If you don’t already know about Delmonico’s, then you’re missing out. For over a decade, I’ve gotten pissed off every time I’ve seen TV shows or news articles about steakhouses (both in NYC and throughout the country) that discussed a whole bunch of mediocre places without Delmonico’s even so much as being mentioned. I’m happy to see that trend is finally changing, and people are waking up.
Not only is this joint serving up some of the best steaks in town, but they were first. Yeah. That’s right, Peter Luger fans. This place was the first fine dining restaurant in America, opening its doors in 1837. They invented the “Delmonico” Steak (a boneless rib eye) and Delmonico Potatoes, obviously. But they also invented Chicken a la King, Baked Alaska, Lobster Newberg, Egg’s Benedict and Manhattan Clam Chowder.
It’s one thing to be first or to have been around a long time, but it’s quite another to be consistently top notch. While I’ve only been getting down on steaks for this blog for about six or seven years, I can honestly tell you that they’ve always been a top choice favorite of mine, sitting comfortably in my top three to five steakhouses for the entire time. Right now they are first on the leader board, at 97/100 points. The 45-day dry aged rib eye is one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten, and their bacon is hands down the best in the city. My full review base on several visits is HERE.
But anyway, on to the point of this article.
This month Delmonico’s is celebrating its 180th year in operation. Starting on 9/14 they’re offering 180-day dry aged bone-in rib eye steaks to mark the occasion. They’re being served on keepsake plates that you get to take home, featuring the artwork of New Yorker cartoonist John Donohue.
The steak is about 28oz of bone-in rib eye, and it’s magnificent. I was invited in to try it with some other steak connoisseurs.
It has a deep nutty and earthy funk to it, while still remaining juicy and tender. Chef Billy Oliva really nails it. This cut is being offered at $380 and is easily shareable, since you also will need to try some of their signature apps, sides and desserts when you go.
But that’s not all. The restaurant has also invited a bunch of well known chefs to create dishes that celebrate Delmonico’s 180th. This special tribute menu is available from 9/14 through 10/14.
I was able to try a few of these items as well (I focused mostly on the beef-centric dishes, though I did try some others). My favorites were as follows:
Chili Rubbed Rib Eye with White Corn Pudding, by Michael Lomonaco, Porter House.
This steak is in the vein of those cajun rib eye steaks you might see at Greenwich Steakhouse or Smith & Wollensky. It is truly delicious, and I highly recommend it if you’re not springing for Chef Billy Oliva’s 180-day dry aged rib eye.
Tournedos Rossini, by Paul Liebrandt, two Michelin starred chef, author and consultant.
That’s a massive, tender and juicy filet mignon sitting on a potato pancake and sautéed spinach, all topped by some foie gras. This is 100% pure decadence. Awesome dish.
Lobster Shepherd’s Pie, by Danny Meyer, Union Square Cafe.
Nine Herb Ravioli, by Daniel Boulud, Daniel.
Beef Wellington, by Harry & Peter Poulakakos, Harry’s Steak & Cafe.
Paris Brest Profiteroles, by Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery.
I really suggest you get down here between 9/14 and 10/14. I know I’m going back at least two more times this month to try more shit. Get on it, people. This is a rare opportunity to try a wide variety of amazing dishes and steaks. Tell them Johnny Prime sent you.
I recently received an email from the gent who co-created The SteakAger. He offered to send me a unit to review here on the site. I had no idea what the product was until I clicked over to their website to check it out. It’s an in-fridge box for dry-aging steaks at home!!! Check out their video:
Okay so just what is aged beef and dry-aging? I have a nice article about all that HERE, but the quick and dirty summary is that aging is a way to concentrate and intensify beef flavor and create a more tender steak.
I have had some limited experience dry-aging steaks with dry aging bags in the past, and the results were, surprisingly, very good! Since then, I have been secretly trying to figure out a way to fit a dedicated dry-aging fridge in our small NYC apartment. Needless to say, I was not excited about using more cubic footage for food stuff. In addition to our fridge, we have a drop-freezer, a baking work bench, and extra shelving for all of our cooking dedications. So The SteakAger was perfect for us; it goes right into the fridge! Most days the fridge is pretty empty anyway. We eat out a lot, as you can imagine, since NYC is pretty abundant with awesome restaurants. I do, however, like to cook steaks at home on occasion, to save a little dough here and there.
