I didn’t do the ordering, but I would have wanted to try two of those anyway. The Peking Duck Tacos were my favorite of the three.
The duck was delicious and had quality crispy skin on it, and the fried wonton taco shell was a welcome textural pop.
I liked the Pastrami Dumplings best next.
They had a flavorful hit of that juicy pastrami meat inside with a nice crispy brown on the outside of the dumpling. Perhaps Russian dressing or spicy mustard would be a more fitting dip instead of traditional dumpling sauce.
Last of the apps: the Jade Chicken Skewers.
These were thin strips of chicken that were coated in some kind of light breading. Good to snack on for sure, but I probably would have tried the soup dumplings if choosing the dishes myself.
For our entree we had a rib eye.
This had a great dry aged flavor to it (45-60 days), and it was perfectly cooked to medium rare. In some parts it could have benefitted from a bit more crust on the edges, and overall it needed just a bit of salt or seasoning. Otherwise, though, I loved it and we finished every bite. 8/10.
For our sides we had crispy eggplant with sweet and spicy chili sauce, as well as vegetable fried rice.
The eggplant was expertly fried and had a unique texture to it that was both airy and watery at the same time.
My wife and I generally aren’t huge fans of eggplant, so we were kinda bummed when that is what came out for our tasting. However, I found myself going back for more. It was oddly addicting.
The fried rice was served in a cool metal bucket.
It was a very basic veggie and soy sauce mix, and suffered slightly from a lack of crisp. I was hoping for a bit more from this, as it is an Asian steakhouse, but it did make excellent leftovers with some strips of turkey meat.
For dessert we had their famous fried apple wontons and a scoop of mint chip ice cream.
Both were very good on their own, but didn’t necessarily pair well together as an “a la mode” kind of dessert.
I apologize for the truncated review, but I am definitely interested in going back to try more things. The menu is really unique and interesting, and I think this spot would make for a fun group dinner where everyone can try a variety of items. I provided some rough estimates below, but note that this is tentative, since I didn’t have the opportunity to choose my own food. Stay tuned!
He became wildly famous for being aggressively sexy with his meat – slapping it and rubbing it and what not – and then sprinkling salt on it with a highly unorthodox curled forearm slide technique. It became an internet sensation. At one point I even paid tribute to the craze:
Over the course of the year his fame and steakhouse brand has spread. He eventually opened up shop here in the greatest city on Earth, NYC, and right in my hood, no less.
Admittedly I had very low expectations for this meal. I read a few negative reviews beforehand, and I was never really a big fan of Saltbae’s elaborate displays on his Instagram profile. But there can be no denying the fact that Nusret is an incredibly talented butcher. He makes it look easy, and it isn’t. He’s also a very nice dude. Despite his showmanship, he’s quiet and humble.
Here’s how it went down:
What really intrigued me about this place was the unique spices and marinades being used on some of the menu items. Usually I’m not down with that shit, but I was curious.
For example, the Saslik steak is tenderloin marinated in milk and middle eastern spices.
The flavors were very nice, and I did like the onions, but the meat lacked any char, and it was too wet. It was also incredibly small, and I didn’t like that it was sliced up like stir fry. 6/10.
The other marinade you’ll see here is mustard. This was new to me. But, indeed, there may actually be some unbeknownst food science behind the mustard marinade: The vinegar in it helps to tenderize the meat even further (as if wagyu needs it).
There are two mustard marinated steaks on the menu: (1) the signature Saltbae Tomahawk, which is about 32oz for $275 and also has some dry aging on it; and (2) the Ottoman Steak, which is a similar sized tomahawk for $130, but isn’t dry aged. We ordered #1, and he sliced it table side for us. Here’s the experience:
That’s right: Saltbae himself fed me from his knife.
There wasn’t much flavor coming in from the dry-aging or marinade, but you can definitely taste that there was something different and unique about this steak. It was perfectly cooked to medium rare as well.
The only place where the tomahawk suffers is in the lack of crust on the surfaces.
I chalk this up to the limitations of cooking with a charcoal grill as opposed to pan searing, oven roasting, broiling or cooking on a flat top. 9/10.
We also tried the burger. This is a juicy-ass, thick fucking patty that’s cooked to a perfect medium rare. The unique part is that it’s cut in half and then grilled on the sliced portion as well, for a little extra caramelization.
It definitely lacks in the French fry department, as this $30 monster just comes with a handful of potato sticks on the board with the burger.
The cheese is ample and nicely melted. The delicately-packed grind is nicely formed and has great wagyu flavor and fat content. The onions are perfect. It’s not in my top five but definitely worth trying.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
All the meat here is high quality, BMS 9- and 10- scored domestic wet-aged wagyu, just like the strips I sell in my shop. It’s the best domestic wagyu or wagyu/angus cross you can get, and Nusr-et sources it from various companies.
I believe only one cut is dry aged, and that is the tomahawk.
There is a stunning lack of porterhouse on the menu, so I am docking them two points for that. However there are three varieties of rib eye, several types of tenderloin preparations, and a strip/sirloin.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
As far as plating is concerned, something needs to be done with the Saslik and some of the other starters. They kinda look like a piles of dog vomit. Not sure what can be done to remedy that.
The larger, full format steaks look nicer on the wood boards, though. Perhaps the smaller, thinly sliced items need a little more artistry.
Portion sizes are a little bit on the smaller side for the price point, but that is to be expected with domestic wagyu. This product is also not as readily accessible, abundant or wallet-friendly as prime beef. As such, I took that into consideration.
Much of Nusr-et’s current criticism is coming in the form of value or price. I can understand that, especially to the untrained eye. But the meat here is the highest quality domestic wagyu available, and with respect to the tomahawk, even dry aged. I think it’s fair to compare the pricing to The Grill.
