About Last Knife, a modern steak bar on North Michigan Avenue, announced the appointment of Rodney Staton to executive chef and Joey Hejtmanek to sous chef. Influenced by their backgrounds working in intimate, independent, neighborhood restaurants, the chef duo are taking an avant-garde approach to ALK’s menu with dishes inspired by both gastropub fare and the modern steakhouse.
“We’re excited to have Chefs Rodney and Joey helming the kitchen,” says Jason Lane, general manager of About Last Knife. “We’re embracing a steak bar concept, which melds our favorite elements of the gastropub like bar snacks and meat and cheese plates with steakhouse cuts and sides. Without the boundaries of limiting ourselves to a single concept, we can create a really special experience for ALK guests.”
Rodney Staton brings over 15 years of experience working in the Chicago hospitality community to his new role at ALK. This includes stints at restaurants such as Spiaggia, Longman & Eagle, and most recently, The Bristol.
“The steak bar concept gives us artistic license to introduce some really playful elements and bolder flavors into ALK’s menu like the chili arbol sauce,” says Staton. “One of our line cooks makes incredible tacos every morning with this sauce, and we decided this would go great with a rib eye. I also love bringing our staff into the menu development process. Working in kitchens, you don’t always get the opportunity to do this in every role.”
Joey Hejtmanek has been working in the Chicago hospitality community for over a decade. Prior to joining ALK’s culinary team, Hejtmanek held the role of chef de cuisine at Beatnik.
Under the culinary direction of Staton and Hejtmanek, ALK is offering new dinner and brunch menus this fall. The restaurant has added three new sections to its dinner menu including a playful take on traditional bar snacks, a selection of artisan meats and cheeses, and small plates. Bar snacks include Autumn Squash Hummus; Beef Jerky with bacon fat candied peanuts; and Deviled Eggs & Eggs with smoked trout roe. ALK’s small plates feature Beets with dill yogurt sauce; Charred Octopus with shishito peppers and piquillo mojo; and Spicy Tuna Crudo with pistachio and Calabrian chili. ALK is also moving away from composed steak dishes and offers several cuts à la carte including its signature Beef Wellington by the Slice. Guests looking for lighter options can find a number of healthy entrees under the “plates” section with dishes including a Warm Quinoa Bowl with fennel, beets, and pepita dukkah; and Mediterranean Sea Bass with chorizo broth.
ALK’s brunch menu features a wide variety of dishes from sweet to savory and healthy to hearty. The most playful dish on the menu is no doubt the Braised Short Rib Frito-Quiles. Inspired by the walking taco, the dish whisks guests away to the days of their youth with Fritos, tomato-jalapeño sauce, chili braised short rib, and a sunny-side up egg. Other brunch standouts include Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast with pickled onions, dill, and a quail egg; Prime Rib thinly sliced and served in a pita with au jus, house giardiniera, and horseradish tzatziki; and Poached Shrimp & Chickpea Salad with fried capers and sumac vinaigrette.
ALK is open every day 7 a.m.-10 p.m. for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant also offers happy hour Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m.; weekend brunch 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; and the bar is open for late night bites and cocktails. The restaurant is adjacent to the upscale, boutique Hotel Julian and steps away from Millennium Park.