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Home > DINING WITH CHEFS > Las Vegas Dining with Chefs > N9NE Steakhouse (Part 2 of 2)

Executive Chef Barry Dakake

N9NE Steakhouse

    Maine Scallops

Dining with Chefs: Executive Chef Barry Dakake
Part Two of Two

In order to serve "the best," Chef Dakake relies on the country's best suppliers. "I am very fortunate here in Las Vegas because we have access to great purveyors and I can get anything I want with proper notice," he said. "I like to cook like Picasso paints; Picasso used to not know what he was painting until he got to the drawing board. That's how I like to cook. I plan, but that's how I like to cook. Suppliers come to me and say, 'I have 30 pounds of butternut squash' and I say, 'Send it to me; let's make some butternut squash raviolis with butter and sage."

Among Chef Dakake's most important suppliers are his fish purveyors. "I buy fish throughout the world," he told us, "whether it's Hawaii, Japan or New England; fish roe from the Midwest; or farm-raised Scottish salmon. We spec out the best quality. I have one main purveyor -- Supreme Lobster -- who I buy all my New England lobsters from. He gets me fish from all over the world; he knows what I need -- he gets me Dover sole, for instance, American gold and white fish, black paddlefish and salmon roe."

Lobster Mashed Potatoes

The seafood that Chef Dakake likes most, however, is scallops, which he buys out of Ipswich, Mass. "Actually, I'm changing them up," he confessed to us. "It's done over a white truffle risotto and there's a little red wine sauce. It's more for the look, because you get all the flavor out of the white truffle risotto. The scallops are pan-seared and seasoned just with salt and pepper, then cooked medium and very simply plated with a little fresh thyme. Over the top of the scallops we do a little beurre blanc sauce with some shallots and fresh herbs. It's a very simple plate -- it's not just refreshing, it's delicious. When you get that burst of scallop and risotto with white truffle in your mouth, it's so delicious. It's out of this world and it's probably my No. 1 selling fish dish on the menu. Because as pretty as it looks, it eats 10 times better."

Of course, the same attention that he gives to his beloved scallops, Chef Dakake gives to all the dishes on the N9NE menu -- including the sides, such as the lobster mashed potatoes. "We make our potatoes fresh daily," he said. "They are put on in the afternoon. This is the good thing about this, because I like to get my cooks involved. I don't want them to come into the restaurant and be like a robot and say, 'OK everybody, this is what we have to make.' I give them all different responsibilities in the restaurant and one of the jobs for the lead sauté is that he has to make his potatoes daily. They are Yukon gold potatoes that are cooked and there is a lot of butter, a lot of heavy cream, and salt and pepper. They are riced by hand with a ricer -- that's why they are so smooth. Man, they are delicious. I'm telling you, if you're on a diet, that's not the dish to eat. Then of course there's some lobster sautéed with a little lobster sauce right over the top. Then the dish is garnished with some fine herbs and sent right out. Everyone goes crazy for the lobster mashed potatoes."

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