The Grill has a 36oz bone-in, dry-aged wagyu rib eye for $270. The tomahawk here it is 32oz at $275, but it also comes with a show, assuming he is in town (I was there for lunch on a Sunday and he was still bae-ing at that odd hour).
Beatrice Inn is even more expensive for the high-end cuts, and they’re not wagyu, just to put things into perspective. Oddly enough, value can be had at Beatrice Inn (pork shoulder, rabbit for two, etc).
Despite the staggering prices, there is value to be had at Nusr-et as well. For example, his unadulterated wagyu rib eye and strip/sirloin cuts are priced at $100 each. I saw his “Istanbul Steak” come out, and it’s only a little smaller than what I sell at $75 per pound, raw. So that’s not much of an upcharge. Here’s what the strip looks like in the meat case at Nusr-et:
As for the $100 rib eye, the menu describes it as “thinly sliced.” I hope that’s not like hot-pot meat. But here’s what the rib eye looks like in the case:
Great looking caps there. I’m down with that steak too, as long as “thinly sliced” means it’s pre-sliced prior to serving, table side, and not a glorified stir fry dish like the Saslik.
So is the dry-aging on the tomahawk worth the upcharge here? Probably not, but I’m still glad I tried it. I would have always been curious about it if I hadn’t. Like a closeted homosexual, struggling with locked up desires…
But there were a few places where I did feel ripped off:
Asparagus: $15 for eight relatively unseasoned and boring stalks.
Saslik Steak: Funny that the accents on the S letters in that name closely resemble dollar signs, as the price tag of $70 for about six to eight ounces is too high. This is an appetizer at best.
Despite all that, I didn’t feel ripped off on the whole, at the end of this meal. Then again it was just a light lunch split between four people. Our bill with tax and tip included came to just about $500.
If I was here for dinner I probably would have ordered the same amount of food for two people. Then I might have felt ripped off.
My overall value analysis is this: There are some starters I want to try, so I would certainly go back, but that’s me. I’m also very interested in the asado short ribs. As far as the common cuts of steak go, however, I would much rather have the 32oz wagyu tomahawk at Del Frisco’s for $95, despite the lack of marinade, dry aging or Saltbae showmanship. It has such a great crust, and that price point is bonkers for the size. Cheaper and better. That is, essentially, my short form-recommendation.
There are no seats around the small, circular bar at Nusr-et. You can stand there and have a drink, I suppose, but that isn’t conducive for hanging out.
There are only a handful of standing-only high tops along the wall as well. I was expecting more from this midtown location. They could have easily attracted a good happy hour crowd and banked big bucks on booze, like the massive collection of Ciroc that sits on a shelf of its own – above even the Macallan 25 and Louis XIII – because Diddy and Saltbae are boys.
That said, I didn’t try any of their splendid looking cocktails. Maybe next time. But they’re a bit pricey.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
The alternatives to standard steakhouse beef cuts are as follows: (1) a full lamb rack, and (2) slow roasted asado short ribs. I would definitely like to try the short ribs. The lamb rack is too expensive at $250, however.
There is at least one item that was a special, not printed on the menu. Essentially it’s thinly sliced filet mignon that gets flash cooked tableside by pouring hot oil over it. If you’re a meat maniac like me, you’ve probably seen videos and images of this kind of thing circulating on the internet for months now.
I have no interest in this. It overcooks the meat, and it’s wet and greasy when you eat it. Fuck that nonsense.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7
As I mentioned earlier, the asparagus pretty much sucked.
But we also tried the baklava for dessert. The staff puts on a ridiculous and unnecessary show to serve it. I hated pretty much everything about this. Observe:
Do you feel like an asshole for having watched it now?
I noticed waiters doing similar shit with some of the appetizers as well. Also dumb and unnecessary in my opinion. The only show should be Saltbae, with the exception of torching shit for the meat sushi appetizer. Fire is pretty much always cool, no matter what.
In any case the baklava was awesome. Not overly sweet, nice moisture, great texture, and it’s served with a crazy good “ice cream” that is somewhere between gelato and cream cheese in texture. Very interesting.
I think this is $15 a slice, by the way. They may have forgotten to charge us for it, unless it was on the house due to how long it took them to bring us the check (see below).
I need to try more apps here, but for now I’m splitting the difference between a ten for the dessert and a three for the asparagus.
APP UPDATE: I tried the carpaccio a week or two later. It was a great value for $30, as I thought it would be much smaller.
Here’s how they prepare it table side:
Seafood Selection: 8
There’s only salmon and chimichurri lobster on the entree menu here. There are oysters, tuna and king crab on the raw bar menu. I cant even begin to think about what the pricing is on the crab and lobster. I think Satan charges less, since he only wants your soul, and not those of your unborn children as well. I didn’t try any of this.
Service here is a mixed bag. At some points it felt rude and obnoxious, yet at other points it was incredibly warm. The joint has only open for a week or two, so in all fairness that could be a part of it.
The manager Rami is amazing. Great guy. And as I said earlier, Nusret himself is super nice. He took pics with us, shook our hands, and was a great host. After witnessing his show in person, I’ve almost grown to like it, if only for the reason that he’s so fucking skilled and fast with a knife. Impressive. Especially in a dimly lit restaurant while wearing sunglasses.
But some of the waiter service needs improvement. Examples:
1) We asked a lot of questions about the menu, particularly the Saslik, before ordering. Our waiter was patient with us and answered whatever he could, which was great, but we still didn’t really get an accurate understanding of what was coming out for the Saslik. Perhaps the menu should have described it as an appetizer-sized stir-fry dish. It certainly shouldn’t be a main course.
2) We asked for water and they brought out one glass of room temperature tap water with no ice for each of us. Then they took the glasses away for some reason after we were pretty much still drinking them.
