Home » CULINARY PERSONALITIES » Kitchen Snapshot: Antonio Herrera-Ramirez of Fish N Beer

Kitchen Snapshot: Antonio Herrera-Ramirez of Fish N Beer

It has been a whirlwind of a year of for Chef Antonio Herrera-Ramirez. Late last year, Chef Herrera-Ramirez braved two storms while living in the Virgin Islands—Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Within a matter of months, he moved to Denver, had his second child (congrats!), and started working at one the hippest restaurants in Denver, Fish N Beer {3510 Larimer Street, Denver; 303.248.3497}. DiningOut sat down with chef Herrera-Ramirez to chat about his passion for cooking, how he weathered the storm, and his future career in Denver.
Fish N Beer

From left to right: Chef Chino and Chef Antonio Ramirez-Herrera

DiningOut: What inspired you to become a chef?
Chef Antonio Herrera-Ramirez: I’ve always liked to cook. When I was young my mom taught me how to cook a few simple things like seafood and a few meat dishes. I went to culinary school in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and began my career working in resorts. I worked in resorts for seven years before I moved to the Virgin Islands to look for more opportunities.
You left the islands in late 2017 after the destruction of Hurricane Irma. How did you end up landing in Denver?
I was there when the hurricane hit. When the hurricane passed over, everything was damaged; 90-percent of the restaurants were closed. My wife and I stayed during the storm but she was seven months pregnant. The hospital was damaged—no power or water. My wife is from Denver and I’ve been visiting the area for some time. She moved back first and I quickly followed.
fish n beer

Starting at $3 each, order up a few grilled oysters like the BNB with blue cheese butter and bacon crumbles.

How did you arrive at Fish N Beer?
Since my wife is from Denver she still had a lot of restaurant contacts in the community. One of my first interviews was with Kevin Morrison of Fish N Beer. He invited me to the restaurant to try the food and see if I liked it. I came in, tried half the menu, and I immediately asked when I could start training. I began working the next day.
fish n beer

Or opt for a kick of heat with the Dynamite oysters, livened with spicy mayo and tobiko.

How are you adjusting to living in Denver?
I’ve noticed people in Denver are willing to help you with whatever you need. Especially people in the restaurant industry. In other kitchen jobs that I’ve had, people are less willing to help because they expect I know everything. Our General Manager Devin Hallford and Bar Manager Jamie Potter helped to answer any questions that I had.
Fish N Beer

Shareable plates run the gamut of Clam Chowder with littleneck neck clams, Beets, Beets Bread N Cheese with coal roasted beets and pickled red beets, and the Octopus N Shrimp (pictured above) with grilled Spanish octopus and New Caledonian shrimp over a bed of ceci beans and arugula.

How did you approach the menu at Fish N Beer?
Kevin and I worked on the menu together. We tweaked a few menu items and added a few new ones including dessert. I made my favorite chocolate cake for Kevin and he knew we had to put it on the menu.
fish n beer

A staple at Fish N Beer: whole roasted fish. Cooked over the open flame, the charred Whole Grilled Colorado Bass is complemented with wild rice and blistered tomatoes.

Is it odd to be working with seafood in a landlocked state?
I can find any fresh fish I want here; we fly in a lot of our seafood. For our oysters alone we get fresh selections from New York, Boston, and all across the Northeast.
Fish N Beer

Another noted addition from Chef Herrera-Ramirez? Antonio’s Rich Ass Chocolate Cake. One of the chef’s signature dishes, this flourless chocolate torte is topped with candied walnut crumbs served with lightly-whipped cream.

Would you ever return to the islands?  
I’m not thinking about it right now. The island was good to me but I have two kids—there are more opportunities here. I am looking to stay here for awhile.
Photos and story by Morgan Carter, Managing Editor