Category Archives: Full Points for Flavor

Ichiban Nom Nom

I had the opportunity to head to Chef Joe Conti’s test kitchen prior to the open of his yet-to-be-named Japanese omakase restaurant downtown. The great thing about this meal is that I was able to taste a lot of different cuts of A5 Wagyu beef. The highest marbling score there is. Unreal. Since there were a bunch of courses, I’ll get right down to business.

Torched mackerel with pickled daikon.

Fried river fish, uni and river crab.

Giant shrimp/prawn carabineros. Simply seasoned with salt, but their insides cook into a naturally spicy and fatty butter-like substance that will provide you with wet food dreams for the rest of your life. It coats your tongue like a rich prosciutto almost. For real, this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my whole fucking life. They get to about a third of a pound each in weight, too, so they’re substantial. Favorite part of the meal – even better than the beef!

Wagyu skirt steak (8/10) and pork skirt steak. Amazing. Here, the pork out shined the beef just because it was so unique to see this cut here in the states. I want more of it!

Wagyu sirloin (9/10), tenderloin (10/10) and rib cap (9/10). All amazing, but my favorite, oddly, was the tenderloin. It was so buttery soft and tender that it would be impossible to compare it to anything else that came across out plates.

Here’s the tenderloin up close:

Italian panko Parmesan breadcrumb “gyu katsu,” aka deep fried beef strip loin. Amazing. 8/10.

Eel with shiso.

Cold udon noodles.

Ice cream: chocolate, green tea with chocolate chips, and salted caramel. Still some refining to be done here, but over all a great closer plate.

I can’t wait until this spot officially opens. I think it’ll be in the West 4th Street and 8th Avenue area. Keep an eye out! They’re already booked solid for the first few months after they open.

Bevy

Bevy is the new restaurant that took the place of The Back Room at One57. My wife took me here for an early birthday dinner. I was excited to hit this joint, because they have rib eye fat cap steak on the menu (deckle, aka spinalis dorsi), as well as a bison rib eye. We tried both.

We started with the rib eye cap steak as a shared appetizer. The portion size is 8oz, so this was perfect to share as an app.

This was perfectly cooked, super tender and amazingly flavorful. At $48 it’s a bit pricey, but totally worth it given the quality. 10/10.

Both the rib eye cap and the bison rib eye hail from Fossil Farms. I’ve encountered these guys at food shows in the past, and the quality is superb. I hope to work with them in the future and feature some more of their proteins here on the website. Especially the exotics.

Anyway, we ate the rib eye cap steak with some crispy lemon oyster mushrooms, which they sent to us on the house!

This is a reprise of a dish that used to be on the Back Room menu, which I really liked. It’s just as good as I remember. It’s also really damn beautiful.

Several menu items were carried over, actually. I was glad to see that many of the good ones remained.

But now for the big guns. The 40oz, 28-day dry-aged bison rib eye. It’s actually two chops on the bone.

It comes with a vinaigrette dressed frisee salad and asparagus. But the plating is gorgeous. We actually fanned it out a little so you can more easily see the perfectly pink interior.

Bison is slightly gamy, but unless you’re looking for it, you probably wouldn’t notice a flavor difference between bison and beef.

It’s typically more lean than beef, and sometimes has a more iron-metallic flavor profile than beef. Very good. 8/10.

We ate this baby with sides of paprika dusted steak fries and trumpet mushrooms. Both were great. I was impressed with the crisp on the fries. So good! I usually dislike the massive quarter-of-a-potato style steak fries, but I’d get these again and again, every time I eat here.

The trumpets were good, but I did enjoy the oyster mushrooms more. These were served with minted labneh, which added a nice fresh pop of flavor.

Dessert was great as well. We ordered one, but they gave us two. Great service! In fact, Amanda was a wonderful waitress. She knew her stuff and had great recommendations.

First was this apple pie with a sugar cookie crust. So awesome! That’s vanilla ice cream up front, covered with a nice caramel sauce.

The other dessert was cheesecake with lemon pudding and espresso ice cream. Really tough to choose a best between these two.

I definitely recommend this place. If you happen to carry the “Founders Card,” you get 20% off when you use it to pay.

BEVY
153 W. 57th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019

Antique Bar & Bakery

Antique Bar & Bakery is a new joint in Hoboken. I know what you’re thinking: Fuck Jersey! But for real, everything at this place is absolutely amazing. And I can’t in good conscience fuck with Jerz: I’m from Long Island, and everyone knows that LI, NJ and Staten Island are all retarded cousins from the same demented family.

Anyway, when you walk in, you feel like you’ve entered someone’s home. It has an old school feel to it. There are a few nice nooks for seating, and a great bar with really nicely fashioned cocktails.

In the back room, you’re basically IN the kitchen, which is really fun to experience. The skylight overhead illuminates the room with a nice, pleasing natural light.

The back wall boasts an insane coal oven that cranks up to over 1000 degrees, and then to the left of that, there’s a cooler area (about 500 degrees).

On the side wall is all your normal kitchen gadgetry like a gas oven, burners, sinks, expediting station, etc.

Okay but enough about that – let me get to the food. Chef Paul Gerard is doing amazing things here. Everything has a sense of familiarity, but also a sense of “newness.” He’s accumulated aspects of Soul Food, Cajun/Creole, Italian, American and French cuisines and balled them up into a delicious, enveloping and immersive experience: especially when you sit in the back near the kitchen (a must-do if you’re anything like me).

We started with a snack of blistered shishito peppers and pickled watermelon. The peppers go into the hot coal oven and finish up really quickly – like within a minute. It’s pretty neat because you can feel the capsaicin in the air once they get cranking. If you sit close like we did, you may sneeze or cough a bit. That’s how IN the kitchen you are. So cool. It makes you feel like you’re part of the staff.

