You don’t have to go to southern California for a taste of the latest pub food on menus there. Brian Klaus, the new chef at Hardware Brewing Co. in Kendrick, has switched things up at the Main Street brew pub housed in a remodeled hardware store.
Klaus came to Idaho looking for a change of pace and “a work week less than 93 hours” after years of working in restaurants in California, Arizona and Nevada.
He has changed the menu at Hardware to include more high-quality, fresh ingredients, sauces made in-house and out-of-the-box items, like one of his favorite dishes, the Flamin’ Mac burger. Selection varies throughout the week. Hardware also is growing its craft beer production from small batches to large.
“It’s a lot more work, but it’s a lot better tasting,” said Klaus who shared a few of his kitchen tips with Inland 360.
Name: Brian Klaus
Hometown: Lexington, Mass.
Culinary background: Trained under award-winning chefs such as Arnauld Briand and Jason Quinn.
How long at Hardware Brewing Co.: 15 weeks
Primary cuisine you specialize in: Barbecue, Italian and seafood
Most popular dish at Hardware: Seasoned pork rind-stuffed mushrooms
Favorite dishes at Hardware: Fish Tacos (the fish isn’t fried). From the weekend menu, Sweet Chick: fried chicken and waffles with rosemary-infused maple-bourbon syrup. From the burger menu: the Flamin’ Mac, a burger covered in mac-n-cheese, topped with bacon and hot Cheetos.
If you could only use three tools from your kitchen: Knife, cast iron skillet and my prep cook
Trick of the trade you use the most: Taste, taste, taste — no measuring, everything’s made to taste, look and feel for the perfect flavor.
Current favorite ingredient: Any fresh herb. They create endless possibilities and bring out my creative side.
What’s the most difficult dish you’ve ever prepared: A maple-glazed, four-layer take on turducken for a barbecue competition.
New ingredients you’re playing with right now: Working on perfecting a signature chocolate porter dessert called Bear-a-misu.
Other culinary projects: The brewery is branching into catering, which is my passion. It allows me to create more new, fun dishes than are on the regular menu. While in California I helped the Food Network identify food trucks to feature on its TV show, “The Great Food Truck Race.”