Chef Chat, Part 3: John Schenk of Strip House

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This week, we caught up with Executive Chef John Schenk of Strip House. Check out our conversation here and here. Today, we try some of his menu items.

I started out with the roasted bacon salad. Calling this dish an appetizer is like referring to Yao Ming as smallish. I have never before seen massive slabs of deliciously cured bacon served up as an app. A party of ten people could comfortably split this starter. The flavors from the charred edges, along with the chunks of fatty goodness that melt with each bite, were just so overwhelmingly good. Any more than half of one piece, and you'll ruin the rest of your meal. Also, this was technically a salad, but I have absolutely no memory of anything green on the plate.

Next, out came the sides, Black Truffle Creamed Spinach and Potatoes Romanoff, as well as the main course, a 22-ounce Bone-in Rib Eye. In short, the insanity continued. The spinach was a time-intensive labor of love, with the end-product yielding an absolutely perfect side dish to a fine steak. Butter, cream, shallots, and Parmesan cheese meld together in such harmony, making it almost impossible to have a sense of portion control. A few bites will make your ass look like a sofa. This was the ultimate guilty food pleasure -- well, almost the ultimate. I'll get to that in a minute.

The Potatoes Romanoff was tasty, high in cheese content, but certainly not in the same ballpark as the creamed spinach. I decided to conserve a little stomach space and delve into the steak.

With that beautiful char on the outside, the 22-ounce Bone-in Rib Eye was just as Chef Schenk had described. The medium-rare piece of meat was flavored simply with salt, pepper, and canola and olive oil. I'm not a huge steak guy, but this was a damn good one, up there with some of the best I've eaten.

Finally, out came that glorious 24 Layer Chocolate Cake. This thing was a work of art. Layer after layer of chocolate cake and pudding, topped with a rich ganache. Three, maybe four bites, is all a normal-sized person needs. The cake was a fitting finale to a memorable meal.

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