Tag Archives: culotte

Tri-Tip & Newport Steak

Newport steak, aka “the apartment steak,” is essentially part of a tri-tip steak, which hails from the bottom sirloin portion of the animal.

Tri-tip is usually butchered into larger sizes for people to use on the grill or in BBQ style smoker preparations. A single tri-tip cut can feed a few people. It has a definitive grain direction and can be very tender and flavorful if cooked, sliced and served properly. For a nice write-up on how to properly execute a tri-tip on the grill, check out this post from BBQ Pitstop.

Photo Credit: BBQ Pitstop, https://bbqpitstop.com

If you like the flavor and texture of tri-tip, but only need to feed yourself, you can get a Newport steak, especially if you’re living in Manhattan. In New York City, Florence Meat Market in the west village has popularized the “Newport” cut, which is a single serving size of steak that has been butchered from the tri-tip.

Photo Credit: Kathryn McGowan, https://blog.kathrynmcgowan.com

It also has been called the “NYC Apartment Steak” by food blogger and recipe historian Kathryn McGowan. I think this is a fun reference to the small NYC apartments near the butcher shop in which it is nearly impossible to cook. She provides a recipe as well – check it out. Very simple to execute.

This cut is meant to be easy to cook, and small enough to fit into your small pans, set upon your small stove top in your small kitchen, within your small apartment for which you’re paying a large rent.

Betony

My wife and I learned that Betony was closing at the end of 2016, so we rushed in to finally give it a shot. It’s been on our list for a while but we never got around to trying it, despite living just a few blocks away.

We did the two course prix fix for $42, but my wife started with this interesting parsnip foam and scotch cocktail. So interesting.

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The tables are adorned with this olive oil crisp stuff that is addictive.

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Then comes the tasty and warm dill bread with a honey yogurt butter, and right around that time the waiter will bring out the amuse, which was a black truffle tea. So aromatic and delicious.

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My wife started with the fluke carpaccio. This was killer. The flavors really popped here due to the Indian lime and cilantro pickling that they worked on it.

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I went with the toasted grains and sprouts with labneh (Lebanese cream cheese / strained yogurt).

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A bit girly for my style, but I really enjoyed it and it was a substantial portion size. Plus I didn’t want to double up on lettuce greens or potato (the other app choices) since I know those were coming in my entree.

My entree was tenderloin, which was sous vide to a perfect medium rare prior to being charcoal crisped on the outside.

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It came with roasted fingerlings, grilled romaine, and a lettuce and tomato puree.

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I honestly wasn’t convinced that this was in fact a tenderloin, but I’ll go with what the menu said. I would have guessed a sirloin, due to the texture and shape, but it was really great nonetheless. Only down side: could have used a little more char on the outside. 8/10.

My wife went with the poached egg cavatelli. This was tossed with crisp crosne, aka “Chinese Artichokes” (and sometimes even “Japanese Artichokes”).

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The dish was more like a soup in terms of consistency once you popped the egg. Not really my speed, but the pasta was perfect, the sauce/broth was really tasty, and the portion size was good.

We skipped dessert because we were stuffed, but I’m sad to see this place close. Too bad we hadn’t come sooner. Pricey, but good.

BETONY
41 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

Culotte

As a non-butcher, I’m sort of learning beef anatomy on my own. I recently purchased a 7lb hunk of top sirloin to dry-age at home in my SteakAger. Upon close inspection, I noticed that my cut had a strange, skinny, and somewhat triangular-shaped section of meat that was clearly separated by some connective tissue.

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When inquiring about how to best prepare the top sirloin (either as a roast or as individual cuts of steak), I learned that this triangular piece of meat is in fact called the top sirloin cap.

Digging a little further, I came across this great excerpt from Boston Magazine article about butchery:

“Time for a little anatomy lesson, with a subprimal cut of sirloin. 1. Tenderloin. 2. Top sirloin. 3. Top sirloin cap, also known as a Culotte steak. 4. Tri-tip steak. 5. London Broil, also known as knuckle steak or outside round.”

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So as you may have deduced, similar to how the rib eye has a cap, known as the spinalis dorsi, so too does top sirloin have a cap; it’s just more fancily known as the Culotte. It’s much bigger and more lean than the spinalis dorsi on a rib eye, but it has similar grain structure.

Check out this cool butchery video that mentions the Culotte:

So back to how I discovered this: A chef I’m acquainted with, Andre Lima de Luca, suggested that I cut the top sirloin cap off and prepare that separately from the rest of the top sirloin, so that’s exactly what I did after confirming that what I thought he was talking about was indeed the triangle of beef that I noticed at the outset. With the fat ridge still connected, this cut is essentially the same as picanha.

Below is a shot of my cap/Culotte, after being dry-aged for over a month and trimmed of any bark. Since my 7lb hunk was already cut down significantly from it’s original size, I wasn’t left with too much.

