to the first edition of Neue Living. I hope you enjoy learning not only about what we do at our restaurants but also why we do it!
I recently became an American citizen. It was a very significant moment in my life and I am proud to call America home. I moved to the States permanently in 1996 and saw an opportunity to do something really special here. Born in a little town of 2,000 people, way out in the countryside of Austria, there was really no one to push me—so I did it myself. From an early age, I’ve always fought hard for what I believe in. My life would have taken a whole different path if I had stayed in Austria, but I wanted to travel and saw cooking as a way to explore different options. Although I love all kinds of cuisine, when it came down to what I wanted to cook in the U.S., I decided to stay with what my native country had given to me: to introduce to an American audience the elegance behind Austrian and German food. Austria is an old country steeped in tradition, so it was important to me to help people here understand that its food isn’t all about sauerkraut and potatoes. I take a lot of pride in where I came from as well as where I am today.
Art and design are two of my biggest passions. I love the creative process and the beauty of an object, and it makes me happy to fully integrate art and design into my restaurants. I am also a firm believer in simplicity—I think what we do is very straightforward, and we let good ingredients shine. And I strive to do the best job possible for my guests because it is an incredible feeling to please people while doing something you really love.
On Art, American Football, and the Eternal Question Mark
Last year, Kurt Gutenbrunner received the Austrian Gold Medal of Honor, one of the country’s highest decorations. “It feels good to be recognized by my country, and I appreciate the honor I received. But in the end, I consider myself a simple chef, nothing more. I feel fortunate to be able to do what I really like. It’s not just a job to me—it’s my life.”
Kurt Gutenbrunner has certainly earned his kitchen stripes, working at some of the finest establishments in and around Austria, Switzerland, and Munich in Germany before heading to New York’s Windows on the World Cellar in the Sky and then Bouley. “I just wanted to go out and see the world, and it was possible to do that through cooking.” He ended up in Munich for six more years before returning to work with David Bouley in New York as his culinary director and then taking over as executive chef at the Monkey Bar.
About 11 years ago, Kurt stumbled upon what is now Wallsé—named after his hometown on the Danube—when it was the Black Sheep, an old West Village establishment. He hired an Austrian architect to give it a makeover and decided to showcase German-Austrian food. “I considered doing a different type of fare, but I decided to do what I know best. I really believe that what we have created at Wallsé is modern, interesting, and different.”
A year later, he opened Café Sabarsky, a Viennese café in the Neue Galerie. “I actually met cofounder Ronald Lauder and director Renée Price before Wallsé opened. It was exciting to create this different kind of concept in this wonderful museum.” In 2005, Kurt took over the Blaue Gans space and created a casual Austrian wirsthaus, a tribute to sausages. His most recent endeavor, housed in the Swarovski Crystallized store in SoHo, is Café Kristall, designed by a young Swiss architect. “I love what Swarovski has done here, especially with the one-of-a-kind, commissioned chandeliers. They are wonderful pieces, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with them.”
If there is a unifying theme behind his restaurants aside from the food, it is art, Kurt’s other passion. “It’s fundamental to do something that you believe in and that makes you happy at the same time. For me, it is the fusion of food and art. I love good food, design, art, flowers, Thonet chairs, and antique mirrors. I love to buy my fabrics in Vienna, and I love going to the museum. And all of these elements are in my restaurants. Everything I do has a connection to art.”
“What I love about the Neue Galerie is its overall approach to art. It’s more than just pieces on the wall—there is a ‘why’ behind it, and that ‘why’ is what fascinates me. I’m not easy on myself. I question myself a lot: Why are we doing this? How are we going to do this? Will we do it right?”
And art there is—from the works of Julian Schnabel and Albert Oehlen on the walls of Wallsé and lighting fixtures and furniture designed by Austrian architects Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos in Café Sabarsky to fabrics from Backhausen in Café Kristall. “I am surrounded by an enormous amount of excellence!”
