Developing the Fall Menu at Birk’s Santa Clara Steakhouse


Maurice Dissels - Executive Chef at Santa Clara Steakhouse

Maurice Dissels – Executive Chef at Birk’s Restaurant

Fall is here and seasonal changes at Birk’s Restaurant mean more than just replacing seasonal vegetables in dishes or welcoming excited diners from 49ers games at Levi’s stadium. The biggest change that frequent diners at Birk’s will notice is the seasonal menu change where we create completely new dishes to suit the next 6 months. This is where factors such as weather, changes in eating habits and availability of ingredients are all taken into account and reviewed in great detail before testing, developing and launching a new menu item. Seasonal menu changes at Birk’s start months in advance and involve a detailed process of testing and refinement. Overseeing all this activity is Executive Chef Maurice Dissels.

Chef Maurice believes that “Being a true culinarian means finding a way to express your soul and yourself”. Maurice’s philosophy and expertise is one of many elements that establish Birk’s Restaurant as the premier steakhouse in Santa Clara. As executive chef, Maurice serves as both a departmental head and working chef; his principal functions are to plan, organize, coordinate and ultimately oversee all food related and non-food related operations at the ‘back of house’ at Birk’s Restaurant. He is the creative force behind Birk’s culinary program and other duties, includes menu planning, costing and merchandising, theoretical costing of food and labor, purchasing, hiring etc. He has been the executive chef at Birk’s for almost 15 years, and one of the ways he finds to express himself is through the ever-changing seasonal menu at Birk’s.

Chef Maurice and his team (including Sous Chef Julie Duong, Sous Chef Javier Tovar and Assistant Sous Chef Andres Garcia) craft each seasonal menu in exquisite detail. For example, with the fall, focus will be on heartier foods like braised meats because guests generally prefer warm filling meals as the weather cools. We will also be switching summer vegetables (like asparagus) out for autumn vegetables (like broccoli).

There are several steps to each seasonal menu change.

First, Chef Maurice and his team identify the menu items that they would like to replace. These are dishes that were not as popular, or were based on ingredients that are becoming unavailable. Even different cuts of meat have seasons, so Chef Maurice has to really drill down and re-think the dishes for each season.

At Birk’s we work to maintain consistency through the menu by ensuring the new dishes are the same type of dish they are replacing. This ensures guests receive the same excellent variety of dishes, but we optimize them for the changing season.

After that, it’s time for some culinary research and development. Chef Maurice and his team review cookbooks, visit farmer’s markets, dine out at other restaurants and talk to purveyors — all to collect inspiration for possible new dishes.

Finally, it’s time to cook! Our new seasonal menus items are new dishes based on their research and preparation, as well as the style and creativity of his team. We are excited to share features of our latest menu change.

The Fall 2015 menu features:


Bacon Wrapped Filet and Shrimp

Celery root purée, caramelized baby carrots, red chimichurri, tarragon emulsion

Fried Chicken Sandwich

Ground patty with Granny Smith apple and roasted pistachios, jalapeno slaw, onion strings, mayonnaise spread, Kaiser bun, dressed potatoes

Certified Angus New York Steak Nicoise

Brandy marinated, roasted beet, hard boiled egg, green bean bundle, Nicoise and green olives, grape tomatoes, Yukon potato, red onion, little gem lettuce, anchovy-marjoram vinaigrette

Lunch and Dinner

Five Spice Pork Belly

Soy-sake braised, roasted artichoke and potato, poached egg, wasabi

Braised Veal Shank

Roasted farro, pine nuts, dried cranberries, Parmesan, braised greens, pan jus, gremolata

Blackened Ahi

Roasted kabocha squash, white corn, creamy bamboo rice

Butter Poached Broccoli

Orange gremolata, black salt

We look forward to seeing you at Birk’s Restaurant, the number one steakhouse for Santa Clara’s movers and shakers. Stop by, try our new menu and share your feedback with Chef Maurice and his team – we look forward to hearing from you!

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