Years before Joe Rosetti arrived in his current position as the executive chef for Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group, he had made his mark on the culinary scene as a steak master. He worked alongside famed chef David Burke to open several Smith & Wollensky restaurants across the country (e.g. Chicago, New Orleans, South Beach) as well as served as the opening chef for David Burke Prime in Connecticut.
At the Italian-focused steakhouse Harry Caray’s, Rosetti is totally in his element, as he gets to cook his favorite two cuisines: Italian fare and steaks. One of the reasons why the restaurant group runs like a well-oiled machine is due to Grant DePorter, CEO of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group. Under DePorter’s leadership, the number of restaurants has grown to six, which includes the seafood-focused Holy Mackerel! in Lombard, Ill.
Steaks, of course, are the group’s bread and butter, and it’s received accolades year after year for being one of the nation’s very best. Rosetti enlightens us more on how Harry Caray’s has managed to stay on top.
What is your favorite cut of steak?
The dry aged, bone-in Kansas City steak. To me it has the perfect amount of marbling and ages beautifully. That bone adds a lot of flavor to the meat. We run (it) as a special on weekends.
Do you prefer dry- or wet-aged steaks?
Dry because it’s a fuller flavor and the texture of meat is tenderer. The dry age is really juicy inside, but it won’t bleed out all over the place. It also cooks quicker and you end up with a better steak overall. Finally, the dry-aged steaks are selling better than wet at our restaurants.
How do you like your steak prepared? Why?
I cook my steaks medium rare. If it’s a ribeye, I allow it to go to medium because it allows the flavor to come out.
What are some of your favorite offbeat pairings with steak?
During the summer, we do a sweet summer corn brulee; it’s like a dessert but it’s not as sweet. It’s garnished with Grade A parmesan and Romano cheeses and it mimics the shell of the brulees. (During colder months) we take wild mushrooms and bake them into a popover and garnish with truffle cream.
What are some of the most underrated steak cuts?
The bison that we carry is the Rickets family cut; it is a little bit leaner, but it has a nice moisture to it. We serve it as a filet and ribeye. The cheaper cuts of meat such as veal breast or beef shank (are also underrated). The slow, short rib is a beautiful cut of meat with a nice braise on it. It’s really satisfying.
I love that you have so many non-steak choices at Harry Caray’s. What is one of your favorites? What are the best sellers?
I’m very proud of our pastas and fresh fish. It’s very important that a prime steak house should offer these choices. We fly in fish at all three of our locations daily, six days a week. Our best seller is the mustard maple glazed salmon. It’s garnished with beautiful artichoke hearts. The pappardelle Bolognese is also one of my favorites. It’s filled with beef and pork that have been braised for four to six hours.
What are some of the challenges when dealing with large parties when everyone orders a steak and wants it cooked to different temperatures?
I think it’s all in the planning. We ask a general rule with people in a group of 30 or more; we have them order steaks medium. We may also ask the host to plan accordingly if tastes are so much different.
Why did you choose this recipe to highlight as signature dish at Harry Caray’s?
To highlight our Italian steakhouse roots, I chose Tagliata. The dish’s accompaniments not only pair well with the steak, but are some of my favorite flavors of the season. The whipped sweet potato “fluff,” with sweet potato and marshmallow fluff, will transport most diners back to Mom’s house for a memorable Thanksgiving feast. And the maple roasted-bacon Brussels sprouts; well who doesn’t love maple roasted bacon?
By Audarshia Townsend