Anyway, my package arrived and I rushed home to get it before the package room in our building closed for the night. Here are some unboxing photos:
AC power and extension cable, along with other materials:
Keys are in there so you can get an idea of the sizing:
Charcoal pad slips into air passage:
Salt goes into the burlap bag and then gets placed at the bottom of the SteakAger, inside the box:
Sizing in my fridge:
It also fits if I turn it sideways, and it even has a viewing window on the side as well. Awesome! This orientation leaves me with a bit more space in the fridge.
So the way this works, is you connect an extension wire to the back of The SteakAger, which you can see above on the upper left portion of the unit. You then snake that through the door hinge of the fridge and plug it into a socket behind the fridge. I was apprehensive at first, wondering whether the wire coming out of the fridge would mess with my fridge’s efficiency, but it does not. The seal is still tight, and everything in the fridge is still nice and cold.
So after monitoring my local grocery stores and butchers, I found a good sale on beef. I picked up about 7lbs of top sirloin and popped it into The Steak Ager.
I adjusted my fridge setting down a bit to keep the temperature slightly colder than usual, at about 37 degrees. Then came the hard part: waiting… I started this baby on April 11th, 2016. Here’s a peek at it after 34 days in the box:
As you can see, a nice dark bark formed around the outside. I carved that off and portioned the meat into two top sirloin cap filets (aka Culotte), and two top sirloin steaks.
Here’s a time-lapse video of me doing that:
Right away, I cooked up a culotte. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and seared it in a cast iron skillet with some butter.
I’m really happy with this product. It costs less than $250 with shipping. That’s a great deal for the ability to access dry-aged beef any time you want from your own fridge. I highly recommend this product to all beef aficionados.
UPDATE: Standalone Unit – Master 45 Series. AMAZING!
Lots of people ask me about aged beef, and whether an aged steak is worth the upcharge at a restaurant or butcher shop. The simple answer is yes. But if you’re like me, you also want to know why it’s worth the money, and how beef aging happens. I’ve got you covered here. This page should serve as your guide to convincing yourself to seek out and eat aged beef more often.
Let’s first start with the fact that there are two major, most common types of aging techniques employed by most meat people: Dry Aging and Wet Aging.
After the animal is slaughtered and cleaned, large format cuts with high, evenly distributed fat content are placed in temperature- and humidity-controlled coolers. The reason I say “large format cuts” is to separate out in your minds the idea that you can just toss a grocery store cut of steak into an aging box and let it go. That would be wasteful, as your steak will shrink during the aging process. So instead, meat purveyors will use something big, like a full standing rib roast, or even an entire side of beef when they dry-age meat.
Dry-aging processes tend to cause the meat to desiccate to the point where you can lose almost a third of the original weight. So if you’re starting with many pounds of meat, typically untrimmed of any fat and still having the bones in, then it doesn’t hurt so much when your beef loses some weight and eventually gets trimmed. The reason I say “high fat content” is because fat equals flavor, and dry-aging increases and concentrates flavor. During the process, that fat content also becomes very tender, and acts like butter when it gets rendered out during cooking.
The coolers or “aging boxes” can vary greatly. They can be large aging rooms or just a mini-fridge sized unit that has been modified to stay at near-freezing temperatures with good air circulation and lowered humidity.
The beef must be stored at near-freezing temperatures, and with a somewhat lowered humidity. Right off the bat, these steps eliminate the prospect of having to combat certain harmful bacteria that can only survive above a certain temperature with certain levels of humidity. Air circulation, air ventilation and even UV lighting are also key in these cold-boxes, as they further help to prevent certain types of harmful bacteria from forming while promoting other, more helpful bacteria and fungi.
“Bacteria? Fungus? Eww!”
Nope. Don’t be an asshole. Here’s how it works: Dry-aging promotes growth of certain fungal mold species on the external surface of the meat. This doesn’t cause spoilage, but actually forms an external “crust” on the meat’s surface, which is trimmed off later, when the meat is prepared for cooking. These fungal species complement the natural enzymes in the beef by helping to tenderize the meat, and enhancing and increasing the flavor of the meat. The natural enzymes in the beef break down the proteins, making everything more soft and tender.