Raw Fennel Salad with Burnt Orange Marmalade: All the burnt items are done right in their crazy oven. They add a great natural bitterness to the food (and cocktails), which cuts the fat and sweetness of any complimentary ingredients. This salad was awesome: crisp, fresh and satisfying.

Hot Oil Shrimp: Incredible dish. Really nice heat from the peppers, and the shrimp retain a lot of shell flavor from being blasted in the oven. Perfectly cooked.

Rice Balls: I mean, these guys even managed to make rice balls interesting, new and fun. The outside is really crisp and the inside is soft and gooey from the provolone fondue. You need to try them.

Fresh Mozzarella: This shit is made to order, right there at the prep counter. You can watch the guy stretch and pull until its ready. It’s topped with some cracked pepper and a few cherry tomatoes. Eat this quickly while it’s still warm, otherwise it can firm up a bit and lose its softness.

Burger: The only slight I will make about this entire meal is that the burger was a bit overcooked for our liking. But the flavor was off the hinges, even though our burger was medium-well. It gets some dry aged fat (carved right off the steaks), some chuck and some flank in the grind – made in house, obviously.

It’s topped with shredded cheese, spicy fries and pickled chili peppers. Despite the shape of the burger being spherical, it really was formed well: Loosely packed and not overworked; hollowed out top bun so it isn’t too tall and unwieldy. This burger has real potential to be one of the best around. I need to come back and try it again, and make sure the temp is pink through the center. Don’t shy away from ordering it just because mine was a bit over.

Whole Octopus: This is a special menu item, which you can order as a half or whole portion. The octopus is treated in a similar way as the shrimp, but it is tossed in an olive puttanesca sauce that really blew me away. It was cooked very nicely too: snappy to the tooth, but not chewy. Great char flavor from the oven.

Whole Fish: This was black bass, and it was really damn delicious. When you cook seafood hot and fast, you retain all that great juiciness in the flesh, so that nothing ever dries out. That’s what happens with the fish here. You can’t go wrong.

Fish Photo Credit: @NYCFoodFOMO

Whole Chicken: Absurdly delicious, and I’m not even really a chicken man. This is plenty big to feed the table.

Dirty Rib Eye: I was amazed. I watched as Chef Paul went through the entire process, and I even got some good video.

First, he broke down a 28-day dry aged rack of ribs that the restaurant got from DeBragga Meats. Antique Bar & Bakery has its own shelf in the DeBragga dry-aging room.

The steaks are allowed to come up to room temperature so that they cook better.

Once they’re ready, they’re coated with coarse salt, slapped on a cast iron skillet, and then popped into that ripping-hot coal oven for about five minutes. This hell-fire licks every square inch of surface area on the meat, giving it a great outer crust.

The steak is then pulled out of the crazy oven, placed onto a bed of herbs, hit with some drawn butter, and then finished in the other oven until the center comes up to the proper temperature.

Finally, it rests for a while before being sliced and plated – sometimes up to 20 minutes. While resting, it gets brushed with more herbs, so you really get that great herb flavor with each bite.

Alright here’s the video. I made you suffer through reading all of that first before linking it, because I’m a dick.

The herbs really make it. In fact, they have herbs drying and hanging all over the back room. It was pretty cool, and reminded me of my dad’s garage, which always seems to be decorated with dangling peppers and herbs from his garden.

Needless to say, this steak is an easy 10/10 for flavor. It’s really unbelievable. I suggest you get out there immediately to try it.

Hard Herb Hanger: Perfectly cooked, great crisp on the outside, and wonderful flavors from the herb roasting process in the ovens. This is a great option for those who aren’t willing to go big with the rib eye but still want to eat beef. Just $23? Awesome. 8/10. We actually had this come out alongside our desserts and we still devoured it instantly. Haha!

All entrees can be consumed with a variety of available sauces. We tried them all, but I really liked the herb puree and puttanesca the best. As for the steaks? No sauce needed. There’s so much flavor on those babies already.

Okay let me address some of the fantastic sides we tried.

Charred Kale with Pickled Chilis: Really nice acidic punch. This is similar to something like collared greens in Soul Food cuisine, only with a new twist.

Blackened Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts: Awesome. This is my new favorite beet dish. And if you’re one of those weird bastards that doesn’t eat meat, then this is the way to go for you. Very satisfying, satiating and fulfilling.

Fava Beans: Holy shit! Traditional French styling here with butter and shallots, and finished with mint, but so great. I kept going back for more of these green delights. Probably because they’re served with Spring Brook Farm Reading Raclette, a raw cow’s milk cheese.

Fingerling Potatoes: As I said above, Chef Paul is making things in a new way here. These babies are roasted with dried, aged, shaved Bottarga fish flakes (similar to what you might see being used to make dashi broth, but more specific). It might not sound that appetizing, but it adds such an amazing earthy flavor to the potatoes. Trust me. And with a topping of cheese and that awesome crisp from the hot oven, this side is not to be skipped.

Now on to the desserts. We tried a few, and all of them were excellent, just like every-fucking-thing else in this meal.

Lady Ashton’s Dirty Chocolate Cake: Served family style in a large cast iron skillet, this is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever eaten. I’m not huge on chocolate either, but I loved this.

Frozen Cannoli: This is essentially a cannoli in sundae form. Incredibly tasty, and equally beautiful.

Dandy’s Decadent Cookie (with sweet milk ice cream): This baby is baked to order, and it is a massive, soft, delicious cookie with ice cream on top. This is my kind of dessert.

Burnt Lemon & Marshmallow Pie: I have a weakness for this type of stuff. It was a great twist on lemon meringue pie.

TCB Sundae: This is based on the Elvis sandwich. Burnt banana bread, caramelized banana, peanut butter ice cream, candied slab bacon, milk chocolate covered potato chips, and all of it draped in gold! Just like Elvis would want it baby! Chef Paul rocks harder than Elvis, if you ask me.