3) It took forever to get our checks and leave. I honestly think they forgot to bring it out, assuming we had already paid. Not a huge deal, as it allowed us to chat more with Rami and get a pic with Saltbae:
This place is gorgeous inside. The only thing missing is a true bar, as I noted above. The wall of meat fridges near the glass case and grill is pretty fucking impressive, and the high ceilings and huge windows are stunning and reminiscent of Del Frisco’s.
And if Saltbae is in the house, you’re in for a treat.
NOTE – The numerical score on this review is based on merely five items, and I will do my best to supplement it over time if I go back and try more things. However, as my buddy who ate with me said: The menu is not designed for customer retention.
Zeppelin Hall is a massive biergarten in Jersey City. They’re currently (through 2/4/18) celebrating BACONFEST, a glorious time when they roll out a special menu that features various preparations of bacon with influences from all over the world.
As you can see, there are a lot of bacon dishes. Here are the ones we tried:
Bacon Wrapped Tomahawk Steak
I mean let’s get right to it. This thing is fucking insane. It’s a three-pound of beef lollipop, wrapped in delicious maple bacon.
The bacon adds a nice sweetness to the dry-aged meat and compliments is in an unexpectedly nice way.
This is a must-try for any meat lover.
This braised pork belly dish still managed to have a really crispy skin on it. Excellent.
Can’t go wrong with bacon tacos. These were perfect.
Bacon Empanadas. These were fantastic, filled with bacon and cheese.
Bacon wrapped shrimp – always a crowd pleaser.
A country known only for it’s poutine, and no other significant contributions of society besides Jim Carrey, must be represented with strength and resolve. Excellent fries.
A 100% bacon patty burger? Yes please. Just add sauce, as the patty can get dry when the bacon must be cooked completely through.
And of course, bacon mac and cheese. Our pride and joy.
Bacon and kraut. A nice combo.
Bacon wrapped pork skewers. Yes.
Other honorable mentions: Italy’s bacon bolognese sauce, and Venezuela’s bacon arepas. Both excellent.
That about does it. Get over here before February 4th and indulge.
88 Liberty View Dr.
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Cochon Restaurant and its sister joint “Butcher” are well known in New Orleans for serving some great meaty grub.
My friends and I went in a big group, so we got to try a lot of items. Here’s the full menu (minus the daily specials).
We started with some fried gator.
These bites were excellent. Gator meat, if you haven’t had it before, is like a cross between catfish and chicken in texture: tender but springy. These were spicy and saucy but still fried up nice and crisp on the outside.
Next up, probably one of the best dishes of the meal, braised pork cheeks.
Incredibly tender, and again with a bit of spice. Awesome way to begin the meal. I could eat this over and over.
Next up, a gorgeous charcuterie board.
The standout here was the pork rillette (in the tin cup). So smooth and tasty. But everything else was really nice as well (head cheese, coppa, prosciutto, homemade bologna, and even the pickled veggies).
Liver and onions, also well executed and delicious, is what my wife ordered to start. This had a great pepper jelly that really popped. It went nicely with the fresh mint.
Fried boudin (sausage) and rice balls. These were so soft inside and crispy outside.
For my entree I ordered a rib eye (of course) that was on the list of daily specials. It was essentially the center eye part of the rib eye only – no cap at all.
While this was very small, it was priced accordingly ($28). They misfired my first cut and went over, but they were smart enough not to bring it out to me. The second one, however, was slightly under from medium rare, and it felt rushed.
No matter, though. I’d rather eat a rare steak than a well done steak. The issue for me was that it just wasn’t very good. The sauce didn’t quite do it for me, and it was described as being roasted. I was sort of expecting prime rib given the description. 5/10.
My wife ordered the winning dish here. Ham hock.
It had a delicious dry spice rub on it that was a cross between sweet and spicy, and it was cooked perfectly throughout. The veggies, yogurt and quinoa underneath was a nice touch to make the fully composed dish well rounded and complete.
Their famous dish here, the cochon, was tasty but way too salty for my liking. One or two bites was all I could do. It also wasn’t that pretty so I didn’t bother trying to get a great shot of it.
Their oyster and bacon sandwich was massive.
It was loaded with tons of fried gulf oysters and smoky bacon. And it went nicely with some of their spicy vinegar and hot sauce.
Overall this was a pretty great meal with the exception of the steak. I would definitely go here again.
930 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
Of the seven cuts of steak I tried in New Orleans, the rib eye from Galatoire’s was the best.
It may not look like much from that shot, but it had a massive rib cap on it, and it was cooked perfectly from end to end with a great crust.
There was a little bit of bleed out, but it still remained extremely juicy. 9/10
Okay not that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of this kickass meal.
Excellent cocktails here, some signature, and many classic ones that are famous for the Big Easy.
This crab appetizer didn’t look like much either, and from the menu description it sounded like it would have been more than dressed lump crab on top of iceberg lettuce and garnished with tomato. Nonetheless it was delicious.
I tried a few versions of gumbo on my trip to New Orleans, but this one was the best. It was rich and thick, not overly salty, and had perfectly cooked duck and andouille within.
The Oysters Rockefeller were amazing. So much of that delicious “creamless” style creamed spinach. Pro-tip: if you’re going here to mimic a steakhouse meal experience, order this and skip out on getting the oysters app and creamed spinach side separately. This baby fulfills both very well.
The creamed spinach was kind of redundant at that point, but still really fucking tasty:
The Potatoes Au Gratin were excellent as well:
As were these Brabant Potatoes – very crisp:
The broccoli, on the other hand, completely phoned in. Lame. Simply steamed and flavored with some salt or butter.
But let me tell you, this Shrimp Étouffée was outstanding:
The shrimp were perfectly cooked. The sauce was incredible: smooth, perfectly velvety and nicely seasoned.