Once the aging is completed, the dark, thick and hardened bark on the outside is trimmed away from the underlying softened meat. This bark will form on any outer portions of the meat that are in contact with the air.
Bark is good. Dry-agers WANT that bark all around the meat. For that reason, meat within the cooling box will almost always be placed on a metal rack – which allows for air flow underneath – rather than a solid, flat surface. This also prevents bad bacteria from forming underneath the meat where it rests on the surface.
“So why even do all of this? I’m still kinda grossed out about the bacteria and fungus.”
Then you should eat a dick instead of a steak. But seriously: The beef’s natural enzymes will break down the fat and connective tissue within the muscle, which increases the meat’s tenderness. And since moisture is evaporated from the muscle as well, you get a greater concentration of beef flavor and taste in the end-product.
“But why would I want a dry steak? Isn’t a great steak supposed to be very juicy?”
Finally a good question. The steak doesn’t get THAT dry, and the majority of the real dryness is on that outside bark that you trim away. The meat still retains about 2/3 of its moisture, and that translates directly to “juiciness” while minimizing bleed-out after cooking. Once you start to cook the steak, tons of juices will begin to flow – trust me. So why do all of this? To sum up: the dry-aging process changes and improves beef in two ways: (1) it increases tenderness, and (2) it concentrates and enhances flavor.
Length of Dry-Aging
Dry-aging is commonly done for 15–28 days, but it is sometimes purposely done for longer periods of time. More time results in more shrinking, but also more flavor. Sometimes aged beef can take on a nutty flavor quality, intense earthiness, or the funk smell of blue cheese. A good number that I frequently see in restaurants is 35-days. At that point you are getting some of those interesting flavors without it being too overwhelming to the average consumer. Then again I have had 62-day steak that had a much more funky flavor quality than other 85-day, 105-day and 120-day steaks that I’ve tried. So I guess it depends on cooking technique too.
One seldom sees dry-aged beef outside of steakhouses, restaurants and upscale butcher shops. It is rare to see it in grocery stores due to the significant loss of weight in the aging process. Grocery stores sell meat by the pound and most average folks won’t understand the appeal of a funky, crusty and rotten looking piece of reddish-brown meat at such a marked-up price point. Most people just want to grab their pre-packaged steaks for the grill, and that’s fine. Only a few of us would be looking for top notch stuff like this. Whole Foods does offer aged beef, and they even age it on-site at their butcher counters. But dry-aged steaks are almost as expensive raw at a supermarket as they are fully cooked by experts in a steakhouse. So for this kind of stuff it makes sense to just go to the restaurant, or man-up and do it at home yourself.
An Important Tip
Home cooks beware: Dry-aged beef cooks very fast because it is more dry than a regular steak. I like to re-hydrate mine with olive oil. I let it soak for a while in an olive oil and garlic bath at room temperature before I cook it. Another option is to sous vide it in a butter-filled vacuum pack to about 120 degrees first, and then finish it off with a hard sear in an iron skillet for a nice crust on the outside.
Wet-aged beef is beef that has typically been aged in a vacuum-sealed bag to retain its moisture. This is the dominant mode of aging beef in the United States today, and you’ve most likely eaten wet-aged beef without even being aware. Wet-aging is popular because it takes less time (typically only a few days to a couple of weeks) and none of the weight is lost in the process (because there is no desiccation). For that reason, one can age individual cuts of steak rather than large format chunks of beef.
With the advent of plastics and vacuum sealing technology, meats can be broken down at the slaughterhouse, packed up, vacuum sealed and shipped out to grocery stores, butcher shops or restaurants. Since the meats are vacuum sealed rather than hung up in a cold dry locker during transport, the wet-aging will happen during the length of time it takes for a truck to deliver the product.
In the wet-aging process, natural enzymes do all the work to break down and tenderize the beef; there is no mold, bacteria or fungal growth aiding in the process or altering flavors.
