Chef Chat, Part 3: Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse

We finish our visit with Chef Killen by topping off my tank with a steak, creamed corn and some crème brulee bread pudding.

The simple seasoned New York strip was proof that less is more. Nothing was on the steak but salt and pepper and maybe some drool from me having to take pictures first. The steak was cooked blue, which means it was rarer than rare. Though Killen's menu described blue as having a cold, red center, it sure gave me a warm fuzzy center.

The creamed corn was exactly what it should be: good and simple. Killen's creamed corn only has eight ingredients: corn, milk, cream, salt, pepper, sugar, parmesan cheese and cayenne. Killen tells me that the amount of sugar he adds depends on the natural sweetness of the corn. During the summer, when the corn is sweeter, he uses less sugar. During the winter, he adds more. The parmesan on top creates a wonderfully flavorful crust, giving the dish a little crunch. The slight touch of cayenne pepper tingled my palate, making me want more.

The crème brulee bread pudding may just have ruined me for bread pudding. The silky crème brulee base, rich buttery croissants, and brandy-soaked fruits were each delicious individually. But with their powers combined, they became astonishing. It's no wonder Food & Wine had this dessert on its Best Restaurant Dishes of 2008.

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