Bobby Flay Is Turning Up The Heat On Classic French Flavors At Brasserie B - Exclusive Interview

bobby flay at brasserie b restaurant
bobby flay at brasserie b restaurant

If there's one universal truth about renowned chef Bobby Flay, it's this: When he's been in the kitchen, you'll know it. Flay has carved out a legacy as one of the most trailblazing and iconic chefs of our generation, thanks to his uniquely sharp ability to take any dish and make it his own. If you've eaten at one his restaurants (he's launched nearly a dozen over his career), or simply watched him on Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay," then you know how true this is. It doesn't matter what the dish or cuisine is, you're going to taste Flay's distinct flair for (often spicy) flavor.This is no more apparent than in his latest culinary endeavor, Brasserie B. The restaurant, housed within Caesars Palace in the heart of the Las Vegas strip, joins a growing portfolio of elevated dining options within the Caesars Entertainment family (which also includes The Bedford by Martha Stewart, Chris Santos' Stanton Social Prime, and Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, to name a few). Inspired by the classic French bistros of Paris, Brasserie B offers up beautifully plated classics from duck confit to Dover sole, mussels, filet mignon, and more -- with many dishes accompanied by a heaping portion of house-made french fries. And in classic Bobby Flay fashion, expect surprises across the menu, like espelette hot sauce or a gojuchang steak glaze. For all the spicy details about this new restaurant and more, Tasting Table sat down with Flay to talk about his unique take on French bistro cooking and his big plans for this year (which include a new cookbook). With rapt attention and a buzzing appetite, we gleaned every last drop of wisdom from the legend himself.

Read more: Ina Garten's 12 Best Cleaning Tips For A Mess-Free Kitchen

Bobby Flay's Brasserie B Brings The Traditional French Bistro To Las Vegas

glass of wine and various dishes at Brasserie B
glass of wine and various dishes at Brasserie B - Brasserie B / Instagram

Why did you decide that it was time to bring a French concept to Las Vegas?

Well, it's interesting. There's tons of very good French restaurants in Vegas, but there's really very few bustling brasseries [like the ones] that I love to go to when I'm in Paris, or even in places like New York. For some reason, there just has been a lack of them in Las Vegas. And I think the energy of Las Vegas fits this concept right between the eyes.

Your team even went to Paris to get inspired for Brasserie B.

Well, look. I had a restaurant [Bar Americain for nearly] 15 years, which was kind of an inverted version of this, meaning it was an American brasserie that was inspired by a lot of the French brasseries of Paris, et cetera. The food looked French and brasserie, but was very much American. In this case, I'm really leaning into the French approach. But then there's a handful of surprises that you probably wouldn't see in the classic brasserie that are much more, I would say, things that people have come to know me for in terms of flavor and ingredients and stuff like that.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Paris that really inspired you for this at all?

I think the most classic French brasserie is La Coupole. It's been around forever. It's kind of a mainstay. It's the first place that people think about. So I certainly look especially to their design, et cetera, in terms of inspiration.

Julia Child obviously is a master of French cooking. She's always been a culinary hero for you. What would be on the menu that reflects her inspiration or spirit?

I think if you look at the menu and you see things like the Vidalia onion soup -- now, she probably wasn't using Vidalia onions, but it doesn't matter -- the idea of a French onion soup is something that people gravitate towards, and it's something that you'd find in her cookbook, for sure. It's so incredibly popular, even at Brasserie B. There's lots of classic things on the menu, whether it's the Vidalia onion soup or the duck confit or the Dover sole. Actually, I feel like there was a scene in the movie "Julie and Julia." [Julia Child] was eating Dover sole with her husband in some French brasserie and that kind of kicked her off in terms of wanting to make a career out of [French cooking].

In True Bobby Flay Style, Bold And Spicy Flavors Take Center Stage

seafood dishes at Brasserie B
seafood dishes at Brasserie B - Brasserie B / Instagram

Like you mentioned, there are a lot of classic French bistro flavors featured all over this menu. You say, though, that you're bringing your bold Bobby Flay culinary style to this. In which dishes in particular do you feel like your signature style really comes through the most on this menu?

Basically in every category, there's a sense of me taking a little bit of my own creative license in terms of flavor. First of all, if you look at the raw bar and you look at the tower, you'll see an espelette hot sauce listed. I created that sauce because no matter what country I'm cooking from, I can always find a chili pepper. So espelette is a French pepper, and so I created a hot sauce based on that flavor and that ingredient. And that kind of permeates all the things in the raw bar. Like the prawn cocktail, for instance, it's got smoked chilies in the cocktail sauce. The blue crab cocktail, it's sauce verte, so it's got some tomatillos and roasted green chilies in it. Same thing for the Bay Scallops Sophie. It's named after my daughter, Sophie. You have the hot sauce there and the crunchy garlic.