Besides introducing guests to his love of art, there is the question of the food, which, certainly in the beginning, involved a lot of risk. “I fight hard for my beliefs. I am constantly pushing myself. I fought hard to get more Austrian wines imported to the United States, to make people understand there is more to Austrian food than what they may imagine. So it’s exciting to see how much progress we have made.” And the proof is in the pudding—or, in this case, the strudel. A lot of his clientele is American, which Kurt points to as acceptance of
At the turn of the 20th century, Vienna was considered one of Europe’s leading cultural centers. Wiener Werkstätte was a revolutionary production community of visual artists—architects, artists, and designers—brought together under a common commitment to design art that would be accessible to everyone.
In the following pages, we bring together accessible elements of winter entertaining, from recipes and ingredients to floral design and gifts for all occasions, to make your winter festivities a little more elegant with a little less stress.
Paris-born Yasmine Karrenberg is a Tribeca local and mother of three who has an intense passion for blooms. She has been arranging the flowers at Wallsé for the past ten years and recently launched her own business, Flowers by Yasmine.
How did your interest in flowers blossom? I have always loved flowers; it wasn’t anything I ever went to school for, it was just a passion of mine. Growing up just outside of Paris, we had a garden with a magnificent lilac tree in it, which was the flower I first fell for. They are so strong and powerful that you need only one to fill up the house with its perfume. In France, we were constantly going to the markets, where you can pick out your own arrangements at the flower stalls. I always loved doing that, and it evolved naturally into bringing flowers to the homes of my friends, who were usually surprised when I said I had arranged them myself. I started doing the flowers at Wallsé, and it progressed from there.
Does art inspire your floral creations? I am half-German so I grew up with Klimt, but I love Monet. A few years ago, I took my three daughter to Monet’s gardens at Giverny, and it just reinforced my love of flowers and gardens and voluminosity. I wanted to just gather it all up in my arms. Monet is magical and very inspirational. When I was little, every Easter we went to Holland, where I fell in love with the tulip and hyacinth fields! Van Gogh’s paintings have also influenced my work.
What considerations do you give to floral arrangements in a restaurant setting? Practicality and seasonality. You can make it pretty for the customers, but depending on where you put the flowers—on a hostess stand, the tables, or on the bar—they can’t be too big and difficult to work around. Also, I like to work with seasonal colors and flowers, especially since that is what the chef works with ingredient wise, and it’s a good synchronization.
What are some of your favorite flowers and foliage for the season? Amaryllis is a pretty amazing flower by itself that doesn’t need anything to really create a mood: simple, elegant, and powerful, whether potted or singular in a vase. I love white more than red for the holidays, but I do use red in the restaurants as it is festive and brings warmth to the cold. This time of the year, anemones are just spectacular. I always love roses, and I love the smell of pine in the home.
There are plenty of Austrian and German food traditions that authenticate and add dimension to any winter party spread.
Viennese Finger Sandwiches
Vienna’s version of fast food, these elegant open-face sandwiches are a lunch staple that come in a variety of tastes and textures. We use whole-grain bread from Amy’s Bread for ours. Perfect for parties of all sizes.
Spicy Egg Spread
Makes 1 cup
5 hard-boiled eggs
t tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon drained capers
Puree all ingredients together in a food processor and spread on fingers of bread. Get creative with the toppings. Chef KG likes to add sliced hard-boiled eggs with tiny herb sprigs on top.
This traditional German bread-like fruitcake, usually eaten during the holidays, dates back to the 1400s. It contains dried fruit and citrus peels and is usually covered with some form of icing or powdered sugar.
3 cups raisins
4 tablespoons rum
8 cups flour
2 cups lukewarm milk
2 cakes compressed yeast
1 cup sugar
2 cups butter
3/4 cup ground or chopped almonds
1 cup candied lemon peel, finely diced
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup candied orange peel, finely sliced Ground nutmeg
Butter for brushing
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Soak the raisins overnight in the rum.
Prepare a yeast dough using the flour, milk, yeast, sugar, salt, and butter. In turn, work the almonds, lemon peel, orange peel, nutmeg, and raisins into the dough, kneading well after the addition of each ingredient. Leave to rest for 1 hour. Then knead the dough again, divide in half, shape into stollen, and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 1 hour. While the stolen is still warm, brush it with melted butter and dust thickly with confectioners’ sugar.