Holy shit. Is that everything? I’m dying to go back here. Get your ass out to Hoboken ASAP. You will thank me.

ANTIQUE BAR & BAKERY
122 Willow Ave
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Greenwich Steakhouse

Greenwich Steakhouse overall score: 89

Greenwich Steakhouse is a newly opened French-inspired steak joint in the West Village. Chef Victor Chavez helped open Smith & Wollensky, and is a 30yr veteran chef from there. He tried retirement, but decided that he wanted to be back in the game. As such, he opened Greenwich Steakhouse.

I recently set up an “influencer event” here to help get some photos and reviews out there. Take a look at all the crazy shit we tried, and enjoy the review below.

Flavor: 8

Cajun Rib Eye: 10/10

I’m starting with the best steak first. This baby was cooked to a perfect medium rare from end to end with an awesome savory crust on the edges.

But the hint of cumin in the Cajun rub really sets this baby off as the best steak in the joint.

The spicy oil at the bottom of the place is reminiscent of the delicious sauce you get with the cumin lamb noodles at Xian Famous Foods, which I love.

When you come here, this is the steak to get. Chef Victor just absolutely nails it.

48oz Porterhouse: 8/10

This is nice and thick, and really goes great with the marrow butter sauce addition.

There was some grey banding since this is such a thick cut of steak, but nothing was dried out.

48oz Tomahawk Rib Eye: 6/10

Unfortunately this was a bit overcooked for our liking. Some parts were dry as a result, but the flavor was still nice.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

All the meat here come from Strassburger, a great supplier. Chef Victor dry ages them for three weeks in-house to develop a bit more flavor for his guests. There are several sizes of the four major cuts available.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions here are pretty big. The plating is on the nicer side with steel pans being used as serving vessels.

Price: 10

Since this was a free event, I am giving full points for price here. However, the prices are on par with midtown NYC steakhouses.

Bar: 7

The bar is a short stretch on the first floor with some seats along the window for people watching.

It’s on a nice stretch of Greenwich Ave in the village too, so likely will be a good spot for nightlife.

 

Cocktails are nice, particularly the Great Kills.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

The waiter read us some specials that were not on the menu. We tried one of them, a shredded Brussels sprout salad. I thought it could use some more dressing, but it was tasty.

For alternative meats, they offer a nice variety: veal, chicken and lamb. Perhaps a pork chop would round it out. We tried the lamb and it was incredible. So nicely seasoned and flavorful.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

This is the best thick cut bacon I’ve ever had. It was about a half inch thick, and each order comes with three massive slabs. We cut them each in half since we had a table of six.

The fries are pretty good as well:

The marrow is overkill. If you are eating steaks here, each cut will come with some roasted bone marrow, so no need to go for the app. Here are three delicious boats of bone meat though:

Creamed spinach was also nice:

As well as the hash browns:

For dessert, we went with the ice cream tartufo:

Creme brulee:

And chocolate cake:

All were good, but my favorite was the creme brulee.

Seafood Selection: 10

We tried the seafood tower, which comes with oysters, king crab, shrimp, lobster and lumb crab meat.

The shrimp were massive! For entree items, they offer tuna, halibut, lobster, sole and salmon.  Branzino was on special as well. That’s a serious variety!

Service: 10

The staff here is all top notch. The guys are pure gentlemen and it doesn’t surprise me that Chef Victor would staff his joint with such people. The table breads are served from a basket at the outset.

Ambiance: 9

They’ve done an awesome job with the space here. The main dining room is on the second floor and boasts elegant chairs and a bright space. Very different from other steak joints.

The third floor has a huge table for parties, and holds about 8000 bottles of wine in elegant glass-windowed rooms flanking each side.

GREENWICH STEAKHOUSE
62 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10011

Pig Bleecker

This joint offers some of the most unique and delicious dishes I’ve come across in a while. I went with a group of food Instagrammers to help the restaurant get some pics out to the masses, so we were able to sample a lot of stuff.

First off, the cocktails are really creative.

If you like apertif type drinks, try the Greyfriar or the Donna Reed. I generally shy away from them due to the bitter element, but these were extremely tasty and have me re-thinking the entire class. My favorites, though: Old Smokey, I’m on Fire and Deacon Blues.

Take a look at the food menu.

Everything looks/sounds good because everything IS good. I’m serious. Every item we tried was not only good but often times outstanding. I seriously think this is my new favorite restaurant.

Okay on to the goods. I apologize in advance for some of the pics that I didn’t bother editing. I was primarily concerned with getting just a few to look great for Instagram, in particular the steak, burger and fried chicken dishes.

These little corn bread wafers are a nice change from standard table bread in a basket.

SNACKS

The Pecan Candied Bacon is served in a mason jar. They reminded me of the stuff my wife makes, only without the spicy element.

The Deviled Steak & Eggs is essentially a deviled egg with steak tartare under the whipped yolk. Excellent bites.

STARTERS

If there’s only one thing Chef Matt Abdoo should have as his legacy, it’s his ability to make incredible sauces. These BBQ Chicken Lollipops feature one of those amazing sauces. They are fantastic.

Grandma Val’s Meatballs are really great. Again, that sauce is killer.

This next dish of fried cod cheeks was not on the menu, but they might have been one of my favorite dishes of the night. I could easily eat bucket-loads of these. Nice light and puffy batter, simply garnished with pickled peppers and scallions. Awesome.

I’m usually not a fan of cooked oysters, but the Grilled Oysters here definitely changed my mind.

MAINS

Brisket Ravioli with black truffle butter? Yup. They even shaved a bunch on top, table-side.

Beautiful.

We shared the Bleecker Burger, which is probably now one of my new favorites. It’s in the style of a Big Mac; double patty, special sauce (yeah – it’s an incredible sauce). Nearly flawless in execution. As a friend pointed out, it just needs an element of crisp, whether from the patty or a leaf of iceberg. The house pickles are perfect.

