Eva Longoria may be the face of SHe, the “boutique steak house” with a feminine touch opening New Year’s Eve. But it’s chef Todd Mark Miller who’s responsible for keeping the ladies happy.
Miller, who opened STK in the Cosmopolitan and most recently Miami Beach, has served as executive chef at STK’s Los Angeles and New York outposts and consulted at various locations around the country, so he knows his way around a good piece of meat. He understands the finesse that goes into not only a great steak, but producing a steak-house experience that resonates with female clientele. For Miller, this means seasonality. Also, “It’s not the very heavy, heavy classics, but you can have the option of going large and in-charge, or go small for your appetite and build a tasting menu,” he explains.
Miller grew up in Utah and started his career at the Deer Valley Ski Resort before moving on to Prime, Jean George Vongerichten’s Bellagio steak house. Following a Five Diamond rating at the Four Seasons Las Vegas, he was tapped for Four Seasons Maldives and followed by the brand’s property in Singapore. His signature is not so much any particular dish as it is his philosophy on how to properly treat quality ingredients, a reflection of his overseas travel.
“I love to follow the seasons and do whimsical stuff,” Miller says. “It’s fun, and that’s who I am and how I like to cook.” The fun is in “taking the old and reinventing it.” Steak Rossini, for example, is traditionally an already luxurious filet. In Miller’s hands, “It’s not a play on it, but I made it more luxurious.” Miller takes it over the top as a Royal Rossini by butter-poaching a steak that’s topped with foie gras and truffles, and which lounges on a bed of brioche. “Yes, it’s easy to open a steak house and say, ‘We’re open,’ but what sets us apart is the technique and thought that goes into it.”
On the other end of the spectrum, the humble chicken, too, receives careful consideration. Simply marinated, yet still interesting, Miller says, “because we’re searching out for the best chicken we can find, cooking it slow and low, and finishing it by crisping up that skin … then serving it with kale, bacon and some melted shallots.” Miller also recognizes when it’s best to leave well enough alone. “When corn is at its best, why would you want to change that flavor? You want it to scream corn. The only things that make it better are going to be salt, butter and pepper.”
Mlller knows that part of SHe’s caché is it’s see-and-be-seen atmosphere, but promises a dining room that will be fun, without getting out of hand. “With all the elements they have built in, with the runway, it’s got that same atmosphere where some steak houses would get crazy. SHe can get crazy, but at the same time is going to be reserved, doing it like a lady.”
What SHe eats
Getting Miller to give up his favorite SHe dishes wasn’t easy. “I’m a Libra, and I don’t really necessarily believe in the signs,” he admits. “With that said, I’m literally the scales. I have no favorites. No favorite color or car, so I can’t say which is my favorite dish.” So here are the three he knows will be big hits:
• Little Big Royale, sliders named for the French name of the Big Mac as popularized in Pulp Fiction. “Those are going to be pretty dynamite,” Miller says.
• “The Crab Cocktail is a different approach, served with fresh lime and ginger and lettuce cups, so you can build a crab taco.”
• And a nod from his stint in Singapore, “a Sweet Chili Crab with fresh herbs, chili, crispy garlic and shallots.”