“I am extremely proud of what we have done in the way of making Austrian wines more popular in New York. We have such a great selection in stock that I often have Austrian winemakers marveling at the labels we carry, many of which they can’t even get their hands on anymore!” —Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner
The most widespread red wine varietal in Austria, zwiegelt grows in all the wine regions. This violet-reddish-colored wine ranges from young-drinking to strong, firm wines.
“An easy-to-drink table wine, low in tannins. A hidden cherry note, a light to medium body, mostly on the lighter side. Our go-to wine with a plate of charcuterie.”
The blueish-black blaufränkisch grapes grow in the wine regions of Burgenland and Carnuntum. This late-ripening variety is characterized by deep woodberry or cherry tones and can yield wines with dense structure and prominent tannins with good aging potential.
“More structure that makes for a longer finish. Fruit notes plus some spiciness that gives it a unique character.”
Named after St. Lawrence’s Day, August 10th, the day when these grapes begin to change color. Saint Laurent is not an easy grape to grow. It is sensitive, low yielding, and needs deep soil, but it yields high-quality dark, sturdy, and fruity wines with good ageability.
“Similar to a pinot noir with a little more texture, very smooth and inviting. It has slight red-berry fruit notes and a medium finish.”
The most popular white and most important grape varietal in Austria, Grüner Veltliner is widely planted, especially in Niederösterreich and northern Burgenland. This grape delivers wines of all levels of quality, though spicy, peppery versions with stone-fruit notes are preferred.
“Light, easy, fresh, with some pepper notes, some green apple, a bit of acidity. Lemon and lime notes, which work well in the summer. Higher-end vintages can have less spice and more ripe apple notes. You have more on your palate; your finish is longer. The acidity will keep this wine fresh and enjoyable even after six or seven years.”
Next to the Grüner Veltliner, this is the most important white wine variety in the Wachau and the most widely grown white variety for all quality levels of wine. Young Riesling wines have dominant notes of stone fruit and can reflect a minerality reminiscent of slate or flint. Aged wines have rose-like scents and can develop a pleasurable petrol tone.
“Many think all Rieslings are sweet, but that is definitely not the case with Austrian Rieslings—95 percent of their production is bone-dry.”
I’ve always had a passion for wine. I went to an Austrian hospitality school in Vienna while at the time working at Steirereck, one of the finest restaurants in the country. I traveled for a bit and ended up in Alsace, France, where I first worked in a restaurant but then moved on to a local winery. There, I learned every step of the winemaking process, from driving the tractor and harvesting to pressing and selling. After that, I headed home to finish my diploma as a sommelier and deepen my wine studies. In 2007, I took a job on a cruise line as a sommelier in its main dining room. The fast pace and organization was a real eye-opener.
Off the boat and back in Austria in 2008, I fortuitously crossed paths with Kurt while he was on vacation in Vienna. A month later, I was working for him in New York. Kurt gives Austrian fare a modern interpretation—not so easy to do in an American marketplace saturated with French and Italian culinary influences—but he has done it well. The wine program is different at each of our locations. For the most part, we have a 100 percent Austrian wine list. It’s exciting to be able to showcase Austrian wines and watch their popularity grow each year.
Beef Goulash with Spaetzle and Roasted Peppers
Heideboden (ZW-BF) Reeh—Neusiedlersee, Burgenland 2011
Wiener Schnitzel, Potato Cucumber Salad, Lingonberries
Neuberger, Federspiel, Wallsé Edition—J. Donabaum, Wachau, Niederösterreich 2011
Veal Sliders Oven-Baked Veal with Mâche Salad, Sautéed Potato, Veal Jus
St. Laurent, Altenberg—Glatzer, Carnuntum, Niederösterreich 2004
Palatschinken mit Räucherforelle & Oberskren Chilled Smoked Trout Crêpes and Horseradish, Crème Fraîche
Grüner Veltliner, Heiligenstein—Weingut Hirsch, Kammern, Kamptal 2011
Enjoy one of our wine-based cocktails, like the Antique Fruit—fresh black berries cooked with cherry vinaigrette, mixed with red wine, with soda water on top.
