Chef Kyle explains $223 Steakmanship item at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse
Photo: Joe Amarante / Hearst Connecticut Media
We’re always looking for dining trends and specials, especially healthy ones, but Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse caught our eye with its new Steakmanship Series.
One option gets you either a 12-ounce domestic wagyu strip steak or a 14-ounce bone-in ribeye, for $60 (plus sides). The $160 option, called “Flight 23,” gets you both of those plus a 6-ounce filet mignon.
But wait, there’s more. For $223, a “Legendary Flight” will score you those three steaks plus Jonah crab, scallops Rockefeller and Maine lobster. Yikes. The offering comes from Jordan’s home restaurant in Chicago, where it’s a regular item.
Here, it’s a weekend item, or on an occasional weeknight menu when a big show is in the arena, said Kyle Beausoleil, executive chef at Michael Jordan’s in Mohegan Sun. The offering began Oct. 26.
“It actually went really, really well,” Beausoleil said in a phone chat. “We sold about 14 total. … You have the option to buy two of the steaks a la carte. We sold a bunch of a la carte steaks, so it definitely was worth it for us.”
Beausoleil, 38, said the flight combos will feed four or five people and some parties did that. Then again, “I’m sure we’re gonna get that one guy who comes in and he’s like, ‘Oh, that sounds great; I’ll have that,’ and do it by himself, you know?”
Born in Killingly in eastern Connecticut, Beausoleil worked his way into a tough business with no formal culinary training. He started cooking at 15 for Hank’s Restaurant in Brooklyn, then Wright’s Mill Farm in Canterbury and Mohegan Sun restaurants such as Pompeii & Caesar (pre-Ballo and since departed). He went to work for David Burke Prime at Foxwoods after that, then left to open his own bistro restaurant in Westerly, Rhode Island, but returned to upscale dining at David Burke Prime.
“My old chef used to say, ‘You’re only as good as the chef you steal your recipes from,’” said the affable Beausoleil.
Eventually he found his way back to Mohegan and Michael Jordan’s, moving from sous chef to executive sous chef to chef d’cuisine and now executive chef in 2018.
“You pick up stuff from everybody. I had the privilege of working for a lot of great chefs,” he said.
Other fall menu changes at the restaurant include a couple of salads and entrées (including a tuna with smoked szechuan pepper crust that Beausoleil takes a full minute to describe for the details of its preparation).
Michael Jordan’s can be pricey, given its location in a casino resort, Beausoleil notes. For value at the restaurant, there’s a basil-brined chicken breast for $26 and a braised short rib over pappardelle with a Medeira cream sauce for $26.
“I have an Italian background, so I always have a special home in my heart … for fresh pasta,” he said. For quicker/cheaper options beyond that, there’s Michael Jordan’s Sportscafe next door, of course. (The company also runs Sol Toro downstairs at Mohegan Sun.)
Michael Jordan officials at Mohegan didn’t know what to expect in terms of business in September with MGM Springfield opening just before that, Beausoleil said, “but Mohegan Sun did a great job of booking conventions and booking shows through the whole month of September. It was actually our busiest September we’ve had in some time.”
On a visit to Jordan’s on a recent Friday night, with a big Sebastian Maniscalco show in the arena, the restaurant was packed. A sampling of the Mishima Reserve domestic wagyu strip with shishito pepper au poivre (or simply: a tender steak in a great mushroom sauce) was delicious, as was the restaurant’s smoked gouda mashed potatoes and a Jenga-like tower of garlic bread slices surrounded by a moat of blue cheese fondue. Beausoleil said the restaurant was expecting another 700 diners the following night.
Asked about healthy options, Beausoleil pointed to a new vegan-friendly menu section (with edamame dumplings for an appetizer and a tofu scallops dish) and other seafood dishes. For an intriguing meat option, while most of Jordan’s meats come in pre-cut from Meats by Linz in Chicago, he’s also working with Connecticut-based Savage Hill Cattle Co., whose cattle is grass-fed, free-range and non-GMO. Savage Hill provides the Steakmanship Series filet mignon, served in foie gras butter.
Sustainability isn’t the first concern of a steakhouse, of course, but wagyu provider Mishima Reserve on its website says “we believe that sustainability is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity, and we hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to both quality and sustainability.”
Sustaining business, meanwhile, is a chief concern for any restaurant, and if you’re wondering why a couple would drop $200 on a meal, Beausoleil sums it up as “the experience overall. We have a very knowledgeable waitstaff, very friendly people. All of our employees in the steakhouse have been there for years. … And the food is all cooked with pride. These guys love what they do; they love their jobs.”