Gotham's New Chef Todd Miller On Steakhouses, Succotash, and Mormons

Categories: Chef Interviews
Todd_Miller.jpg
New top toque Todd Miller
As Short Order learned late yesterday, Todd Miller has been hired as chef de cuisine at Gotham Steak in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Chef Miller is currently "in the kitchen performing," but he's really just getting started. "We'll be rolling out new dishes over the next week and a half or so. It's going to be in stages," he explains. "I want the staff to know exactly what they're serving, and it's hard to teach so many new things all at the same time." Miller's debut will likely first be felt in ten days, with the debut of Gotham's Miami Spice program. The released menu is currently being altered to reflect Miller's coming on board (we'll have the new MS menu soon enough).

We spoke by phone with the chef yesterday and discussed ribeye, churrasco, Utah, and funeral potatoes.

New Times: You worked at Barclay Prime (a steakhouse in Philadelphia), STK in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, and now Gotham Steak. So what is it about steakhouses that you like so much?

Todd Miller: You know what's so funny about that? There is nothing that I like about steakhouses (laughs).... But for me there's the old steakhouse from 20 years ago, and then the new steakhouse. The new steakhouse has healthy, fresh-forward food. It's not overly starched. I don't like to over-convolute anything. I like the ingredients to speak for themselves...For instance, for a tomato dish I might add a variation to go along with it, maybe a fresh basil leaf, and below it there may be basil oil, and below that there may be another basil element -- but at the end of the day it's going to be tomato and basil. When I go out to eat I look at the food and it's often one-dimensional or two-dimensional. I try to aspire to make my food three-dimensional.

As with most of your contemporaries, you're touting a back-to-the-basics philosophy...

There's nothing like taking a carrot and pulling it from the earth, rinsing it off in water, putting it your mouth and crunching the carrot and tasting that carrot for what it really is. A lot of people will blanch those carrots and then all the hot water goes down the drain with the minerals and flavor and everything. I try to come up with ways that when you cook the carrots they still have that fresh flavor to them, where they almost taste like they're just from the earth. That's kind of what I mean by three-dimensional -- the fresh chlorophyll flavors of it, the sweetness of it, and that carrot essence of what it is.

And then there are the steaks.

I really do enjoy the vibe of a steakhouse. How can you not love steak? It's so delicious. When it's cooked perfect you have that char and texture and everything about it is -- it's not hard to cook a perfect steak. But at the same time, within that steakhouse I don't see why you can't get that perfectly composed seafood dish, that amazing crudo dish, or a salad that will turn your head upside down. I want Gotham to be recognized for those things also.

What can we expect to see on the revised menu?

Alfred and I really love the very seasonal and fresh elements of the food and what's out there. Summer is here and corn is one thing, tomatoes another, and peas -- you're going to see all of those on the menu. For example, something very simple that we see all over the place is corn succotash. I like to put other things into the succotash to change the feel and the textures. So there's going to be something with scallops and a succotash.

We're looking at a few other things, like different types of steaks, different types of cuts. They could be a little more shareable, maybe a little bit smaller on one end and a little bit larger on the other end. Smaller, nuanced changes, too. When it comes to something as simple as garnishing a steak, at a lot of places you'll find the little sticks in them or something to indicate you're getting a medium rare steak. I've never been a fan of those. In the past I've marked steaks using natural vegetable purees, or pickled shallots fortified with reduced red wine, something along those lines. So I'll go over this and other ideas next week (with Portale) and whatever he likes, we're going to implement.

What do you order when dining at a steakhouse?

I'm a ribeye guy. I cooked for Morimoto multiple times at Barclay Prime, and he'd come in and literally want his steak charred on the outside for a minute-and-a-half, turn it for another minute-and-a-half...and when sliced it would still be ice cold in the middle. That's not the way I like to eat the ribeye. I like it nicely charred, and a medium rare plus.

Which cut of steak offers the best bang-for-the-buck?

A lot of people say it's chewy, but I think the churrasco -- or the skirt steak -- is amazing. It's incredibly marbled and incredibly flavored and it's one of the lower-priced pieces of meat.

Any major differences between Gotham and STK?

It's night and day. You can't compare the two. With STK, come Miami Spice it was very rough. Here, I've come into an operation where it's an oiled machine, and it's going to be very exciting. People are going to be able to see some of the new dishes we're talking about.

Anything from your native Utah that you just can't get here in South Florida?

A lot of churches and Mormons.

We actually meant food-wise.

Funeral potatoes. Within the Mormon religion, whenever someone passes or whatever everyone will go to the church for the function and they'll have funeral potatoes, which are like hash browns that have cheese and all kinds of stuff all around it. I think they have them in other places, but it was in Utah that I first had experiences with them.

