Christopher Hall from Via Magazine (a AAA publication) recently made a trip to Idaho to see what all the fuss was over “meat and potatoes.” What he discovered was a wealth of creative and unique takes on this standard combination. As part of his travels, he stopped in for dinner at Rupert’s. Here is an excerpt from his write-up:
The sun dipped toward snow-dusted peaks and my belly growled as I entered Rupert’s Restaurant at Hotel McCall in McCall, Idaho, one evening this past spring. In the kitchen was Gary Kucy, a 2013 James Beard Award semifinalist for best Northwest chef, and I was thinking steak. Specifically, sirloin, a cut taken from the hip between the butt and the soft part of the back called the short loin, sourced from Panther Ranch near Donnelly and done up fine with balsamic-shallot sauce and a creamy cloud of mashed Idaho potatoes. I’d been dreaming of it for weeks.
To most of the outside world, Idaho may seem a ho-hum culinary destination, a meat-and-potatoes place both literally and figuratively, where cattle and taters are surpassed only by dairy as the top agricultural product. Its potatoes, primarily large russets, are famous, as Idaho license plates proudly declare. But the state’s reputation as prime cattle country is less well known. In fact, superpremium Idaho beef, lauded as some of the best in the United States by food writers and meat connoisseurs, can top out at $100 per pound for filet mignon, the tenderest cut of the short loin and still the highest standard for restaurant steak. I’d come to Idaho to learn what all the fuss was about and search for beef nirvana, close to the source and with a side of spuds.
The best beef is steak, or so I thought. So I was less than pleased when Kucy himself delivered the bad news at Rupert’s. “We’re out of the Panther Ranch steak,” he said, then at once offered a consolation prize. It was Thursday, the day he cooks a Thai dish, and he had made a beef-and-potato curry using the chunks left after carving his Panther Ranch sirloin tip roast into steaks. And what a fabulous consolation it was, a velvety reduction of beef stock and coconut milk coating tender diced potatoes and fall-apart meat infused with spices, ginger, and garlic from a slow braise. Eating it, I realized I’d have to rethink Idaho beef and potatoes.
If you would like to read the full article, please CLICK HERE…enjoy!