The new chef at About Last Knife, the new steakhouse opening inside the Hotel Julian — the hotel debuting in October near Millennium Park — knows he’ll serve his share of meals paid for with corporate credit cards. Dan Weiland has high hopes that he can create a menu that can satisfy more than businesspeople at 168 N. Michigan Avenue. Downtown is quite the shift for Weiland. He recently left his job as chef at Forbidden Root, the West Town brewpub along Chicago Avenue.
Weiland’s early in menu development and starting to take meetings to decide on who’ll be the restaurant’s beef supplier, obviously a key decision for a steakhouse. He’s bent on offering dry-aged beef, he’s just isn’t sure if it will be aged on site or aged by the supplier. The kitchen space at Forbidden Root was small, so that meant a smaller grill with lower temperatures. Weiland got creative in the kitchen and the brewpub’s opening menu featured a malted hanger steak. Not only did the malt provide the steak with a nice color, but it also simulated a char that could only be achieved on a hotter grill. That’s the kind of creativity Weiland is bringing downtown.
“I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, I’m just trying to put a really cool rim on it,” Weiland said.
Hanger, the so-called butcher’s cut, is incidentally one of Weiland’s favorites. It may sound cliched, but he’s also partial to ribeyes. Don’t expect a huge menu at ALK (that’s how Weiland has abbreviated his new workplace). The 86-seat restaurant will have four or five steaks. Weiland said he’s sure beef Wellington will make it on the menu. The hotel restaurant will serve breakfast (expect steak and eggs), and offer grab-and-go items like breakfast burritos to suit office workers downtown.
Working at Forbidden Root was educational, and Weiland said they broke barriers.
“It was for everyone,” he said. “It wasn’t just beer dudes who wanted to drink IPAs and things like that. We had young, beautiful people, and families.”
Look for more details on About Last Knife in September.