Will we be seeing these on the Gotham menu anytime soon?

No, not anytime soon, unless we put some fresh truffles on it, taleggio, maybe something like that.

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Location Info

FB Steakhouse

4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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16 comments
Anonimus
Anonimus

finally he is gone !!!!!!!! 5 months and his fired !!!!

Jmonge1
Jmonge1

he is so good we had closed the doors for business at 8:30 p.m. on a sunday and a monday night.... so how good is he??????? we could not even take more reservations last saturday night... the dude is so lost... by the way churrasco is not a restaurant steak,,, i agree it's a beautiful piece of meat but with a beer and on my grill at home not at a high end steak house....oh by the way "foams" are so 2002-2003...  this is not utah anymore.... funeral potatoes.... change the name or stay in utah....do not insult the staff about how to pronounce the right way items on the menu (which by the way it was pronounced right) when you cannot even cook for 80 reservations on a sunday night....

Kitchen dude
Kitchen dude

While everyone else is chiming in I should too.  Todd is the biggest A Hole I have ever met.  he never went to culinary school and acts like king shit.  Not that you have to go to school, but his lack of experience doesn't give him the license to say "industry taught."  Oh, and the way he treats his people is so demeaning no one wants to work for him.  I feel bad for the kitchen team at Gotham.  Update your resumes boys.  You will get fed up and tell him where to go soon enough. 

PSif you want to get a rise out of him.  ask him what happened at the last place he "owned."  LOL.  Loser

Chef
Chef

I can speak for several other people who have worked for him and we would all agree.  He's a total DB and a terrible chef.  All EGO and no actual skills.  He will be fired before you know it. 

Feefifofum
Feefifofum

You know something?  I've worked with this guy before and I must say that apart from being a whiny prima donna, he is truly and sincerely a class act royal douchebag.  Let's just say that he's not really what he's cut out to be. His dishes aren't really anything spectacular, just modifications of what he's 'borrowed' from other establishments. And the man has an awful attitude. He talks down to those around him as though they are mere peasants. I speak from experience. With all due respect Mr. Miller, go fuck yourself.

anonymus
anonymus

First off all , my name is Sean, I worked under Todd a while ago  at a well know and established restaurant that is still successful thanks to Todd today ...and I have no complaints. He has high expectations and if you are a 25 year old kid who can't take the heat... step out of the kitchen and say things to his face. Second of all ,there is a reason why he is your boss and you are working under him. If you do not like him personally then quit your job and take you inadequate experience elsewhere. I personally know that for him quality goes over quantity and I doubt the management wants to run his restaurant like a TGI FRIDAYS where I think you should be working. Thanks, and really if you are a man and you obviously are working with him on a day to day basis at Gotham , you should man up and tell him to his face so maybe they will reconsider your employment with them any further. I doubt that either he or Alfred want people that have personal issues that will affect there performance in the kitchen and the reputation of the restaurant working there another day.

Monabell
Monabell

Wow! What hateful people. If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything.

Monabell
Monabell

Again, if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything.

Sean
Sean

There is why you were an employee under him and not his boss... if you were any smarter you probably would have been above him.

Monabell
Monabell

Wow! If you don't have anything nice to say you shouldn't say anything.

employee
employee

you might be a little mistaken... i do not work for under him and by all means i agree about high expectations. i have enough experience for you to assume i am only 25. u might not understand gotham is not a 40 seat restaurant, we do 400 to 500 on weekends, oh and with his attitude the guy is not approchable... its not about personal issues its about respect and being ethical, something even a 25 year old can understand.... you have your opinion and we have ours... we work with him now.... not you

employee
employee

i agree but don't come to a new restaurant demanding respect when all we get is attitude  

Monabell
Monabell

If you have a problem with someone be a problem solver.  Go to him and tell him your issues.  They are your issues and problems not his and unless they are known they can't be solved.  Be a MAN or a WOMAN and stop your hateful banter online and your passive aggressive attitude.  Try looking in the mirror and get off your pedestal.  Solve the problem don't be the problem.  By the way, would your mother or grandmother be proud of the way your representing yourself?

xo
xo

They are going to find out really soon ( trust me) . 

anonymus
anonymus

I understand that it is nice to be respected and treated appropriately, its a luxury you earn working in a restaurant. However, if you have an issue , go to him and say it to his face.That is what I am saying,what is your name by the way? your full name and your position so maybe I can tell him how you feel?

xo
xo

That is why they are writing an article about him and not you. He has earned his respect as a chef.... if you do not like him get another job. 

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