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DeRusha Eats: Better Beef At Gianni's Steakhouse

WAYZATA, Minn. (WCCO) -- Great steaks start with great beef, and one Wayzata chef knows his way around beef.

"I'm on a ribeye kick now," said Steve Vranian, executive chef at Gianni's Steakhouse since 2004. For much of the last decade he's been the executive chef at Gianni's in Wayzata since 2010. The steakhouse opened in 1996 and had fallen on hard times, until Steve stepped behind the broiler.

Chef Steve Vranian
(credit: CBS)

"So what we did was just improve the quality, and we offered more selections," he said. One of the rare steakhouses to offer dry-aged, grass-fed, corn-fed, all sorts of different meats, all cut by butchers in-house.

"It is Gianni's steakhouse first and foremost, so it has to be about the beef, and that's why we take such care in picking, selecting, cutting and having guys that have been cooking it for 17 years back there," said Vranian.

Even the hamburger is created from the trimmings left behind from the New York Strip Steak, mixed with a little bit of Peterson Beef, a truly remarkable burger bursting with flavor. "We grind it in house every day," Vranian said.

Gianni's Steakhouse
(credit: CBS)

He is an incredibly accomplished chef: Vranian worked with a pioneer of the American food scene, Jeremiah Tower, in San Francisco. He ran the kitchen at Nick & Eddie, was a chef at Aquavit, all sorts of fine-dining experience. Today he's using his talent to make steakhouse standards better.

The table-side spun Caesar salad has been on the menu since day one: with blue cheese, shrimp, banana peppers.

"It's activity in the dining room, and energy that comes from the server who's talking and creating this thing and you can pick and choose what you want in it. It's like the '70s all over again," he laughed.

The steaks are top grade. The award-winning wine list has 330 bottles! Even that hamburger has the chef's secret seasoning overnight. OK, the secret is a little bit of juniper and bay leaf in the sugar, salt, pepper, and spice mix.

Wayzata has become a food destination: Cov is the scene along Lake Minnetonka, Bellecour is Chef Gavin Kaysen's critically acclaimed French Bistro. But there's always an audience for steak... and Chef Vranian aims to make sure there's always a crowd at Gianni's.

"You gotta walk down the street a little bit, we're buried in the middle of the block, but we're here!" he laughed.

Gianni's Steakhouse, 635 E. Lake Street, Wayzata MN
Closed Sundays in March and April

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