A cookbook from David Chang's favorite restaurant: Joe Beef
Here's the book for all you David Chang fans out there. It's called “The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts,” and it's from his favorite restaurant in the world (and that's a quote).
Neither had I. That may be because it's in Montreal.
From the photos inside, it looks like a real guy's place, irreverent and fun.
In his intro to the book, Chang describes his first visit there. “The decor had a rustic, lived-in feel — the kind that makes you never want to leave. It had personality. It was alive. Those are rare and typically fleeting qualities in a restaurant.” The food, he says, was amazing. He’s now good friends with co-owners and co-authors Fred Morin and David McMillan.
“As far as this book,” Chang continues, “I don’t think anyone can replicate what these guys do. But it’s worth trying. The food, sure, learn it. Learn to love trains, learn to weld, learn to make your own smoker, learn anything you can from these guys. I think there’s some kind of Montreal black magic to it, that it might only work up there with all those crazy French Canadians. But after checking out how many good recipes, how much secret knowledge, how much humor, and how many good stories they’ve stuck between these two covers, I am ready to be proven wrong.”
So what are these French Canadians cooking that you can cook?
Pork fish sticks (pulled pork in the shape of fish sticks), porchetta alla Joe Beef (Boston butt wrapped with pork belly and seasoned with a paste of rosemary, garlic, chile, fennel seeds, vermouth, salt, pepper and olive oil), kale for a hangover (cooked with bacon, onion, garlic and white wine), filet de boeuf (cut into thick chunks, hog-tied and roasted, served with marrow bones, gentleman steak sauce and fries), chicken skin tacos. . . and on and on. Lots of great stuff here.
Some of them, like Hot Oysters on the Radio, mackerel Benedict or sausage martini, are just a wee bit difficult to imagine. But with this book, you'll be able to try them out and save yourself the cost of a plane ticket to Montreal in the middle of winter.
Anybody been to Joe Beef? What's it like and what did you think?
"The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts" by Frédéric Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley: 2011, 291 pps., $40).
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: David McMillan at the bar at Joe Beef. Credit: Jennifer May / Ten Speed Press.