The Red Meat Lover’s Club is a group of carnivores that hosts meaty events all over the place, and, in the process, the club raises money for charities through both ticket sales and auctions during the events.
I attended their “Feast of the Beasts” event, which was held at The Breslin and benefitted the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. The menu was pretty incredible.
We started with passed bites and sips of fine whiskey, and then moved on to the main part of the meal.
First was a pair of roasted, crispy skin suckling pigs.
Absolutely delicious, especially the cheeks:
Then we moved on to lamb shanks. Endless amounts of lamb shanks…
But the main event was the roasted steamship round.
Check out this video:
The outer bits had so much great dry-aged flavor, and I was shocked at how perfectly cooked the inside was: a nice medium rare.
The sides were great too, roasted carrots, spicy broccoli rabe and crispy potato gratin.
I will definitely be hitting more of these events in the future, and you should too! They even sent me home with some cigars.
Here’s a run down and guide for all the food I had in Barcelona and San Sebastian. If you followed a link here for a specific restaurant, just scroll down until you see the restaurant name in bold – I did a bulk review here for all of them. In summary, here are my top dishes of the trip:
Mountain and Sea Fideua; Xiringuito Escriba (BCN)
Grilled Prawns; Xiringuito Escriba (BCN)
Roasted Piquillo Peppers; Lomo Alto (BCN)
Mussels in Tiger Sauce; La Mejillonera (SS)
Ham, Cheese, Sardine & Candied Pistachio Pintxos; Txalupa (SS)
Ham & Mushroom Sailboat Pintxos; Karrika Taberna (SS)
Cheesecake; La Vina (SS)
Potato Tortilla; Bar Nestor (SS)
Cream Puff; Izar Pasteleria (SS)
Iberico Pork Shoulder; Kokotxa (SS)
Suckling Lamb; El Asador de Aranda (BCN)
Suckling Pig Tacos; Hoja Santa (BCN)
Vanilla Custard Filled Churro; Random Churro Truck (BCN)
You might notice that the reviews go from BCN to SS and then back to BCN. Very astute of you. That’s because I wrote these in semi-timeline order. We travelled to BCN first, then spent a few days in SS before returning to BCN to finish the trip. In any case, read on and salivate.
TAPAS SIN FRONTERAS (BCN)
We ate here, which was across the street from our AirBnB, to kill some time before check-in on day one of the trip. We got some paella, salumi, and anchovies. Everything here was just mediocre. Not the best way to start the trip, but at least there was some jamon iberico involved.
XIRINGUITO ESCRIBA (BCN)
This beachside paella joint was slammed! There’s a great open-air dining room that overlooks the beach along the Mediterranean Sea, and, as you might imagine, the seafood here is amazing.
The “mountain and sea” paella was visually the star of the show here. Check it out:
But the version that’s made with pasta (fideua) tasted better and had better texture.
We also had some ceviche, guacamole, “pan con tomate,” Galician style octopus and grilled head-on prawns to start.
The prawns were amazing, and one of my top dishes of the entire trip.
The ceviche was just okay, but the guac, the tomato bread and the octopus were all excellent. In fact, that octopus was a close contender for another top dish of the trip. This place was just incredible over all.
Another standout starter was the jamon “air bag.” The crispy cracker-bread pillow gets broken and you eat the ham with it. Awesome.
The highlight of dessert was the pistachio cake with orange sorbet. So delicious!
The other selections weren’t too shabby either, one being a multi-layered combo of dolce de leche and tiramisu, and the other a classic puff pastry and cream combo.
In sum, Xiringuito Escriba is a “must go” spot if you’re looking to eat at the beach in Barcelona.
LOMO ALTO (BCN)
I came across this spot in my research for all things meaty in Barcelona.
This place is all about the beef! Dry-aged, “vaca vieja” (old cow) to be specific. The old cows, some as old as eight years at slaughter, are dry aged for months here, on site. Typically this type of meat is turned into burgers in the US, but here in Spain it is a sought after delicacy.
They offer 12 different breeds of beef to choose from.
Pro tip: say no to the bread. They will automatically bring out bread portions for each person at the table and then charge you upwards of four euro per head at the end. We got them to remove the charge since it was pretty much all stale and we barely touched it. The olives, however, were awesome.