The Linguine Cacio e Pepe and Lasagne dishes were both nicely executed as well, but I didn’t get a shot of either, unfortunately.

FOR THE TABLE

Let me start with the amazing Smoked & Fried Chicken. This is a whole chicken, and it’s expertly breaded and perfectly fried.

I enjoyed this more than Ando and Ma Peche, which seem to be the top of the pack for many fried chicken aficionados.

Again, the sauces that come with this are amazing.

But the waffles with whipped sweet and salted butter were the real show stoppers. I’ve never had a waffle that tasted so good.

The chicken comes with cheesy grits, which are fantastic.

Here comes the big daddy: the Tomahawk Chop with Smoked Beef Rib. Essentially, steak and brisket.

This is an aged Pat Lafrieda cut that has been lightly smoked before being properly finished off as a steak. It’s served with smoked cap and brisket, and another amazing steak sauce.

This steak tastes like a delicious hybrid between BBQ and traditional steakhouse fare.

It’s smokey and sweet, but also earthy and savory. It really blew me away. 10/10.

SIDES

The Mac & Cheese is really tasty, and topped with a cheese powder that will take you back to your childhood.

These Hand Cut French Fries are more like flattened and squashed baked potatoes. Very good, and not the same as the shoestring style fries that come with the burger.

The Utica Greens are made with escarole, which I love to see on menus. This really popped from the smokey bacon and cherry peppers.

Finally, we tried the Anson Mills Grits, which I also liked very much.

DESSERT

Mason Jar Oreo Cheesecake. Velvety and delicious.

Mango Sorbet with Yogurt Chips & Fresh Mango. So bright and flavorful.

Karen’s Key Lime Pie. Perfect rendition of this classic.

Brownie Hot Fudge Sundae with Virginia Peanuts. Decadent.

Buckeye Milkshake (like a peanut butter and chocolate ice cream shake). This is something special. Not only is it gorgeous, but it is filling, yummy and satisfying.

They were all awesome, and overall this was an amazing meal. I can’t wait to go back and try their 155 Steak, a Teres Major/Shoulder Tender cut, so keep an eye out for updates.

UPDATE 4/18/17 – 155 STEAK

This shoulder tender is awesome.

It has all the softness you’d expect from a filet mignon, but the flavor character of a rib eye.

Although it was cooked more like medium than medium rare, it still packed a lot of oomph. It was slightly sweet yet savory, had a good crust on the outside, and was super tender and juicy inside. At just $28, this is a steal. 8/10.

PIG BLEECKER
155 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012

Hida Beef

Hida is a region in Japan, located in the northern part of Gifu prefecture on Honshu island. That’s west of Tokyo, but not quite as far as Kyoto or Osaka. While I’ve never been there, I can tell it’s a place that I’d definitely want to visit.

Hida is known for it’s outstanding beef (Hida-gyu), which is derived from a black-haired Japanese breed of cattle. Laws are such that, to quality as the Hida brand, the cattle has to have been raised in Gifu prefecture for at least 14 months. The beef is characterized by intense, beautiful, web-like marbling with a buttery, smooth texture that melts in your mouth. The flavor is both rich and delicate at the same time. It can be likened to the top percentiles of wagyu beef, rivaling kobe and matsusaka in quality, with marbling grades of A/B 3, 4, and 5.

I was invited to a Hida beef tasting event at EN Japanese Brasserie, one of the seven restaurants in the area that will be serving Hida beef on their menus. The other six are Brushstroke, Hakubai, Hasaki, Sakagura, Shabu-Tatsu and the Members Dining Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is the first time that Hida beef is available here in the States, so if you’re a meat aficionado like me, you should definitely hit one of these places and give it a try. This stuff is expensive though, so make an occasion out of it.

I tried the beef in four different preparations: (1) sliced raw, nigiri sushi style, and then kissed with the scorching flame of a blowtorch; (2) seared edges, a tatami trio, with three different kinds of salt; (3) “Hoba-miso” style, stone grilled with miso sauce; and (4) chopped raw, tartare or ceviche style, with citrus and uni. Despite all the marbling, the meat doesn’t come off tasting very fatty, like some highly marbled cuts do. It didn’t leave a coating of waxy or fatty residue on my palate like certain cured salamis with high fat content. And it didn’t cause the flavors of whatever I ate next to change or taste different due to that fat, which is sometimes the case with aged beef and cured salami. In short, it was really a very pleasing experience.

I’ll start with my favorite preparations: (2) and (3). The tataki trio was essentially three slices of Hida beef (strip loin), each dressed with a different salt element: yuzu soy sauce, sea salt and a special red salt that had hints of spice to it. All three were great, but I think I liked the classic sea salt topper the best.

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The hot stone grilled preparation, Hoba-miso, was the only one in which the beef was cooked through. This dish is local to Hida. The sliced beef is placed on Hoba (a big Magnolia leaf) with miso and scallions, which then sits directly on the surface of the hot stone. As you can see, the before and after photos of this method indicate that this beef can be thoroughly enjoyed fully cooked if you’re one of those puss-bags who is afraid to eat raw or under-cooked meat.

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Fully cooking the beef did not take anything away from the meat. You still get that buttery smooth texture and melt-in-your-mouth flavor characteristics. In fact, the leaf and miso bring nice flavor accents to the beef that compliment it well. This, too, was a strip loin cut of beef, and it was presented to eat on grilled sticky rice patties.

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Here’s the chef, Abe Hiroki, who was grilling these delicious morsels to absolute beef-paradise perfection:

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The torched nigiri style reminded me slightly of spam musubi, for the sole reason that it was a warm meat item served atop sushi rice. Here, you can get a real, unadulterated taste of the beef in all its marbled glory. It truly is spectacular.

I’ve been eating aged beef for so long that something this pure and clean really blew me away. This was strip loin as well.

