Nick & Stef’s new Executive Chef Megan Logan is a bit of an anomaly. A California native who got her start as a server at 15, attended Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena and rose through the ranks of the Patina Group, Logan is one of the few women in the industry to helm a steakhouse kitchen. I was recently invited to a media dinner to experience Logan’s prowess in the form of a multi-course meal with wine, cocktail and beer pairings. Oh, and there was a cheese plate! Well played, Chef.
The night of feasting—and I mean feasting—began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. I like it raw, so I was really pleased that yellowfin ahi and avocado on fried wonton (pictured) and filet mignon tartar on olive crostini were passed around. I chose to pair them with a Sidecar, a refreshingly tart cocktail of Courvoisier VSOP, Cointreau, and lemon.
One of the early highlights of the meal was the beautifully composed salad of roasted beets, gorgonzola and beet puree, accented with cucumber vinaigrette and candied hazelnuts. The creamy intensity of the gorgonzola played off the earthiness of the pureed beets.
Next came the pan-seared scallop (not pictured). It caused quite a hubbub at the table thanks to its lightly-browned, slightly crispy crust and unbelievably moist, tender center. I’m convinced that there would be considerably less scallop prejudice in the world if they were all cooked like this.
I know this is shocking, but Nick & Stef’s has great steak. I’m more of a steak liker than lover, but the duo of beef—Prime Angus rib-eye and New York strip—won me over. The NY Strip really sang with a drizzle of creamy blue cheese, which was one of four sauce options. I dipped into the chimichurri as well, but it was a little too salty for my tastes. The bold flavor and tenderness of the steak is due, in part, to 28 days of on-site dry aging.
There were plenty of comfort-inducing sides served with our steak, including a classic mac and cheese, a very-creamy creamed bloomsdale spinach, a hearty cabbage and kale fricassee with bacon lardon, mushroom ragout with wild chanterelles and maitakes, and roasted squash made crunchy with paprika-seasoned seeds. There wasn’t a slacker in the bunch, which is good because really it’s the sides that I look forward to at a steak house.
Beer and cheese pairing! The Hook’s 10 Year Cheddar was a standout because it boasted two of my favorite cheese attributes: sharpness and crystallization. The beer I loved was the sweet and hoppy Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Oregon.
Dessert was a vast wonderland of sweet treats. I shared my board with Val from Trippy Food, and he can attest to my insisting on even-steven splitting of each confection. The macarons were pretty stellar and the marshmallows (especially the pistachio) were a nice touch.