You can literally go in every category. The clams Barcelona, it's utilizing all the flavors of Spain, which I love so much, just bringing it into this concept. So when you get this cast-iron dish filled with these clams that are beautifully gratined, when you taste the flavor, you're going to taste the smokiness of the paprika, you're going to taste the spiciness of the chorizo. The mussels and fries with the broth, it's not just white wine and butter, but it's got chorizo added to it.

So I just have to have a pop of those kinds of flavors on my menu, otherwise people don't feel like it's my restaurant. You know what I mean? I have to continue to reinforce that. Even if you look at the black bass, right? It says "herbs de Provence and sauce jaune." So sauce jaune is a made-up name. It just means yellow sauce. And what I'm using there is a yellow chili pepper from South America called aji amarillo, which I just love the flavor of. So I make a sauce out that. When you get this dish, it's very simple. It's this beautiful black bass, crispy skin, and then it's got a bunch of herbs on it with some olive oil, et cetera. And then underneath it is this really beautiful pale yellow sauce on the bottom of it. But when you taste it, it's like an explosion of flavor.

So that's always been my take on this kind of food; wonderful technique, great authenticity, and classic and history to it, but I'm cooking there, so I have to put a little bit of my signature on. That might look like classic -- like when you go to Paris and you order skate, classically it's with brown butter. Actually, years ago it used to be black butter, but I think they actually banned it because it was probably not very good for you. So they toned it down to brown butter. But obviously I'm using smoked chilies in the sauce. You're not going to find that in Paris, probably.

But it's not a Bobby Flay restaurant if there's not a little spice to wake things up.

I agree.

French Fries Are A Paramount Experience At Brasserie B

Lobster frites and glass of white wine
Lobster frites and glass of white wine - Brasserie B / Caesars Entertainment

I saw your recent Jimmy Fallon interview, and you talked all about this french fry room in the kitchen and this two-day process to make the best fries in Vegas. Obviously the french fry is very important here.

Well, I think they are maybe one of the most important things in this cuisine. I have to say, there are certain things that I can't live with, and one of them is the idea of serving frozen French fries at a French brasserie — it just doesn't fly with me. Now, I know there's good frozen French fries out there, and it's fine, but I think for this cuisine at this level, it takes a lot of effort, but I think that's what separates you.

And unfortunately, there's no shortcuts for french fries done the right Parisian-style away. They take two days to make, you need a lot of room, you need proper technique, and that's what it comes down to. And so we basically built an entire piece of the kitchen just to prep and house the french fries, because you know what? We sell a lot of them.

And it makes sense that they have their own dedicated spot on this menu.

And also, honestly, who doesn't want to eat french fries in a restaurant like this? When I go to any French brasserie, I don't care what I'm eating, if it doesn't come with fries, I'm ordering it for the table. I mean, they're addicting if they're made well.

Well, and you're in Las Vegas, you're in the land of cocktails. What better to have than French fries?

Yeah, exactly. Good saltiness.

The Ribeye And The Scallops Are Bobby Flay Favorites

ribeye piquant and steak fries
ribeye piquant and steak fries - Brasserie B / Ceasars Entertainment

And you have some great options that are paired with these french fries. I think the one that stood out to me the most was your ribeye, which feels like a very Bobby Flay dish to me. It's served with that spicy-sweet glaze and chili butter. Can you talk more about those flavors that you used here and how they play well with your steak?

This is something that I like to make myself during the summer, grilling outside. It's not usually an ingredient that I use very often in my restaurants, I'm using it at home sometimes, but it's gochujang, the Korean red pepper paste. It's literally one of the best ingredients in the world. I will not say that I'm an expert in using it, because I'm not, but I love it. And I've been able to create a glaze using it. And so basically we spice-rub the rib eye, we cook it, it gets really crusty, and then, when it's coming off the grill, we slather it with this Gochujang glaze, which [has] got spice to it, it's got sweetness to it, and it has that fermentation to it from the ingredients.

And then we make a chili butter that's not very spicy. It's more fruity and earthy with a little bit of heat. And we just let that melt over the steak. It has tons of flavor. If you want a more mundane steak in terms of flavor, we have those options, like the filet [mignon] and the New York strip are way more classic. [The New York strip] comes with Bearnaise sauce and then [the filet comes with] a green peppercorn and cognac sauce. Those are more classics that you would find in lots of brasseries. But the ribeye, it's just a departure. Again, it's one of those, "Oh, this is Bobby's restaurant."

