Category Archives: Press Reviews

Smashed

Smashed is a new smash burger joint on the lower east side. They just opened four days ago. My wife and I stopped by to try a few items out. We went with the classic double and the blue cheese and bacon burger.

I was blown away by the flavors and the quality. This joint uses fresh beef, and they grind their own burgers in house.

The burgers were perfect in every way. Great toast on the bun, perfect crisp on the patty, great melt on the cheeses, nicely prepared griddled onions, and a killer, unique sauce that really puts the “special” back in “special sauce,” because these days everyone is really just using thousand island dressing. That’s lame.

I preferred the classic double, since the meat really shines there. I can’t wait to go back and try their rendition of a smashed Big Mac.

And the fries? Excellent as well. But I’m looking to try their smashed potatoes on my next trip.

SMASHED
177 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002

Wagyu Social

I recently got delivery from Wagyu Social and it was a really fun experience. Everything came nicely packaged in round boxes, no spillage, still hot and crispy, and everything neatly organized.

This place is doing some high end burgers that range from $35 for hybrid wagyu burgers to $85 for 100% A5 Japanese wagyu burgers. They even have some sushi items too.

I tried the curry burger and the high roller. The curry burger is a wagyu/angus blend that comes with a delicious sauce for dipping, and it even pairs well with the crispy shoestring fries.

I also tried the high roller, which is their 100% Japanese A5 burger that’s topped with foie gras and truffle sauce. Total decadence!

I think I liked the curry burger best. It was a totally unique burger, and the flavors worked great. Give it a shot!

WAGYU SOCIAL
238 E 53rd St 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10022

Tuo Cutlery + Valentine’s Day Steak

Meat maniacs! I recently got my hands on some sexy knives from Tuo Cutlery. Check out this quick video to see which blades got:

My first use of these was with a thick bone in rib eye from Babylon Village Meat Market. Since it was close to Valentine’s day, I figured I would make a heart-shaped steak presentation. But instead of just butterflying a boneless rib eye and making a heart, like everyone does, I wanted to play around with something on the bone and make it a pretty pink roast rather than an ugly brown monstrosity.

Here’s what I did:

The knives made it easy to accomplish this goal. After opening the thick vac seal plastic with my kitchen shears, I used the sharp and versatile paring knife to score or “scruff” the steak, making use of an Adam Perry Lang technique for obtaining more surface area for a better Maillard reaction crust on the seared sides. After searing and roasting to completion, I split the rib eye down the center along the bone, using the long carving knife to make two halves. That thing is meant for massive roasts and raw butchery work, so it was a little bit overkill. Fun though. Lucky for me, the bone favored one side of the cut, so I was able to leave it attached to one half of the heart. Opening this up to reveal the medium rare center created the pink heart shape that I wanted. But since I was sharing this with my wife, I used the nimble boning knife to slice one side up.

Anyway that’s it! The knives were great, as was the meal!

Gupshup

Gupshup is an awesome Indian joint in Union Square that serves up some amazing meat-centric items.

Their pepper beef appetizer is one of the best things I’ve eaten so far this year, and I’ve been on a serious meat binge. Super tender, great spice levels, lots of freshness popping from the greens and pickled radish, all delivered on a light, crisp paratha. I can’t get enough of this dish!

Their spicy double lamb cheeseburger is really great too. There’s a hint of mint chutney for brightness, and a wild special sauce slathered onto the underside of the top brioche bun.

Cooked to a perfect medium rare, and paired with their magic masala shoestring fries, you can’t go wrong!

But the real attention grabber here is their large format roasted leg of lamb.

This is 3.5lbs of juicy, tender, perfectly roasted lamb, accompanied by lamb jus, crispy roasted potatoes, pickled red onion, roasted cipollini onion, roasted garlic and paratha for making tacos.

At just $75 this platter will feed three to four people without breaking the bank. That’s a steal! You just need to give the restaurant a 24-hour advance notice if you want this, since it takes some extra time to prepare it just right. I could eat this every week.

Also worth mentioning; fantastic cocktails here, with Indian flavor profiles worked into the mixology. Really delicious. Pictured below is a gin, chai and cardamom martini, and a bourbon cocktail that was going down WAY too easily.

Oh and check this out – The Foodie Magician!

GUPSHUP
115 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003

Chick n Skins

These snacks are amazing!

