At just 28 years old, Milwaukee native Matthew Piekarski has already worked with some of the biggest names in the business—including Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Kim Canteenwalla—and since his promotion from executive sous chef at Beso, now reigns as one of the youngest executive chefs on the Strip.
The steakhouse’s menu has remained relatively unchanged, despite the changing of Beso’s culinary guard. That’s partly because the eatery’s signature dishes come from family recipes supplied by restaurant co-owner Eva Longoria. The Desperate Housewives star shines as the face of the company, and in return, the restaurant serves some of Longoria’s favorite foods—including tortilla soup, chili-rubbed skirt steak, guacamole and churros. “Most of her recipes come from her childhood,” Piekarski says, “something her mother or grandmother prepared for her.”
Beso Las Vegas shares its menu with its sister spot in Hollywood, yet the local outpost does some things differently. Take, for example, Eva’s churros.
“In Beso Hollywood, they use lard; here we use butter,” Piekarski says. This leaves us wondering if image-conscious Hollywood saw that one coming. Once they’re fried to perfection, Beso Hollywood serves its churros with chocolate sauce, while the Las Vegas location pairs it with Chantilly cream and house-made caramel sauce. Not that either version needs to be dipped; they’re plenty sweet on their own, since the fresh, fluffy treats are rolled in cinnamon and sugar before being served.
“This isn’t your typical churro that you’re going to get if you go to Six Flags or something like that,” Piekarski points out. “And it’s not Spanish style, either. Spanish style is very thin and really, really crunchy,” whereas Piekarski’s churros are light and airy, tender and served warm. He picks one up from a freshly made pile, dunks it in Chantilly cream and takes a bite. “Just grab it and dip,” he says. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Yields 2½ pounds
2 cups water
1½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter
12 large eggs
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
Canola oil for deep-frying
Bring water, salt, vanilla and butter to a boil. Add flour and mix until a smooth dough ball forms and leaves a film on the bottom of the pot. Put the dough into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed to allow dough to cool slightly. Add eggs one at a time and allow to completely incorporate after each egg. After the dough is cool, place in a pastry bag fitted with No. 7 star tip. Pipe 4-inch-long churros into 300-degree canola oil and fry until golden brown. Carefully remove from the oil and allow to drain and cool slightly. Toss churros in cinnamon and sugar, plate and serve warm with caramel sauce (recipe at WeeklySeven.com/dining) and whipped cream.
2005 Oremus Furmint Tokaji Noble Late Harvest, $15 glass, $69 bottle
“It’s fruity and rich,” says Eva Longoria of the topaz-yellow Hungarian dessert wine prized for its concentrated, nectar-like character, which she serves along with the churros. “I think it pairs well with the caramel. This is the best part!“