Tag Archives: beef

Esora Omakase

I was recently invited to try a new Wagyu and tempura Omakase restaurant connected to J-Spec in the East Village, called Esora.

This was one of the most incredible Omakase experiences I’ve had. We started with a trio of appetizers: wagyu tartare + uni, scallop + caviar, and tofu.

All were excellent, but the wagyu tartare and uni was possibly the best bite of the night!

Next up was sashimi. More wagyu strip, as well as sea bream and blue fin tuna.

Wagyu sushi? YUP! We got a taste of both Hida and Ozaki strip here. Torched (Ozaki), and raw (Hida).

The tempura portion of the meal was so much fun, and the bites seemed to just keep coming!

Prawn heads (and bodies):

Okra:

Magochi fish:

Maitake mushroom!

Tenderloin wrapped in shiso leaf. Awesome!

Corn:

Scallop:

Squash blossom and Japanese pumpkin:

Sea Eel:

And finally, sweet potato:

We washed that down with a really tasty seafood and mushroom soup, served in a nice tea kettle with citrus (dobinmushi).

Next, we had STEAK! Wagyu strip from Hida:

…and from the Ozaki family brand:

Check this out!

I liked the Ozaki a bit better:

There was also sea bream rice with ikura:

And finally, dessert: earl grey tea panna cotta, roasted green tea, and peach compote.

I highly recommend this place. Make sure to call ahead at least 24hrs before booking. There are only seven seats at the bar with the chef, and there are a limited number of seatings each day.

ESORA OMAKASE
239 E 5th St
New York, NY 10003

Carne Mare

Carne Mare overall score: 90*

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

Flavor: 10

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

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

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

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

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

Portion Size & Plating: 10

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

Price: 7

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

Bar: 10

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

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

Specials and Other Meats: 7

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

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

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10

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

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

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

Seafood Selection: 6

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

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

Service: 10

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

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

Ambiance: 10

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

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

Primal Cut Grille

The menu here at Primal Cut Grille (Inside the Sapphire 39th Street strip club) is largely the same as the menu at Primal Cut (inside the Sapphire 60th Street strip club). This review is just a photo dump of the items we had there, with reference back to the original review of the 60th Street location (which is now undergoing renovations). Also check out this cool video of their baller’s steak, the Golden Tomahawk:

Wagyu Social

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden Packing

My friend’s family has been in the meat business for a century. His great grandfather started a company called Golden Packing in 1920, and my friend just re-established the family business in 2020. He got his start learning about and cutting meat, and then later was in sales with various operations. Now he runs his own show, having started his own operation exactly 100 years after his great grandfather did the very same thing. So cool.

His 21st century Golden Packing is even operating in a space that’s literally across the street from their original location in NYC’s meatpacking district on Little West 12th Street. One of the last few remaining meat packing businesses in the area. That’s something special.

He gave me a quick tour of the facility, and we even tasted some burgers and dry-aged steaks that we cooked in the office upstairs. Check out this video of the dry aging room, which is just across from the office:

This place was amazing. The smell of that room permeated through my mask and filled it with a mouth watering blue cheese aroma. I was salivating while taking these pics and videos. If I was in that office it would be hard to keep me from wandering off and just hanging out in the aging room.

Check out the progression on these aged short loin anterior ends. It goes from one day, to five days, to nearly three months.

And that same middle pic, just a week or so later:

Here’s a look at how burgers are made:

I actually made those! Chuck gets cut up into pieces and then turned into ground beef via these machines.

Anyway if you’ve been following along on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve been posting some butcher and packing type pics and videos lately. That’s because I’m “interning” here at Golden Packing, learning the business!

That’s right. I’m finally putting my money where my mouth is, and stepping into this glorious world. Here are some more shots of the day to day:

It’s a lot of fun. I’m learning so much, and somehow I find it exciting to wake up at 3:30am when I’m going to this new “office.”

Filets:

Rib eyes:

Short loins:

Skirts:

Even lamb:

Over time, I’ve had the opportunity to sample the wares, as you might imagine. For example, I’ve never touched anything as tender as these bone in veal tenderloins:

The skirt steaks are killer. Here’s an easy preparation I did with them to make fajita pitas:

Here’s my treatment of their porterhouse:

What a tasty beauty.