My wife ordered that, and I think the ultimate meal here would be to get the gumbo to start, the steak and etouffe to share as entrees with a side of Oysters Rockefeller, and you can finish up with this bread pudding for dessert:
My wife and I took a trip to New Orleans for New Year. We had been to the Big Easy once before, and I credit this magical town for sort of kicking me in the balls and setting me on my path towards foodyism. We hit so many great spots on that first trip, it was almost as if we designed the trip around the food.
Anyway, Dickie Brennan’s is always talked about as one of the country’s best steakhouses, so I had to give it a try. And I was thorough. I ate three steaks myself, pretty much, and helped with a fourth. See below:
Rib Eye: 8/10
This was the big winner here. It had a great crust, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and it was topped (to my surprise) with an awesome spicy Cajun style whipped butter. The only down side was that I didn’t get too much of a dry-aged flavor.
Cajun Strip: 7/10
This is listed as their signature and special cut. It’s a boneless strip that’s cooked with Cajun spices in a cast iron skillet. The strange thing about this particular cut is that it didn’t really bring that much Cajun flavor. I think the rib eye had more because of the butter.
Another strange thing: I don’t think the chef even tried to get a sear on the sides of this cut. It looked like it was cooked the way salmon is usually cooked. You flip once and serve with a hard sear on each side, with nothing seared on the side edges. Fucking bizarre.
I think this is part of the reason why it was undercooked and even cool in certain parts. My buddy ordered this medium rare, but it was served rare.
Prime Rib: 6/10
I had high hopes for the prime rib, but it was a bit of a let down. The meat was well beyond medium rare, dry, and a little bit tight in terms of texture. I did love the horseradish sauce, however, and I was using it for more than just the prime rib.
This was a cut for one (24oz), and I was completely baffled with the way they sliced this thing.
Typically, t-bones and porterhouse steaks are cut in the other direction. This was also overcooked to medium plus as opposed to medium rare. It did have a good flavor, however, and the filet side was very tender.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 6
This joint covers all the basics with some variation in the sizing, and everything is dry aged in house. But my buddies at the other end of the table said their rib eye was super tough, their strip had a massive ribbon of chewy fat running all through it, and they also had temperature issues. I understand that this was a busy weekend for the whole town in the lead up to New Year’s Eve and the Sugar Bowl, but this shouldn’t happen at a high end steakhouse. They need to work on their consistency and control better for quality.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions here are generous, and plating is in the basic steakhouse style: nothing too elegant or pretentious.
While prices here are lower in comparison to the likes of NYC steakhouses, I imagine they come in a bit high for the locals. And given the inconsistent nature of the cooking, it might make people feel they’ve been ripped off if they have the same experience that me and my buddies had. Here’s what our bill looked like:
The bar here is beautiful, old fashioned and very “old school steakhouse” in nature. I would definitely enjoy drinking here without eating. They also mix up some really nice cocktails, and they make a great martini.
Specials and Other Meats: 7
Chicken, lamb and quail are really the only other alternative meats being offered here, with the exception of a pork belly and scallop dish that seemed interesting. I think a solid pork chop and maybe some veal would round this out to a higher score, assuming they can execute the dishes well.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6
We tried a bunch of things and had more variety in the execution than I could have ever imagined. Let me get right to them.
Escargot & Bone Marrow: 10/10
This was fucking exceptional. It was easily one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had. Perfectly cooked escargot swimming in a spicy, buttery marrow sauce… Fuck yeah. It was even garnished with a crispy fried oyster for good measure.
Steak Tartare: 5/10
No dice. Too much vinegar dressing on this, despite the meat being tender and cut with a good amount of capers. The deviled eggs seemed like an afterthought.
Pontalba Potatoes: 2/10
I was excited to try these when reading the menu, as they contained ham, onions and mushrooms. However, there was no textural character or crisp to them, and they tasted pretty bland and mushy. I fucking made this fucking dish better when I was fucking eight years old for fuck’s sake!
As you can see from the range of scores on the apps and sides, consistency is still a problem as you work your way through the whole menu. That’s really a shame.
Seafood Selection: 6
There’s lobster, gulf fish and scallops on the entree menu. Not pushing it too much in the seafood department, which I definitely respect to some degree. But sometimes a mother fucker’s chick wants to shove her face into some fish, and wants more variety. I mean, shrimp didn’t even make a presence aside from an app and a gumbo.
This joint was jam packed busy, and what would likely be a usual 10/10 score here was taken down a notch just because of sheer craziness. Everyone was super nice though, and our waiter even asked to shake my hand when he saw that I had completely eaten all three of the steaks that I ordered. It was pretty funny when I ordered; he goes “Man… What are you doin’?” I told him that steak is my life, and to trust me, which he ultimately did.
Also they brought us multiple loaves of French bread when we asked (their table bread), and they replaced our water glasses with fresh new glasses of ice water every time we got even close to halfway done with a water. It was intense.
This place is massive inside, absolutely gorgeous in the old steakhouse style, and really iconic. I didn’t take enough photos of the interior, unfortunately, but you can definitely see what it looks like online if you poke around a bit.
To sum up: I’m glad we went, but I’m not sure I’d go back with so many other great food options in this glorious town.
DICKIE BRENNAN’S STEAKHOUSE
716 Iberville St
New Orleans, LA 70130
My wife and I came here to shoot photos for Instagram and try out some of the tasty cuts of beef they have on the menu. Here’s what we thought:
Rib Eye: 9/10
This baby packed the most flavor and tenderness. They nailed the cook temperature as well, and it had a great crust on the edges.
We left nothing behind. This came out with a truffle butter “sauce” that was really decadent and flavorful. More like drawn butter than a sauce, but either way it was not needed due to the greatness of the beef. Their standard steak sauce is like a very good cocktail sauce (tomato- and horseradish- based).
This baby came out at a solid medium as opposed to medium rare, but it still had great flavor and a really kickass crust.
I think this steak would have tied or even perhaps overtaken the rib eye had it been cooked properly.