I’ve only eaten wet-aged beef a few times at steakhouses in all of my steaking days. I don’t notice that much of an improvement, and I generally tend to enjoy dry-aged steaks more because of the concentrated and funky flavors. However, like the choice between a porterhouse and a rib eye, this is largely a matter of personal preference. Some people don’t like the texture or flavors associated with dry-aged beef, so they will stick to the wet-aged stuff.
Alternative Aging Techniques
So that covers the two major methods for aging beef. But there are other ways to achieve the same if not similar flavor characteristics.
Umai Dry and other companies offer special, large semi-vacuum seal-able bags that mimic the dry-aging process pretty closely. I’ve tried these out and really enjoyed the outcome. Simply put, you seal up the meat according to their instructions, and place on a metal rack in your fridge. Then you wait, and once the aging is complete, you carve off all the bark and portion everything out into individual steaks for cooking.
Koji Rice Method
I recently came across an article that lit up my brain synapses like wildfire. As you may know, the Japanese are masters at fermentation. They’ve been fermenting soy, miso and other delicious items for centuries with great success. In fact they’ve been credited for the 5th flavor sensation, “umami,” which I call earthiness or funk. Think aged hard cheese, dashi broth, soy sauce, mushrooms, truffles or fish sauce. These items have distinct and almost dank smells and flavors, but in a good way that invigorate your taste buds. Lots of the flavors in these items, specifically the soy and miso products, are created due to the presence of a live bacterial culture that breaks down proteins, similar to what happens during the beef aging process. The Japanese have harnessed this bacteria and introduced it into sacks of Koji rice grains for their fermentation purposes. This rice is available all over the place.
So basically a guy grabbed a cut of steak and dusted it with some powderized Koji rice, and in two or three days he had a steak with the flavor characteristics of dry-aged beef. Now, he did this on a pre-cut and pre-portioned steak, so he was limited with the time he could age it. If he went any longer, the steak would have started to desiccate too much and he wouldn’t have been left with much meat after having to carve off the outer bark. Rice will absorb moisture, after all, and leech out moisture. In fact, the end result might be more like a cured meat that was packed with salt (like prosciutto) rather than a dry-aged steak.
In any case, I will probably give this a whirl at some point soon, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.
Additional Useful Information
Because I am thorough and anticipating your thoughts and questions, here is some more shit:
Aging Other Types of Meats
Why, yes, you can age other kinds of meats like chicken, pork or lamb. However, since these are smaller animals, you tend to lose a lot of their weight during the dry-aging process. For that reason, anyone doing this with non-beef will likely age the meat for shorter amounts of time than beef counterparts. Furthermore, I would imagine you’d have to be even more careful and mindful of harmful bacteria, as chicken and pork could have a higher occurrence of bad bacteria in their flesh than beef (salmonella, trichinosis, etc) if certain conditions are not sanitary from the outset. As with beef, wet-aging is possible with vacuum sealing.
Difference Between Aging and Curing
Curing is the process of preserving meats with the addition of salt, sugars, nitrites or nitrates. These things are not added to beef in the aging process. The addition of these materials eventually creates a completely inhospitable environment for bacteria, and therefore the meat will not easily spoil, even at room temperatures. This is not the case with aging. Moisture is still retained, even with dry-aging. So if removed from an aging cooler a dry-aged steak will eventually spoil. Examples of cured products include various charcuterie meats that we all know and love, like salami, pepperoni and prosciutto.
My wife and I came here with the good people from Tabelog to see what the big hype was all about. I was drooling at the images of the bone-in burger made to look like a tomahawk rib chop. I figured that a place this creative with the presentation would hopefully have some quality food to match.
What superb meat! Really nicely cooked for such a massive hunk of meat. We had the Wagyu rib eye to share among three people, along with the bone-in burger for good measure (for my wife). This beef definitely comes in as one of the best steaks I have ever had. The pictures speak volumes – take a look below. The burger was one of the best I’ve ever had; and the rib eye was expertly seasoned, it had a great char/crisp on the outer edges, and it was perfectly medium rare from end to end. I couldn’t believe this was achieved on such a huge, thick slab of meat. I didn’t think I would like it slathered with a saucy cheese, but it actually worked to accent the flavor.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
You have a good set of choices here. There was a chateau briand, two types of Wagyu rib eye, and some regular type cuts. All top notch in terms of quality. This place is definitely not short-changing anyone on the beef.
