LAUREN BERNAT (Host): Welcome to Chat Chow TV, an online weekly show, interviewing the personalities behind the food scene. On today’s episode we’ll be speaking with executive chef Aaron Brooks of Edge Steak and Bar here at the beautiful Four Seasons in downtown Miami.
AARON BROOKS: You’ve got a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” there. It’s got ciroc vodka in it and lots of yummy stuff like elderflower. It’s a pretty cool drink; it’s one of our signatures.
LAUREN: Okay. And it matches my outfit.
AARON: Exactly. That’s why I picked it out, because of the color. And I’ve got an Orange Blossom Pilsener from Orlando. It’s a fantastic draft beer that we rotate on our taps.
LAUREN: Mmm, okay. Cheers. I’m sorry. You went, and I went first.
AARON: Sorry, I drank first.
LAUREN: Yeah well, you know.
LAUREN: Now congrats, and cheers. And then congrats, on Miami New Times. Right?
AARON: Thank you, yeah. We’re super stunned.
LAUREN: Steak house, and was it two awards also?
AARON: Yeah, two awards. We got Best Almost Food Truck Brunch…
LAUREN: I didn’t want to say it, because I wasn’t sure.. (Laughs)
AARON: Yeah, I was just struck to receive the award, so. We got that award and then we got Best Steakhouse.
LAUREN: Best Steakhouse.
AARON: Yeah, we’re pretty happy. The team is super pumped.
LAUREN: And in doing research, I learned that you are a second level sommelier. Is that true?
AARON: Exactly, yes. When I was in Vancouver I developed a pretty strong passion for drinking, and started getting into wine, but didn’t really know what it was all about. So I wanted to pair up wine with food and just have a little bit more knowledge about it. So yes. I devoted more time to that and it really paid off.
LAUREN: And that’s not typical, right? Usually you’re a sommelier, or…
AARON: No. Chefs and drinking, yes, but not the knowledge about wine so much. But it does sort of come with a lot of us that we, you know, get involved in wine and food pairings and you have to know what you’re talking about.
LAUREN: Definitely. Now Edge Steak and Bar, let’s talk about the restaurant. We’re in downtown at the beautiful Four Seasons and you guys kind of have a different modern twist to the regular steakhouse formula. You offer meats and some fish in small, medium and large cuts?
AARON: Yes, we do. We’re a steakhouse, we’re meat focused from our grill, but we have a lot fish on the menu as well and pretty heavy on the seafood too. You know folks do like a lot of fresh seafood and like we said the small, medium large cuts, it’s to give everyone a little taste of the protein without you know, weighing you down with like a 12,14, 48 ounce cuts.
LAUREN: Exactly, it makes sense.
AARON: Exactly. It does make sense.
LAUREN: Everybody’s looking to…
AARON: Well, you’re in Miami so you don’t want to eat too heavy, right? Like I don’t want to eat a steak that’s going to put me away for three days you know? So…
LAUREN: (Laughs) Exactly. Now when you think of the Four Seasons, everybody knows quality.
LAUREN: But sometimes people might think, expensive. But that’s not necessarily true. You guys do a lot of things. I want to start with maybe the 19-minute $19 lunch, you’ve got Happy Hour, let’s touch upon some of those.
AARON: Yeah, well our menu is very budget-focused, it’s super fritsche with its price points. The $19 lunch we do every day. It changes according to what we have in-house that we’ve gotten from local farms, from suppliers, so it’s what the fishermen have bought in for us. At 19 bucks we serve it and within 19 minutes it should be out. And it’s a great deal. Wine Wednesdays, we have half-priced wines on Wednesdays. All bottles are always half priced. Great deal. And Happy Hour’s pretty sensational as well.
AARON: LAUREN: Your Happy Hour is like the best kept secret.
It is, yeah.
LAUREN: How common are your Happy Hour? I mean that’s where you’re going to leave it with, the Happy Hour? Dollar oysters… (Laughs)
AARON: Yes, Happy Hour is super happy. It’s two for one drinks, and dollar oysters and our dollar anticucho as well. And the oysters are just sensational. When I was in Boston I developed a real passion for Northeast seafood and the shellfish is just sensational up there. So yeah we bring them down from the Cape, and they’ll knock your socks off, they’re pretty amazing.
LAUREN: Let’s talk about the menu. I mean we talked about the meats a little bit, but you know, maybe top sellers, top dishes, some that are your favorites? Standouts?
AARON: I’ve got to say I think one of our signature series of dishes is our Tartares. So we have the Ahi Tuna, we have the Corvina, we have the Scallop, we have the Beef Tartare. And they come individually but we do this dish it’s called the “Try Them All” and it’s a four-section plate so you get to try a little bit of everything.
AARON: It’s a steal at 18 bucks, and yeah, you get to try them all. And they’re mixed with local influences like Ahia Maria, pomelo, habanera. And the habaneras we actually get from our garden outside, that we make our hot sauce from.
LAUREN: I know, I was going to get to that, so don’t go there.
AARON: There’s too much going on, right?
LAUREN: I know I know, there’s so much I want to…
AARON: That would be our signature appetizer.
AARON: And then I think from our main course, being a steak house, our steaks really are pretty awesome. Our skirt steak is phenomenal; it’s a prime cut, it’s Crestone Farms. Awesome, awesome piece of meat. And we rub it with our Cutting Edge rub.
LAUREN: Yes. So you do have your own hot sauce?
AARON: We do, yes.
LAUREN: Okay. And I want to talk about that. And I also want to talk about your rubs. You’ve got a fish rub, and a meat rub.
AARON: Yes. The fish rub we call Stock Spice, and it’s a mix of salt, white pepper, clove, nutmeg, all these warm spices, orange rind as well. You get really all the seafood. And then the Cutting Edge is a mix of old spice, we got salt, black pepper, chili. And the chili actually comes from our pepper garden.
LAUREN: Now desserts. You want to touch up on that a little bit?
AARON: Yes, sure. Desserts, we just actually put a fantastic dessert on the menu. It’s called a Cast-Iron Brownie. And we take a large cast-iron skillet, and then we bake it to order so if you order it, it’s scooped and baked to order so it comes out, it’s just smoking hot, soft-centered chocolate brownie, and then we top it with macadamia and ice cream that’s got Dulce de Leche on it, and some granola.
LAUREN: Oh, it’s good.
AARON: So just add that extra crunch. It’s a pretty cool dessert.
LAUREN: And they wanted me to mention the s’mores. You guys have s’mores that you do outside? Is that a normal thing, is that Happy Hour, when…
AARON: No, it’s more of a late night thing. We have a sensational patio.
LAUREN: Beautiful patio.
AARON: Yes, so when the patio’s open, if it’s not raining which it doesn’t do very often in Miami?
LAUREN: Never. (Laughs)
AARON: No, never. Never at all. It’s torrential, or it’s sunny, right?
LAUREN: (Laughs) Exactly.
AARON: Yes. So when it’s beautiful outside, and the fire pit’s a-blazing, if you’re sitting by the fire pit when it’s dark, we’ll come out with the s’mores and you can toast the marshmallows and have s’mores on us.
LAUREN: So even if you’re not ready to go heavy, you still get something.
AARON: You still get a little sweet to finish your meal with. Yes.
LAUREN: Well thank you so much.
AARON: Hey, no worries. Our pleasure.
LAUREN: That was fun.
AARON: It was. Great.
LAUREN: Happy Hour.