We started with some very meaty items. Tartare, carpaccio and beef tongue. This was a great way to get to know the flavor of dry-aged dairy and old ox meat, which is what these were prepared from. Bold, savory, unique. I really liked all of these, and they came with a pair of nice spiralized potato chip things.
The croquettes were nice as well.
The steak we had was a rib chop from an 8yr old dairy cow that was dry aged for 90 days:
This had some of the most interesting and unique flavor from the dry aging. It tasted like blue cheese. The texture was a little bit aggressive – not tough, but more chewing involved. Some folks love that. Over all I’d say this was an 8/10.
The steak came with roasted piquillo peppers, fries and a salad. The best part of this entire meal was the dish of peppers! They were amazing, and oddly enough a top dish of the trip.
This place is heaven for folks who love dry aged beef, and who also love Spanish beef. A definite must try if that fits your bill. I personally like US beef better, but “when in Rome” … (or, in this case, “when in Barcelona”).
VARIOUS PINTXOS & BARS (SS)
This San Sebastian pintxos joint specialized in mussels and served them something like five or six different ways.
The door handle is even a mussel.
We arrived just as they opened, and as a general matter I found that this is the best way to eat pintxos: Get there early, before the crowds and while the pintxos are freshly made and not collecting bacteria as they sit out on the counter, sans sneeze guards and subject to all kinds of touching.
We tried two mussel dishes: Spicy “tiger” sauce, and wine/herb sauce. Both were incredible, but the spicy tiger sauce (orange/red) was a bit better. Great for bread dipping.
We also had fried calamari two ways: one with shishito peppers and one with a bravas style spicy, creamy sauce. Both excellent.
This unique place was the first and one of our best stops in San Sebastian. It’s definitely worth a stop on your pintxos crawl.
At this place, you need to focus your attention on the cheesecake.
It’s fantastic. Rich, creamy, and delicious.
One order gets you two slivers, so if you’re planning to hit a bunch of places for tapas/pintxos, you can just get a single order to share among two or three people.
This is one spot that every guidebook will tell you is great.
We enjoyed it, but it was mostly more of the same type stuff that you see at other places. In my opinion, it can be skipped.
This joint had one of my favorite bites of the trip: A ham, cheese, sardine and candied pistachio crumble pintxos bite. It blew me away.
When you need a sweet fix, hit this little shop and get the cream puff. I picked the one that looked like a hot dog shaped bun. It was one of the best bites of the trip.
These pine nut clusters were great as well.
If you need a cold sweet fix, this is your place. They have various flavors of ice cream pops, and you can have them dip the pops into various flavors of chocolate and then sprinkled with various toppings. I went with an oreo ice cream pop, dipped in dark chocolate and then hit with crushed waffle cone bits. Awesome.
We hit this spot on a whim before lunch on our last day in San Sebastian and tried a handful of pintxos that looked unique and different from the standard pieces we kept seeing all over the place. Turned out to be a great decision, as that sailboat looking thing (ham and stuffed mushroom) turned out to be one of my favorite pintxos of the trip. Also a great place to have a spritz.
This little spot is essentially a deli/meat shop with some dry goods products for sale as well, but they have a window on the street side where they sell meat cones and sandwiches.
Of course I picked up a cone of ham to walk around with and snack on. The aged flavor was immense on this ham! So good.
My new favorite bar in the world sits on top of Monte Urgull in San Sebastian and overlooks Santa Clara Island and Bahia La Concha. The walk there is half the fun, and the bar itself is in an isolated nook of the castle/battlements of Castillo Monte Urgul. Take a look:
Talk about AVERAGE! Everything here was just meh, but this place is always on pintxos lists for tourists. Pass.
We ate dinner at this seafood joint along the docks.
This was a mediocre meal, but there were a few highlights that were good. This side of asparagus was not fresh. It was canned or pickled.
The grilled octopus was one of the highlights here. It was cooked nicely and had some spicy flavored potatoes with it.
The grilled squid skewers were okay. Nothing special, but not bad by any means.
These prawns were good as well, but not nearly on the same level as Xiringuito Escriba.
The bay scallops were pretty, but a little overcooked.
I enjoyed the baked langoustines though.
