Five chefs dish on where they chow after they’re done feeding other people.There are two logical things to do after a 14-hour day running a restaurant: eat something standing at a kitchen counter at home, and then go to sleep. But logical isn’t fun. Even chefs need a night out on the town (or just a quick postservice meal). “As a chef, depending on what kind of food you do, all you want at the end of the day is something simple and warm and comforting,” says Albert Aviles, executive chef at Corkbar in Los Angeles. “You don’t want to go out after service and go for 45 courses.
Monday–Thursday, open until midnight Friday and Saturday, open until 2 a.m.
Thursday–Saturday, open until midnight
Friday and Saturday, open until 1 a.m. Sunday–Thursday, open until midnight
San Soo Gab San
Open 24 hours Avec Sunday–Thursday, open until midnight Friday and Saturday, open until 1 a.m.
Open daily until 5 a.m. Kang Suh Open 24 hours
Open daily until 2 a.m.
Open daily until midnight
Tuesday–Saturday, open until 1 a.m. Sunday, open until midnight
Open until 3 a.m. daily
So, when their toques come off, here’s where top chefs in five great eating cities head for their next meal.
The city: New Orleans
The chef: Donald Link, chef/owner of Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave., 504-524-4114, www.herbsaint.com), Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-588-2123, www.cochonrestaurant.com) and Cochon Butcher (930 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-588-7675, www.cochonbutcher.com)
The late-night eats: “When I was 25 and going out after work and drinking until 3 in the morning, we would eat eggs and grits and bacon,” Link says. Now 40, he goes for “something simple and clean and delicious that’s not going to kill you.” Luckily, New Orleans’ late-night upscale bar scene has also grown up. His top recommendation of the moment: the Korean-cut short ribs at Bouligny Tavern (3641 Magazine St., 504-891-1810, www.boulignytavern.com). “I think it’s the classiest bar in New Orleans now. The food is amazing,” Link says. He also gives high marks to the bar for serving bourbon properly, thanks to an ice maker that turns out “squared ice that doesn’t melt very fast.” Other Link picks: la boca (857 Fulton St., 504-525-8205, www.labocasteaks.com) — which serves “great steaks” and a “nice simple chunk of grilled provolone with oregano and olive oil on it” — and another new upscale bar, the delachaise (3442 St. Charles St., 504-895-0858, www.thedelachaise.com).
The city: Chicago
The chef: Stephanie Izard , chef/owner of Girl & the Goat (809 W. Randolph St., 312-492-6262, www.girlandthegoat.com) and winner of Top Chef’s fourth season
The late-night eats: Izard favors casual places where patrons won’t turn their noses when she and her staff “reek of food and garlic.” Heading to a restaurant where everybody is doing the cooking helps. When the restaurant staff really want to chill, she takes them out to San Soo Gab San (5247 N. Western Ave., 773-334-1589) for Korean barbecue. After a day of cooking, the kitchen staff usually turns the tongs for cooking the bulgogi and other meaty treats over to Goat’s front-of-house staff. When Izard wants something a little more upscale (and closer to her own restaurant), she heads down the block to a chef friend’s restaurant, Avec (615 W. Randolph St., 312-377-2002, www.avecrestaurant.com). The restaurant’s long communal tables are hang-out friendly — and perfect for splitting the restaurant’s small plates with friends. Izard recommends one of Avec’s most popular dishes: chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper–tomato sauce.