My wife and I have been crisping up our chicken skin into chips like this for years, ever since we found some chicken skin bag snacks in Hawaii a while back that we liked. But that brand went stale and took on a weird taste very fast. We had to throw a bunch away, unfortunately. Ultimately they were just too greasy and not packaged well.

This product, however, is a different story.

Each bag has a salt packet inside to absorb excess moisture and prevent spoilage or overly greasy “discharge.” They also seem less fatty or fried than the other brands we have tried, and less aggressive with the salt content. Also, great flavor variety! I highly recommend this snack.

Romeo Meats “Stingray Steak”

Romeo Meats has been serving the local Bensonhurst Brooklyn area and surrounding restaurants since the 1950s.

I recently had the pleasure of trying one of their gigantic dry aged tomahawk steaks.

This friggin’ thing was 2.5″ thick!

Needless to say, I was worried about overcooking the outside and simultaneously undercooking the inside, so I tried something a little different than my usual pan searing or sous vide techniques for thick cuts.

First I coated both sides with salt and “dry brined” it in the fridge for a few days. Then I massaged some Res Antiqva olive oil onto it once it got back up to room temperature, and then added some cracked black pepper. I seared it on a cast iron grill pan for about six mins each side (three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, FLIP, three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, OFF/REST). After that, I let it rest for a few minutes before roasting it low and slow for about an hour at 170F. Finally, I blasted the fat side under the broiler for about 5 minutes just before removing it from the oven. It rested up to about 125F-130F. The result was like prime rib on the inside, but with a steakhouse crust on the outside. Watch:

Absolutely amazing! I hope you give this preparation and plating a try with your next monster sized rib eye. I call it the broken hearted tomahawk, or the stingray.

Wagyuman

The Wagyu Man e-shop is currently offering 10% off all orders, and a free order of chuck roll wagyu shabu shabu with each wagyu beef order!

The otoro tuna is insane, and has marbling that looks more like beef than fish. And the beef? Well, check out these flat iron steaks. INSANE!

Babylon Village Meat Market

If you’ve been following along with my meat adventures on Instagram, you might have seen me tag or mention Babylon Village Meat Market in some of my posts since the summer. This market carries some really high quality beef, including rare beef from Japan like snow beef, olive fed wagyu, etc. Marbled to holy hell.

 

In addition to the rare stuff, they also have plenty of prime, dry-aged steaks, and everything else you might expect to find at a village meat shop, from salami to sandwiches, from porchetta to potato salad to produce to prepared pasta. They’re even launching their own brand of jerky, which is insanely tender and delicious.

Below is a nice unboxing video I made, from when the owner sent me a care package wishing me good luck in the new apartment. I was blown away by his generosity.

I can’t wait to dig into more of this stuff!

BABYLON VILLAGE MEAT MARKET
85 Deer Park Ave
Babylon, NY 11702

The Otto Wilde Grill + Promo Code

This thing is a BEAST!

This is pretty much as close as it gets to having a professional level steakhouse broiler at home. With ripping flames that reach as high as 1500ºF, you are putting a serious crust on your steaks when you toss them in here.

The best thing is to see for yourself just how incredible this monster is in action:

More here, from when we christened it at our annual “Meatfest” in the Summer:

I’m so into this thing that I have two of them, the “Otto Lite” and the Pro, yet I have nowhere to use them. I stashed them at friends places, and they reap the benefits more than I do. HA! But if you’re interested in this amazing piece of equipment that will take your steak game to the next level, you can get 10% off with promo code Johnny10. DO IT! You are going to love this thing. Click HERE to explore the Otto Wilde products.

Empire Burger House

Opening up a new restaurant during this madness takes balls. The folks from Empire Steakhouse are evidently chock full of balls. Not only have they just launched Empire Burger House, a really friggin great restaurant that delivers steakhouse quality beef burgers in smaller, more affordable sizes, but they’re really upped the game in terms of comfort and class in their outdoor dining space. I saw with some friends for a full steakhouse dinner on a very cold night, and I was wearing just a long sleeved shirt. Awesome!

Anyway I tried their single, double and spicy chicken sandwich. I was really impressed. The double was by far my favorite of the three – just the right ratio of meat to bun and toppings. And the special sauce on the burgers is incredible. It’s almost like zingy ranch of some kind, or an Alabama white sauce.

Call this place right now for delivery, or go sit outside in their warm outdoor dining space.

EMPIRE BURGER HOUSE
147 E 50th St Second Floor
New York, NY 10022