BAR NESTOR (SS)
This place is iconic in San Sebastian for all of the main items they serve. Get there at 11:45am and wait to reserve your slice of potato tortilla at 12pm, when Nestor opens the window and starts taking names (they only have 12 slices a day).
It’s one of the best things I ate on the trip. Crispy, gooey, delicious.
Come back at 1pm when they open and sit for a meal. You can reserve a table or spot at the bar when you give Nestor your name for the tortilla. Once seated, they’ll bring out a pair of steaks for you to choose from.
Say yes to the tomatoes; they’re fucking amazing.
Say yes to the peppers; they’re great, too.
The steak itself is 8/10. There’s not as much dry-aged flavor as Lomo Alto in BCN, despite the restaurant and street smelling intensely “dry-agey” and beefy-delicious. That aroma – that Spanish “vaca vieja” – is unique and intoxicating. It doesn’t always translate to flavor, but this cut was more tender and had a better crust than Lomo Alto, so it evened out.
Two slices of potato tortilla, tomatoes, peppers, steak, and two glasses of wine: €63.80.
What an experience! Here’s a short video of the process.
We did the market tasting menu at this Michelin-starred restaurant. It started off with some fancy breadsticks.
Then a trio of snacks – seaweed cake, creamy fish puff and a relatively flavorless bite of something that I can’t seem to remember at the moment (the orange thing).
This white tuna ceviche was fresh and delicious.
I really enjoyed this grilled calamari dish as well.
Kokotxa means cheek in basque, and this hake cheek was a delicious bite for the restaurant namesake.
The crispy skin hake filet was great as well – probably one of the best bites of the meal.
But the star of the meal for me was the iberico pork shoulder, and it was mainly why we chose the market tasting menu instead of the chef’s tasting menu (it wasn’t on that menu). One of the best dishes of the entire trip right here. I wanted three more plates.
The two desserts were both good, and both featured interestingly flavored and balanced sorbets.
Petit fours for the finish:
I definitely recommend Kokotxa if you are in San Sebastian and looking to change up the diet from pintxos. It’s one of the cheaper Michelin-starred places in the area too.
Our final meal in San Sebastian was this chop house. We started with foie gras, lomo (cured pork loin) and roasted piquillo peppers. The foie and peppers were mediocre but the lomo was outstanding.
Another “txuleta” (chop/steak in basque, and the restaurant’s namesake) was consumed here as well. This one had less aged flavor than both Bar Nestor and Lomo Alto, but it was nice and tender. In fact, it was more tender than both of the others, so we evened out again at an 8/10.
Having loved the hake cheeks from Kokotxa the night prior, we went in on two styles of them here as well. Bad move. Should have gotten more meat. The fried ones weren’t as battered or seasoned as I expected, and they were also a little soggy (not crisp). The sauced ones were even worse – they were slimy and seemed almost undercooked.
DINNER AT HOME (BCN)
One of my favorite things about travel in Europe is just hitting the local supermarket (Mercadona) and snacking at home for a meal. High quality stuff for very cheap!
We also got an extra strip steak just for fun… Another 8/10.
…And some lamb ribs as well. These were incredible! I would have called this the best dish of the night if it weren’t for the next one…
The real star here was the 1/4 suckling lamb; a leg:
This crispy skin, fork tender beauty is fall-off-the-bone soft. Simply put, it’s the best lamb I’ve ever had. This dish is reason enough to book your trip to Spain. Skip the vaca vieja and get this!
For dessert, us adults decided to eat some of what was meant to be for the kids. Ice cream in the shape of a dick, and some chocolate cake with whipped cream and ice cream.
This bottle of sweet licorice flavored amaro type liquor came out with the bill. Very nice digestif.
What a meal! This place is a must on your trip to Spain.
HOJA SANTA (BCN)
Hoja Santa customized a tasting menu for us based on a handful of things we were interested in and pointed out to the waiter on their a la carte menu. This Michelin-starred restaurant ended up being the best all-around meal of the trip.
Here’s what we had:
Trio of snacks: gastronomic/spherized olives and peaches, along with a Caesar salad tostada with chicken skin.
Trio of solid cocktails: michelada, mezcal and margarita foam ball. So cool.
Ceviche with catch of the day white tuna and octopus.
