The Food Chain

Boa’s Brent Berkowitz Says Bix’s Steak Tartare Is ‘the Standard’

Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Ernest Lepore, the executive baker at Ferrara in NYC, sang the praises of the Kobe steak at Boa in Los Angeles. We now turn to Boa’s menu creator Brent Berkowitz to see what recent food memory he can’t get out of his head.

Who: Brent Berkowitz, operations manager at Innovative Dining Group, Los Angeles
What: Tableside steak tartare
Where: Bix, San Francisco

“Bix’s tableside steak tartare is a classic for me. Even though we have one in our restaurant, theirs is the best. It’s the most original one that I’ve ever eaten and to this day, it’s the standard in my head. The quality of the meat is very good, the proportions of what they put into the meat are phenomenal. I like the way they toast their little olive bread to go with it. It’s just a really nice little dish.”

Bruce Hill, executive chef at Bix, responds:

“The steak tartare at Bix is completely classic French style. Beef, shallots, capers, parsley, mustard, egg yolk, chile sauce (I changed it from Tabasco to Sriracha). We mist it with brandy as a final step. We make it from 60% New York strip and 40% Kobe bavette from Golden Gate Meat company, and the key to the best tartare is you’ve got to chop it by hand. The toasts are made from black-olive baguette — they have a great saltiness. I inherited the dish when I took over Bix in 2002, and we’ve had it on the menu since 1988. The reason for the tableside preparation is to show the quality of the ingredients and to give the customer the experience of seeing the dish come together. (Some people customize it with less or more of some of the ingredients.)”

The finished product.Brian Smeets/Grub Street

Boa’s Brent Berkowitz Says Bix’s Steak Tartare Is ‘the