Located in Gols, Burgenland, Szigeti is Austria’s only family-owned winery dedicated to sparkling wine production. Brothers Peter and Norbert Szigeti employ centuries-old knowledge from the Champagne region, combined with the latest technology and innovative ideas, to produce more than 35 different sparkling wines.
The charm of Szigeti wines lies in their fresh, lovely aromatics, lively textures, and elegant fruity flavors. In addition to such classic wines as Grüner Veltliner and Welschriesling Brut, Szigeti also creates premium sparkling wines from chardonnay, muscat ottonel, and pinot noir rosé.
Juice from the finest, ripest, and healthiest grapes grown in Burgenland/Pannonia, the sunniest region in Austria, is fermented in the bottle using the méthode traditionnelle, a labor-intensive and highly specialized method that preserves and refines the freshness and flavors of each grape variety used.
Production at Szigeti is a rigorous process. Once the grapes are pressed, fermentation begins with the best Champagne yeast, imported directly from France. The wines rest on the yeast until the fermentation starts in the bottle. As fermentation continues, the wines rest on the spent yeast for 15 months or more, ripening and developing in the bottle, which results in a perfect mousseux, or perlage, of delicate, fine bubbles and finely developed flavors. At the end of this resting period, computer-controlled riddling machines bring the bottles slowly and carefully from a horizontal to an upside-down position, allowing the yeast to move gently down to the bottle neck. At the end of the riddling process, the bottles move neck down into a freezing agent to embed the yeast in an ice cube. Then the yeast and ice cube is removed, or degorged, and the dosage is added to give the last refinement to the sparkling wine. Different from the Champagne region, where a sugar and wine solution is added, Szigeti sparkling wines are replenished with selected dessert wines from the region.
KLIMT-EDITION SZIGETI SEKT
Conceived by Kurt and Leo and produced by Szigeti, this special Klimt edition Blanc de Blanc Brut 2009 features the artwork of Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch Bauer that hangs in the Neue Galerie, who is celebrating the painting’s 100th anniversary in 2013.
“We wanted to produce a sparkling wine in line with our heritage to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Klimt’s birth, as well as the book-release party for Neue Cuisine. We took 50 percent of the Chardonnay grapes from Wachau and 50 percent from Hungary, not only because Peter Szigeti was producing some Hungarian wines but also because of the historical aspect of our joint empire. Instead of brandy or cognac for the dosage, we added an Austrian sweet wine. The result is a wine with green flavors on the nose, a creamy palate, and a very acidic-driven structure that makes it fresh.”
The bottle was a key visual for everyone involved. Thanks to permission granted by Ronald Lauder, Kurt and Leo were able to take photos of Adele to use on the label. The overall result is a fusion of culinary and art—both inside and outside the bottle.
Zum Schwarzes Kameel
With just 11 tables and set in a perfectly preserved Art Deco dining room, Zum Schwarzes Kameel is a treasure trove of culinary delights. Opened in 1618, it features a delicatessen selling everything from specialty meats to wine. The café is renown for its hearty and flavorful cuisine, including herring filet Oslo, potato soup, tournedos, roman saltimbocca (veal with ham), and an array of daily fish specials.
Bognergasse 5, Vienna
+43 (0)1 533 81 25 11 kameel.at
Founded in 1876, this five-star hotel located opposite the Vienna State Opera is famous for its specialty of the house, the Sacher Torte, a chocolate cake with apricot filling. There is also an art gallery in the hotel featuring works from the 19th century. The hotel is built where Antonio Vivaldi once lived.
Philharmonikerstraße 4, Vienna
+43 (0) 1 514 560
Located in one of the most beautiful settings in town, Steirereck’s commitment to indigenous sourcing, the revival of forgotten dishes, and the promotion of sustainability have earned it considerable praise, including 11th ranking in ‘The World’s 50 Best restaurants.” An unsung culinary hero, Steirereck’s chef-owner Heinz Reitbauer creates a “corner of Styria” in this intimate and rustic restaurant with traditional Viennese dishes and new Austrian selections on the menu.
