Room for Your Steak!
most steak lovers, there is only one vegetable side dish that
matters: potatoes. What would a steak frites be without the
accompanying pile of crisp, hot french fries? And plain old
mashed potatoes seem to be so last millennium: Now they are
accessorized with garlic, wasabi, horseradish and numerous other
Baked Idaho Potatoes
chef Joachim Splichal is among the Y2K wave of steakhouse owners
that has given customers as many choices of spud preparations
as there are steak selections. At his Nick
& Stef’s Steakhouse in downtown Los Angeles, the
best seller among 12 potato options—and Splichal's personal
favorite—bears the chef's initials, the “JBS Potatoes.”
The side dish mixes chunks of red bliss, Yukon Gold and russet
potatoes together with applewood-smoked bacon and onions.
Miami, the potato gratin with Serrano ham at Prime One Twelve
wins our vote for outstanding spud. Meanwhile, in Hartford,
the mashed Yukon Gold potatoes at Michael Jordan’s Steak
House get their star turn with lobster and crème fraîche.
Steaklovers in search of a good potato in Chicago traditionally
have headed for Gene
& Georgetti for the cottage fries. But the potato choices
at the Chicago
Chop House, particularly Russ' American Fries, are creating
San Francisco chef-owner Hubert Keller expanded to Las Vegas,
he brought some new ideas about beef with him, chopping Angus,
Wagyu and Prime-graded beef into patties for his Burger
Bar Las Vegas. He improvised on the potatoes, too—his
sweet potato fries are just as addictive as his sandwiches.
chefs prefer to remain true to the classics. Take the Lyonnaise
potatoes at the Blue
Bell Inn in Blue Bell, Penn., outside of Philadelphia: The
traditional baked layers of potatoes and caramelized onions
make a natural side dish for one of the Inn’s steaks with
béarnaise sauce, all served on retro blue-and-white china.
the creamy scalloped potatoes at McIntosh’s Steak &
Seafood in Charlotte, N.C., and the au gratin potatoes cut into
wedges and finished with a crusty cheese top at McKendrick's
Steak House in Atlanta, are worth the trip alone.
again, other chefs like to improvise, with great results. In
St. Louis, the potatoes au gratin at Annie
Gunn’s pack a delicious punch of Maytag blue cheese.
This is probably not your mother’s gratin!
in New Orleans, potato-files go for the gratin Savoyard, a rich
concoction of Gruyere, cream and thinly sliced potatoes. But
we’ve found that the best potato dish in that town isn’t
at a steakhouse, it’s the pillowy pommes soufflés
with a side of béarnaise sauce at Galatoire’s.
The paper thin potato chips are among the trickiest dishes to
make but when they are prepared correctly, as they are at Galatoire’s,
they are pure potato heaven.
*Image of potatoes au gratin courtesy of La Varenne; image
of Idaho potato courtesy of Idaho Potato Commission.
(Updated: 05/15/09 KR)