Calling a place a “Meat Market” can make certain people wince, unless, of course, you’re talking about chef Sean Brasel’s insanely hot Miami Beach restaurant. And yes, while the restaurant has a literal and figurative tie to that name with a thriving bar scene and drool-worthy patrons, it’s the grazing kind that brings foodies back and back again to eat popular dishes such as their Kobe skirt steak with lemongrass, ginger and roasted local chili or tropical braised “fatty” brisket with coconut, mango, Cuban sweet potatoes and wild mushrooms.
We spoke with the Colorado-born Chef and award-winning restauranteur/caterer (he and business partner David Tornek recently launched a high-end Kosher division for their Touch Catering) about life, his obvious obsession with dark chocolate, and what he wants his customers to know most about his meat.
1. What’s an underrated food city and why?
Denver. I was just out there and with the explosion of investment opportunities mixed with the difficulty of sporadic tourism, it’s a highly competitive market. I believe that there are some chefs doing amazing things to be creative and push the envelope so as to stand out in that city.
2. What food trend are you tired of?
Grass fed beef vs. Prime. People are very limited in their knowledge of what true grass fed beef really is, and they are basing their knowledge on what they read versus what they have experienced.
A few customers ask me if our steaks are grass fed but then when customers try them, they complain about the lack of fat and or how tough they are. I said, “That’s Grass Fed Beef.”
Don’t get me wrong, good grain and good corn are not unhealthy, but if you want grass fed, I’d suggest you order wild game like my buffalo tenderloin, as it has the moisture and fat and is far better than grass fed beef.
3. How do you feel about Yelp?
I think Yelp is a great communication device for those of us who travel to foreign cities and need places to eat and are looking for that local spot. Having said that, I don’t feel that it should be used as a weapon to voice personal reviews for people that don’t have anything better to do or to slam a restaurant simply because you ordered something you didn’t like. Instead of letting the management know so restaurants and kitchens can remedy their experience, many Yelpers simply stay quiet and then go home to write a horrific review. Speak up and voice your opinion, we want you to have a great experience. I like Yelp, I just don’t like some of the Yelpers out there.
4. If your kitchen is burning down, what’s the one gadget you save?
My knife bag with my Kenichi and Shun knives.
5. Your guilty pleasure food?
Salted dark chocolate with almonds and a good bottle of red wine; I can live on that.
6. If you could cook for one person who would it be?
Miss April, of course or Miss May or even Miss June if the others are busy! I would make the best thing I have ever prepared in my life. (laughing)
That’s actually a difficult question. If I was cooking at my house or in the restaurant it all varies. But cooking for cute girls at home always wins.
7. What are five ingredients that are always in your pantry?
Maldon sea salt (the most important ingredient in my pantry); Spanish olive oil; dark chocolate; quinoa; vinegar
8. What’s the biggest mistake home cooks make?
Over-cooking or cooking things on the home grill and turning the meat repeatedly.
9. What’s the best advice you ever received?
Cooking advice? Cook with passion and follow your heart. Living advice? If it flies or floats, it’s cheaper to rent it! (laughing) Sorry. Too much caffeine today.
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