We ordered the cherry peppers and onions “sauce” for this, but it turned out to be regular bell peppers, and not much of a sauce (more like a side item). Skippable.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
You’ve got all the basic steakhouse cuts here, plus a few budget steaks. Nothing too complicated. All steaks are dry aged in house, and USDA prime grade.
Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portions are large, and especially bountiful given the price point. Our ceviche appetizer was pretty big considering some of the dainty portions we’ve been seeing lately for nearly anything that isn’t an entree.
We had a comped meal, so I can’t give less than a ten for that. However, the prices here are considerably less (by $5 to $10 per steak) than most midtown rival steak joints. Our bill would have come to about $250, which I thought was fair for two drinks, an appetizer, a rib eye, a porterhouse for two, a side, two desserts and two coffees. In fact I’d say that’s a steal.
The bar here is small, but it greets you warmly as you enter the joint. The bartender mixes a good martini and there’s a healthy selection of nice, affordably priced wines.
Specials and Other Meats: 7
There were no specials read to us, but, then again, I didn’t ask since I knew what I wanted before I even entered the joint. They do offer veal, lamb and chicken by way of alternative-meats.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
This Peruvian mixed seafood ceviche had a nice squid ink and citrus base that really made it stand out from other ceviche dishes I’ve had in the past. It contained shrimp, mussels, fish and scallops.
Truffle Creamed Corn
Sorry, no pic. This was tasty, and had a nice bread crumb crust, but it was light on truffle flavor compared to the butter sauce mentioned above, and the cheese baked into it was a bit grainy at times.
Banana Cream Pie
This was great. Smooth, creamy, not too sweet, and just the right amount. I really liked this.
This dessert, on the other hand, didn’t quite deliver. The chocolate was a bit too dense overall, and I was expecting something more creamy and mousse-like. To their defense, I do not really know what a “cremeaux” is.
Seafood Selection: 10
There’s sushi, sole, salmon, tuna, sea bass, shrimp and trout on the seafood entree menu here. That’s pretty impressive! From the ceviche that I tried, I would say that these guys know their way around fish. Perhaps ordering a seafood entree to share as an appetizer is a good move.
The service here is fantastic. The waiters are attentive but not in your face all the time. The food is paced out properly and no one is waiting around or rushed.
Bread is pretty standard; sliced baguette or Italian bread style, with regular butter.
The space here is beautiful, and the dining room has a few nooks and crannies where you can achieve a more private feel if needed.
The entrance on Tudor City Place is very quaint and welcoming, and it feels like you’re stepping into someone’s apartment building.
TUDOR CITY STEAKHOUSE
45 Tudor City Pl
New York, NY 10017
I was invited to Chimichurri Grill East by the restaurant’s PR specialist to try a special five course tasting menu (with wine pairings and dessert), and to write a review. Let me get right to it!
The restaurant is an elegant, modern and fine dining Argentinian steak house. This is somewhat of a rarity here in the city, as most Argentinian places that I know are more on the pub atmosphere end, and don’t serve actual Argentinian proteins. Argentinian beef is something that people clamor for, so it’s good to know that this place serves the real deal.
Moreover, Chef Carlos Darquea uses family recipes to create the dishes he loves and grew up with. Everything is authentic and from the heart.
His wife Alicia is the wine director, and together they own a sister restaurant, called Chimichurri Grill West (a theater district mainstay for nearly 20 years), which serves the exact same menu but in a different atmosphere.
Here’s what we had:
Course 1: Sweetbreads (Heart)
This was really nice. These veal heart sweetbreads are sliced and grilled, served with a red pepper, parsley and garlic sauce, and featured on a slice of crispy purple potato. Very pretty and delicious. This was similar to something like foie gras.
Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.
Course 2: Beef Tongue Stew
I really loved this warm, hearty and delicious dish. It was reminiscent of homemade beef barley soup. The tongue was diced into small cubes and braised to tender perfection.
Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.
Course 3: Grilled Romaine Salad
The feta, buttermilk and dill dressing makes for a nice creamy compliment with the grilled greens. And the crispy bacon lardon is just perfect.
Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.
We had a scoop of homemade passion fruit sorbet to cleanse the palate. Very nice!
Course 4: Pasta with Seafood
This house made pasta is served with a chardonnay and basil sauce that gets added to a roux and the various seafood juices that Chef Carlos extracts from the seafood used to make the dish; clams, calamari, prawns, mussels and halibut.
Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.
Course 5: Grass Fed Argentinian Rib Eye
This was great. It’s wet aged for 32 days as it travels from Argentina to the US. Chef Carlos finishes this Black Angus steak directly on wood charcoal to develop a great crust on the outside of the meat. It’s even plated with some charcoal, and when you pop the rosemary on top, it smokes and gives off a great aroma.
It was cooked to a perfect medium rare. It had a huge outer cap and a lean eye, likely due to the grass fed nature of the beef.
You’re in for a really nice bite when you combine the caramelized vidalia onions and sauces that come to the table with this dish.
The steak (which was a full sized portion, FYI) also came with French fries. These were perfectly crisp and deliciously seasoned.
Dessert: Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee
Wow. What a great dessert! So flavorful, smooth and unexpected. A great Latin twist on the classic French custard.
That about covers it! I really can’t wait to go back and try some more cuts of steak. The menu here is new/fresh, exciting, and completely outside the box.
They even have nice happy hour specials from 4-8pm, and a great express lunch menu for all you midtown power lunchers. Get on it!
On a subsequent visit, I tried a few more delectable items.
La Suprema Burger
Veal sweet breads and caramelized onions on top of a 6oz grass finished filet patty. Very nice. The sweetbreads almost act like a cheese, adding that creaminess and fat content to the lean beef.
Clams with Chorizo
Perfection. Just order these and you’ll thank me later.
Bife Con Fritas
Strip steak, perfectly cooked, with those delicious fries. Can’t go wrong with this bad boy. I liked this better than the rib eye, and at just $42 for 12oz, you’re saving some cash in the process.
