BOA Steakhouse’s Executive Chef Jose Melendez has had a knack for cooking since childhood; from working behind food stands with his family, Melendez has grown to become the mind behind one of Los Angeles’ most esteemed steakhouses. Here, the Chef gives us a rare look inside BOA, sharing the plates and practices that make it the culinary haute spot that it is.
How did you begin your career in the culinary field?
I started cooking as a kid with my parents. We would have food stands in fairs and carnivals from California to Texas; my aunt was the baker and my mom was the savory one, and while most kids were playing outside, I was learning to make tortillas and beans. When I finished high school, my brothers advised me to go to culinary school, and as they say, the rest is history.
Which appetizers, entrees and desserts do you recommend?
You have to try our Baklava, tableside Caesar Salad, Crab Cakes and Tuna Tartare. As for entrees, you should go for our signature 40-day Dry-aged New York steak, Dryaged Rib Eye Steak, K.C. Bone-in Filet or the Nova Scotia Lobster Tail. As for sides, you must have our Chipotle Corn, Mac ’n’ Cheese, Grilled Asparagus and Twice-baked Lobster Potato. When it comes to desserts, our Snickers cake and Smores are great, as are our Freshbaked Cookies and Cheese Cake. And if you’re not too full from your amazing steak, we have a great variety of ice creams and sorbets.
When you’re not enjoying your own cuisine, where can we find you dining?
Lazy Ox, Animal, Katana, Teroni, Mozza, Malo and some good old mom-and-pop places like Victoria’s Pizzeria, SamWoo’s B.B.Q and the neighborhood taco truck.
What is your favorite drink?
It depends where I am. If I’m at a sushi joint, I like to have cocktails like margaritas. If I’m at a fine restaurant, I like wine with my meal. When we are having a barbeque, I like a nice cold beer.
What is your favorite pastime?
Having a barbeque with family and friends, grilling up some good food and enjoying family time.