Trio of tacos: conchinita pibil taco puff, beef brisket taco with jalapeño tortilla, and bone marrow with sesame tortilla. All awesome, but the brisket with jalapeño tortilla was incredible. One of the best bites of the meal.
Foie gras mole with thin crispy bread and some sort of quinoa meatball things.
Arabic lamb tacos with tomatillo, avocado and sour cream sauce, radish, limes and crispy flour tortillas. These were incredible, and almost shaped up to be the best bite of the meal if it wasn’t for the final savory dish.
Check out how tender this meat was!
One of my lamb rib tacos:
The final savory bite, and best part of the meal – possibly even the best dish of the trip – were these suckling pig rib tacos with cilantro cream, herbaceous pig drippings sauce, pickled cabbage, lime and fresh corn tortillas with pig stamps on them.
Dessert was a frozen orange foam with amaranth, custard and some kind of tahini-like sesame butter.
And finally, and most impressively, corn ice cream with goat cheese, caramel and chocolate truffles. One of the better sweet bites of the trip.
I highly recommend Hoja Santa – you should definitely hit this spot on your trip to BCN.
RANDOM CHURRO VENDOR
These stuffed churros from a churro cart by the famous Gaudi park “Park Guell” (near the Alfonso X metro stop) were awesome. One vanilla custard (best), one dolce de leche (second best) and one chocolate.
Holy fuck I think that about does it! What a ridiculous amount of great food. I hope you take some of my recs if you ever make it over to BCN or SS. Salud!
By now most of you who keep up with this blog or my Instagram account have seen some shit about Belcampo Meat Camp. Well, they have a restaurant in Hudson Yards and I finally got to try it out. Here’s how it breaks down:
Lamb “Bone Broth”
This stuff is spectacular. It almost tastes like an au jus or a gravy. Such deep, rich flavors with no gamey shit happening. This is also perfect for dipping bread, roast beef sandwiches, or whatever.
Eye Round Carpaccio
This is incredible. Probably my favorite carpaccio at the moment. It’s just so tender and flavorful. Hit it with some extra virgin olive oil and you’re all set.
This raw application is another winner. Excellent flavors, really great. If you prefer tartare to carpaccio, then get this.
This was my favorite of the three burgers we tried. It has a slight aged flavor to it, but the cheese coverage, toppings and bun were all great to boot. In the pic above, it’s in front.
In the pic above, the lamb burger is in back. The move here is to take an occasional bite of this after dunking it into the lamb broth. Really tasty.
The Century Burger
This 100-day dry aged burger really brings the funk. It’s thick and meaty, and unabashed in it’s protein-forwardness.
Double Fast Burger
This is my favorite of all the burgers, and it is the most humble of them all. Two dry-aged patties, American cheese, and thinly sliced pickle on a potato bun. Absolutely awesome.
We tried both the boneless and cowboy rib eye steaks. Both were great, perfectly cooked, and came with aged funk to them. 8/10.
The pork porterhouse was my favorite chop of the night. So tender, so juicy, and such a great fresh flavor to it. I can eat this regularly. I remember being very impressed with this at Meat Camp too.
These were awesome. Really nice rich red meat flavor with no game whatsoever. Perfectly cooked to medium rare.
Cookies & Cake
Wow. I didn’t except such deliciousness from such simplicity. The huge, warm, ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies were my favorite of the two, but that chocolate cake was rich and moist.
I should also mention the great cocktails here. The duck fat washed rye drink called Midnight Cruiser was killer, with orange oil and bitters.
But the barrel rested Copalli rum cocktail called Out Past Curfew stole the show. Rum, bourbon, sherry, creme de cacao, cocoa nib vermouth and toasted pecan bitters.
Definitely give this place a shot. Everything was delicious and I can’t wait to go back.
500 West 33rd St
New York, NY 10001
Over the course of a few days, some Instagram pals and I were able to get a sense of their operations, how they raise their animals and how delicious their proteins are.
The camp itself was pretty awesome. Home base was a nicely appointed “glamping” style tent that can sleep two, outfitted with extremely comfortable beds.
I was more comfortable here than I was in the hotel that I stayed at in San Francisco prior to the drive up. There are nice modern bathrooms with hot water showers near the tents too, so you’re not roughing it in some outhouse or washing up in a lake.