Special Off Menu Bone-In Rib Eye
Similar to the boneless cut I tried during the multi-course tasting, this lean rib eye backed a great flavor with a robust char from the on-coals cooking process.
CHIMICHURRI GRILL EAST
133 E 61st St
New York, NY 10065
I was invited into Butcher & Banker for a special preview dinner with a group of people from Instagram. This joint has taken over the previously unused space in an old bank vault on the ground floor of the New Yorker Hotel. I was really excited to try out some items from their impressive menu. Check out the details below.
I tried two different cuts of steak here. I’ll start with the big boy; the tomahawk rib eye (individual flavor score: 10/10).
This beauty was big, juicy and flavorful.
It was cooked to a perfect medium rare with a really great crust.
While there was a good amount of fat on this chop, the fat was the high quality kind that you can eat like beef jelly. I was loving it. And the generously sized cap was absolutely incredible.
Next up was the smoked strip steak (individual flavor score: 8/10).
This thing was beautifully presented on a circular, hibachi style steel mesh grate that sat atop a cast iron grill pan which was covered in rosemary (that’s where the smoke comes from – firing the herbs up). This, too, was perfectly cooked, juicy and flavorful. However I was only able to try a small piece, and I think I got one of the “lesser” slices that remained, as we shared two cuts among about 10 or 12 people. As such the 8/10 score is tentative, and I’m reserving full judgment on this cut until I can try another during my next visit. What I did have was great, but I imagine a slice from the center would be a perfect score, just like the tomahawk.
On a second visit, I tried the porterhouse.
It was a little overcooked, and only parts had that characteristic dry-aged flavor. I did like the rosemary aroma, however. 6/10.
More shots of the tomahawk, also from the second visit:
Not quite up to the first visit standards (7/10 this time), but a trusted friend went back again and he said it was much better. I chalk this inconsistency up to new-restaurant jitters. I’ve seen this happen with other places (like Boucherie), and the joints often times come out much stronger after working out the kinks. Overall they’re still at 8/10 after two visits, and I have high hopes for increases in the score with additional visits. I still need to try the culotte and rib cap steaks. More to come…
This baby is very nice. I recommend ordering it as an appetizer and splitting with your friends. The cheese was a combo of gruyere and aged parmesan, which creates a really funky flavor profile.
It comes with a side of fries and a dynamite pimento cheese sauce for dipping. I think all this burger needs to reach perfection is perhaps a softer bun and a sauce of some kind. Perhaps the pimento sauce can be applied to the burger instead of as a dip for the fries?
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
Chef Scott Campbell sources all of his beef from Pat LaFrieda and a state of the art facility out on Long Island (apologies – the name escapes me at the moment). The cuts available here range far and wide: long bone short rib, tomahawk rib eye, porterhouse, rib cap, coulotte (top sirloin cap), hanger, strip (corn fed or grass finished), filet mignon, and cowboy rib eye. Insanity. And there’s definitely some dry aging going on here – they just didn’t print out the number of days for each cut.
Personally, I don’t care about the number of days as long as I can taste it. Lately I’ve had some dry aged beef that claims to be aged for so long, but the time didn’t translate into flavor. It really all depends on the aging room. Whatever the case may be here, I was able to taste it, and that is a win to me.
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portion sizes here are pretty generous, and the plating is artful without being too fancy.
Since my meal was free, I have to award full points here. However, the prices are fair for the area, and reflect normal pricing for a midtown Manhattan steakhouse. There’s a variety of cuts available for the discerning carnivore, ranging from $32 for the budget savvy to $63 for the big spenders (per person).
The bar is cozy and interesting. Being down in an old bank vault, it can be out of the way or an effort to get to, as it isn’t a visible spot from the street. But I really liked the vibe.
The cocktails are great here, and they reflect a modern twist on the art deco design of the New Yorker Hotel.
Raffles Singapore Sling:
A Proper Manhattan:
Our Bountiful Martini:
Specials and Other Meats: 10
There’s plenty to go around in the “other meats” department. The menu boasts a duck steak, veal, lamb and chicken. But the big star of the non-beef items is the Kan Kan Pork.
The menu description of this dish – “a grand arch of double loin chops, belly and cracklings” – doesn’t quite do it justice. Order it and you’ll know what I mean when you see it come to the table.
It’s garnished with caramelized Catskill apples, and served with an apple cider reduction.
There is no other pork dish like it in the city, and nothing even comes close to it. This is meant for two at $41/pp.
I’m not sure if the waiters will be reading off-menu specials each day, but when you have stuff like this on the menu, what else can possibly be “special” in comparison?
On a second visit, this baby was even more impressive than the first time. I fucking love this thing.
It kinda looks like a sleigh (as aptly pointed out by a friend):
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried a bunch of apps and sides, so I’ll just rattle it all off and let you know my thoughts about each.
Banker’s Bacon Double-Thick
As you know from following this website and my Instagram account, there are very few bacon apps that can compete with my top five list. This Banker Bacon was delicious though – no doubt about it – and definitely worth getting as an app.
Short Rib Taquitos
I didn’t see these listed on the menu, but they were great. Super tender stewed style beef with a hit of cooling avocado cream inside a crispy shell. Can’t go wrong.
Colossal Shrimp Cocktail
Delicious and big. The fresh shaved horseradish on top was killer.
Calamari, Rock Shrimp & Shishito Fritti
These come with a great wasabi cream dipping sauce and a little bowl of curry salt for personal seasoning. That salt is really something else, and I love the flavor combinations when you dip into the wasabi cream and then finish with a pinch of curry salt. Perfectly crispy and lightly battered, and the shishito is a great touch.
Three Minute Diver Scallop Ceviche
Really light and well balanced. The scallops were meaty and delicate, and the bright yuzu and grapefruit dressing made them really pop.
