The mastermind behind these gustatory attractions is a young, quiet chef named Joseph Evans, who quite appropriately cheffed in another steakhouse in town, Smith & Wollensky. Thus well-suited for this job, Houston native Evans talks calmly about his life in the kitchen, starting back in his teens, when his mom told her son that he needed a job. "Family friends owned an Italian restaurant," he said, "and I ended up cooking on line with the owners."
To further reinforce his cooking interests, Evans notes that not only did his grandmother own a restaurant, but also his dad and his brothers were always cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner together. "My mom didn't cook much," he explained. "She is a doctor."
|If you go|
|» Where: 2001 14th St. NW, Washington, DC|
|» Info: 202-618-8868|
|» Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.|
|Friday and Saturday|
A graduate of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Houston, Evans took his first post-graduation job as a sous-chef at Houston's Smith & Wollensky. "They lost their executive chef elsewhere," he says, "so my boss traveled back and forth. I subbed in Philadelphia for two weeks, then was offered the position in Washington. I was there for four years."
Cooking steaks particularly appeals to this Texan, who loves the big flavors of beef -- the ribeye that is broiled and finished with a chanterelle cream is a special favorite, he says. "I serve all cuts," he said, "and pair them with what brings out the actual flavor." To underscore their prime quality, Evans' beef is dry-aged certified Black Angus, which is butchered in house. "Dry-aged adds a different aroma and taste to meat," he says.
Coming from Texas, Evans notes that the flavors and ingredients of Hispanic cooking have influenced his approach to food. But he also uses ingredients he learned about from his Korean roommate. As a consequence, he has learned to play with flavors to see what works best, even flavors as seemingly unmatched as Latino and Korean.
Looking back over his cooking life, Evans says his most outstanding food memories are those of the family Thanksgiving meals. "We would do everything," he said. "My big memory is of dad and the prime rib for the holidays. He would buy a prime rib out in the country from a butcher." Sounds like mighty fine eating.
What is your comfort food?
Mexican. Any kind of taco.
What has been the greatest influence on your cooking life?
Maybe the Hispanic culture.
What is your favorite ingredient?
I love kimchi. I use it as a condiment and I even make my own. I also like using dried chilies.
What's in your fridge?
Baby food, and always eggs.
Which is your favorite restaurant?
Probably Komi. It was a perfect meal. Then Citronelle, Restaurant Eve for lunch. Vidalia ...
Root beer braised short rib, by Lost Society Executive Chef Joseph Evans
You will need a Dutch oven or other heatproof baking dish with an ovenproof lid. Serve the short ribs over roasted root vegetables and enjoy.
Number of servings variable.
For each 2-inch cut short ribs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp.s grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup peeled and sliced carrots
1/4 cup medium-dice yellow onion
1/4 cup sliced celery
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tsp.s tamarind paste
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 liter root beer, preferably Barq's brand
Preheat a Dutch oven pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
While the oil is heating, liberally season the short ribs with salt and black pepper. Once the oil is hot, place the short ribs meat side down in to the pan and sear till the meat is browned. When the meat side has browned sear all of the sides. Drain seared ribs on a plate lined with paper towels.
Add all the vegetables, tamarind paste, bay leaf and cinnamon to the Dutch oven, and saute until the vegetables have began to soften. Deglaze the pan with root beer and bring to a boil for five minutes. Return the ribs to the pan, cover with lid, and place in the oven.
Cook for three hours. After three hours, remove the Dutch oven, and skim the fat from the top of the braising liquid. Remove the ribs from the braising liquid, and set aside. Strain the liquid, return to the Dutch oven, and cook over medium heat until the liquid reduces and thickens. Return the ribs to the pan, and baste with the liquid until it glazes and coats the meat.