Having grown up on an organic farm outside Indianapolis, it’s no wonder Jason Smith has such a gastronomic gift. As the executive chef of the new Steak 954 at the W Fort Lauderdale, Smith obviously believes in the W experience. In addition to the best steaks on the menu, Smith dishes about gathering fresh eggs, watching cooking shows as a child and making banana walnut pancakes for his son.
I'm sure all the dishes on each of your menus are like your children, but if you had to choose only one dish from Steak 954, which one are you most proud of?
Nueske bacon wrapped scallops and tomato fennel chutney with bacon sauce. You can’t go wrong with fresh diver scallops, bacon and more bacon.
Most popular dish on the menu right now?
The steaks -- all of them. We have 28-day dry aged, prime steaks, Tajima kobe steaks, steak tartar.
What makes your steakhouse different from the countless others that have opened recently?
We offer the finest and freshest dishes including ceviches, duck and chicken. We have a huge variety of entrees. We are a sexy steakhouse with friendly service. We offer properly seasoned and executed cuisine for our hip and professional clientele.
Why should Miamians make the trek up to Fort Lauderdale to go to Steak 954?
Miamians and all others should come by and try the best dining experience in South Florida. Stephan Starr knows how to treat his guests. It's a total experience, and after dinner, guests can experience all the W Fort Lauderdale has to offer, including Whiskey Blue and Living Room.
Your fondest food-related memory?
Gathering fresh eggs and picking strawberries for breakfast. Then, my mom feeding me chicken that she claimed she got from the store and not from the chickens that were just cleaned.
The 5 ingredients every home kitchen should have?
Olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, thyme, bacon.
Which chefs inspire you?
Thomas Keller, Michael Schwartz, Govind Armstrong, Alice Waters, Morimoto.
Favorite dish to make at home?
Banana walnut pancakes for my son or slow-cooked barbeque pork shoulder.