Am Heumarkt 2A Vienna
+43 (1) 713 31 68
Urbanek am Naschmarkt
It’s tiny, but step inside Urbanek and enter a world of the finest selection of cured meats and cheeses that will truly impress. Run by three charming men—Gerhard and his two sons—this place is a delight for gourmands who don’t mind enjoying a glass at wine in close quarters!
Naschmarkt Stand 46, Vienna
+43 (0) 1 587 20 80zwienernaschmarkt.eu
Restaurant Obauer, Salzburg
It’s worth the 45-minute train ride from Salzburg to sample the cuisine of Karl and Rudolph Obauer, who worked for some of the greatest chefs of Europe before opening their own little hotel and restaurant in this pristine hilltop village. Their kitchen turns out fare that is regional, seasonal, creative, traditional and modern, hot and cold, and usually all of the above at the same time. Try the venison terrine, the Werfen lamb, the Pongau lamb, or other dishes made with local ingredients.
Markt 46, Salzburg
+43 (0) 6468 52 12 0 obauer.com
Gasthaus Steirawirt, Steiermark
Brother and sister Sonja and Richard Rauch have turned this 120-year guesthouse into one of the finest restaurants in Styria. Their food displays all their avid passion and enthusiasm for regional products, integrating tradition with innovation in their culinary techniques.
Trautmannsdorf 6, Styria
+43 (0) 31 59 41 06 steirawirt.at
Heurigenhof Bründlmayer, Langenlois
Don’t miss the fresh nut dumplings at Heurigenhof Bründlmayer, a quaint wine tavern that offers both typical Heurigen products, such as
bacon, sausages and cheese, as well as more sophisticated dishes.
Walterstraße 14, Langenlois
+43 (0) 2 734 28 83 heurigenhof.at
Yoko Ono and Swarovski together
In September, Swarovski celebrated the launch of Yoko Ono’s limited-edition crystal key cuts at Café Kristall, with Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner as host. In attendance were Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Olsen, Chelsea Leyland, Alek Wek, Nadja Swarovski, Julie Macklowe, Zani Gugelmann, Flo Fulton, Cameron Silver, Emma Snowden Jones, Waris Ahluwalia, Anne Grauso, Mia Moretti, Catlin Moe, Bruce Weber, and Yoko Ono.
On September 22nd, German winemaker Roman Roth of Wölffer Estate Vineyard and Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner teamed up in Southampton at the winery’s historic Hamptons home for an unforgettable meal to benefit the East End Hospice.
NYCFWF Shake & Bake
On October 11th, Whoopi Goldberg hosted Shake & Bake, an event whose menu features a star chef–studded love for fried chicken. In attendance was Chef Gutenbrunner, who marked the occasion with his backhendl—a golden fried chicken—and potato arugula salad
Taste of the Greenmarket
At the Fifth Annual Taste of Greenmarket held on June 27th, more than 20 of the city’s finest chefs and mixologists prepared market-inspired dishes and cocktails for an elegant evening and silent auction that honored Women in Agriculture, pioneers who have paved the way for the next generation of regional farmers. Chef Gutenbrunner cooked heirloom tomatoes two ways, and all proceeds benefited Greenmarket’s Youth Education Project.
From the publisher, HauteNotes is about the discovery of all things innovative and exciting in food and wine, art and design, and style and travel. Visit hautenotes.com.
Wölffer Estate Vineyard
Sagaponack, New York
Perched on a rise overlooking vineyards to the east and the gently rolling Hamptons landscape to the west, Wölffer Estate Vineyard is unquestionably one of the most beautiful and stylish on Long Island. Rivaling European wineries, the rustic, Tuscan-style building, with its warm ochre walls, houses a lavish tasting room with imported stained-glass doors, an expansive portico, and a state-of–the-art winery underneath. An appropriate foundation for the world-class Wölffer wines, among them the popular rosé known in the Hamptons as “Summer in a Bottle,” created and nurtured by winemaker Roman Roth. Wölffer Estate Vineyard values its long and gratifying relationship with Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner while watching his creativity and passion for life drive his many successes.
Cut 4 slits in the eggplant, then cut garlic into 4 pieces and stuff inside the eggplant. Place eggplant over open flame and grill. Keep turning eggplant, letting it char on the outside, and grill until softened. Peel charred skin off and place the eggplant into a blender. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and canola oil. Season with salt and pepper.