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This was the sushi master behind these perfect pieces of nigiri:

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Finally, this tartare or ceviche style came dressed with a citrus yuzu sauce and was topped with uni (raw sea urchin). Absolutely stunning and decadent. The reason I am interchanging tartare with ceviche is that, typically, ceviche involves fish and citrus, while tartare features meat and egg yolk. Since this dish had elements of both but not all, I figured I’d split the baby. Tarviche? Why not. Also strip loin.

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The event also showcased some nice sake selections with flavors ranging from dry to sweet, traditional to aromatic and fruity.

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In fact, the event began with a “breaking the mirror” ceremony on the casks of sake, as well as a sake toast.

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The governor of Gifu was even in attendance, introducing the beef, the region and the customs to the audience.

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The restaurant itself is beautiful, and I look forward to coming back to try some more of this amazing beef. Every preparation was 10/10 for flavor, and I highly recommend it.

EN JAPANESE BRASSERIE
435 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014

Petrossian

NOTE: THIS JOINT IS NOW CLOSED (for renovations)

Occasionally you come across a meal that changes the way you view particular food items. I’m a steak man. Clearly, this is known. I’ve eaten hundreds of cuts in my endeavor to find the best that NYC has to offer. I thought I’d pretty much seen it all in the world of steak. What else could there be, aside from some aged wagyu, or something completely ridiculous and rare? But just when I was starting to get a little bored and comfortable with my favorite food, Petrossian Chef Richard Farnabe came through with a completely unique and utterly genius steak offering.

Photo from www.therestaurantfairy.com
Photo from www.therestaurantfairy.com

The cut itself is something with which we steak aficionados are familiar; a 28-day, dry-aged strip loin (NY Strip). This lean cut hails from Four Story Hill Farm in PA. But Chef Richard’s preparation is what sets it apart from the panoply of great meats in the city of this cut’s namesake; it’s cooked to a perfect medium rare all the way through, and topped with bone marrow and caviar.

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Caviar? Why would someone do that, you ask? Well, having eaten it, I have a hypothesis: The natural brine and salt content in the caviar compliments the aged taste of the meat in a tremendous way. Aged beef has a certain flavor profile to it – earthy, funky, and highly concentrated. The caviar, being naturally salty and funky in its own right, is the perfect pairing with this kind of meat. It helps bring out those aged characteristics while also providing a juicy pop and briny burst to each bite.

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And, as you might expect, the marrow adds some nice fat flavor and texture back into the lean cut of beef. It really is a brilliant conception. In my opinion this is probably one of the best strip steaks you can find in town. 10/10.

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It’s accompanied by a semi-raw, ice cold asparagus salad. This adds some acidity and fresh green flavors to the meal, deftly balancing the punch you’re getting from the steak.

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And that’s not the only beef I tried. On the appetizer menu, they offer A4 wagyu topped with grilled sturgeon.

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This comes with a pickled quail egg and some caviar as well, along with a little crispy potato cube. When eaten together (beef and fish), you are experiencing that same beautiful pairing of earth and sea, one enhancing the other. The sturgeon had a flavor that was reminiscent of a good, Japanese style grilled eel. The slightly candied or caramelized, almost sweet top coating on the sturgeon pulled out a lot of those rich beef fat flavors from the steak. Another 10/10. For the record I believe this was sliced strip loin, but since it’s A4 wagyu, I will include it in my “other cuts” section for catalog purposes.

Now that I’ve gotten the most important things out of the way, let me briefly discuss the remainder of the meal. After all, the rest was just as impressive as the meats reviewed above. Even the table bread and drinks were nice.

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Petrossian explores elements of both classic French cuisine and Russian/Eastern European cuisine, and there is a healthy presence of caviar and smoked fish in the dishes, aside from having a robust stand-alone caviar menu. The starting amuse, for example, features both French technique and Russian cuisine, along with both caviar and smoked fish.

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What exactly are you looking at here? Three items.

(1) The lollipops are smoked salmon with cream cheese foam dipped in beet foam to make a shell;

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(2) The cubes are savory caviar marshmallows;

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(3) The spheres are chocolate foie gras truffles with gold leaf.

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These concise, decadent and dynamic bites set the tone for the entire meal. Petrossian is truly one of the few great places to indulge and splurge with a high quality meal where it’s actually worth the money, and where there is no pretense, no elitism and no unnecessary vegetable worship.

The next item that came out was a terrine-like foie gras brulee with smoked sturgeon and a pomegranate Guinness drop. It came with a little bread puff but I really enjoyed this by itself.

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The Guinness drop was spun sugar and candy-like in flavor and texture, and the foie brulee was rich, creamy and deeply flavorful.

My wife’s starter was the Petrossian sampler, which contained various smoked fish items and caviar. Everything I tasted on this plate was delicious in addition to being beautifully presented.

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Her entree was a special: baby pig, which consisted of an assortment of meats from the animal, including kidney, ear, rib, and crispy skin. There was also a croquette and crispy hash made from the meat as well. I tasted a bit of everything, thankfully, because I definitely would have ordered this if the steak wasn’t on the menu.

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In particular, I really liked the kidney, which was skewered on a sprig of rosemary. That little touch of presentation/technique added a great roasted herb flavor to the meat. Absolutely outstanding. It almost reminded us of Japanese yakitori.

Our sides were sumac pomme souffle, which were like little puffed potato chips, and a bowl of sauteed wild mushrooms with herbs.

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These items went perfectly with our meat courses.

Dessert was a lot of fun as well. We had beignets with a multitude of injectable sauce bulbs, and a smoked wood ice cream chocolate ball, which was covered in chocolate sauce at table side.

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The beignets were very light and crisp, and my favorite sauce was the pistachio. The chocolate ball was rich, creamy and decadent. Really smooth and tasty.

And then these little guys came out with the check: chocolate truffles and marshmallow cubes, both plated on a bed of dark chocolate morsels.

