Chef Shuffles: Adam Sobel Leaving Bourbon Steak, Urbana’s John Critchley to Replace Him

Michael Mina wins all.

Current Urbana chef John Critchley takes over at Bourbon Steak when Adam Sobel departs for the West Coast. Photograph courtesy of the restaurant.

It looks like San Francisco-based restaurateur/gentle god Michael Mina has called another of his lambs home. Eater DC brought word yesterday that Bourbon Steak chef Adam Sobel is leaving his post, which was confirmed to the Post today (don’t get some people started). It looks like that “big-ass going-away chef party” Mike Isabella tweeted about was for Sobel’s new gig as chef-partner at Mina’s wine-centric RN74 in San Fran.

This isn’t the first time Mina has taken talent back to the mothership. David Varley, the Bourbon Steak toque just before Sobel, left Washington for a corporate chef position in the Mina Group. The successful restaurateur has also attracted Washington toques from outside eateries. Pastry chefs Douglas Hernandez and Chris Ford left posts at Bibiana and Rogue 24, respectively, for Mina operations in the Four Seasons in Baltimore, while Nick Sharpe departed Ba Bay for a Mina title in California months before the Vietnamese spot closed.

Another chef drawn to the restaurant group: Sobel’s replacement, the current Urbana toque John Critchley, who starts his new position on March 18. What will the switch mean for the fine-dining hotspot? It’s too early to tell, but Critchley cites similarities with the Mina philosophy in a release, including a focus on seasonality, sustainable seafood, and local ingredients. As for Urbana’s kitchen, it’s time to polish up those chef résumés: A search for a new commander is in the works.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.