For the zucchini fricasse
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow squash,
1 green zucchini,
1 bulb onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato juice
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil, add in the squash and zucchini, and sauté. Add onions, garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
1 cup quinoa, boiled in lightly seasoned water, like pasta
4 radishes, brunoise
1 cucumber, brunoise
5 mint leaves, sliced thin
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss cooked quinoa with all ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.
For the fritters
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup milk plus more
to thin, if necessary
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups or more corn kernels, fresh, frozen,
3 tsp chopped fresh chives
Canola oil, for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything but the canola oil in a bowl, being sure not to overmix. Use a spoon and drop a tablespoon of the batter at a time into the frying oil. Fry until crispy, remove, and season with salt and pepper.
Cut 2 peaches in half and grill until slightly charred on both sides.
To plate, smear the eggplant puree on the plate. Place a mound of the quinoa salad next to the eggplant. Spoon the squash stew onto the eggplant puree. Top off with 3 slices of grilled peaches and 3 corn fritters.
Ten years Gotham’s senior, the Union Square Greenmarket has been a natural part of our R&D every day since we opened our doors. For the past three years, Gotham’s commitment to the greenmarket has deepened with the emergence of the Greenmarket to Gotham program, which we launched in the summer of 2010.
Since then, we have created an all-vegetarian prix fixe every summer, changing the menu and purveyor each week. Why? Because corn is at its prime in August and September (not June), and heirloom tomatoes are at their peak precisely mid-July. Having built a kinship with local purveyors, Gotham wanted to highlight all the hard work that goes into your plate before the ingredients even get to the kitchen.
This program would not be possible without Chef Alfred Portale’s two right hands, chefs Livio Velardo and Jacinto Guadarrama, who spend hours each week developing a vibrant menu for Greenmarket to Gotham. We followed them one week to see just how they come up with these weekly new menus.
Step 1. Go to the Greenmarket.
Every Monday, the chefs walk over to the Union Square Greenmarket to survey the produce and chat with purveyors about the progression of their crops. Here, Jacinto chats with Franca Tantillo of Berried Treasures, known for her very fine tomatoes, green beans, and potatoes, not to mention the berries. The chefs choose whom to work with based on what any given farm may be bringing to market and how it might be incorporated in the Gotham menu.
Steps 2 and 3. Develop a recipe around the ingredient. And test it!
For Livio and Jacinto, the biggest challenge is creating a menu that truly reflects Gotham’s multidimensional cuisine—layers of flavor, texture, and color—while bringing a simplicity and freshness to each dish, allowing the “hero” ingredient to shine. After extensive tweaking, they present the dish to Alfred, who settles on flavor and plating.
Once Alfred approves, it’s time to teach the kitchen how to execute the dish. Jacinto often tapes and texts his plating technique to the kitchen staff for their reference. (Gotta love smartphones!)
Step 4. Develop language for the menu.
The chefs enlist General Manager Bret Csencsitz to help best describe the multifaceted dishes in just a few words.
Step 5. Serve! And start thinking about next week . . .
This year, we decided to extend Greenmarket to Gotham to take advantage of the fall harvest—beautiful squashes, sweet peppers, just-picked apples, and more. Here we share the all-vegetarian recipe for a roasted squash and sweet pepper fricassee.
For the Chimichurri Sauce
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp minced shallots
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Make the Chimichurri Sauce
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the olive oil, parsley, cilantro, shallots, pepper flakes, garlic, and salt.
2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
3. Right before serving, add the sherry vinegar. (Vinegar, if allowed to rest too long, will ruin the bright, green color of the sauce.)
For the Tomahawk
One 40-oz dry-aged tomahawk chop, about
2 1/2-inches thick
Freshly ground black pepper
4 oz (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Make the Tomahawk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and position rack in the middle of the oven. Pat the steak dry and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Let the steak come to room temperature before cooking.
2. In a large ovenproof sauté pan set over high heat, warm enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan just before it starts to smoke. Add the steak and sear for 1 minute.
3. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook the steak, without moving it, for about 4 minutes. Check the bottom of the steak to see if it is charred to your liking, and flip to the other side and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes for medium rare.
5. Return the steak to the pan, and over medium heat add the butter, garlic, and thyme. Increase heat to high and baste steak for about 2 minutes (if the butter starts to burn, lower the heat and add a bit of oil to the pan to reduce the overall temperature of the butter).
6. Transfer the steak to a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Reserve the brown steak butter in the pan. When ready to serve, slice the steak across the grain.
Assemble the Dish
1. Divide the sliced steak between 2 warmed plates and sprinkle flaky sea salt on top.
2. Spoon chimichurri on top of the steak, drizzle with reserved butter, and sprinkle with smoked salt and black pepper. Serve with more chimichurri on the side.
He’s a Michelin-starred Iron Chef, so it could have been easy to create a menu that would intimidate people with its bold flavors and unfamiliar ingredients. Instead, Marc Forgione has felt the welcoming, open arms of his customers as they embrace his creativity, which gives him something to muse over…
“Marc Forgione has an extraordinary ability to truly concentrate and drive flavor. We have never worked with a chef who has such a bold flavor profile. Technically, Marc is a very valid chef, but his whole approach really has chops to it. When you read the American Cut menu, you quickly realize that it speaks to everyone. It’s not fluffy or pretentious; it’s a good, straight-ahead, New American steakhouse where he is able to reinterpret these classics and give them real character—specifically Marc Forgione character—to deliver something other than the conventional heart-attack steak. It makes a real impact because he uses the best products in the country, has perfect technique, and does an extraordinary job of training his staff. At the end of the day, you have equally intense flavor delivered in a different fashion. And when you go through all the dishes, right down to the sides, the flavor is so bold that it resonates with the client base. I don’t think Atlantic City has ever seen a steakhouse that looks and feels quite like American Cut: dark and sexy with Led Zeppelin playing in the background. It has real personality.” —John
“All I can do as a chef is follow my gut. And as it happened, some of the menu items that could have gone either way ended up becoming our most popular. I attribute that to the uniqueness of the dish. Take our Seafood Tasting: the custom-made double tower is not only impressive in that it takes two servers to get to the table, but it’s a unique approach to the typical plateau de fruits de mer as there is both hot and cold seafood including chili lobster, bbq baked oysters, raw oysters, shrimp cocktail, yellowfin tuna, hiramasa, and jumbo lump crab. It’s badass! And our prime 28-day, dry-aged Tomahawk Rib Eye Chop, seasoned with smoked salts and cooked in a cast-iron pan at 600 degrees in a woodburning stove, is another favorite—I think in part because it adds an indulgence to something very familiar to all of us.
The first year of any opening is an unknown, but I really feel like we connected with the local clientele. When I talk to our guests, I find a lot of them have driven in for the night from Philly or the surrounding Jersey Shore areas, like Cherry Hill and Brigantine. It’s exciting because, while we’re not the first to do a steakhouse in Atlantic City, I really believe we are offering something that is a little different at a very competitive price, in a space that is definitely not your typical establishment. We wanted to create an environment conducive not only to guys with cigars but also girls who want to come in and have a great meal and some fun cocktails. And that’s exactly what we did. It’s rock ’n’ roll, man, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So I’m extremely grateful to all our customers for our initial success!” —Chef Marc Forgione
“Bringing the South of France to Atlantic City was by far our boldest move at Revel, and our guests have really appreciated it. Azure is all about that aspirational experience: it’s about the bright, vibrant room; the view of the sea; the sexy lounge music; and the great food. It’s an escape into another world, and that makes for a big night out. I think that’s what really resonates with a local community who might not want to be out until 1:00 a.m. at a nightclub but is still looking for a real dining-entertainment kind of experience. Alain’s food is simple, but he has a very precise technique and is a real stickler for sourcing fresh ingredients. It’s a relatively straightforward seafood program paired with lots of glasses of rosé, the right music, a unique room, and a sexy crowd.” —John Meadow
“Opening Azure has been a great experience because the customers really seem to be enjoying it. The location is just spectacular, with high ceilings, high windows, and the ocean view. There is a carefree St. Tropez/Capri ambiance, good music, and professional but never uptight service. There’s nothing over the top or crazy about it; it’s simply a fun day-to-day restaurant that allows you to come in the way you want to and have a good time.