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With Chef Richard at the helm, Petrossian has skyrocketed back into NYC’s short list of high end restaurants that discerning diners simply must experience at least once. I was extremely impressed.

PETROSSIAN
182 West 58th St
New York, NY 10019

STK Rooftop

STK Rooftop overall score: 87

I came here with a group of friends for a steak night. I have to be honest; I wasn’t expecting much from a scene-heavy location on a rooftop in the meat packing district, but this place delivered. Everyone seemed happy at the end of the meal, especially me, which is all that really fucking matters anyway.

Flavor: 10
I ordered their off-menu special cut, which was an 8-10oz spinalis (the fat cap of the rib eye). It was topped with pickled mushrooms, pickled jalapenos and chimichurri sauce.

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This fucker was perfect. Unlike Bowery Meat Company, which ties together several slivers of trimmed cap to form one round cap steak, this seemed to be one full hunk of the same spinalis. I was impressed with the flavor and cook quality of the meat, and the pickled items added a nice pop of brightness and flavor to the meat. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare / medium temperature, it was juicy and I could taste the dry-aged flavors come though (this was the only dry-aged offering). 10/10. Also note that this is the only other place in the city aside from BMC that offers a version of this cut, so go get it.

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I also had a taste of a bone-in tenderloin that a friend ate, and it was very tasty as well (9/10). To clarify, he actually ordered a rib eye but they delivered a filet. He was a little bummed about it but decided to keep his filet. In the end I think he was happy with the steak.

I noticed that all the steaks had a good charred crust on them, and they all seemed to be seasoned generously. I snapped a few photos to demonstrate:

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I didn’t get to try the rib eye this time, but here’s a shot of it:

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Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
All the steaks on the menu are prime quality beef, but they didn’t offer anything that was aged aside from the special that I got (which was not on their menu).

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The good news is they have several sizes of steaks to suit whatever kind of pussy appetite you might have, and two people can probably share the large steaks.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions are pretty good here. While two of the large cuts seemed a bit pricey, I felt the porterhouse was fair and that all the other cuts were correctly priced as well. Side items and apps were also good. Plating was basic but with a touch of attention to beauty.

Price: 9
We were eating with nine people and the bill came to $187 per person, with tax and tip included and two of the diners not paying (they won credit card roulette). There were lots of cocktails and wine involved too, so I thought this was pretty fair, though we did skip dessert. For the quality you get, this is a good deal.

Bar: 8
The main bar here is a bit small, but you’re up on a rooftop that looks out across the Hudson. It’s a nice spot, and there is also a lounge on the other side of the dining room if the bar area is too crowded. I think it just would have been better planning to have the bar and the lounge adjacent to each other rather than split by the dining room. In any case, the drinks were made well, and the cocktail menu was pretty interesting.

Specials and Other Meats: 9
There is chicken, lamb, duck and beef short rib for those who don’t want a real cut of steak. As I mentioned above, they had a great spinalis special. But they also have some wagyu selections available as well, for those with fatter wallets.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We started with some oysters for the table. They were small, which I don’t mind, but some people do. They were west coast fuckers too, so a bit more fish and brine flavors involved.

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I had the octopus appetizer, which is done two ways; grilled and braised. They’re served together on the plate with nice purple potatoes and roasted, skinless grape tomatoes. While some bites had a bit more snap to them than others, overall this was a tasty dish and the octopus was tender.

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I also tried two other sides that we ordered for the table: truffle fries, and mac and cheese. The truffle fries had a good truffle flavor but they weren’t crispy enough. That was a bummer, and it made me think that the truffle flavor was just an oil-based add-on that was poured on top before serving, which could have been why they weren’t crispy. But the mac and cheese was awesome. It was topped with a nice baked bread crumb crust, and the cheese was top notch quality. Apologies for not getting a pic of either.

Seafood Selection: 8
There are at least three or four fish items on the entree menu to choose if you have a snatch and don’t eat meat, but we certainly didn’t try any. The appetizer fare is chock full of shellfish and other seafood items, however, and some of those, as mentioned earlier, were pretty good.

Service: 10
Our waitress, Sue Ann, was great. Not only did she properly explain each cut of steak on the menu, but she was forthcoming with her opinions on which steaks were better than others. She was also looking out for us, because when we first arrived, three of us were not yet there. They wouldn’t seat us at our table for nine until all guests arrived. The table for six, at which we were originally sitting while waiting for the final three, was really just comfortable enough for four people. There’s no way we could have eaten there, even if the last three didn’t make it. She told us to start ordering and when the others arrived, it’d be timed right as another large group would be finishing up their meal, so we would swap tables. It worked out nicely.

Ambiance: 9
The rooftop is beautiful. I’m only taking a point off because I thought the space could have been laid out and organized a bit better. I think it’s great that they have cover in the event of rain. Also some areas are still uncovered so if the day is nice, you can get some sunlight. They even have temperature control, at least near the bar. It was a muggy night but we were still very comfortable while eating dinner up there. Nicely done.

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STK ROOFTOP
26 Little W 12th St
New York, NY 10014

Bohemian

Bohemian is a dine-by-referral-only joint on Great Jones Street that’s nestled in the back of a high-end butcher shop called Japan Premium Beef. My wife scored a referral to eat here through one of her friends, so we set up a meal with her sister and her sister’s husband to celebrate their anniversary and sample as much as we could fit in our stomachs.

We started with a bunch of cocktails, which are all really great and unique. We tried about seven or eight over the course of the meal. Here are a few pics of some of them:

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They have a great selection of hard-to-find Japanese beers too:

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Plates here are small and pricey, but very good. We started with this poke bowl that consisted of high grade tuna, soy, sesame and micro greens. Absolutely delicious and super fresh.

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Next up was the wagyu short rib sashimi. This had great fat content and was super tender. Each piece gets topped with a little bit of wasabi and fried garlic slices.