And also their bone-in tenderloin. This was fun!

Really great product, and it’s no wonder that they service so many of the city’s best steakhouses. They DO offer steams for home delivery as well, but the main bread and butter is their restaurant clientele.

Johnny Prime’s Wagyu Chop Shop Alert!!!

Johnny Prime’s Chop Shop Alert!!!

I’ve got access to some really wild stuff through a Wagyu supplier that I recently became friends with. His insane prices are really hard to beat! And the quality is off the charts – especially the Japanese, Joshu and Olive Wagyu stuff! See below for ordering instructions and this month’s price list. These are NOT available in my e-shop, because we are going directly through the supplier (hence the great pricing).

INSTRUCTIONS

Email me at johnny@johnnyprimesteaks.com listing your name, address, cell phone number and your order. My supplier will be in touch soon after to process the order and take payment. Everything is shipped fresh/not frozen, via FedEx two-day (order enough and shipping is free). There are no limits or minimum order quantities for the list below. LET’S GO!!!

FEBRUARY PRICE LIST

Aussie Wagyu – Sirloin BMS 6/7 8oz – $10ea
Aussie Wagyu – Sirloin BMS 9+ 8oz – $15ea
Aussie Wagyu – Rib Eye BMS 6/7 15-16oz – $40ea
Aussie Wagyu – Rib Eye BMS 8/9 15-16oz – $65ea
Aussie Wagyu – NY Strip BMS 6/7 15-16oz – $40ea
Aussie Wagyu – NY Strip BMS 8/9 15-16oz – $60ea
Aussie Wagyu – NY Strip BMS 9+ 15-16oz – $70ea
Aussie Wagyu – NY Strip BMS 11 15-16oz – $85ea
Aussie Wagyu – NY Strip BMS 12 15-16oz – $95ea
Aussie Wagyu – Filet BMS 8/9 8oz – $55ea
Aussie Wagyu – Whole Picanha BMS 4/5 – $19.95/lb
Aussie Wagyu – Whole Picanha BMS 6/7 – $27.95/lb
Aussie Wagyu – Whole Picanha BMS 8/9 – $32/95/lb
Aussie Wagyu – Tomahawk BMS 6/7 32oz – $80ea
Aussie Wagyu – Short Rib Tomahawk 16oz – $35ea
Aussie Wagyu – Denver BMS 8/9 8oz – $40ea
Aussie Wagyu – Brisket BMS 8/9+ Purebred – $12.95/lb
Aussie Wagyu – Teres Major Petite Tender BMS 8/9+ 14-16oz – $20ea
Aussie Wagyu – Ground Beef 1lb – $10/pack
Aussie Wagyu – Burger Patties 1lb – $10/pack

Japanese A5 – Rib Eye BMS 8/9 Kagoshima 15-16oz – $99ea
Japanese A5 – Rib Eye BMS 9/10 15-16oz – $120ea
Japanese A5 – NY Strip BMS 9/10 15-16oz – $120ea
Japanese A5 – NY Strip End Steaks 15-16oz – $80ea
Japanese A5 – Filet BMS 9/10 8oz – $125ea
Japanese A5 – Filet 16oz Portioned – $150/lb
Japanese A5 – Filet End Pieces – $100/lb
Japanese A5 – Fajita 8oz – $45ea
Japanese A5 – Picanha 14-15oz – $95ea
Japanese A5 – Top Sirloin 8oz – $45ea
Japanese A5 – Sliced Chuck Roll 8oz – $40ea
Japanese A5 – Ground Beef 1lb – $35/pack

Joshu Wagyu – Gunma Rib Eye BMS 9/10 – $130/lb
Joshu Wagyu – Gunma Rib Eye BMS 11/12 – $150/lb
Joshu Wagyu – Gunma NY Strip BMS 9/10 – $130/lb
Joshu Wagyu – Gunma NY Strip BMS 11/12 – $150/lb
Joshu Wagyu – Gunma Filet BMS 11/12 8oz – $150ea

