Category Archives: Other Cuts

Jack & Charlie’s

Jack & Charlie’s just opened on Greenwich Avenue near 8th Avenue.

The place is absolutely stunning inside. The color scheme is mid century greens with dark wood paneled walls and floors. The odd shape of the building space makes for cozy and interesting nook-like seating in some corners. This was my favorite table in the joint:

Here’s the main bar:

Incredibly gorgeous art deco vibe there. There’s also an oyster bar in back, beside a wood fired brick pizza oven. Love those subway tiles:

Speaking of bars, the cocktails here are really nice. This first one is called “Needs a Name.” Basically a sort of coffee old fashioned, I suppose? Super unique, really tasty. The other is a martini called “Slightly Promiscuous,” with a goat cheese stuffed olive.

Anyway, lets get to the food, because it was amazing.

We started with three items: First, the Littleneck Clams Casino.

These were so good. Only down side: we wanted bread to soak up all that delicious lemony, buttery sauce.

Next, Shepherd’s Pie Croquettes, from under the “Bar Bites” part of the menu.

Note here that the bar does offer secret menu items that aren’t available at the table, such as French Dip sandwiches. However, the full dinner menu is available at both bars.

Anyway these were perfectly crisp outside, super soft and flavorful inside. And also not too insanely hot to eat right away. The kitchen is on point, and knows what they’re doing in terms of food temps so that diners don’t destroy the inside of their mouths.

Lastly, the steak tartare:

By far one of the best, most flavorful I’ve had in a long time. It’s made from hand cut tenderloin, and it’s dressed and spiced just right.

For our mid course, we had a salad and a pasta. The chopped veggie salad was surprisingly delicious. It had all the usual stuff which you can see, as well as radicchio, artichokes and hearts of palm. Some of my favorite things for salads.

The strozzapreti pasta with rabbit was killer! It had a really nice flavor that reminded me of the pasta e fagioli (aka “pasta fazool”) that I ate as a kid. The green in there is arugula.

I can’t wait to go back and try their other pasta dishes. All of them looked and sounded amazing.

For the mains, I had to try the two items that Chef Ed Cotton makes from what we supply them at Golden Packing. Each week, we send them ground duck and prime grade export ribs (whole racks of rib eye). Here’s what Ed does with the ground duck:

That’s a bone-in duck meatloaf!

I’ve never really eaten meatloaf, unless you consider Italian meatballs to be some kind of cousin to meatloaf. I was blown away by this. So flavorful, and the glaze on that thing was incredible. Make sure you get this when you come here.

With the export ribs, Ed makes slow roasted, pastrami rubbed prime rib.

This is only available on Friday’s and Saturday’s, first come first served, and while supplies last. I asked for a chuck side cut, and Chef Ed obliged!

Huge cap on that (spinalis). And the meat was probably the most tender that I’ve ever had for prime rib, even in the more densely structured eye/center muscle (longissimus). It comes with au jus, horseradish cream, warm popovers and a spice rubbed rib bone.

The meat on that is so delicious!

On the side, the hen of the woods mushrooms were out of the park! Meaty, earthy, and full of flavor. I had no interest in the traditional creamed spinach when I saw these babies on the menu.

For dessert, banana pudding!

This, with that scoop of ice cream on top, was just heaven. What a way to end a meal!

I can’t wait to go back here and try more stuff. There’s also a tomahawk rib chop and a strip steak on the menu, which are fired in the brick pizza oven at 750F! Gotta be good…

JACK & CHARLIE’S
118 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10011

Carne Mare

Carne Mare overall score: 90*

Carne Mare is a great Italian steakhouse down in the seaport. My wife and I went with another couple this past weekend, and we really dove in!

Flavor: 10

We had both the prime rib and the 45-day dry aged porterhouse for two. If I had to pick a favorite between the two, it would be the prime rib.

