Hot Chef: Eric Gantz of Sullivan’s is a steak expert

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Over in King of Prussia, Eric Gantz is running the kitchen at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. It’s one of 19, but Gantz says that this location is the busiest — a feat made especially impressive with the nearby competition of so many other steakhouses. We spoke with him about date nights, menu-tinkering and his previous position at M Catering.

Is Sullivan’s doing a special Valentine’s Day menu?

Oh yeah. We’re doing two dinners for $99 that includes a soup or salad, entree and dessert for a couple. It’s our regular entrees, like a filet, a strip, a rib eye, chicken and fish dishes — it’s our normal 8 oz. filet, our 12 oz. strip, not smaller portions. It’ll be the same size as if you came in the day before and ordered it.

Do you have a favorite date night restaurant?

My wife and I love Paradiso over on East Passyunk. What a great little restaurant. It’s beautiful and the chef is tremendous. We also like Figs in Fairmount. It’s Mediterranean and it’s a BYO. I think both of those places are a homerun.

You were running a catering company before Sullivan’s. How is the day-to-day lifedifferent between those two jobs?

When you’re catering, you know exactly what you’re doing every day. People don’t call and say that they’re having a party that day. And you know exactly how many people, how much you’ll need and how much gas it’ll take to get there. At the restaurant, you wish you had a crystal ball. But you do it long enough and you learn from experience and hope to God that you get it right.

Do you get to play with the menu at all?

The menu is pretty set. It does change twice a year and the chefs are encouraged to make suggestions. But we have no limitations to what kind of features we add to the menu, so we have a lot of creative freedom there.

Do you have a favorite ingredient to cook with?

My work background is a steakhouse, which means big, heavy portions. And I do enjoy steak, but at home I cook a lot of fresh fish and grilled vegetables. I’m on my grill 12 months a year. I shovel a path to my grill.

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