Last week I had the opportunity to shoot a segment for NBC with Top Chef season 3 runner up and All-Star Dale Levitzski at his restaurant Sprout. It was so fun. Dale is totally cool and sweet, not to mention, he’s an awesome chef.
I just don’t understand how he comes up with such complex dishes, in terms of the number of components, that come together with such harmony. Really, most people just mess things up with more components, making a dish muddled, awkward and unappealing to the pallate. But he says he only has to do a couple of trial runs to get them to come out the way he wants it. I feel like it would take me 10 tries to be able to balance so many ingredients just right.
Here’s the video:
I chose Sprout to do a segment on after we had brunch there a couple of weeks back. We were totally blown away by our delicious food as well as the cocktails which were just as interesting and tasty! I felt really lucky that he agreed to do it with me. I AM kinda fingerling (that’s ‘small’) potatoes compared to what he’s done in the past. Such a nice guy…
Anyway, here’s what we had:
Me: The Rabbit Hash.
I’m not going to go into detail because hopefully you got the point from the video. It’s sooo good. Actually, what they didn’t show (but do have on video) was me taking a bite of the one we made together and accidentally dropping an F-bomb because it was so good. Now that’s good TV right there:).
Him: Steak & Eggs:
Clearly this is not your ordinary steak and eggs. The steak is actually dipped in a hush puppy and crab batter then fried. It has a sunny side up egg resting on top of it, along with a fresh herb and cucumber salad. Beneath all of it is a delicious little potato salad. Like I said, there’s a lot going on but it all works so well together.
Here’s a picture after we cut into it. The batter is pretty thick and you can kind of see the crab meat on the top. You could really get the flavor from the sweet corn batter, plus the crab, plus the steak. It’s wonderful.
Dale told me that he hates getting bored with food. He doesn’t want to eat something that’s going to taste the same way all the way through. That’s why he cooks the way he does. He wants you to get the the end of your dish and still be discovering new flavor combinations within it. He wants the first bite to be different from the last and each in between. See why I like him so much?
The cocktails, too, are so interesting. There’s one called the Curious Jorge that consists of Tequilla, iced coffee, horchata (Mexican rice milk) and a bruleed banana. What? Yeah, that’s what I said. I didn’t get a chance to taste it but I most certainly will on my next visit. The other crazy one that I can’t even conceptualize as far as a flavor profile is the Rumaki Fizz. Bacon infused vodka, pineapple, honey soy reduction and ginger beer. Hmmmm…. Maybe somebody else should order that one so I can have a sip:).
The service is great, too. Very friendly and very educated. I mean, the staff kind of has to be super educated about the menu since there’s no way he’s going to get all of that info onto paper. They’ll basically describe every dish in complete detail if you ask them too.
The space is also nice. They recently add a sort of indoor patio that has lots of windows and natural light. Hopefully they’ll be able to open those windows soon! It’s definitely a hip but welcoming little place.