Carmel Magazine

Spring/Summer 2020

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Page 53 of 155

Executive Chef Justin Robarge is taking the helm of Montrio Bistro as it marks its 25th anniversary. Robarge plans on gradually growing the menu. 52 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 J ustin Robarge has been in the culinary industry since he was a teen. "I was probably the twerpiest little 16-year- old you'd ever meet, maybe all of 80 pounds," he says. "I worked on a friend's family farm in the summer and got a dishwasher job at a local restaurant to pay for a truck. I admired the cooks…and it sparked my interest in the culi- nary world…Once I started cooking, I realized I was good at it…It was pretty confusing to a lot of my friends—there weren't celebrity chefs back then—but I went full bore and didn't stop." Now Robarge gets to celebrate Montrio Bistro's 25th anniversary with his new position as executive chef at the former fire station. "The ambiance is so cool here," he says. "Everyone from 6-year-olds to 90-year-olds has a good time." The restaurant is popular for its excellent service, locally based food, and expertly con- cocted cocktails. Short ribs and salmon remain beloved menu items, which Robarge promises to keep. He's created a Monterey black cod dish that's become a staple and will slowly grow the menu. "My vision is to be patient," the classically trained chef says. "My clientele has been here a lot longer than I have. I promise I will only change things if there is a superior alternative." Montrio Bistro Restaurant is located at 414 Calle Principal, Monterey. For more information, call 831/648-8880 or go to Chef Justin Robarge Takes the Helm at Montrio B Y B R E T T W I L B U R SHORTCUTS FOOD Photo: Randy Tunnell

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