Crisp Piri Piri Oysters Rockefeller
These were excellent. I usually don’t like cooked oysters very much, but these were almost like just the outside was cooked, with a crispy fried shell encasing the juicy, creamy oyster inside. Perfect with that dollop of creamed spinach underneath.
Roasted Wild Mushrooms
A great blend of fungi, simply treated with butter, herbs and seasonings – and looking beautiful.
Foie Gras with Grilled Pineapple
The pineapple was a bit too thick and not quite soft enough from the grilling process, but the concept is amazing, and so is the quality of the foie. Worth ordering.
I didn’t get a shot of this stuff, but the texture was so rich and creamy. It was awesome. Chocolate, vanilla and bourbon pecan (incredible and unique).
Seafood Selection: 8
I didn’t try any fish entrees, but all of the starters I tried involving seafood were excellent. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to ordering a seafood entree, as there are still so many meat items I need to try when I return. In any case there are scallops, salmon, shrimp and tuna in the seafood entree department – a fair showing.
The wait staff is on top of their game. They know the cocktails inside and out, and they can explain everything on the menu with precision.
Also worth mentioning here is the homemade skillet bread that comes out to the table with a pair of different butters.
Light, airy, and fluffy inside with a buttery and savory outer crust. One of these days I’ll write up a top five table breads list, and I’ll certainly be considering this as a candidate.
What else can be said about an old bank vault? The details in this place are all original and completely stunning.
And the modern touches from the renovation to turn this place into a steakhouse are elegant, yet still warm and inviting.
The space itself is divided into three locations: the vault, the bar/lounge, and the bifurcated dining room. It’s not a large restaurant, but they really made the best of the space. It feels like it belongs, and I can’t wait to go back.
BUTCHER & BANKER
The New Yorker Hotel
481 8th Ave
New York, NY 10001
As in my prior guest review for BLT Steak in White Plains, it’s important to start by saying that I am not qualified to properly review a steakhouse – at least not when compared to the Carnivore Connoisseur himself. But with steak, as with art, I know what I like. For context, my favorite steak place is Peter Luger, which has a reputation for being overhyped with respect to the steak (but is appropriately hyped with respect to its atmosphere). Also, it’s important to note that my reviews are often through the lens of a parent dining with children, as is the case here. So certain priorities differ from Johnny Prime’s. Nonetheless, I can use Johnny’s well-conceived ranking system as a structure for my ill-conceived opinions.
I wanted steak for my birthday, but a babysitter doubles the price of a steak dinner right off the bat. And a trip into Manhattan with the kids is a suicide mission unless the destination is kid-centric. So my favorite NYC steak joints are just not as convenient as they used to be. I was almost resigned to visiting the local diner for an order of steak and eggs. But then I found brunch at Benjamin Steakhouse in White Plains – owned by the same folks as Manhattan’s Benjamin Steakhouse and Benjamin Prime.
Benjamin’s rib eye was great. A nice salty crust and medium rare to my liking. I picked this place because it was close, but also because Benjamin has some genetic history with my beloved Peter Luger, as its owners came from Lugers.
I ordered the rib eye hoping to get plenty of fat and juice, knowing that the NY sirloin or filet minion would be too lean for my tastes (I learned such basics from Johnny’s outstanding Meat 101 and 102). The ribeye was juicy with a nice edge of fat. I would have actually welcomed a thicker strip of fat. I love the fat. When I was a kid, my dad said eating the fat put hair on your chest. Based on the veritable forest I have there, he must have been right.
Side note: I have to remember to ask Johnny if it’d be appropriate to ask a steakhouse waiter for a “fattier cut,” or if that’s weird or stupid in some way. Is a big strip of fat technically bad? It is less meat after all. When I go to a BBQ joint, I always ask for burnt ends of the brisket – which are viewed as inferior by some. But the burnt ends are my favorite. I think asking for burnt ends makes you look like you are “in the know,” with BBQ, but without being too big a douche. I wonder if there are any such questions appropriate for the steakhouse with respect to fat.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
We ended up at Benjamin for brunch, rather than dinner. Fortunately, Benjamin still offered their full menu in addition to a brunch menu. For guys like me, stuck in Westchester with kids, who still want the full steak experience on their birthday, this was a godsend.
The menu offered porterhouse (for two, three or four), NY sirloin, filet mignon, and a rib eye. No wagyu. The steaks are “Chef Selected, Dry Aged in Our Own Aging Box” as per the menu. Johnny discussed these cuts in his review of Benjamin Prime better than I ever could.
I would have loved a porterhouse. Unfortunately, I am almost always eating steak alone. My wife and kids would rather eat salad and breadsticks. So they can have their birthdays at Olive Garden if they want. I should have manned-up and just ordered the porterhouse steak for two and eaten it alone ala “John-Candy-in-The-Great-Outdoors.” But my wallet talked me out of it.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
My ribeye was handed over on a heated dinner plate and I was pleased to see a very generous portion. I had thought perhaps they would send their dinkier cuts up north. Plus, I was there at brunch-time. But this was a nice big steak to satisfy my birthday hunger. I was so relieved when I saw that hunk ‘o meat. My birthday steak quest had ended. And it ended nicely.
I do prefer a “sizzling steak presentation,” which I think may be reserved for the porterhouse. Lugers, for instance, delivers your steak already cut, sizzling, dripping with juices and butter; and the plate tipped up slightly so the juices run into a puddle. I know, I know. As Johnny has taught us, that this can result in overcooking and doesn’t allow your steak to rest. I guess I don’t mind sacrificing some taste for a little razzle dazzle, plus I do like steak a little more on the done side anyway. (See, I told you I lack the credentials to review steak).
