Much was afoot last night here in South Beach, between the evening’s somewhat staid main event, a tribute dinner to Jean-Georges Vongerichten, big after-parties at the chefs-only 212 Access House and Versace Mansion, and a Mario Batali dinner at Danny DeVito’s eponymous South Beach restaurant. There, at close quarters in the kitchen, Batali worked the pasta station; Del Posto and Babbo chefs Mark Ladner and Frank Langello on sauté; Adam Perry Lang cooked immense “103” rib steaks with vast, protruding bones; and Jamie Oliver helped out as needed.
Adam Perry Lang’s commitment to Carnevino, the new Batali-Bastianich meatery in Las Vegas, has come at a cost: We’ve learned the chef is no longer associated with Robert’s Steakhouse at the Penthouse Executive Club, which we’ve long maintained is the best steakhouse in the city. “It was a great opportunity and fun project to develop,” Perry Lang tells us. “But I’m now focusing my attention on Daisy May's, Carnevino, and everything else beef-related.” Given Lang's famously obsessive commitment to his projects, we can't see how this could have been otherwise. As for who’s minding the store at Robert’s, it’s a case of meet the new boss, same as the old boss: Jayson Marguiles, the former chef de cuisine who ran every aspect of the place day-to-day, has been elevated to executive chef, with his duties (and presumably Robert’s steak) remaining the same as they’ve been.
Related: Adam Perry Lang Seeks to Create the Perfect Beef Animal
In the meat business, sourcing is the ultimate boast: It’s not enough to claim your meat is “prime,” when any meathead worth his cholesterol knows how promiscuously that once-proud term is thrown around. No, today’s steakhouse has to have boutique sources or, even better, their own prize bull, as at Primehouse NY. But no meat man has a more obsessive take on quality than Adam Perry Lang. The Robert's and Daisy May chef tells us that he’s currently in the process of researching what will be his own beef program in Montana. “It’s so important to understand it, to be able to control what’s happening. I want to say that I’m doing everything I can to get it where I want it. I want to raise beef the right way. I want to know I’m doing the right thing.”
The Times, touching on a story Grub Street broke when Moses was in short pants, had a big feature on the dearth of experienced pitmasters Sunday, pegged on GS pal Big Lou Elrose of Wildwood. The piece marvels at the quick ascent of Big Lou from working an Ozone Park lunch wagon to his current post, but in fact, Elrose’s bones were made as Adam Perry Lang’s right hand man in competition; the lunch wagon was just a lark. Still, the city’s top pitmasters are as baffling to food writers as they are to the general public. Their job is hard to understand, because nothing they do happens while customers are present to observe. The pitmaster's art is exercised in the dead night, in secrecy and silence, and outside observers rarely get any glimpse of what it involves. There is one factor that never changes, though, and will always separate real pitmasters from merely titular ones.
Dear Grub Street,
We are a family of four, seeking a top-notch private chef. We like nouvelle French, Italian, and American in that order. I would appreciate if you could direct us as to where to advertise. Thank you.