Olive Wagyu – Western Griller 8oz – $15ea
Olive Wagyu – NY Strip 15-16oz – $130ea (SOLD OUT)
Olive Wagyu – Rib Eye 15-16oz – $130ea (SOLD OUT)
Olive Wagyu – Fajita 8oz – $15ea
Olive Wagyu – Denver 8oz – $65ea (SOLD OUT)
Olive Wagyu – Flat Iron 8oz – $45ea (SOLD OUT)
Olive Wagyu – Rib Cap Lifter/Deckle – $25/lb (SOLD OUT)
Olive Wagyu – Top Sirloin Baseball 8oz – $20ea
Olive Wagyu – Flank – $25/lb
Olive Wagyu – Cheek – $25/lb (SOLD OUT)
Olive Wagyu – Ground Beef 1lb – $18/pack
Olive Wagyu – Burgers 1lb – $18/pack
Olive Wagyu – Sliders 1lb – $18/pack
Olive Wagyu – Smoked Sausage 1lb – $15/pack
Olive Wagyu – Brisket – $24.95/lb (SOLD OUT)
Olive Wagyu – Cooking Fat – 24oz – $20ea

Bison Short Ribs – 16-18oz – $20ea

Foie Gras – $70/lb

Wagyuman

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

The otoro tuna is insane, and has marbling that looks more like beef than fish.

And the beef? Well, check out these flat iron steaks. INSANE!

 

Growth Promotants

For this installation of Beef Advocacy Monday, I figured I would shed some light on the subject of growth promotants. Namely, steroids and hormones used in the feed lot. You may recall that these are sometimes implanted behind an animal’s ear and slowly release over time.

Why would anyone give these substances to cattle, you might ask? There are a few reasons.

First, they act as “preventive medicine” and aid in animal health, much the same way that we use vitamins and supplements. This can mean fewer illnesses for the animal during its lifetime, and less use of antibiotics, which are expensive.

Second, the practice is done to help cattle develop lean muscle while simultaneously eating less feed. This attribute provides two beneficial side effects: One is that the practice helps ranchers and feed yard operators fill our country’s growing demand for lean beef. The second is that it provides dual conservationist/sustainability benefits. By administering growth promotants, the beef biz uses 10% less land and 141 billion fewer gallons of water in beef production operations. That’s pretty kickass. Because the animals become better at converting feed into beef, that means the environment is impacted less.

But are hormones/steroids in beef dangerous to humans? Sure – they could be. But the FDA sets residue tolerance levels for these substances in the same manner they do for other substances that are in our food supply. In addition, the USDA tests beef to ensure that there is no human impact to using these substances to promote cattle growth. Similar to withdrawal times for antibiotic use, these residue levels are closely monitored and heavily regulated. The promotants are re-tested every year, and if the data ever suggests that they’ve become harmful, then their use would be further regulated or disallowed.

As a matter of fact, scientists in the agriculture and protein production field found that animals’ in which promotants were administered had average residue levels that were similar to and sometimes even less than the natural hormonal residue fluctuations in naturally raised beef (no added hormones, no steroids).

I could see this issue being a concern if the residue levels were consistently or significantly higher than those of naturally raised animals, but since that isn’t the case, I’m not worried. I could eat a naturally raised steak right now that has more hormone residue in it than a steak from an animal that was treated with a growth promotant during it’s lifetime. To me, that means there’s really nothing to worry about.

Want to learn more about the beef business? BUY MY BOOK!!! It’s a lot of fun, I promise.

La Grande Boucherie

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

Nice and thick – 9/10!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the broiled lobster? INSANE!

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

Overall Score: 95

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

Quality Bistro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*SEE UPDATED REVIEW NOTES BELOW!*

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE 10/24/2020

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

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

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

These jambon beurre bites are pretty damn tasty as well.

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

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

They developed a great char on the outside…

While maintaining a perfect cook temp on the inside…

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

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

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

UPDATE 7/16/21

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

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

Lemon chicken is a sleeper here. Amazing dish!

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

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