How Chris Santos Invented The Stanton Social Prime's Steak Tartare Quesadilla - Exclusive

Chef and restaurateur Chris Santos is well known for his whimsical approach in the kitchen — he's built his reputation by enchanting diners with playful, creative, and instantly craveable dishes. His penchant for turning dinnertime into a glamorous affair has elevated his restaurants to the status of celebrity-filled hotspots where everyone is clamoring to get a table. This will no doubt turn out to be the case with the revival of Chris Santos' flagship restaurant, Stanton Social Prime in Las Vegas.

The sexy, upscale, steakhouse-style restaurant is situated inside Caesars Palace just steps away from OMNIA nightclub, and it boasts a shareable and highly Instagramable menu that was made for feeding the stylish crowds out on the town on the Las Vegas Strip. That menu includes some of Santos' signatures, like his French onion soup dumplings and crab cake corn dogs, as well as new creations like the steak tartare quesadilla. You might not ever have imagined such a pairing, but that's Santos' specialty in the kitchen, and dinner guests are loving this unique treat because it's delightful and it's different. All too often, "tartare is served with chips, it's served with bread, it's served with french fries," says Santos. This version is unlike anything you've seen or tasted, and we can bet you'll never enjoy steak tartare the same again.

So what inspired this game-changing recipe? In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Santos shared the story behind the increasingly popular dish at Stanton Social Prime. It involves a bunch of hungry cowboys and some creative free thinking that only a cocktail or two can evoke.

Santos was inspired by his work on a cattle ranch... and a little whiskey

Sometimes the greatest ideas are sparked when you least expect it. For Chris Santos, his latest stroke of culinary genius came while wrapping up a long day on a cattle ranch, where he and his staff spent time learning everything they could about steak as they developed the menu for Stanton Social Prime. After 10- to 12-hour days of working with the livestock and taking lessons from a master butcher, everyone would wrap up the day exactly how you'd expect on a cattle ranch — sitting around the fire, telling stories, and having a drink. Surprisingly, it was the perfect setting to bring out Santos' unique talent for culinary innovation.

"The steak tartare quesadilla was born late one night after a couple of whiskeys, and we needed a snack," Santos told Tasting Table. Driven by their booze-infused hunger, the longtime judge on Food Network's "Chopped" embodied the spirit of the show, treating the ranch kitchen as his very own mystery basket and "rooting through the fridge and the pantry" for whatever ingredients he could find to whip up a snack.

It starts with the freshest and highest quality beef, diced and pounded and piled up on top of a "super crispy and melty" quesadilla filled with French cheese. Santos says it's an irresistibly delicious combination of flavors, textures, and even temperatures, all dancing on the palate. "When you pull it, you get this nice cheese pull, but when you eat it, you've got the ice-cold steak tartare and the hot, crispy, melty quesadilla." From the very first bite that night on the ranch, Santos recalled, "We all looked at each other and said, 'Oh my God, this has got to go on the menu.'"

Click here to learn more about and make reservations at Stanton Social Prime at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.