It was “porchetta spice” rubbed on the outside, and cooked to a perfectly tender and juicy medium rare inside. It floated in a shallow pool of veal jus. Amazing. This baby now ranks in my top 5 for sure.

The porterhouse was nicely cooked and served on a metal platter with bone marrow, herbs, a light watercress salad, and blistered cherry tomatoes. Great aged flavor, and even cook temp all over.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

I wanted to take a point here because they ran out of the duck that we wanted to try, and also because the prime rib is very limited. By 8pm on a Friday, there were only two pieces left. Go early! However, I decided to restore the point, since I wanted to try the veal over the duck anyway, and that’s what we ended up having.

Portion Size & Plating: 10

The prime rib was 16oz, and the porterhouse was 45oz. Both are robust. Other portion sizes were healthy as well, especially for the carpaccio apps, which I find are typically small.

Price: 7

This joint is definitely pricey. At $66 for the prime rib and $185 for the porterhouse, you are well over the average for NYC pricing. However, the quality is top notch, so I didn’t feel too burned over it. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t order the porterhouse again since it comes out to $92.50 per person. That’s high!

Bar: 10

The bar here is beautiful, as is the entryway into the bar room.

With views of the water, this is almost unbeatable. They have a great selection of cocktails and booze, and I definitely enjoyed the martinis they mixed for me.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

There were no real specials read to us, but I didn’t expect much from a steakhouse with such an extensive menu. We did try the veal milanese. This was good, but it could have been better. It was breaded and fried whole, without being pounded flat like a traditional milanese dish.

Because of that, it had a bit too much chew. I also expected a mix of greens to be on there as well, which is common with a milanese.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10

What an awesome set of apps and desserts. First off, the octopus and veal carpaccio apps were probably the best apps I’ve had in a long time. Please make sure you get them.

On the side, we had a roasted and smoked beet (which was actually a veggie entree item), mushrooms and roasted carrots. All of them were great, but when you go, you should focus on the mushrooms (marsala style with porcini cream).

The baked spumoni is an absolute show stopper with layers of chocolate, vanilla, cherry and lemon inside. Save room for dessert!

Seafood Selection: 6

All of the seafood we tried was great, and the selection was nice as well. The main letdown of the meal was the spicy lobster spaghetti. I just sorta fit it into this category though, so don’t let this be an indication of their other seafood entrees.

It was cooked nicely, but the portion of pasta was on the small side (lobster was large though). Also, there was no real spice to it. Meh. Good pasta, but not enough of it and not spicy as advertised.

Service: 10

Our waiter was amazing, as were the hostesses, bartenders and managers. Our first table had a leak from the ceiling overhead (it had just started to pour, thunder and lightning). They swiftly moved us to a table that had an even better view, and they graciously gave us a bottle of wine that was worth nearly $200. We were blown away.

Also worth noting: they serve amazing table bread here, in the style of pull-apart bread. They will just keep bringing it out if you ask.

Ambiance: 10

This place is really nicely appointed. I can’t wait to go back and experience a meal in the bar room. High ceilings, good music, not too loud and not too quiet.

CARNE MARE
89 South St
Pier 17
New York, NY 10038

Hancock Street

Last night I checked out the new joint from Mercer Street Hospitality Group (Lure Fishbar, Bowery Meat Company, etc.), Hancock Street. Everything was awesome, so let me get right into it.

APPS:

The sea urchin on crispy potato was a great bite to start the meal.

We followed this with an absolutely delicious steak tartare.

PASTA:

The squid ink linguine with calamari, crispy garlic, and sea beans was really unique and beautiful.

But the duck bolognese mafaldine was the better of the two.

SIDES:

Excellent fries!

I was even impressed with the veggies. Both the cauliflower and the carrots are worth your time. If I had to choose just one, I’d go with the cauliflower.

MAINS:

The short rib felt more like a grill or broil, or a very fast braise. I expected a more tender, pull-apart preparation. It was still tasty as hell though. 7/10.

