Chef Dave Beran talks Next: Chicago Steak

The chef talks about inspiration for the new menu and putting a Next spin on a classic concept.



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Beran can’t draw on much personal experience—he hasn’t been to a Chicago steakhouse (he went to N9NE some years ago) and he’s vegan in his day-to-day life, which he sees as an asset in terms of tasting.

“Not having had steak in a really long time, when I started tasting beef, I started realizing all the nuances to it,” he says. “It’s like drinking milk, if you drink it every day, you get used to it. So I was able to notice things like different aging techniques, different aging periods.”

During their research, Beran says that they learned that “steakhouses seemed to be more of a party. Regulars would come in and have their spot and everyone knew their name and their drink. It was much more of a see and be seen place to be and place to go. There was a trend of naming courses after regulars.”

The naming convention pops up at Next.

“For food, we talked a lot about courses like oysters Rockefeller and clams casino and all those really popular courses for the time that were indicative of that era of steakhouse,” Beran says. “But what I wanted to do with this menu is not put oysters Rockefeller or clams casino on it, since they were signatures of steakhouses of the time and for us to do that would be copying. I really wanted to become a steakhouse of the time. So we went and created dishes that are similar in style and match trends of the time, but aren’t specifically the same as the course. There’s an oyster course, there’s a clam course, but there isn’t oysters Rockefeller or clams casino. And they’re named the way they would be named in that era.”

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