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Executive Chef Mark LoRusso

    Petite Filet

Dining with Chefs: Executive Chef Mark LoRusso
Botero (Part 2 of 2)

We were telling Chef LoRusso how much we enjoyed the Loup de Mer when he told us how much he enjoyed it, too -- when he tried it. “Sometimes when you run a restaurant you try it at the beginning then you don’t try it for a while,” he confessed. “Then the other day I ate one and it was really good.”

Having tasted the sea, we moved on to land with the Petite Filet with the pepper style presentation, which is one of several options. ”I got lucky because I’ve got two really good grill cooks,” Chef LoRusso said. “We were thinking that steaks are selling so well -- I think all over the country, but especially in Vegas right now -- so we thought, ‘We’ll sell a lot of steaks.’ Some of these places are charging for sauce and for this and that. We said, ‘Let’s give the clientele an option, some choices of how they want their steak.’ One choice is the pepper style. We came up with three pepper sauces, and then I was at an Asian restaurant where they sent out an amuse of shishito peppers. I was like, ‘Wow, these are really good,’ so I put them under the steak, then added the three pepper sauces. You can also have steak with chimichurri or you can have the traditional preparation. You also can have as add-ons lobster, crab or foie gras. Every steak, except for the pepper style, comes with a little caramelized onion tart.”

Truffle Macaroni and Cheese

While the steak was plenty filling, we had to try at least one side. To us it was a no-brainer: We chose the Truffled Mac & Cheese. “This is a kind of classic,” Chef LoRusso said. “It’s elbow pasta that we serve with a béchamel cream sauce with a good amount of truffle in there. We use truffle butter and truffle peelings. I don’t use truffle oil or anything like that; I don’t like truffle oil.”

Finally, we moved onto dessert. And with lollipops and cupcakes, who can resist? “We wanted to do something kind of fun, so we got this guy who does some stuff around town and he made the Botero mold that holds the lollipops,” Chef LoRusso said. “Patrick, our pastry chef, bought an anti griddle. It’s about minus 35 degrees, and it’s a little griddle that you can plug in. He makes crème anglaise and puts it on the grill. You put the stick in there and literally it takes about 10 seconds to freeze it. Then we dip the lollipops in chocolate and freeze them to keep them cold, although they are already frozen. It’s a similar thing with the cupcakes; those little dips of ice cream are made on the anti griddle. Patrick takes all these different flavors of anglaises and freezes them on the anti griddles. It’s kind of cool. We wanted to do a fun dessert and cupcakes are kind of the things these days, right?”

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