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions were all pretty good with the exception of the geoduck and uni appetizers. Those felt a bit too small for the prices. The rib eye we shared clocked in at 55oz; massive. The burger was definitely large enough to satisfy any burger craving too.
We had lots to drink and eat (three apps, a side, a steak, a burger, a dessert, four coffees, two bottles of wine, a cocktail, and a beer), yet our bill was only $450. Not too shabby for four people!
The bar is pretty cool here, and it has a nice, interesting cocktail menu. I sipped on a “cow’s kiss” – which was like a spicy martini with a skewer of pickled veal tongue as garnish. Pretty nice. The bar itself is nicely decorated, however I don’t think I would find myself trekking out to LIC for a drink unless I was specifically going here for dinner.
We were also treated to a nice after dinner drink of sweet, house made maple bourbon/whiskey. It was perfect with our dessert.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
There is a lot to choose from here, in the event you don’t want to man-up and eat a real steak. I don’t think the waiter read us any special menu items that I recall, but there’s enough goodness on the menu to satisfy any cravings for something unique. We asked a ton of questions about items we didn’t end up ordering.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We tried a nice array of items here. First I will start with the apps. We had the geoduck, which came sliced thin and served with radish and pickled green stuff. It tasted like the sea, strongly so, but heavily laden with the taste of pickle. This was my first time trying the phallic food, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m not necessarily a fan of this preparation, but I can respect the simplicity of it, and the sea-borne flavors.
Next was the uni appetizer. Essentially two sea urchins served atop a custard made from lobster broth. It was really interesting, but again not particularly my cup of tea. Also very fishy (not that there is anything wrong with it – just potent).
The third and final app was a Korean breakfast plate, which came with roasted, soft, fatty bacon; sweet potatoes; a link of blood sausage; kimchi with a fried egg on top; and friend shrimp dumplings (think breaded, deep fried fish balls). This was a great platter. The bacon was superb. Very soft, yet very smoky; somewhere between regular bacon and roasted belly. The blood sausage was in the style of English or Scottish food – hearty and robust, slightly grainy or mealy, but packed with flavor. The rest was as you would expect.
On the side, we had the sunchokes and raisins. It was delicious, but topped with bonito flakes that gave it a jarring fishy taste. I wasn’t crazy about that, but it did make you feel like you were eating some sort of meaty seafood dish rather than the light, artichoke-meets-cauliflower flavor you expect from a sunchoke.
For dessert we had the chocolate charcuterie, which was essentially a “sausage” log of fudge with spiced caramel inside, beside two small loaves of banana bread, served with a custard spread and a berry compote. Delicious! And a very clever presentation. Only suggestion here: make the truss string easier to disrobe from around the chocolate sausage log.
Seafood Selection: 9
There’s fresh fish swimming around in the large marble tub sink just behind the counter in the kitchen. If fresh seafood is what you want, then this seems like the place to get it, as it is literally swimming in the kitchen. They have the standard shellfish and raw bar items that you expect from good steak joints. But they also have a great selection of not-so-common seafood items; shit you don’t normally see on steakhouse menus (like the geoduck and uni, for example). Props on that!
Our waiter, Michael, was really fantastic when it came to describing all the great menu items we had questions about. The “wine captain” made some really nice suggestions to pair with our courses as well, although both bottles left a significant amount of sediment in my glass (one of which I couldn’t finish). Perhaps it would be worth while to set a decanter or filtered pouring apparatus down beside the table for when bottles like these are ordered.
OH YEAH! Table breads were nice – one was a hot roll with butter, and the other was a pretzel bun served with dijon mustard. They came in a little bread sack.
I must say, they did a great job decorating this old garage. The high ceilings give way to beautiful old skylights, and the new-modern steakhouse/slaughterhouse decor lends itself to a great look and vibe inside. The open concept kitchen really makes you feel like you are getting a personal experience with the chef and kitchen staff. The only downside is the small dining space and the lack of large, spacious booths. Otherwise, this place is great and did a wonderful job with the space. I imagine they will have outdoor seating on the patio once the weather gets nice too.
