Chef Spotlight: Chef Michael Butler Takes the Helm at B2 Bistro + Bar in Point Pleasant Beach

Jersey Bites, Michael Butler, Deb Smith, B2 Bistro + Bar, Chef Spotlight

B2 Bistro recently welcomed a new executive chef at its Point Pleasant Beach location. Allow us to introduce Chef Michael Butler. 

Early Days

While he attended culinary school in New York, Butler landed a job working for famed restaurateur Danny Meyer at The Modern, in The Museum of Modern Art. Upon graduation, he was invited to do an internship at Craft, working under celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio. Upon completion of his internship, Butler was offered a full-time position with the restaurant group.

Butler’s work at Craft led to an offer to join the opening team at Chef Jean-George’s Perry Street restaurant. Following a two-year stint at Perry Street, Butler returned home to the Jersey Shore as Sous Chef at David Burke’s Fromagerie, in Rumson, New Jersey. While working at Fromagerie, he was also able to work at a number of David Burke’s NYC locations including David Burke’s Townhouse.

At Home at the Shore

After his time with the David Burke group, he accepted a position to join the opening team at Trama’s Trattoria in Long Branch, NJ. There Butler was able to work alongside Chef Pat Trama, as the Chef De Cuisine. Chef Trama was a valued mentor to Butler and they remain close friends.

Jersey Bites, Michael Butler, Deb Smith, B2 Bistro + Bar, Chef Spotlight
One of Chef Mike’s specials: spicy rigatoni “vodka.” Artisanal pasta, melted onions, house-made Pancetta crumbs, Calabrian chili, Grana Padano cheese, and spicy microgreens

We got a chance to sit down with Chef Mike to ask him some of our favorite on-the-spot questions.

JERSEY BITES: Describe your cooking style.
CHEF MIKE: Very ingredient driven. I like to cook with the seasons and try to use as few ingredients as possible. I would say my cooking is a mix of all of the great French and Italian restaurants I’ve had the opportunity to work for, but I guess you could also say my style is American since our country is such a melting pot. 
What is the most memorable meal you’ve had?  
The most memorable meal I have had was at Eleven Madison Park, in Manhattan. It was a 24-course tasting menu and the food was absolutely amazing. Everything was executed and seasoned perfectly.
Another memorable meal was in this small Italian trattoria right outside of Bologna which is in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. I had some of the best pasta I have ever eaten in my life. That’s what sparked my love for pasta. 
It’s your last day on Earth: what will your final meal be?
My final meal would be any meal anywhere as long as I’m with my daughter. 
Jersey Bites, Michael Butler, Deb Smith, B2 Bistro + Bar, Chef Spotlight
Chef Mike and his daughter
What is the one staple food you always have in your cupboard at home?
What is your favorite comfort food? 
My favorite comfort food is a great big bowl of gnocchi pomodoro.
Jersey Bites, Michael Butler, Deb Smith, B2 Bistro + Bar, Chef Spotlight
Ricotta Gnudi: kabocha squash, brown butter, pomegranate seeds, ricotta salata, and pepitas
What New Jersey restaurant do you enjoy dining at, besides your own?  
I like to dine at Trama’s Trattoria in Long Branch. My old stomping grounds. 
Are you working on any upcoming projects our readers would be interested in learning about?  
I’m trying to take B2 to the next level. Also working on getting brunch started here sometime in February.
What is the best advice you have to share with young people interested in becoming chefs?   
Keep your head down and mouth shut and just say, “Yes, Chef.” A lot of people these days think you can become a chef overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. You have to put in the time to get where you want to be. It has taken me a long, hard 15 years working for a bunch of chefs and absorbing anything and everything they are willing to teach me to get to where I am.
Anything else about your food? 
I try to use as many local ingredients as possible in my cooking. My style of food is very simple. I try not to use too many ingredients on the plate so the food I do put on the plate really has to shine. 
709 Arnold Avenue
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
Additional locations in Red Bank, North Brunswick, and West Reading, PA.