Overall, how was the first week at Stripsteak?
it's been a really exciting opening
It's been great. It's been really exciting. I feel like it was one of the smoothest openings that we've had. We inherited a really good core staff of people, so they have a lot of experience. A big part of it was just getting them familiar with what we do and our food and our style of service and our culture. Then the new people we brought in adapted really well, so it's been a really exciting opening. I think people have kind of been waiting for that restaurant. It's such an iconic space inside the Fontainebleau that I think it was just nice to see it get open.
What was opening day like?
It was good. We did it on a Monday, so that was kind of nice. We actually ended up doing over 200 people that day, which is a little bit more than we usually do, but again I felt like the staff was in a position where they could handle it and we had all of our task force. It went really good actually.
By now these openings must be a breeze for you...
They're definitely getting more and more ... you know, everybody knows their rolls really well in our company. I would never say that they get smoother because there are always things to work on. An opening is an opening. But things are now a little bit more systematic.
Is it still as exciting to open a new place as it was the first couple of times?
I think it's actually more exciting in a lot of ways. You just have more infrastructure to do it, so you can kind of push the envelope further every time.
What are some of the challenges that you faced with this opening?
Well, we haven't done a restaurant on two levels in a long time. So, I kind of had forgotten some of those challenges. I've only actually done one other restaurant like that. So, just really sorting out exactly how ... it's funny, even though you would think it's not that big of a deal, it kind of is. Like, getting your head around it, even just from an expediting standpoint when you're sending food out to the tables just making sure when you're going all the way upstairs ... especially with steak driven concepts where there's a lot of side dishes, it takes a lot of people to get the food all to the table at one time. It's not like the type of thing where you can start the table and have somebody else go right behind them because it's on a different floor. So that took a minute to adjust to, for sure. Then also, people are ordering a lot of food and a lot of sides. We put a lot of focus on the sides at this restaurant both in seasonality and in having classics, but then also having some fun, new vegetable dishes. We're selling a lot of sides and it's taking up a lot of table space, so we're actually already reordered and getting new tabletop sizes and larger tabletops. We're reducing the seats a little bit because we need a little bit more space on the table.
How was the food received?
we have really gotten amazing feedback
You know, it's been ... again, I can honestly tell you, it's very rare to inherit a crew like this. We got such a solid crew, a solid chef that's been in that dining room for a long time, understands the kitchen, so we have really gotten amazing feedback.
it's always fun to kind of continue to evolve the steakhouse concept
The feedback has been very positive. It's been really good. There are always things to improve on, but it's been good. Where we put our focus on this time, it's always fun to kind of continue to evolve the steakhouse concept, so we put a lot of focus on the sides and the salads.
What are some of the favorite menu items so far?
the bread pudding for two with cinnamon ice cream and salted caramel, the people are going crazy over that
The duck confit ... the seasonal items have been really well received, so the duck confit cavatelli with roasted butternut squash, black trumpet mushrooms and a parmesan foam, that's been really well received. The classics have been really well received. We did the Thai coconut poached lobster, that's a classic that we've done before. On the entrée side, we did a couple of new ones and a couple of classics. We brought back the tuna with foie gras, and it was nice to see that back in full life. We did this beautiful dish of lamb rack with a very seasonal set up with carrots and dates and that's been really well received as well. Oh and the bread pudding for two with cinnamon ice cream and salted caramel, the people are going crazy over that.