Just a quick note here – we had a celebrity sighting while dining: the highly polarizing squeaky wheel known as Michael Moore, of Bush-bashing, anti-gun, pro-Cuba fame. Here he is, looming over my shoulder while waiting for his table, like a large Thanksgiving Day parade float, donning his characteristic baseball cap and cantankerous mug.
M. WELLS STEAKHOUSE
43-15 Crescent St.
Long Island City, NY 11101
I had been meaning to get back to Dylan Prime since I started this blog. I had a great steak there but the rest of the meal was just average. That was back in 2011. But now, they have a new chef, the place was renovated, and the menu is different. Check out the results:
This place remains a solid 10 for flavor. They have 1600 degree ovens that char up a beautiful crisp on the meat, locking in all those essential juices. Almost every bit of meat we had was perfectly cooked. And since I was with a group of 5 guys, We were able to sample all the major cuts: strip, filet, and rib eye. Check out the images (apologies for not getting a shot of the strip – I was too busy taking down a 42oz rib eye by myself):
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
The meats here are aged at least a month, and every cut is available in both single and double portions. The single cuts are boneless, the double cuts are bone-in. There was lots of delicious fat jelly along the edges of my rib eye that just melted in my mouth. Awesome. Only negative was a little bit of over cooking on the edges and where there was heavy fat content, but I guess that can happen with such thick cuts of beef. It is this exact problem that I was tempted to try to avoid by going with the rib eye for one. I view this as a cut issue rather than a flavor or cooking preparation issue. My suggestion would be for Dylan Prime to add something like a 22oz bone in rib-eye to the menu, that way there is some heft to the single cut, but also a bone to ensure added flavor and good inner cooking temps without over cooking the edges.
Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portion size has improved greatly here. At 16oz the single cut rib eye is still a bit small for a fatty like me, but since it is off the bone it is a nice size. The plating is great: elegant, but not overboard with the fancy bullshit. You’ll see in the app pics what I mean.
For 5 people we only ended up spending $150 a piece with tip included. That was a great deal. Check out the details below and you will see that the staff hooked us up with some freebie apps and sides to try out:
The bars have remained relatively unchanged, but I bumped the score up because of the people working them. In the main bar, we had the pleasure of meeting a gent named Johnny Champagne (Champaign is the actual spelling, I think). No joke – that is his REAL name. It was like meeting my long lost, more elegant and clean shaven cousin. The group of us got to talking about old school rap and the music industry, of all things. Cool guy, and he was an excellent bartender. In the dining room there’s another small bar, where Nico mixes up concoctions for the diners. At the end of our meal, Nico brought out a really great flight of scotches that took us across the map of Scotland from smooth to peaty. He really knew his stuff, and if he ever finds his way to this page, I hope he checks out my write up of the whiskey advent calendar that we were discussing.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
There weren’t too many specials, other than some oysters from east and west coast. Lamb, chicken, pork, duck and even oxtail graced the menu as far as alternameats go. Quite a nice selection.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We had a crazy array of apps and sides. I’ll give a quick description of each photo below, and then do a little explanation of the others that I didn’t get pics of.
First was a roasted bone marrow with old bay buttered toast and fried oysters. This was probably my favorite part of the meal. The bone marrow was like meat butter/jelly. Outstanding.
The shellfish platter was really nice too. Some big prawns, oysters, mussels with a chive cream (amazing), lobster, and crab claws.
My charred octopus was perfectly cooked, nice texture with the right chew and snap to it.
We also had creamed kale, which in my opinion was a little over-salted, but the texture was much nicer than the typical feel of gloppy creamed spinach. It had a little more substance to it without tasting like the usual shit kale flavor. The chef also hooked us up with some freebies, some of which were excellent, and some of which were just okay. The trotter baked beans were good and smokey, and had an interesting bread crumb crisp on top. The buttermilk mashed potatoes weren’t anything to write home about, but the cheese fondue mashed potatoes were stellar: another highlight of the meal (aside from the meat, of course). They reminded me of my mom’s mozzarella mashed potatoes. The chef also sent over a lobster pot pie, which I wasn’t a fan of. Some of the other guys liked it though. To me it tasted a little too much like half decent Manhattan clam chowder in a pie crust. The other low point for me was the brussels sprouts. They were a little too heavy on the vinegar for my liking, but, again, some of the other guys loved them. Sorry I didn’t get pics of all these delightful items.