The veal schnitzel was the best dish of the night. Amazing flavor profile with the capers and onions underneath, and a beautiful light and airy crisp on the breading. 10/10.

They overcooked the first steak that came out, but they made it right with a second one. It was really delicious, well seasoned, and came as a composed dish with a side of mushrooms. 8/10.

DESSERT:

The rhubarb crumble was a great finish to this great meal!

I would definitely go here again, and I recommend you go as well!

HANCOCK STREET
257 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10014

Dolly Varden

Dolly Varden is a new cocktail bar and restaurant in the theater district that takes its name from an old trolley car that used to run throughout Manhattan and terminate in the area. Their outdoor seating even takes the form of the old railcar, which is pretty cool.

The indoor space is gorgeous. This place used to be one of the House of Brews locations (same ownership here; the other House of Brews is still open). They really did a great job on the remodel.

This joint was initially intended to be a cocktail bar, which is why you see such amazing drinks on the menu, like this Wooden Nickel, a mixologized version of an Old Fashioned, garnished with an ice rose.

I tried four cocktails and they were all dangerously delicious and slammable.

But once the pandemic hit and threw their bar plans into the wind, they pivoted, bringing on Chef Sean to cultivate a cheffed up bar menu that will keep people coming back for more.

We tried four of the apps on the menu:

Saigon Wings

Fish sauce brined, lightly breaded and perfectly crisped wings topped with pickled chilis and micro cilantro. Delicious.

Cornmeal Crusted Calamari

Lime sriracha aioli, mango salsa and queso fresco adorn these crispy delights. Similar toppings as the wings.

Back Ribs

Killer! Black bean sauce and sambal give this an Asian kick, and the crushed peanuts on top really bring it all together for a dynamic flavor profile.

Mussels

This was just a sample size portion that Sean wanted us to try, so expect more when you order. There’s bacon, kimchi and gochujang in the broth. These were really great! I wish we had thought to order the full size.

Next up was the burger.

The DV Railcar Burger is topped with tomato confit, melted white cheddar and marrow glazed onions. While that might sound like a heavy burger, it actually ate very light! Absolutely delicious.

Our other main was the Trees Major steak, which is my favorite cut of beef. It has all the flavor of chuck but with all the tenderness of filet mignon.

It’s very rare to see this cut featured on menus, but I think it makes for the perfect bistro steak, as it’s affordable, tender and delicious. Great for a steak frites dish. Here, it was topped with chimichurri and served with some lightly dressed greens. An easy 9/10.

On the side, we also had this fried maitake mushroom. This thing was awesome, especially when swiped with some of that saffron aioli.

I will definitely be back here to try more of Chef Sean’s delicious creations. I hope you can make it over there too, and help bring the theater district back from the brink of extinction!

DOLLY VARDEN
302 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019

La Grande Boucherie

Boucherie just keeps the hits coming! Even in the face of a global pandemic, these guys opened up shop in spectacular fashion. While the menu is similar to their village locations, this joint offers Chef Dom’s incredible prime rib.

Nice and thick – 9/10!

We also took down their pork and veal chops, both of which were stunning and delicious – 10/10.

What really stands out to me about this place is the decor. The joint is situated on 6 1/2 Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets in midtown. The restaurant spans the entire length of the atrium, with high glass ceilings overhead.

It’s a beautiful place to eat, and much of it is technically outdoors. The Christmas season is very special here, with their massive tree in place.

The floors are heated, so you’ll actually feel warm even when sitting outside.

Like their other locations, they still have a nice meat/charcuterie area, stocked with legs of prosciutto and even dry aged steaks.

All of their classics are well represented, like escargots and absinthe cocktails.

We especially liked their seafood apps like the shellfish tower (the raw bar here is incredible – almost as big as their regular bar), the smoked salmon, and the whipped cod and potatoes.

And the broiled lobster? INSANE!