You mentioned the bay scallops. How did you end up naming this dish in particular after your daughter?

Sophie has been a shellfish lover since the day she was born. I mean, literally, she was eating mussels and clams when she was like six months old. Shellfish is always her thing. And when she was 12 years old, the first overseas trip I took her on was actually to Paris. She and I, we went to the Louvre, stayed for about 20 minutes, saw the two or three most important things. I mean, she was 12, so I wasn't going to torture her in a museum for four hours. And then we went and ate all over Paris. And Sophie can be seen eating a huge tower of shellfish by herself in my restaurants all the time.

Flay Also Has Big Plans To Grow His Bobby's Burgers Concept

Bobby Flay at Bobby's Burgers location
Bobby Flay at Bobby's Burgers location - Bobby Flay / Instagram

Another concept that you've got in Vegas, Bobby's Burgers, recently announced plans for a massive expansion. What's your vision for the future of this game? Do Shake Shack and In-N-Out have some competition?

I mean, look, who knows? We're now taking on franchise opportunities because the one thing that we realize is that there are some people out there who are spectacular at running these kinds of businesses. And we want to create opportunities for people in different parts of the country to be partners with us. It's something that we've never done before.

Bobby's Burgers is the second iteration of my burger concept. It started as Bobby's Burger Palace, the pandemic hit, we had to shutter a bunch of our locations around the country. And then during the pandemic, I took the opportunity to retool the entire concept, change the name, change the branding, change the menu. Just really took a good look at it. At the time, it was about 13 years old, and so it just needed the next iteration of it.

And Caesar's Palace, they've been my partners for 20 years now. We had Mesa Grill for 16 years, and now we have Amalfi in the same space, and then right next door is Brasserie B, which by the way, I will tell you, it's been the most fun for me, because I can go from kitchen to kitchen without leaving the restaurant. I can go from Amalfi to Brasserie B without actually going into the dining room. It's amazing. It's fun. I can go from France to Italy literally in about 12 seconds.

Well, you're literally living the dream. Only in Las Vegas, right?

Exactly. And so these guys have been great partners for us. And when we relaunched Bobby's Burgers, we put one in Caesar's Palace, then we put one in Harrah's, and then we put one in the Paris Hotel. So literally we have three within a couple of blocks of each other. And that's how we relaunched the concept, and now we have a bunch of them.

A Story Of Friendship: How Ina Garten Already Beat Bobby Flay

Ina Garten and Bobby Flay
Ina Garten and Bobby Flay - Ina Garten/Instagram

Another milestone I wanted to ask you about is that "Beat Bobby Flay" has been celebrating its 10th anniversary. I'm curious, do you know what your win rating is on that show?

Yeah, I do, because people always tell me. And actually I think you can look it up on Wikipedia. They keep score much closer than I do. It wavers between 65% and 70% wins. Something like that.

What's your reaction to that?

I think it's good, yeah. I think it's really good. But listen, I have to stay sharp, because otherwise, if I just lose every time, there's no show. If it becomes really easy to beat Bobby Flay, there's nothing left to do.

Obviously you've competed against hundreds of different incredible chefs over the past decade, but interestingly, we did an informal poll at Tasting Table, and it was nearly unanimous that the one person that we'd like to see you go up against is Ina Garten.

Oh, Ina.

How do you think it would go down if you and Ina ever had a cook-off?

Oh, no, I would get killed. Ina is the queen. I love her so much. And I'll tell you what, she's already beaten me. I'll tell you a very quick story about Sophie. When Sophie was ... I don't know how old she was, she was probably 10 or 11 or something like that. She was making me a Father's Day brunch at home, and I looked over to see which one of my cookbooks she was using. And of course, she was using Ina Garten's. There's only one Ina.

Bobby Flay Newest Cookbook Will Be A Feast For Your Eyes And Your Appetite

Bobby Flay preparing dishes
Bobby Flay preparing dishes - Bobby Flay / Instagram

Speaking of cookbooks, you're working on your 17th cookbook now. Are there any details you can share with us about what we can expect from this one?

This is going to be a departure from anything I've ever done before in terms of publishing. It's going to be a collection of 100 of my most important recipes, and it's going to be a coffee table book. And all these recipes will be updated for today's cooking. But it's going to be a beautiful cookbook.

Any particular recipes you can share that are going to be in it?

I can't do that yet, because they're telling me not to, but soon enough.

Click here for more information, or to make reservations at Brasserie B, located in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The restaurant is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for brunch and 4:30 to 10 p.m. for dinner.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.