Don’t Sleep on These Sizzling Dishes from Late Nite Eats
Welcome to the deliciously dark side of the country's dining scene. Accompany Jordan Andino on his noctural adventures to find the most-sizzling dishes served after sunset.
Photo By: biglanphoto
An After-Hours Adventure
When the sun sets, Chef Jordan Andino’s appetite awakens. Tag along on his late-night treks as this high-octane chef blazes his way through city after city, shining a light on dishes that go well beyond the standard midnight snack.
A Culinary Spark in Steel City
Jordan’s first stop is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he gets a taste of how Steel City has proven its mettle as a first-rate dining destination. Follow Jordan behind the scenes, as three culinary talents show him how they’re mixing the familiar with the unexpected to create standout dishes that draw late-night crowds.
The Big Che-Bowski
“Breakfast for dinner? I’m in!” says Jordan after spying The Big Che-Bowski at The Yard, a hip gastropub that’s known for its grilled cheese sandwiches. Chef Chris Gilbert takes a standard breakfast side and transforms it into the main event by building his sandwich on two slabs of buttery Texas toast. Gooey layers of gouda and cheddar cheeses bookend a stack of breakfast fixings: over-easy eggs, crisp strips of applewood-smoked bacon and thick slices of tomato.
Buffy the Mac Slayer
Gilbert also stakes a claim with the Buffy the Mac Slayer. “Napkins, I’m assuming, are required for this,” says Jordan, after sizing up a sandwich so crammed with the comfort food that the filling is barely contained by the bread. Gilbert amps up his three-cheese cavatappi mac by adding slow-roasted chicken and a healthy pour of Buffalo sauce before piling a massive portion between two cheese-smothered slices of bread.
Jamaican Beef Patty Empanada
Jordan takes a turn into international territory at his next stop, Pirata, which means pirate in Spanish. Here he discovers a treasure trove of Caribbean-accented small plates turned out by Chef Josh Ross. First up is a flavor-packed fusion dish that Ross creates by bringing together an empanada with a Jamaican beef patty. He punches up his empanada dough with Jamaican curry powder, then tucks it around a spicy beef filling to form a flaky, golden pillow. “It’s the perfect balance between dough and meat,” Jordan declares.
Skirt Steak Caribbean Taco
“You’ve blown my mind on tacos, and I own a taqueria,” exclaims Jordan after biting into Ross’ revved-up spin on Mexico’s beloved street food. Ross piles peppery sprigs of arugula and beautifully charred strips of skirt steak onto a homemade flour tortilla, then festoons his creation with a not-so-standard sofrito that marries onions, tomatoes and peppers with watermelon radish.
Karaage Fried Chicken
More inspired international riffs await Jordan at his third destination, Umami. Chef Roger Li lures the late-night crowd with bites based on Japanese street food. He makes a particularly addictive version of fried chicken by marinating the meat in soy sauce, ginger and dashi seasoning before plunging it into the fryer. “Honestly, you could open a restaurant just for this,” Jordan says of the distinctive dish.
Mochi Ice Cream
Another fried favorite at Umami is the mochi ice cream covered in a crackly golden shell. Li envelopes each scoop of mango-flavored ice cream in a delicate layer of dough made from Japanese breadcrumbs. A technique of freezing then frying the dessert creates a crunchy coating of hot fried dough that gives way to a cold, creamy filling inside. “Oh, wow. It’s hot and freezing,” Jordan says. Li amps up the richness by adorning his creation with berry compote, candied walnuts and edible flowers.
More Late-Nite Magic
Follow along with Jordan as he finds out more about North America's most-sizzling dishes served after sunset on Late Nite Eats, Thursdays at 10 pm ET.