Here’s the event barn and main lawn, where most of the action took place:
Okay so let’s get down to business:
Belcampo Meat Co. is a 100% grass fed and grass finished organic beef producer. They also raise lamb, pork, chickens and turkeys, but they run about 3200 head of cattle total, including their cows, calves and bulls.
The animals are generally about 24 to 30 months old when they reach market weight, after which they go off to Belcampo’s processing plant in nearby Yreka. Most of their beef grades out at USDA choice or select in terms of marbling. However since intramuscular fat (marbling) isn’t a priority for Belcampo in the way that it is for traditional beef producers, the grading almost doesn’t matter.
This was the best tasting grass finished beef I’ve ever had. Truly outstanding!
As you can imagine, at a place called “Meat Camp” your daily scheduled activities are pretty awesome if you’re a raging carnivore like me.
We broke down a beef forequarter, which included the chuck and rib sections.
We also broke down a lamb shoulder, pork shortloins/t-bones, and chickens.
We portioned out chops for grilling, as well as ground up various meats for burgers and sausages.
Yes, we ate LOTS of it.
We even made sausage and tasted several of their incredibly delicious cured meat products with a charcuterie and wine pairing lesson. I think these bites were my favorites of the entire trip!
One of the many impressive things up at Belcampo is the fire wagon, which they use to develop embers and natural charcoal for cooking on their Argentinian style grills, their huge cauldron, and their “Asado Crucifix,” (all of which are made by NorCal Ovenworks).
Another fun lesson was about how they make their “bone broth” and sauce bases, like ragu and soffrito.
When we weren’t cooking, eating or butchering, we toured their farms, fields, and animal paddocks, which consists of about 5,000 acres of grasses and alfalfa.
We also visited the farrowing barn where newly born piglets were nursing from sows.
Just nine months later those babies are pushing 500-600lbs from eating a mixture of pasture, grains, acorns and nuts on the farm.
We saw their chicken train cars and barns, with the animals truly “free range” feeding on bugs, seeds and grasses.
I even got to see their turkeys along the road when I was out for a morning run.
Belcampo goes above and beyond to make their animals comfortable, and they exhibit the utmost respect for the environment. The farm is run like a family, and the love and care they give to their animals translates directly into a high quality product at the end of the animals’ lifecycles.
I think my biggest takeaway – and by far the most important one – is that not all grass-finished beef is the same. I had it in my head that I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste of grass-finished beef, but Belcampo’s product is truly amazing. They definitely changed my mind on that, but their other proteins and products are outstanding as well – especially that charcuterie!
Karvouna Mezze is the new Greek tapas (“mezze”) joint and meat house that just opened on the Bowery, headed up by the former chef from Merakia, Giuseppe Scalco.
I came in with a group of Instagramming bastards to try out some dishes and to feature our favorites on our profiles. Here’s what we tried:
Peinirli (Greek Pizza Boat)
I like the idea of this, I just wasn’t a fan of the flakey, dry dough. The fillings (bacon, herbs and cheese) were all great though.
This was nice. As a mezze portion, this is actually pretty sizable.
Generally I’m not a big fan of eggplant, but this was great. I really liked the presentation in a scooped-out and halved eggplant. You can even still see the stem on the top end. Great Mediterranean flavors on this; semi-Italian and semi-Middle Eastern.
This was simple and delicious. A must order. Perfect and fresh.
This was tender and flavorful, but I found myself going after the stewed greens underneath more than the actual pork belly. The ouzo and honey marinade was interesting though.
These are amazing. I loved them at Merakia, and I love them here. They’re perfect as a mezze snack with three to four ribs per order. Great spice on them, expertly cooked, nice fat and tenderness levels.
This was a bit of a let down. I really enjoyed the Kleftiko at Merakia, which was served like a stew in a bread bowl. Here, there was just too much bread and not enough of that stewed sauciness. It came off a bit dry, unfortunately, and the bits of lamb inside just weren’t tender enough to recall the stew format of the traditional dish.
This was awesome. So tender and flavorful, and sitting on a bed of braised greens and lentils. I could eat this every day.
Mixed Grill For Two
This was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the pork and sausage. It comes out on an actual grill, though you aren’t really cooking anything since it isn’t hot enough. It’s more of a show piece and meat warmer.