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My first encounter with Culotte on a menu at a restaurant was at Bohemian, a secretive, dine-by-referral-only restaurant that’s nestled in the back of a high-end Japanese butcher shop called Japan Premium Beef.

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The cut there is washu, another name for the wagyu cattle from Japan, so it is considerably more tender than most normal cuts of this stuff. The flavor and texture is similar to strip loin, but a bit less grainy and more buttery. I recommend cutting this into small pieces when you actually eat it, smaller than you would for, say, a filet mignon. The larger the piece, the more chewing you will have to do. More chewing means it will feel tougher, and that’s not good.

These cuts can be very simply prepared: sear in a pan with butter, salt, pepper and herbs. Cook to medium rare to preserve tenderness, as the meat grain will tighten up the more you cook it, making the beef tough. Also cut cross-grain to maximize tenderness.

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You can see the grain here in this cut. When slicing for plating, you want to cut diagonal from top right to bottom left, against the grain.

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Here’s a nice way to serve it after slicing:

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Finishing salt flakes really make the flavors pop.

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Check out this other butchery video for more detail on slicing methods, with some suggested preparations too:

Bohemian

Bohemian is a dine-by-referral-only joint on Great Jones Street that’s nestled in the back of a high-end butcher shop called Japan Premium Beef. My wife scored a referral to eat here through one of her friends, so we set up a meal with her sister and her sister’s husband to celebrate their anniversary and sample as much as we could fit in our stomachs.

We started with a bunch of cocktails, which are all really great and unique. We tried about seven or eight over the course of the meal. Here are a few pics of some of them:

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They have a great selection of hard-to-find Japanese beers too:

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Plates here are small and pricey, but very good. We started with this poke bowl that consisted of high grade tuna, soy, sesame and micro greens. Absolutely delicious and super fresh.

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Next up was the wagyu short rib sashimi. This had great fat content and was super tender. Each piece gets topped with a little bit of wasabi and fried garlic slices.

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This fois gras sushi with aged balsamic and sea salt was incredibly decadent, but pricey at $17 for the pair:

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My favorite of the starter items were these wagyu beef tartare squares, served on blue cheese stuffed toasted grilled cheese. The cheese was mild and didn’t overwhelm the awesome flavors of the beef. Add a bit of dijon from the smear on the plate and you’re set.

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This mac and cheese is served with a tomato butter toast that is out of this world. The mac itself is perfect in every way: creamy, smooth and topped with a crunch.

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This slab of bacon was a bit chewy in the part that I had. My wife had a better experience with her piece. The good bits were super tasty though, so maybe the slab itself was just a little inconsistent.

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And why not have a pair of wagyu mini burgers with pecorino? They were perfectly cooked to medium rare, and served with some pickles for good measure.

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The miso black cod was really nicely cooked, but a bit on the small side in terms of portion.

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We regretted not going with the branzino when we saw that it was a beautifully presented whole fish and smelled like charcoal. But I wasn’t too worried because we were about to eat some fantastic wagyu beef. We started with a trio of beef (3.5oz each) that contained flatiron steak, culotte (top sirloin cap) and skirt. We liked them from best to worst in that order. I’ll review them now in the same order.

The flatiron was buttery and tender, cooked perfectly to medium rare and came in, for me, at an easy 9/10 for flavor.

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The culotte was similarly buttery, but a bit tougher in texture. It reminded me of strip loin, but a little less grainy. 7/10.

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I wish I had used a knife to cut these skirt steak bits a little smaller because they were too tough in the size that was served to us. They were cooked perfectly, but just lacked a bit on the flavor and texture fronts. 6/10.

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All of the beef was served with a small tray of sea salt that you could use to season as you saw fit. This was key, because otherwise the cuts were all a little too bland.

The last cut of beef we tries was a 10oz hanger steak. This was super tender and extremely delicious, and cooked absolutely perfectly with a great crust and a bright pinkish red center. 10/10. It was served on a mountain of potatoes that seemed to have been baked first, and then fried to a golden crisp on the outside. Awesome.

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Dessert was pretty nice too. We tried two ice creams: ricotta and strawberry balsamic. The strawberry was tart, but really nicely balanced between the sweet aspect of it. It ate more like a sorbet at times. The ricotta was light and fluffy, more like frozen cheese or a semifreddo. The ricotta cheese flavor was definitely prominent. What was best was mixing these two flavors in each bite. It was like eating a delicious frozen strawberry cheesecake.

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Sorry for the shitty pics. At this point the lighting changed drastically in the joint, and I didn’t bother to fix my settings.

We also tried the trio dessert sampler, which consisted of creme brulee, matcha green tie cake and cheesecake.

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My favorite of the three was the creme brulee. It was really smooth and creamy.

BOHEMIAN
57 Great Jones St
New York, NY 10012