The prices were fair for a high-end steak place, albeit on par with Manhattan prices (which is to say expensive). I thought perhaps the non-Manhattan real estate would bring some savings to me. But, I am sure I am paying an upcharge on steaks imported all the way from Manhattan. Also, steak is probably a “prestige pricing” type of item. A place like Benjamin isn’t looking to compete on price. If anything, it probably wants to match Manhattan prices as to convey a match in quality.
Bar: 8 (officially un-reviewed. But to complete the cumulative score, I’ll give it an 8 based on Johnny’s review of Benjamin Prime’s bar, which I assume is of similar quality.)
I’m not a huge drinker. It was brunch. I was with two kids. Suffice to say I didn’t even see the bar. If I was offered a drink menu, I didn’t notice. I was busy keeping my kids from coloring the cloth napkins and sneezing onto the next table.
Since I can’t talk about the bar, I’m going to use this space to describe how great Benjamin brunch was for kids. Make no mistake, Benjamin is not “family friendly,” in the marketing meaning of the term. Benjamin is not “for kids,” in any sense. There was no kids menu. They did not have cups with lids or coloring pages and crayons (we came with our own crayons and paper as per the standard parent eating-out survival kit).
Before we left the house, I called Benjamin with a sincere inquiry as to whether bringing kids was okay. Albert (who answered the phone) said it was fine. I clarified that my kids can strain the limits of polite society. Albert again said it was fine. And God bless him, he was clearly sincere in his reassurance, which meant a lot.
The waiters at Benjamin were pretty formal and proper; as one would expect from an upscale steakhouse. But even the most uptight waiter smiled sweetly when our kids offered obligatory, parentally-mandated “pleases,” and “thank yous.” I observed another table, with a baby in a high chair, who was keeping busy by dropping his toy on the floor every thirty seconds or so. The table was in the path to the kitchen. Waiters, time after time, without issue, happily picked it up and handed it back to the kid without so much as a mild eye roll or subtle grimace.
The food came fast, which is perfect when dining with kids. The check came fast. With the ticking time bomb of children in a restaurant, this is ideal. We did not feel like we were being rushed. Rather, I think Benjamin boasts an astute service staff who recognizes that a quicker meal pace is needed for a family with young children – as opposed to a romantic date, which should take more time.
Towards the end of our dinner Albert came by as my son was writing out his alphabet. Albert kindly chatted us up and made a deal with the kids (after getting our permission). Albert said that if my son got to “Z,” in the alphabet, he’d bring out ice cream sundaes. My son immediately skipped from “G” to “Z.” (True story. He’s his father’s son). We made him finish the whole alphabet, and as promised, two wonderful sundaes appeared, on the house. And truth be told, we got a third, on account of my daughter’s nut allergy (so I got hers when she got her nut free version!).
All of this, and we never even told them it was my birthday.
Again, this is not a kid’s restaurant. It’s a nice place. So I’m not sure you would want to bring any toddler during primetime dinner hours. But for brunch, Benjamin staff was beyond a class-act for us parents – on edge about bringing their kids to a nice restaurant. Benjamin brunch wasn’t too busy and turned out to be a genius birthday plan. I was able to spend that babysitting money on a good steak, without letting my kids ruin a nice Saturday night out for folks just looking to dine in peace.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
The brunch menu was pretty brunchy with pancakes, eggs benedict, chicken ceasar salad, a frittata, and not a lot of meat offerings. A burger and thick cut bacon were the most substantial choices. The full menu does not include the burger, but adds rack of lamb and a veal chop, (double thick, extra heavy cut).
My wife’s burger, ordered medium, was just okay. Perhaps I expected too much. Burgers aren’t on the regular menu. So if a place is only cooking a few burgers a week for a brunch crowd, it’s not likely to be an outstanding item.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
While I am a self-proclaimed novice at steaks, I can confidently speak about sides and desserts. Here’s what we had:
Fries – Benjamin’s fries were good. Thick cut, but not steak fries.
Chocolate chip pancakes – We got these for the kids. They liked them but did note that the dark chocolate chips weren’t their favorite. Naturally, as good parents, we followed up that healthy lunch with some ice cream.
Schalg – To my surprise and delight, the kids did not care for the schlag that came alongside the pancakes. Schlag, for the uninitiated, is a whipped topping, pretty much like whipped cream, but not very sweet and perfectly thick – much thicker than your average Cool Whip. I first got this stuff at Peter Luger and it is my absolute favorite. I ate it alongside my steak as to enjoy fresh. No regrets. To me, a great combination.
Ice Cream – Nothing fancy, but pretty much perfect as far as ice cream sundaes go. Fudge, nuts, and a cherry on top.
Seafood Selection: 8
We didn’t try any seafood. Brunch offered a good number of seafood items including tuna tartar, lobster bisque, crabcakes, and oysters on the half shell. The full menu had Chilean sea bass, grilled Norwegian salmon, grilled yellowfin tuna, 3 or 4 lb. jumbo lobster (broiled or steamed), and lobster tails.
In addition to the outstanding “kid-centric” service discussed above, Benjamin service was top-notch all around. The waiters were proper and distinguished, keeping the service mostly as an official, arms-length affair. Not unfriendly at all. Just appropriately formal. They entertained my wife’s questions, substitutions, and indecisiveness without flinching. Meanwhile, Albert roamed the floor gregariously, making sure everyone was happy. The food was delivered in a flurry by at least three or four well trained servers.
When we got to Benjamin, I had my doubts about Albert’s assurance that it was cool to bring little kids. By all appearance, it’s a place for grown-ups who are looking for a nice quiet, classy meal. White tablecloths. Black bow tied waiters. Big leather-bound menus. Darkly lit. It’s a nice place with all the ambiance of a classically nice steakhouse. Meanwhile, my children can turn Tasmanian Devil in an instant. Strategically, we decided to sit outside. There was no waterfront table or rooftop view. But my kids could be a little squirmier without worrying about upsetting the normal folk.
610 Hartsdale Road
White Plains NY 10607