Since everything is pretty much the same aside from the prime rib and a few other menu items, I’ve decided to piggyback this review off of my reviews of their other locations in the West Village and Union Square. Definitely get over here ASAP and give it a shot.

Overall Score: 95

LA GRANDE BOUCHERIE
145 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

Quality Bistro

Quality Bistro opened back in January, if I recall, right when I started a hellish new job with insane demands on my time. Then, of course, the entire city went into lockdown from Covid-19. Somehow my work-life balance got even worse. I’m only just now finally beginning to break away from the +60 hours/week grip of this gig, to get back out there and review restaurants for you savage bastards.

Anyway, the point of that bullshit preface is really just to say that I’m excited to finally write about a new(ish) joint that I’ve tried, especially one that’s serving some awesome food.

Quality Bistro is the newest restaurant in the Quality Branded restaurant group. You know them from my previous posts about Quality Italian, Quality Meats, Quality Eats, Maloney & Porcelli (rest in peace) and Smith & Wollensky.

Here’s my quick video run down of those spots, if you haven’t seen it:

First of all, this new place, Quality Bistro, is totally decked out. This is easily the most gorgeously decorated space in the entire Quality Branded suite of restaurants. High ceilings, beautiful booths, decor and tables – really on another level. They spared no expense. So when you go here, make sure you request a table inside. I recommend the booths in the room on the left when you walk in. The bar is sick too (hopefully some day soon we will be allowed to sit at one again).

The menu is decidedly French, which makes sense given the “bistro” restaurant name. But like all their other restaurants, they are aggressively beef-forward. I wouldn’t call them a steakhouse, per se, but they get very close to it. They offered five steak cuts when I was there: a filet mignon, a strip, a bavette, a tomahawk and a “cote de boeuf” rib eye for two. We went with the tomahawk, but let me run through the other stuff we tried.

We started with the escargots and the crab cake. The escargots are probably some of the best I’ve had in the city, rivaling Paul Denamiel’s at Le Rivage. Very close competition! And they’re in the shell too, which I love. Order these, and get a dozen because you save $10 when you jump from a half ($19) to a full dozen ($29).

The crab cake is massive. It’s about the size of an 8oz burger patty, thick too. Super crisp, great sauce. I think this would be amazing as a lunch sandwich with pickled green tomato on a brioche bun or a croissant, with a bit more green on top. Absolutely delicious.

Our mid course was the prime tomahawk. This comes slathered with Rogue Creamery smokey blue cheese – a TON of it!

The smell coming off of this thing was so amazing. It filled the massive dining room with funk.

The cook temp was a perfect medium rare. So juicy, so tender, and so packed with flavor. This is an easy 9/10. I stripped the fucker clean!

We chased that with the corn custard brûlée. I had high hopes for this, but it fell short for two reasons: (1) The inside was less custard and more clumpy scrambled egg. This is usually a turn off for me, but the flavor was really good, so I still devoured it. And (2), a bit heavy on the caramelized sugar on top. Too thick for my liking. The flake salt, however, really made the flavors on this pop. I can see this side being a star with a bit more fine tuning.

*SEE UPDATED REVIEW NOTES BELOW!*

Our third course was the Moroccan fried chicken. They serve a whole bird for two in a beautiful tagine with fresh cilantro, Moroccan pancakes and a trio of dipping sauces (spicy honey, Moroccan cilantro chimichurri and citrus yogurt).

The breading is really nicely spiced, with great middle eastern earthiness and aromas.

Absolutely jerkworthy. I’d get this again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’m glad we ordered big, because we took more than half of it home. I’m about to eat the left overs right now, and I’m psyched!

Last, we had the apple tart sundae with cinnamon ice cream. This was really good, and big enough to share with your date at just $12. The cinnamon ice cream tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, my absolute favorite cereal of all time!