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This fois gras sushi with aged balsamic and sea salt was incredibly decadent, but pricey at $17 for the pair:

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My favorite of the starter items were these wagyu beef tartare squares, served on blue cheese stuffed toasted grilled cheese. The cheese was mild and didn’t overwhelm the awesome flavors of the beef. Add a bit of dijon from the smear on the plate and you’re set.

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This mac and cheese is served with a tomato butter toast that is out of this world. The mac itself is perfect in every way: creamy, smooth and topped with a crunch.

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This slab of bacon was a bit chewy in the part that I had. My wife had a better experience with her piece. The good bits were super tasty though, so maybe the slab itself was just a little inconsistent.

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And why not have a pair of wagyu mini burgers with pecorino? They were perfectly cooked to medium rare, and served with some pickles for good measure.

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The miso black cod was really nicely cooked, but a bit on the small side in terms of portion.

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We regretted not going with the branzino when we saw that it was a beautifully presented whole fish and smelled like charcoal. But I wasn’t too worried because we were about to eat some fantastic wagyu beef. We started with a trio of beef (3.5oz each) that contained flatiron steak, culotte (top sirloin cap) and skirt. We liked them from best to worst in that order. I’ll review them now in the same order.

The flatiron was buttery and tender, cooked perfectly to medium rare and came in, for me, at an easy 9/10 for flavor.

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The culotte was similarly buttery, but a bit tougher in texture. It reminded me of strip loin, but a little less grainy. 7/10.

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I wish I had used a knife to cut these skirt steak bits a little smaller because they were too tough in the size that was served to us. They were cooked perfectly, but just lacked a bit on the flavor and texture fronts. 6/10.

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All of the beef was served with a small tray of sea salt that you could use to season as you saw fit. This was key, because otherwise the cuts were all a little too bland.

The last cut of beef we tries was a 10oz hanger steak. This was super tender and extremely delicious, and cooked absolutely perfectly with a great crust and a bright pinkish red center. 10/10. It was served on a mountain of potatoes that seemed to have been baked first, and then fried to a golden crisp on the outside. Awesome.

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Dessert was pretty nice too. We tried two ice creams: ricotta and strawberry balsamic. The strawberry was tart, but really nicely balanced between the sweet aspect of it. It ate more like a sorbet at times. The ricotta was light and fluffy, more like frozen cheese or a semifreddo. The ricotta cheese flavor was definitely prominent. What was best was mixing these two flavors in each bite. It was like eating a delicious frozen strawberry cheesecake.

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Sorry for the shitty pics. At this point the lighting changed drastically in the joint, and I didn’t bother to fix my settings.

We also tried the trio dessert sampler, which consisted of creme brulee, matcha green tie cake and cheesecake.

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My favorite of the three was the creme brulee. It was really smooth and creamy.

BOHEMIAN
57 Great Jones St
New York, NY 10012

Bowery Meat Company

Since I know people have short attention spans, I’ve put together a quick video review that sums up my feelings about BMC:

But if you want the full review, read on below:

I met up here with two friends for a meal after hearing a lot of good reviews about the joint. I wasn’t really sure I should call this place a steakhouse, and when I spoke with owner John McDonald he confirmed my thoughts. The idea, according to John, it seems, is not to pigeon hole the place as being a traditional steakhouse (usually just attracting an all male crowd, for the most part), but, rather, a meat-centric restaurant with a menu that appeals to all kinds of diners. Not only that, but he and his business partner/chef Josh Capon have endeavored to put together a unique menu, with cuts that you don’t often see in other restaurants, if ever. Other restaurants they are involved with include Lure Fishbar, Burger & Barrel Winepub and El Toro Blanco.

Given the above discussion about the term “steakhouse,” I decided not to rate this joint on my traditional 100-point scoring system (though I will include it on the list for convenience purposes). Instead, I will respect the owner’s concept and write it up like I do other restaurants. It just happens to be a wonderful meatopia!

The bar is a nice marble stretch, wide, lots of room, and has high-top seating behind, along the street. Easily a fun place to hang out. There’s also some lounge seating and regular tables beside it. This is a neat spot because every so often you can steal a glance into the kitchen through the swinging door next to the bar. There’s plenty of room to walk in and eat in the bar/lounge area if you can’t score a rez in the main dining room; just try to beat the crowd.

I started with a “Sagely Seventy-Five,” which was a really refreshing gin drink with lime, pear bitters and garnished with a sage leaf. No: I did not grow a vagina. I actually love gin drinks, mixed or straight up. It smelled and tasted exactly how I expected. The bartender, Alison, did a great job with the mix too.

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I swiped a taste of my buddy’s “Loneliest Monk” as well, which was a really nice rye, chartreuse, amaro and orange bitters concoction. Very classy.

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The bar, by the way, was a warm and comfortable place. Lots of elbow room too, which is nice. The bartenders and patrons were all very sociable. In fact, we had the good fortune of sitting next to a gent who is close friends with Chef Josh, so he gave us some pointers about what to get from the menu.

After our cocktails, we took a seat at a table next to the bar, in the lounge. Our waitress, Melanie, had a really deep knowledge and appreciation for beer. She made some excellent suggestions throughout the meal, the best of which, I thought, was this really effervescent Belgian beer that packed a ton of flavor without being hoppy or bitter. I fucking hate IPA shit, so this was excellent for me:

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We then had the great pleasure of meeting the man of the hour, Chef Josh Capon. He was a really fun, down-to-earth guy, cracking jokes with us, being vulgar and ridiculous (like we are), but at the same time making us feel not only welcome, but like we were kings. He was awesome: warm, friendly, easy to talk to, and it felt like we’ve known him forever. Check out this incredible display of meats he brought to the table, explaining each cut and how they are prepared:

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The first thing to come out was a plate of warm, sliced rosemary focaccia and some slices of soppressata. The bread was savory and herby, and the meat was soft and melty. I thought it was very cool and thoughtful that they put enough for each of us to try our own: three slices of each. That kind of attention to the diners does not go unnoticed by me. You’ll see the same thing was done for other dishes.