This is great for a group meal to share. Even the veggies on there were tasty, and it comes with some nice lemon potatoes too.
Red Velvet Halva
This was my favorite of the three desserts we tried. But don’t expect the texture and flavor of halva just because halva is in the name of the dessert. This tasted more like a gelatin or stiff mousse. Really delicious.
A beautiful and tasty take on the classic dessert. A nice balance of sweet and savory, and it comes with a slab of rose jelly, which looks invisible in the pic above.
Chocolate Covered Digestive Cookies
This was like a chocolate covered biscotti. Interesting, but not something I would get again. I just didn’t love the flavor combination. A nice thing to have with coffee though, for those of you who are into it.
I would definitely go back here for the eggplant, ribs, mixed grill and short rib. Go give it a shot! I should also note that when we were there, the health inspector gave a surprise visit and fucked up the entire flow of the kitchen for a good hour or hour and a half. This place is brand new and the chef is very talented, so I have no problem recommending this place to others.
Dining at Bistro Pierre Lapin was probably one of the best French culinary experiences I’ve ever had. Everything I ate was either good or bordering incredible. The meal began with a “slice” of pate, a plate of butter, olives and herb truffle goat cheese, and a basket of small French baguettes that were really hard to stay away from, even though I knew I was about to indulge in a massive and decadent French feast. This may be the best table bread in the city.
Next up was a foie gras mousse, which was silky smooth and one of my favorite bites of the night.
These little guys are pig’s ear pinwheels stuffed with spicy sausage. Really nice.
This head cheese incorporated a boiled egg in the middle. The flavor and texture on this was incredible. This is a must try.
The deviled eggs were great, getting a great pop of texture and flavor from the bacon and pickle additions.
This is a bunch of pig head meat that was deep fried into a delicious patty. Awesome.
This was probably the most unique preparation of escargots I’ve ever seen. They were served with a sunny side up egg, peas, fava beans and a garlic-butter sauce.
The frog’s legs here are the best I’ve ever had, and was one of my favorite dishes of the night. If you have never eaten frog’s legs before, get them here so that you are forever spoiled.
They offer two styles of burger here. The first is a simply grilled burger with foie gras on top, sandwiched between two slices of Texas toast.
They also have an American style burger here as well, with the traditional fixings.
I preferred the American burger over the Texas toast burger, but both were very tasty.
Speaking of toast, this preparation of cognac flambe mushrooms on brioche toast was delicious. I could see this going over really well with the NYC brunch crowd.
These tortelloni are stuffed with rabbit and served with sweet peas in a carbonara sauce (you can see the yolk).
One of the best dishes I tried here was this “Shake N Bake” style breaded pork chop, served with an au poivre sauce. There’s a great story associated with this dish that goes back to when Chef Harold Moore’s mother used to cook pork chops at home. Apparently she used to overcook regular pork chops, but when she followed the instructions on the box for “Shake N Bake,” they came out perfectly every time. So Harold came up with his own breadcrumb mixture here, and the dish is a tribute to his mother’s Shake N Bake dinners at home.
The chicken for two is a great way to go if you’re looking to share:
But I would recommend the leg of lamb if you are going with a group:
This beauty is deboned, stuffed with herbs and spices, rolled back onto the bone, covered with sauce and roasted for hours.
The result is a prime-rib like texture and some dangerously tender and delicious meat. You have to request this a day in advance, and it will feed four to six people with ease.
As for sides. I tried both the clarified butter fries and the truffle fries. Both were excellent, but I think I preferred the truffle fries.
Both the potato gratin and the potato puree were delicious. Between those, I prefer the gratin.
The broccoli was pretty good too. That brown plate at the bottom is actually foie gras stuffing for the roast chicken dish. That stuff is crack.
I will definitely be back here to try more dishes from the entrée menu, and most certainly the artichoke salad. And don’t forget to try one of their tasty and beautiful cocktails. This is their French margarita:
BISTRO PIERRE LAPIN
99 Bank Street
New York, NY 10014
Last night I tried a ton of really great American, and specifically NY/NJ, comfort food here at Harold’s Meat + Three. There’s a lot to discuss, so I might as well get right down to it.
Brined, smoked and grilled, these are some of the best, most deeply flavorful wings I’ve ever had. They have a great charcoal, wood-fired flavor to them.