While the idea and taste for each dish has remained the same, we have adapted our menu to fit our clientele. Everything served is relatable with full-bodied flavors that allow me to tell a story about the Riviera with my food. And while we do offer meat dishes, our seafood shines: salmon, scallops, Chilean sea bass, lobster, branzino, and our highly demanded seafood risotto. Our whole fish is deboned for the utmost convenience of our guests. We add a few tableside presentations because of the charm of the show, but that’s the extent of it.
What has been the most exciting part for me is to watch the diners take in and enjoy the entire experience. This restaurant is a big part of who I am. The Mediterranean coastal cuisine is what I grew up on. And so having a chance to not only showcase my roots but also see it succeed is fantastic.” —Chef Alain Allegretti
“We felt going in that Lugo Cucina e Vino at Revel was the one restaurant that would be very appealing to a critical mass of guests because if offers something for everyone. It has been well received because it became exactly what we wanted it to be: a place where you can come in and have a casual drink, and still have a dining experience in the back. Between the coffee and espresso bar and the fact that we are now open for lunch, we get a regular stream of people from 11 in the morning until midnight.” —Curt Huegel
“What makes Lugo so special is its personal, approachable experience for everyone. It’s the only LDV restaurant that was not ‘created’ in Atlantic City. Both our New York and Revel locations share the same level of heartfelt approach in terms of ambiance and service, and the food is real. Lugo personifies who we are and our values—so much so, it’s kind of the cornerstone of our business. The idea of Lugo is that this ambiance can be recreated anywhere: it can travel and be received in a lot of different cities, and Revel is a great example of this mobility.
The concept of a neighborhood restaurant in a casino is virtually impossible to achieve, and yet Lugo is becoming that kind of faithful staple. We always intended for Lugo to be that place of comfort where you can find those signature dishes that offer you a true Italian dining experience—the meatballs, the Neapolitan pizzas, the homemade pastas—and you can relate to it, and that’s exciting to you. We have a loyal repeat clientele at Lugo and that’s because we’ve found a way into the local community.
Lugo is a communal, accessible indulgence in the good life, as opposed to a privileged life—essentially, that’s LDV Hospitality. It’s a place that invites you to come back over and over again.” —John Meadow
Opening three new restaurants is no small feat. To seamlessly open them all at the same time might be only slightly short of a miracle. Recalling the effort puts smiles on the faces of LDV principals John Meadow and Curt Huegel, who see American Cut, Azure, and Lugo as successful on many levels since the April opening of Revel in Atlantic City. Here, they push past the early days and talk about the culture of longevity now that the beach towels have been folded and put away.
It was always important to us from the very beginning to create restaurants that cultivate an independent spirit. This has been our philosophy not only at Revel but also with every chef and partner we have and each concept we brand. It would have been easy to simply replicate the places we already had, but that wasn’t our goal. Of course, we were thrilled to be in Revel, we were thrilled to be in Atlantic City, and that’s why we wanted to tailor each experience so that our restaurants really become authentic resort destinations instead of just casino amenities.
You see it too often: New York restaurants opening in large Vegas casinos, but they just aren’t the same. You don’t feel the fit. A dining experience in an independent restaurant is worlds apart from food you get at most airports, hotels, and casinos—and I’m proud to say that’s what we achieved with three fantastic restaurants at Revel. It was extremely satisfying to see our vision for each place come to fruition and have guests recognize this, which is exactly what happened. American Cut is a new concept. We knew we had this fantastic chef in Marc Forgione, but the reality is: American Cut was built and brought to life, and it worked. And now we meet countless people who tell us that it is the best restaurant in New Jersey. We already had one restaurant with Alain Allegretti in New York, but the fact of the matter is that Azure is a totally different place, and a lot of locals find it to be a great destination spot for their Saturday nights out. They are getting dressed up and excited about having a piece of the South of France in their own backyard. Even Lugo, which was not created for Revel, has taken on a personality of its own that is locally driven.
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