The Clever Root

Spring 2018

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s p r i n g 2 0 1 8 | 6 7 Richard Carleton Hacker: Is it true there's an eight-month waiting list for reserva- tions at the Chicago Bavette's? Brendan Sodikoff: The rumor is somewhat exaggerated. We only take reservations three months in advance in Chicago, though the prime times do tend to fill up quickly. How does Chicago's Bavette's differ from the Las Vegas location in terms of ambi- ance and menu offerings? Both locations are similar in approach and ambiance. They both come from the same vision of excellence, quality, and glamour, and the menu emphasis is always on quality and consistency. Obviously different locations demand different purveyors, but how does this affect your steaks? Where is the Las Vegas beef sourced from compared to the Chicago beef? Actually, Las Vegas uses the same ingredients and the same beef vendors as our Chicago location. It's the best way to ensure our qual- ity. Our Las Vegas chef, Jonathan Snyder, works closely with Chef Kelsey Reen and our team in Chicago, and this attention to detail is what allows us to consistently deliver up to our standards. How are the steaks cooked? I noticed a nice char on the outside of my bone-in filet, yet it was very moist inside. How was this achieved? You have to start with the right beef. We only use center cuts of USDA prime. Our dry-aged ribeye is hand-selected and aged for a minimum of 60 days. The result is this round, nutty, and intense beef flavor. It's a special taste requiring special techniques, and that's why we made it a centerpiece of the menu. Our signature American-style char is achieved by cooking our steaks under a raging 1,200-degree broiler while basting with butter. How is the Las Vegas clientele different from the clientele in Chicago? It's been fascinating to discover that Bavette's draws a very similar crowd in both Las Vegas and Chicago—great people looking for a great time. The difference is that we are able to host larger groups in Las Vegas. Do you have any other concepts in the works? In Chicago, we are opening Radio Anago, a Tokyo noir sushi den. A sibling of our diner Au Cheval in Chicago will also be opening in New York. With your extensive background in the culinary arts, how involved are you with conceptualizing the menus at Bavette's? I'm a big believer in having everyone bring their strengths and creativity to the chal- lenge of developing a new menu. I'm fortunate enough to work with a lot of talented people and a big part of my role is to encourage them to keep going until everything is just right. The menu has remained quite consistent over time, although we have simplified it somewhat because we'd rather do fewer things to a higher standard. What are some of the most popular specialties guests will find on both the Chicago and Las Vegas menus? All of our steaks are popular, but specifically our classic Chicago-cut ribeye. People also gravitate toward the baked goat cheese, baked crab cake, and spiced fried chicken. Finally, our [Duroc pork] bacon is amazing. We double cook it, which is unique. It's cured, smoked, cooked long and slow, then glazed with maple syrup and finished with black pepper. Bavette's Lillet Rosé Martini features Tito's Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, and Lillet Rosé fortified wine. ■cr

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