I guess that about does it for now. I plan to go back and try some of the other cuts, particularly the bavette frites, since that’s a little less common on menus. Definitely give this place a shot. Gaetano, Scott and Roger will treat you right. They provide amazing, clean service here, and you’ll feel safely spaced apart and very comfortable. Can’t believe I have to even mention such things right now…

UPDATE 10/24/2020

My wife and I went back for round two, and tried a bunch more stuff.

For apps, we tried the taste flame, which is the joint’s take on Detroit style pizza + bread service. This was incredible!

Probably my favorite app here so far though, is this tuna carpaccio. Spicy, fresh, and deliciously refreshing.

These jambon beurre bites are pretty damn tasty as well.

This time, my wife went with the branzino. This was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. It comes with a choice of either salad or fries.

I went with the bavette, and also went with the French fries option.

They developed a great char on the outside…

While maintaining a perfect cook temp on the inside…

This was a solid 8/10. Really nicely executed.

On the side, we gave the corn brûlée another spin, and MAN were we glad that we did. As I expected, with the improvements I outlined above, this dish was a star. Much nicer texture inside (real custard-like), and lighter on the sugar top. PERFECT!

So that’s two steaks down, three to go: filet, strip, and rib eye for two. I’LL BE BACK!

UPDATE 7/16/21

Strip steak has a mild aged flavor, but a really nice peppercorn crust. Perfectly cooked throughout. 8/10.

Rib eye for two is great – a solid 8/10.

Lemon chicken is a sleeper here. Amazing dish!

Also really loved the glass for the French Bird cocktail. They should sell them!

QUALITY BISTRO
120 W 55th St
New York, NY 10019

Balthazar

In all my years in NYC, I never tried Balthazar until last night. I had heard all the great stories: awesome steaks, awesome fries, awesome bread. Only one of those is true, but there are other things worth noting.

My wife and I stopped in for a quick meal at the bar. We started with some nice stiff cocktails, and a pair of apps: escargots and steak tartare. BIG FRENCH.

The escargots were awesome. We crushed them quickly. The tartare was average to good, but the slices of toasted bread were awesome. In fact, the Balthazar bread is so good that other restaurants use Balthazar bread for their bread service.

For our mains, we had the burger and the steak frites.

The burger was really good. Nice crust, great flavor, ample cheese coverage.

The steak, however…

… was Applebees level trash. It was cooked nicely, but the quality was average at best.

I can make anything look good, but this was a 5/10 or 6/10 at best. At $42 this felt like a rip off, and I think it was either flank or flatiron. Not strip as I was kind of expecting. The fries were very good, but not quite at awesome level. Go across town to Raoul’s if a killer burger and steak frites is what you’re after. Here, I would stick to the bread, the burger, and the snails. And yes, the fries are still worth trying if you haven’t already.

BALTHAZAR
80 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

Rib Room

Rib Room overall score: 81

Our first dinner in New Orleans during our 2019/2020 New Year trip was here at Rib Room. I was dying to try some prime rib from here ever since I passed by it on the street two years ago. Here’s how it went down.

Flavor: 8

I had the king cut prime rib, which is a gorgeous tomahawk chop that’s roasted to perfection. The cap was delicious, and the eye was cooked evenly throughout, without getting too monotonous in terms of flavors and textures.

This baby came with a hard, pipe-hittin’ horseradish sauce that will known your brain out of your skull if you’re not too careful with how you apply it to your steak. I love that kick! But beware.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

There’s a good selection of cuts here, even beyond the standard prime rib sizes that you expect to find at a place that specializes in prime rib. They also served grilled rib eyes, strips, filets, etc. Everything is sourced from local producers and purveyors, but I didn’t detect too much dry-aged flavors coming through.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

The portions here are big, and you get a lot for your money on everything from the apps all the way through the entrees.

Price: 9

At $45 for the king cut of prime rib, which comes with a side and a salad, you really can’t go wrong. Coming from NYC it was a nice, refreshing reveal when the bill came.

