The new season of Top Chef starts next week. Psyched. And TC Masters wraps up. Hell’s Kitchen, the ultimate train wreck, airs tonight. I can’t wait. It’s so wrong, it's right. I can’t not watch.
So here’s the catch: You go away for a few weeks and all hell breaks loose! Tim McKee and Josh Thoma are apparently out at Barrio and are now saying that they were always just consultants, not owners. Weird, that’s not how I remember it. This story is one of those more-than-meets-the-eye types of tales and I look forward to one day hearing it all from the horse’s mouth.
Steven Brown, the stove-less chef who I think makes the best food in town, dish for dish, pound for pound, is supposedly opening a small gastro-tavern in the old Rice Paper space . . . well Rice Paper is still in Linden Hills on 43rd Street, and they are there ‘til June before they move to larger digs in Edina. Brown is being very mum on this subject. Not mum on the subject of Brown were a dozen of the best chefs in town who were all at the Minikahda Club last Wednesday evening for Bob and Sue Macdonald’s event honoring yours truly. Steven was there, and almost every chef in attendance at some point in the evening shared with me the following paraphrased sentiment: “Hey, didja hear about Steven’s place? He is the best chef in town, bar none.” And I agree.
I started playing Name That Dish from the old Levain days with a few of the chefs as we were watching the moon rise at 11 p.m. from the private deck high above Lake Calhoun—halibut with green apple, fennel and licorice—we all remembered that dish, and we adored it. Roasted nectarine tart with black olive sorbet, roasted squab, wild mushroom soup, I could go on and on—the food at Levain, in its prime, was the best food I ate regularly in the Twin Cities in the 18 plus years I have lived year. Close seconds?? Well some of these places had some bad seasons, but everything from Auriga to Goodfellows, from Loring Café to Heartland, from a Rebours to Aquavit to La Belle Vie, both in its old Stillwater locale and its current station. How about Vincent in its second year of business? Remember that food?! Three Creams still might be the all time best Twin Cities dessert.
But I digress . . . I am really excited about Steven Brown cooking again, publicly.
My buddy Oren Clark has a new book, check it out here. My friend Carmina (her friends get to drop the La when addressing her royal hipsterness) pimps us out on her blog and if you don’t subscribe to this woman’s Facebook, blog, and Twitter feeds you are really missing out, kids.