“I think after your first bite, you’ll agree that the things we’re doing here — everything has to be about flavor,” says chef Steven Leviton, handing over a plate.
On it are two steak tacos, wrapped neatly in wax paper resembling newspaper clippings and held together by wood clips.
Combining Corner Cooks and Jerry’s in downtown Winnetka into one space, Leviton — who trained under Jovan Trboyevic at the five-star Le Perroquet — wants his diners’ taste buds to have their day. Which is why, for Leviton’s newest restaurant, Taste on Chestnut, it’s all about interesting flavors.
His take on tacos, for example, includes generous chunks of tenderloin tips. Adding cheese, fresh squeezed limes, minced garlic, chili flakes, and Hoison sauce — also known as Chinese plum sauce — is all well and good. But if the beef is chewy or fatty, forget it. Leviton suggests searing the beef on high heat so the outside caramelizes and gets that melt-in-your-mouth quality.
“Like butter,” says Leviton, with a wink.
Accompany the steak tacos with Leviton’s own fire-roasted Pico de Gallo. Liberally add over the top or keep to a bowl on the side for dipping tacos or chips. Either way, it’ll go fast.
Hoisin BBQ Steak Tacos and Fire-roasted Tomato Pico de Gallo
Total Time: 60 minutes
Tomato Pico de Gallo
3 plum tomatoes
2 Jalapenos, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
1 cilantro, chopped
¼ tablespoon kosher salt
¼ tablespoon black pepper
- Prepare all the vegetables, season with salt & pepper, allow to sit at room temperature, then grill or roast on a very hot grill or broiler.
- Grill/roast on all sides for 6-8 minutes. Try and work each vegetable group in one at a time for consistency. Jalapenos can take a little time to cook. Onions can handle a little roasting and cooking as well, but you have to pay attention to the tomatoes.
- Stir until evenly distributed.
1 lb. Tenderloin tips
1 cup Hoisin Sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili flakes
Grilled corn tortillas
Grated queso fresco
Fresh lime wedges
Wax paper (To Roll Tacos)
Wood Clips (To Hold Paper)
- In a bowl, combine Hoisin Sauce, minced garlic, and chili flakes and then add the tenderloin tips. Marinade for 30 minutes.
- Heat a skillet on high, sear tenderloin tips until meat is caramelized. Slightly cool the beef so you can handle and slice the beef into smaller strips.
- Serve with corn tortillas, queso fresco, lime, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, and Pico de Gallo. Serve with wax paper and wood clips.