Bar: 8

The bar here is nice. We hung out for a bit before being seated and enjoyed the beautiful hotel-lobby environs (Omni Royal). The martini I had was a bit too sweet though.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

In addition to an extensive list of chops and roasts, they also offer specials here as well. My wife had the prime rib “manager’s special,” which is a princess cut of prime rib that gets grilled on the sides after roasting. Here is a before and after:

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

We tried a few things as starters. Let me get right into them.

Lamb Pastrami Grilled Cheese:

This sounded better than it tasted. I had high hopes, but it came out a bit cold, and not too pastrami-flavored at all.

The cast iron baked cheesy oysters were pretty fantastic. Very unique.

 

The frog legs were massive, and breaded very nicely – fried to a golden, crunchy crisp.

The baked potato and salad came with the prime rib. Both were basic but good.

We skipped dessert and opted for some late night beignets at Cafe du Monde instead.

Seafood Selection: 7

There’s standard steakhouse seafood fare here. I didn’t try any so can’t really rate it.

Service: 8

Service here was good. Our waiter Richenel was really nice, attentive, and made good suggestions. However the restaurant messed up my wife’s order a bit (they brought her out a princess cut of prime rib instead of the manager’s special – firing it on the sides meant it was a bit overcooked from how she ordered). As a result, her steak wasn’t as good as it could have been.

Another thing to note here, they don’t have a prime rib cart service here like at Lawry’s or House of Prime Rib. They have something a bit different: a central carving station on the side of the dining room where you can watch the meat master work if you’d like. I dig it.

Ambiance: 8

This place is gorgeous inside. The hotel spared no expense in decking this place out. High ceilings, dark woods, fancy music.

RIB ROOM
621 St Louis S
New Orleans, LA 70130

The Consulate

My wife and I popped in here for brunch and the place was PACKED!

We had a quick, meaty meal.

“The Hangover Burger” is a thick 8oz patty that’s topped with caramelized bourbon onions, blue cheese, pickles and a fried egg.

They cooked this fucker just right.

We also tried their grilled hanger steak and eggs dish, which came with a chimichurri sauce, a mixed greens salad and some roasted potatoes.

Not bad! I’d come back to try some of their dinner menu selections, and I’d probably try one or two of the sweeter brunch items (like the cast iron blueberry pancakes or the French toast).

THE CONSULATE
519 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024

Kaikagetsu

I recently experienced a really delicious tasting menu at Kaikagetsu in the lower east side that featured some rare and delicious Hida beef from Japan. Not too many places are serving this stuff. Here’s how it went down:

We started with a small plate of assorted bites, each of which was more delicious than the last. Bluefin tuna marinated in ponzu sauce with chopped yam; minced chicken matsukaze with sesame seeds; cooked yam jelly with spicy soy; Brussels sprouts with salmon roe; and baked chestnuts.

This was paired with a really nice cloudy and bubbly cold sake.

Next up was a sashimi course that had some really awesome bluefin tuna, Kanpachi amberjack and Yagara cornetfish.

This was paired with another really nice sake, seen here:

Our third course was a mushroom, seafood and chicken soup served in a tea pot.

This next course was delicious. Super fresh and creamy uni served atop a tempura fried sheet of nori, with a fried taro potato ball.

Now for the beef, which was paired with a whisky and soda lowball.

First was a hot stone preparation of thinly sliced Hida beef shank, with onions, scallions and mushrooms.

This was great. It came with ponzu sauce, which wasn’t really needed, and a really unique smoked charcoal/ash salt. Killer.

Next up was a trio of beef sushi: one with caviar, one with orange, and one on a nori wrapper that was topped with uni.

Mine were all awesome, but a few other people at my table had some chewy beef. I guess they got some not-so-tender pieces of shank.

Finally, there was an array of individual bite-sized desserts (we each got five) along with some delicious, peppery herbal tea.

What a meal! I would definitely go back, especially because that Hida beef is so special. Give it a shot. They also have a really nice bar with unique spirits.

KAIKAGETSU
162 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002