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Next was a little plate of bone marrow and oxtail rice balls: again one for each of us. These are called “arancini,” and they were spiced with lemon zest. I think at some point “put my balls in your mouth” was uttered by at least one of us, if not Chef Josh. The man had us cracking up hysterically at the table with his wit and outgoing personality. These were amazing little bites, by the way. Flash freeze these and put them on the shelves of stores in the frozen food section and you could make a killing!

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One of my buddies was too slow in putting Josh’s rice ball into his mouth, so there was a little bit of a threat happening with a tomahawk chop:

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Next, Josh brought out a sample of the crispy polenta for us to try. I enjoyed this. It had a nice texture with bold earthy flavors from the mushroom and shaved cheese on top.

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I think the star of the amuses (if you can call them that), was the dry aged wagyu meatball. When explaining it to us, we were all blown away, jaws dropped and salivating like wolves at the scent of fresh blood. I think Josh even said something like, “Yeah, it’s great. Basically, if you don’t like this meatball, then you can go fuck yourself.” HAHA! And he’s absolutely right. If you go to this restaurant and you try this meatball and DON’T like it, then I will say you can go fuck yourself. You don’t need to hear it from the man himself; you can take my word on it. It is amazing. Everything from the meat itself, to the consistency of the ball, to the herbs folded in, and to the sauce were all done with unrivaled culinary prowess. And I’m a hard man to please when it comes to meatballs!

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Okay so now let me tell you what we actually ordered for the apps. Yeah: all that stuff above was just to wet our beaks!  Wait – I just typed out “wet our beaks.” Who do I think we are, a bunch of fuckin’ Don Fanuccis from The Godfather?!??

Anyway, we started with the broiled oysters with garlic, romano cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley. Delicious! But watch your mouth because these muthafuckas are HOT! I typically don’t like cooked oysters, but these were done really nicely. They were briny and soft, properly cooked, yet crisp from the breadcrumbs. A great texture contrast.

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Next app: fois gras and chicken liver parfait. This was so rich and decadent, yet not heavy or filling. It was served with an onion jam and spread across toasted brioche. Chef Josh even spread the delicious shit on our bread for us when he served it. Amazing service! This is a must-try dish if you are into this sort of thing. All three of us absolutely loved it.

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Our third and final app was the Chinese BBQ pork belly lettuce wraps. Fresh, savory, light, bright and packed with porky goodness. The touch of acidic pickled veggies on the side, fresh cilantro and lime, and sliced chili peppers really made these bitches pop. So simple, yet so complex: a conundrum.

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For our mains, my bitch-ass friends wanted to share two entrees rather than three.  Whatever. We ordered the Bowery Steak, which is the first time I have ever seen anything like it on a menu. It’s essentially a pinwheel-wrapped fat cap from a rib eye, fashioned into a circle/spiral that’s roughly 10oz, if I had to guess, trussed, and cooked like a proper cut of steak. They serve it on top of creamy whipped potatoes, and top it with a chimichurri-like salsa verde.

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The owner, John, explained to me how the dish was conceptualized one night when coming home from a wedding that he and Josh had attended. They prepped that night, and the next day they brought it to life. Bravo, gents. You’ve made me very happy. This steak was fantastic, unique, innovative, tasty and perfectly cooked. Medium rare inside with a nice crust on the edges. Mmm.

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We also tried the cheeseburger, which is said to be made with 40-day dry-aged beef. This baby has been gaining some serious notoriety in burger circles, so I was excited to try it. It comes topped with griddled onions, raclette cheese and tomato aioli.

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Unfortunately, splitting it three ways left me wanting more, much more. It’s tough to make a solid review off just a bite or two. I did notice, though, that it was a bit salty, and could certainly have benefited from a cool, crunch element like lettuce. Here’s my pathetically small third of a burger. Thanks boys… Next time I’m ordering my own.

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The burger also came with fries, and a little tray of pickled tomato, okra and cucumber. The fries were really nice. Beautiful golden brown, crispy, herby and flavorful. I suppose we should have topped the burger with some of the pickles to get that needed crunch element, but digging into them on the side was nice too.

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We also took down an order of garlic spinach. This was really flavorful without being too overpowering on the garlic angle. Unlike typical sauteed spinach items, this wasn’t laden with oil either. It was fresh and light. Definitely a good choice.

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We were going to skip dessert, but Chef Josh brought out a nice trio of dolce de leche ice cream balls. This was a nice snack to take in with a glass of amaro, as we did.

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That about does it. If you’re wondering what the damage was, it really wasn’t too bad at all, especially given all the samples that Chef Josh brought out to the table for us to try. Here’s Sir William Price, in all his glory. Very fair, if you ask me.

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On a second visit, I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Paul, who fired up this amazing 38oz cote de boeuf, which I think is probably the best large-format rib eye I’ve ever had in my life. It had a nice seasoned crust that crisped up nice under the broiler. Also – unlike most thick cuts of beef, it wasn’t overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. it was just right. A perfect medium rare.

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Alright so I am forcing this into the review system despite the fact that they don’t claim to be a “steakhouse.” Let’s be honest – this shit is a steak joint!

Bowery Meat Company Overall Score: 95*

Flavor: 10
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Price: 8
Bar: 9
Specials & Other Meats: 10
Appetizers, Sides & Desserts: 10
Seafood Selection: 10
Service: 10
Ambiance: 9

Some new pics as of 5/5/2016, when I tried the chateaubriand and tomahawk steaks for two. Both were incredible. This place never fails to impress.

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UPDATE 3/4/17

Hanger Steak: 8/10

Duck Lasagna: incredible.

BOWERY MEAT COMPANY
9 E. 1st St.
New York, NY 10003