Paul Kahan is a top toque in Chicago’s culinary scene. The Food & Wine “Best New Chef 1999” and multiple James Beard award winner oversees the kitchens of some of the Windy City’s best bars and restaurants: The Publican, Publican Quality Meats, Blackbird, Nico Osteria, avec, Big Star and Dove’s Luncheonette.
For the next couple months, New Yorkers won’t have to leave town to get a taste of the esteemed chef’s plates — his brisket sandwich ($13.78) is now on the menu at GENUINE Superette (191 Grand Street; 646-726-4633) as part of the eatery’s guest chef series.
Kahan, Publican chef de cuisine Cosmo Goss, and Publican Quality Meats chef de cuisine AJ Walker, developed the sammie together. Wagyu brisket, blanketed in a mix of brown sugar, smoked paprika and ancho chile powder, marinates for 24 hours. Then the meat is cooked sous vide for 12 to 14 hours, sliced and piled on a pumpernickel hoagie with soft, smoky onions, horseradish cream cheese, fried shallots, and Chinese mustard. It will be on the lunch and dinner menu for the next three months, maybe longer if it sells well.
The team didn’t have any guidelines before working on the sandwich and they didn’t know which protein they wanted to use, but in an email Kahan tells the Voice “I knew I didn’t want to do kangaroo.”
Brad Farmerie, executive chef of AvroKO Hospitality Group (the parent company of Genuine), has worked with Kahan in different kitchens and events over the past six years. He says he likes Kahan’s food, restaurants and “no bullshit” personality. “He’s the real deal, straight shooter – no schtick. With Paul it’s just about the food that is well thought out, creative and always delicious.”
Kahan echoes the sentiment: “Brad and I have worked together before and I think he’s a cool dude.”
Chi-town-based Kahan is the most recent guest at Genuine, in a roster of top chefs from around the country that have included NYC’s lauded Paul Liebrandt, who prepared a version of fish and chips. Austin’s Lee Krassner brought his famous spicy lobster rolls, and Jamie Bissonnette, who runs eateries in Boston and Toro in NYC, contributed a Thai pulled-pork sandwich.
For Farmerie, the series is an opportunity to work with chefs he respects and to share the spark of creativity. “I think it is especially interesting to ask high-caliber chefs to put their signature or spin on affordable, fast casual ideas. The flavors that they love and the techniques that they use can get distilled down to something more approachable than what they may cook in their own restaurants,” he says.
“Half the fun is getting together beforehand and bouncing ideas around to see what their creative process is like, and how we can shape something that’s fun, interesting, and tasty.”