Behind the Bar: Meet Robert Porter

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Craft cocktail connoisseurs, happy hour revelers, and everyone in between, join us in welcoming the award-winning mixologist Robert Porter to the J&G Steakhouse team. For many, Robert may already be a familiar face. Robert has spent years behind the bar at Thirsty Camel right here at The Phoenician. Recently, Robert joined our team and we are genuinely excited to share a few things about him that you might not know.

Entering the Mixology Industry
While Robert’s career as a mixologist has been long, he did try his hand in a myriad of other industries before settling in behind the bar. Robert studied graphic design, he has worked on the graphic needs of a professional basketball team, he spent time with a publishing company, and had brief stints in sales positions. But when it came to bartending, a career he sort of stumbled into, and thought would be temporary at first, shortly thereafter it became apparent that the industry was for him.

The Joy of Bartending
Robert is a true artist, in every sense of the word. And one of the joys that cocktail-making brings him is the opportunity to be creative. In addition to being an outlet to express creativity, Robert enjoys meeting people from around the world and surprising their taste buds with finely-crafted cocktails.

On Living in Phoenix
Robert calls The Valley home, and appreciates its expansive amount of things to do, including its professional sports teams and culinary scene as well as the city’s proximity to travel destinations like Mexico and California.

You can find Robert behind the bar at J&G Steakhouse, and be sure to visit us for live music in the bar and lounge each Friday and Saturday evening from 7pm to 10pm.

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In the Kitchen: Meet Chef Jacques Qualin

Jacques Qualin In the Kitchen

While visitors to our steakhouse would be lucky if they were able to steal a glimpse of Chef Jacques Qualin, there’s no doubt that this French-born Chef plays an extremely vital role in our restaurant ecosystem. Learn a bit about our Chef de Cuisine, Chef Jacques Qualin.

From France to Phoenix
Chef Jacques landed in the states by way of Eastern France. His move was sparked by the desire to see New York City. He has been here for more than 20 years, but there are still some things Chef Jacques misses about his old home, like the cured meats and some specific cheeses that aren’t so easy to come by in the U.S.

Culinary Career
Chef’s culinary career spans decades. Chef Jacques first started out in the kitchen when he was just 16 years old with a hotel kitchen apprenticeship. Next, he would make a move to Paris, France to study and fine-tune his culinary craft under Michelin-rated Chef Michel de Matteis. He would then go on to land a post at the prestigious three-star Restaurant Taillevent, which has been described by the New York Times as “the best in Paris, if not France.” From here Chef Jacques traveled to the United States to work for yet another well-regarded French icon, Daniel Boulud, at Le Cirque in New York City.

Opening J&G Steakhouse
In 2009 Chef Jacques relocated from New York City to Phoenix to open J&G Steakhouse. In fact, Chef Jacques Qualin was hand-selected by the famous restaurateur and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten to serve as Chef de Cuisine. One different he notes between Vongerichten and Boulud is that they each had two different styles. Boulud has a traditional French-style of cooking which can be found reflected in his cooking, while Vongerichten, who has a French base, also implements Asian influences to make the best of both. Guests to J&G can expect the freshest seasonal ingredients and bold Asian and American flavors in Chef Jacques cooking.

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Recipe: Dungeness 'Black Pepper' Crab Fritters

J&G Fritters Blog.jpg

It’s not everyday a chef opens up his recipe notebook and shares his craft. Cook like a chef with this recipe from Chef Jacques Qualin for dungeness ‘black pepper’ crab fritters.

A Few Words from Chef Jacques:
“The base is pâte à choux, which is a classic recipe in France,” Qualin says. “The sauce has a lot of spice, but that’s why you don’t want to use too much. You just put a nice dash on it. The crispy and the spice with a little bit of refreshing Asian pear, it’s a nice combination.”


Ingredient List

  • 3½ ounces crab meat

  • 1½ ounces pâte à choux (recipe below)

  • ¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

  • Oil for deep frying

  • Black pepper sauce (recipe below)

  • Korean Asian pear, cut into a fine julienne

  • Fleur de sel, as needed

  • Cilantro, fine chiffonade, as needed

  • For the pâte à choux:

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water

  • 6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1½ cups)

  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • 5 large eggs

Black Pepper Sauce Ingredient List:

  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil

  • 7 ounces scallions (about 2 bunches) washed, dried and sliced

  • 2 ounces garlic (about 1 head), minced

  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed, squeezed and chopped

  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed

  • 6 tablespoons sweet soy sauce

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

First, for the the pâte à choux, use a large pot to bring your butter and water to a simmer. Next, stir in flour and cook, stirring, until your batter pulls cleanly away from the sides of the pot. Transfer the contents to a mixer and whisk for two minutes to cool. Add one egg and repeat until all eggs are fully incorporated. Cool before using.

Mix the crab meat, pâte à choux and Old Bay seasoning and roll into nuggets about the size of a quarter. Deep-fry these nuggets in oil at 375-degrees until they are golden For best results, place a wire basket on top to submerge.

Black Pepper Sauce
Over medium heat, heat oil and heat and fry garlic until golden. Add scallions and cook until soft. Next, add pepper and cook until fragrant. Add your remaining ingredients and boil. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat and puree to medium smooth, grittiness is to be expected.

To serve, first spoon your sauce in the center of the plate, neatly. Arrange the crab fritters on top on your sauce. Creatively scatter the Asian pear atop the crab and sprinkle lightly with cilantro and fleur de sel to finish.

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Patrick's Pick: DuMOL Winery, 2010 Viognier Lia


At J&G Steakhouse we know that nothing pairs better with a chef-prepared steak or filet of fresh fish than the perfect glass of wine. Luckily, our talented staff, including our own General Manager Patrick Norton, are well-versed in all things wine. We came to Patrick with one question: “What’s the wine of the moment?” And, which wine did he mention? DuMOL Winery’s 2010 Viognier Lia. Here’s what every wine lover should know about this California wine maker.

Located in California’s Russian River Valley, this estate has been harvesting grapes and producing fine wines since 1996. Conditions in this area are optimal, as the soil and vine health face minimal external inputs. Not concerned with trends, DuMOL practices winemaking that is intuitive, concentrating on the unique needs of each wine and only employing the least amount of “technique” that is necessary.

Making wine takes patience, and DuMOL is sensitive to the “natural nuances” and detail of the grapes. Rather than produces wines only to earn rave reviews or high scores, the winemakers set out to produce wines worth drinking. Through experimenting and fine-tuning on an annual basis, DuMOL seeks to capture the characteristics of the grapes and vineyard sites, bringing that spirit to each bottle.

Absent of harmful chemicals, pesticides and sustainably-farmed, DuMOL takes an Earth-friendly approach to winemaking. In fact, its Windsor facility, which was built in 2008, was the first “green building” in the township, and today serves as an example to other wineries in the region. Additionally, DuMOL is 100 percent solar powered. Plus, the estate has designed and built its own bioreactor system that is used to treat and process its waste water. It’s also worth noting that DuMOL uses less than half of the amount of water consumed by neighboring wineries throughout the region.

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