Seafood Selection: 8
There’s arctic char and monkfish in terms of entree seafood items. The app menu, though, is where the seafood really shines here.
Cory, our waiter, was tremendous. He knew his meats, had great menu suggestions for us, and was really attentive and genuine. My buddy remarked that when I got up to take a leak, which took all of 30 seconds, my napkin was promptly folded for me for my return. Rob, the manager, was a real gentleman, and checked in on us here and there to make sure we were happy, and to shoot the shit with us. I had lots of questions for him about the restaurant transformation, and he was happy and eager to discuss it all with me. Great staff all around, from bar, to front of the house, to wait staff, to kitchen.
I love the look and feel of this place. It’s trendy and new, but still manly and bold. The wood floors are amazing, and the high ceilings and thoroughly “Tribeca” walls are just gorgeous. They even added a cool little chef’s table which you can see at the entrance. It has a wall of windows where you can peek into the kitchen to see what’s cooking.
Gallaghers had recently closed down, was repurchased, renovated, and now has reopened, returning a once-considered-to-be NYC staple in the steakhouse world to its former glory. It had fallen on ill times for a while before it closed. I went a few years ago and was disappointed (if you are curious, the old, defunct review is HERE). But now, with a new chef, decor upgrades, etc – it is BACK with a vengeance. I was totally blown away by the improvements they made, so I figured I would write an entirely new entry for the joint. Out with the old, in with the new.
We tried the rib eye and the marrow crusted filet. Both were incredible. I hate to say it, but I think the filet packed more of a punch than the rib eye in terms of flavor; probably because of the smashed, roasted garlic that was spread on top, and the amazing quality of the fat that was introduced back into the meat via the marrow. The rib eye was perfectly cooked, with a great sear on the outside that locked in the juicy pinkness inside. I found it to be just a hair under seasoned though, so decided to hold back on giving full points on flavor. Check out the pics. As you can see, the filet came with a little side of roasted marrow as well, and that was topped with a crunchy bread crumb crust to give it texture. Fantastic.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
Everything here is top notch quality. I mean, fuck, you can see it right in the window as it ages. They offer a porterhouse, two versions of a strip, a rib eye, a prime rib, a chopped steak, and several sizes and varieties of filet.
Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portions are excellent. The filet is basically 10oz or 14oz, which is pretty good for the vagina cut. The rib eye was around 20oz, probably more, if I had to guess. Side items and apps were good sizes too, and not as overpriced as one might expect from a prime theater district location. Plating was impressive; simple yet artful and elegant. Check out the crudo and carpaccio apps below. Gorgeous.
Obviously the cost is a bit inflated because of the location; I don’t even want to know what this place pays out in rent every month. You get a great meal for the money though, so it’s worth the splurge. Here’s the bill – see for yourself:
This is a bar of legendary status. It’s been around since the late 20’s. If you haven’t been there, please do yourself a favor and go immediately. They mix a fine martini, and the bartender Leo is awesome: a true master of mixing. I even tried an old fashioned from the cocktail menu and it was done incredibly.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
They didn’t read any specials to us, but everything is special here. I am really impressed with the turn-around this place made. Bravo. As for other meats, they offer veal, lamb, and chicken. They pulled the pork item they used to serve (no big deal), but they do offer some alternative beef cuts like the chopped steak (glorified burger) and the prime rib (rib eye for women). And I mentioned above the several different types of filet you can order, but I will list them here for you: blue cheese crust, marrow crust, pepper/Makers Mark crust, mushroom garlic butter, sweet chili rubbed, porcini and coffee rubbed, and cajun rubbed.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10
We tried a few items: the hamachi crudo, the veal carpaccio, and the french onion soup, to start. The hamachi was crisp, clean and really nicely plated. The yuzu jalapeno dressing really punched it up. The veal carpaccio was so light and delicate. It was amazing. I didn’t care much for the beets, but hey, I loved it otherwise. The french onion soup was nicely executed. It wasn’t too heavy or overly salty, yet it still packed great flavor.