We sampled two wood fired flatbread pizzas. The first, an arugula, cheese and ham:
The second, egg, cheese and Taylor ham. Amazing. Off the menu, but you can ask for it at brunch time.
BURGERS & SANDWICHES
Breakfast burger with sunny side egg, taylor ham and American. This tasted like a great white castle slider mixed with a classic deli style egg sandwich.
The South Jersey Soul Crusher: five thick cut, griddled slices of Taylor ham (or pork roll, depending on which part of Jersey you’re in), on an everything bagel. Perfect hangover food.
Egg sandwich with American cheese, salt, pepper and ketchup. A classic, but on a potato bun, and with some pork roll added for good measure. So tasty.
The award winning burger. This baby is simple and delicious. Two smash patties, lots of american, pickles, and a smear of ketchup and mustard, all on a potato bun. Perfect.
BLT. Perfectly executed with Harold Moore’s smoked bacon and crispy Taylor ham bits.
Speaking of smoked bacon, we had a plate of that as well. Incredible.
The rib eye steak.
This is wet aged and simply grilled to a perfect medium rare. Served with an array of veggies so you feel good about yourself.
The lamb blade chop.
I love when places offer interesting and less common cuts of meat. Harold nails it with a citrus marinade, Italian herbs and crushed red pepper. A squeeze from the grilled lemon really made this do backflips on my tastebuds. Check out the perfect cook temp inside:
PASTA (sweet potato tortellini)
There’s smoked ricotta, sage and brown butter in those beauties.
That’s garlic bread on the side there with it. Super tender, great sauce with aji panca chili.
This biscuit with pork roll bits inside was incredible. Great way to start the meal (sorry I’m adding it here so late).
Miniature soft serve vanilla ice cream cones. My favorite kind of ice cream. I’m a simple man.
Chocolate cake with ice cream on top. Gotta have the rainbow sprinkles on the frosting too.
Not one bad bite in the bunch. I really suggest you get down here and try this place ASAP. So good, and currently still somewhat “under the radar” of people who like to line up like assholes for food. Not for long though. This place is amazing.
HAROLD’S MEAT + THREE
2 Renwick St
New York NY 10013
I was invited into Mifune with my wife to sample some of their meat dishes and post some photos on Instagram. But we started with some cocktails, because Shingo Gokan, the man behind the cocktail menu, is an award winning “mixologist.”
This is the Seven Samurai, which is made with rye, aged sake, East India sherry, bitters and smoke:
Pretty beautiful, and really tasty. The smoke aroma was as intoxicating as the booze, and it was similar to a smoked old fashioned.
The Throne of Blood is made with Japanese whisky, Bourbon Antica, Torino and bitters. This is similar to a Manhattan.
The Hidden Fortress, made with bourbon, milk, honey shrub, orange cordial and bitters, is super smooth and tasty.
Finally, we tried the Drunken Angel, made with Hibiki, Umeshu and shiso. This was also great. Very light and crisp.
Now on to the food. The first thing we tried was the steak tartare.
This is made with Angus beef, poached egg and tosazu sauce (a seafood style vinegar). Watch the video as the egg breaks into the tartare:
It was delicious. More like a beef tartare soup – very interesting.
This next item was on special: bluefin tuna temaki. It’s a rib section of bluefin tuna, served with seashells for scraping the meat out and making hand rolls with all the fixings.
Check out this video. Pretty insane!
At just $40, this is a great deal. We probably got about 10 or 12 hand rolls out of this baby.
Okay now on to the meats! First, a straw smoked rack of lamb!
The lamb was perfectly cooked to medium rare.
It came with roasted garlic and grilled fennel. But the real treat about this dish is that when it comes to the table for eating, it’s served in a clay dish that has a smoking chamber underneath, so you get to smell that awesome straw smoke aroma the whole time while you eat.
Next up was washugyu tenderloin.
Washugyu is an American Black Angus and Japanese Wagyu cross breed that achieves a great balance of beefy flavor and tender marbling. This is the same stuff I sell in my shop, pretty much. Anyway, it was incredibly tender and flavorful. They got a nice sear on the meat too. 9/10.
It’s plated up with a shallot puree and some roasted veggies.
