sauce. Makes 1 serving.


From the kitchen of Michael Lowe

1 salmon fillet, mahimahi or tuna

Blackened seasoning

1 large portion of lettuce of your choice

2 red potatoes, cooked and sliced

1 hard-boiled egg, sliced

About 2 ounces of diced tomatoes

About 2 ounces of diced red onion

2 to 3 slices of cucumber

Feta cheese to taste

Lightly sprinkle the fish with blackened seasoning and cook until cooked through.

To serve, place lettuce on a serving platter, garnish with feta, tomato and red onion. Arrange the egg, potato and cucumber slices around the edges of the plate. Garnish with fish and serve with a balsamic vinaigrette. Makes 1 serving.


From the kitchen of Michael Lowe

1 head of red cabbage

Fresh cilantro to taste

2 ounces of vegetable oil

2 ounces of vinegar

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

2 to 3 limes, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups all-purpose flour

Chili powder to taste, optional

1 mahi mahi, haddock or halibut fillet, cut into 2-inch strips

Flour or corn tortillas

Fresh salsa to taste

1 avocado

Grate the cabbage and put it in a mixing bowl. Add the coriander, oil, vinegar, sugar, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper, mix well

In a separate bowl, season the flour with S&P and chili powder. Dip the pieces of fish in flour, fry them in a deep fryer with hot cooking oil until golden brown and cooked through.

To serve, prepare the taco by placing the fish on the tortilla, followed by coleslaw, salsa and avocado slices. Serve with lime slices on the side. Makes 2 to 4 tacos.


From the kitchen of Michael Lowe

1 tablespoon minced garlic

5 tablespoons butter, divided

¾ cup of white wine

8 ounces of cooked and drained penne

¼ cup grated Parmesan

2 to 3 basil leaves, cut into julienne

Salt and pepper to taste

1 grilled chicken breast, cut into strips

3 ounces of diced tomatoes

Sauté the garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter until almost brown, add the wine and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, stir in the noodles. When the noodles are hot, toss with the cheese and remaining butter until a creamy texture develops. Add the basil, salt and pepper. Place on plates and sprinkle with diced tomatoes, garnish with chicken strips in the center of the salad and garnish with additional Parmesan and basil of your choice. Makes 2 servings.

– Would you like to nominate someone for “Cook’s Corner”? Email their name and phone number to [email protected] or call 419-289-0972 and let Cami know!

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