Dessert and after dinner drinks came to us on the house, which was just incredible. We had a sampling. We had the key lime pie, which was my favorite of the bunch, the banana cream pie (which came with a brulee’d banana), and the chocolate cake. They look every bit as good as they tasted. And for a guy like me who generally isn’t into sweets as much as others, they were not overly sweet – they were just right.
Seafood Selection: 9
There’s a good amount to choose from all over the menu. I like the nod to the man’s seafood steak: the swordfish, steak of the sea. Well played. We had a great seat near the open concept kitchen as well, so we got to drool over the shellfish display:
Impeccable. What an amazing group of people. Everyone. Hostesses, management, wait staff, kitchen team – all great people. Just to give a tribute, Nick & Caesar felt like family, had really great menu recommendations for us, and were attentive and genuinely nice guys. Nick is truly a work horse. The guy commutes well over an hour to get there, and I was happy to know he’s been serving guests at Gallaghers for 25 years. Awesome. The managers Charlie and James really went above and beyond and gave us way too much shit on the house and made us feel like kings. This place is really something else, and it is precisely because of the amazing staff that runs the joint. I also had the pleasure of meeting the chef Allen (forgive my spelling if it is wrong) as well. He was focused back there, but really happy to know that the guests were enjoying the new Gallaghers. His food was really delicious, and it was awesome that he let me back there to ogle his work station. Right as I snapped this photo of the coal fired brick oven, a massive tray of steaks came out to get fired up. My mouth dropped with joy. Wish I got a shot of that.
Since I have to mention the bread: good crisp bread, nice spreadable butter.
This place is historic. The remodel preserved all that great history but gave it a modern, clean feel. You still know you’re in an old steakhouse, like Keens, but you don’t have that musty, stale, dark atmosphere. The decor is classy, sophisticated, and loaded with history. Check out the open concept in the rear, where we sat. You can see right into the kitchen, and it’s bright and clean in there. State of the art.
But wait a fucking minute… What’s the first thing you see when you walk up to this restaurant off the street? MEAT. GLORIOUS MEAT!!! Just the meat locker window alone makes this place a stand-out joint in a city flooded with steakhouses. Are you fucking kidding me? This room is heaven. HEAVEN!
And what review would be complete without a discussion of “the office” – you know, where the magic happens. Clean, over-sized urinals, because, lets face it, men who dine here have over-sized cocks. Fine marble everywhere, nice tile work. Cloth towels to dry your hands after. Nice.
My wife and I also came in with my parents for restaurant week, January 2016. Well, I ordered a strip from the regular menu, but everyone else ordered off the price fix lunch menu. Here’s my steak – absolute perfection, and very good butchering/trimming – ZERO GRISTLE! This was a 10/10.
I grabbed one of my mom’s eggs… which I suppose I did as a sperm as well, some 38 years ago… but this time instead of burrowing my head into it, I put it on top of my steak:
I also put down some fries with it, and then ate bacon for dessert.
Okay so the main reason for this update is the restaurant week deal. For $25 you get an app/salad, an entree and a dessert. My wife got a wedge salad, lamb chops and cheesecake. Great price!
For $10 more you can get a 10oz filet, which is still a great deal, but they do also offer a sliced filet with peppers and onions for the same $25 price point. I guess it is smaller.
My mom got the split pea and ham soup to start, and prime rib hash browns with poached eggs for her entree:
The table started with this new chilled octopus salad too, served with onions and tomatoes. Very tender, but it still had a great char on the outside.
Prime Rib: 9/10
I also took down their monster veal parm. This thing is massive.
While I prefer the parts at many other places, there’s something to be said about the sheer size of this thing. It was probably about 32oz.
Veal Chop: 9/10
This could be a star. The patty has some of the most dry aged flavor I’ve ever had on a burger. It just needed a better bun to hold up to the juices and thickness of the burger, and it also needed more salt. Available only at lunch time.