This was easily one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. I highly recommend this place, especially for that bluefin tuna temaki. You should go ASAP if you have any interest, because I don’t know how long that will be available on special.
Chouchou (pronounced “shoe-shoe”) is a relatively new (eight months old) Moroccon restaurant in Alphabet City. The name is a French term of endearment; a word that you might use to refer to your spouse, like “babe,” “doll face,” or “sweet tits.” Actually I think it translates more easily to “little love” or something. But I wanted to use the word “tits” there somehow, because I talk about breasts quite a bit in this review.
In any case, the restaurant is cozy inside, and decorated in such a way that it transports you to the middle east. With cavernous archways on the ceiling and faux-ancient stone walls, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped off the streets of NYC and into a quaint, rustic and romantic dining space in Morocco. Even the sweet mint tea that they serve in small glass cups smacks of authenticity.
The place boasts a very impressive wine menu, which can be seen via PDF HERE. They also have a small selection of really deliciously described craft beers.
The first thing that struck me about this joint, aside from the amazing decor, was the simplicity and focus of the food menu. There are a handful of couscous dishes and a handful of tagine dishes, utilizing largely the same set of proteins: chicken, lamb chops, kefta (seasoned meatballs), merguez (spicy lamb sausage), lobster, a veggie option, etc.
I came to learn that this is how Moroccans traditionally eat: a basic array of starters; some sort of meat item, either with couscous or slow cooked in a tagine; and simple desserts. I like it.
Each entree comes with a collection of starters or mezes included in the price.
Warm pita bread with baba ganoush, hummus, shakshuka, and harissa-spiced almonds, to be precise. Of these, my favorite was the hummus (left of the pita).
While I don’t believe the tagine dishes are actually cooked in tagines (health department and fire codes likely prevent this in NYC), they are presented in beautiful decorative tagines.
I tried the savory lemon and olive chicken tagine, as well as the sweeter prune and lamb tagine. Both were great. The chicken tagine came with a generous half chicken, bone-in. The skin was crisp, and the meat was tender and juicy – with the exception of the breast meat, which was slightly dry in parts. It happens.
I think if tagine cooking were happening in NYC, dry knockers would be a less likely outcome. Tented, closed-vessel cooking preserves juiciness and airborne vapors, while oven cooking involves a dry heat. That being the case, perhaps a Dutch oven technique would be better for these dishes.
While I enjoyed the savory flavors of the chicken tagine better than the sweet-ish flavors of the lamb tagine, I liked the juiciness and succulence of the lamb better. It was almost like a braise, perfectly cooked to fall-off-the-bone tenderness. No dryness whatsoever.
The couscous dishes come with a beautiful plate of couscous, your desired choice of protein, and a bowl of stew juice that contains potatoes, beef, lamb and peppers.
I tried the mixed protein option, called “royal.” This came with chicken, lamb chop, kefta and merguez.
All of the meats were good and juicy, again with the exception of the chicken being a bit dry in the jugs. But when you mix the meats together with the stew juice and couscous, there’s not much to worry about in terms of dry mammaries. It was delicious.
Desserts here are made in house, and consist of a variety of traditional Moroccan pastries and cookies. I was only able to try two – an almond pastry and an orange flavored cookie – but both were excellent.
Dry chicken hooters aside, I would definitely come back here again, and I highly recommend this place for a romantic date night. And again only parts of the chicken (boobs) were dry. The rest was perfect.
NOTE: A public relations professional invited me and a group of food writers to Chouchou to taste the food and review the place.
My wife and I went to Prune for brunch. We started off with some nicely crafted Bloody Mary drinks (which come with a Red Stripe beer back).
Mine was made with gin and garnished with a pickled egg, and my wife got a vodka based one with some southern spices, caper berries and pickled beans. I actually mixed my beer into the bloody when I was about halfway done, to make what was almost like a michelada.
For my entree, I had the famous fried monte cristo sandwich (ham, turkey, and cheese, breaded and deep fried). It was amazing – like a French toast sandwich. It came with two eggs and a berry jelly.
That coil of sausage we ordered as an extra side. Home made lamb sausage to be exact. It was incredible.
While the bill was a bit steep, we were satisfied and the food was delicious.
Incase you’re wondering, those are little licorice schnauzers that come with the bill.