Tag Archives: maxwells

Chef Chuck Troup

I recently tried a 500-day dry aged steak at Maxwell’s Chophouse.

It turns out that the chef there, Chuck Troup, is experimenting with some really interesting things.

After speaking with him that night, I decided I wanted to do a little feature of him here on the site in the form of a Q&A interview. Read on and enjoy, and I highly recommend Maxwell’s Chophouse.

JP: Tell my readers a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, how long you’ve been in the business, and what got you interested in cooking.

CT: I was born in PA and raised in New Orleans. I have been living this lifestyle going on 31 years now. I don’t think I necessarily chose this lifestyle, it really chose me. Growing up and starting out in the industry I was surrounded by all of the craziness and excitement in a kitchen. I was so engulfed in the way all the cooks would interact with one another and I found that really amazing. It was funny to me and also exciting the way the cooks would all scream and swear at each other all night long, and then be best friends after it was all over. It really was and is organized chaos and I love that.

JP: You seem to know your way around steaks. Would you say this is your specialty, or are there other cuisines that challenge you and inspire you?

CT: I would say I know my way around steak and I do enjoy working in the steak environment, but over the years I have worked in various cuisines. I spent three years in Japan. Working and living in Japan had a great influence on me as a person, and as a chef. Being from the south, I grew up in an environment full of Cajun and Creole food. I always try to incorporate everything I’ve learned over time wherever I go. Even at a Steakhouse such as Maxwell’s, I’ll throw in a Cajun/Creole special, or even a salmon or steak tartare or sushi roll special. All in all I love pretty much every cuisine, there isn’t much I won’t cook or won’t eat!

JP: I like that you are experimenting with various lengths of dry aging. Is there a sweet spot for flavor in your opinion? 30 days? 60 days? 90?

CT: I think that my personal sweet spot for aging is the 160 to 180 day range. To me, that length of dry aging just has the right amount of funk, flavor and taste. Honestly, after eating a dry aged steak, I don’t know if I could ever go back to not eating it this way. With that being said, as a chef it’s important to know what’s too much. I totally understand why some people have different views on aging. Always have to know your guest.

JP: What sorts of other things are you experimenting with?

CT: Lately, I have been experimenting with lamb, duck, bison, elk, veal and I have even done a few pheasants.

JP: Last time I was here you let me try something that was aged for 500 days. How would you describe the flavor on something aged for that long? I took to calling it concentrated beef rocket fuel!

CT: Well for me I would say that piece of New York strip steak had an unseasoned salami texture with a huge musky flavor, but was not near as funky as a 500 day rib eye. Not sure if “funky” is a good word to describe aged meat, but it’s usually a good kind of funk!

JP: Would you ever consider offering a tasting of various ages to a customer? Say 4oz each at 30, 60 and 90 days?

CT: I would love to do a tasting of aged meat! It would be really great to have people that don’t understand the complexities of flavor that come with the dry aging process at different intervals so they can see how that switch flips with age.

JP: Are customers generally aware of what dry aging does, or do you find that you and the staff have to explain the process?

CT: I think that our audience is generally more educated than 10 or 15 years ago, plus there are a decent amount of people that go to a steakhouse for the aged meat. There are times when we will need to explain what the process is and why different cuts have different flavor at the same age. It’s important that all staff (servers, back servers, etc.) are educated on the process so we can confidently explain to our guests.

JP: What’s your favorite item on the menu at Maxwell’s?

CT: My favorite cut on the menu is for sure our rib eye. My favorite thing on the menu would be the Lamb Burger! Of course it depends on what specials we have, so it does change from time to time. Now that I’m thinking about it, I also love our roasted chicken – it’s really hard to choose!

JP: What’s your favorite cut of steak?

CT: Rib eye!

JP: What’s the most difficult steak to cook properly?

CT: The porterhouse is the hardest to cook correctly. I am completely opposed to the technique of cooking it to rare, slicing and then bringing up to temperature. A good grill cook knows that is reheating, and how most steakhouses do the meat this beautiful deserves the respect of proper cooking along with our customers.

Maxwell’s Chophouse

Maxwell’s Chophouse overall score: 88*


I came here with a group of friends to tackle their dry-aged  six-bone standing prime rib roast. Watch this:

If their regular steak selections are anything like that monster, I think this could end up being one of the best steak joints in town. Read on.

Flavor: 9

These guys dry age everything on site, and this roast was aged for two months (61 days). The edges had a great earthy, nutty and mushroomy flavor to them from that aging process.

And as you can see below, the center was cooked perfectly.

Unfortunately, on a second visit, the prime rib wasn’t as good. Still had great flavor, but the texture was a bit off for some reason. 8/10.

I did try their porterhouse as well. This baby was tender all over, and had a nice crust. It was cooked just right at medium rare too. 9/10.

I even tried something very special and unique as well. A 500-day dry aged strip steak.

This was wild. It’s not on the menu, and it was something the chef was doing experimentally. It had a super aged flavor that was almost like meat fuel or butane. I liked trying it, but I’m not sure I would go all in on something like this often. Too aggressive for me.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

In addition to the four major steakhouse cuts, they also offer that prime rib as a regular menu item, king or queen cut. Everything is graded at prime and dry-aged on site. I also like the fact that they proudly state that the animals are raised on corn, which helps develop all that tasty marbling.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are all pretty good here from what I can tell. The sides are big enough to share with two people, for sure.

Price: 8

This place is on par with the steak joints in midtown, but the rack of ribs comes in at $80pp and includes sides. That’s a good deal.

Bar: 10

This place has a great long marble bar with elegant surroundings. I would definitely hang here. They mix up a nice martini too, and have an interesting signature cocktail list.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There weren’t any specials read to us (we had pre-ordered this monster in advance), but the prime rib rack is pretty damn special itself. As far as other meats go, you basically only have lamb or chicken. I can respect that though: focus on the beef!

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We tried a number of items during this feast. I’ll list them all and discuss.

Bone Marrow: 7/10

This had good flavor but there just wasn’t enough of it. The grilled lemons were a nice touch though, and the bread was delicious.

Bacon: 10/10

This is top notch shit from Nueskes. Easily on par with Angus Club or Tuscany Steakhouse, and very close to a top five bacon app.

Mashed Potatoes: 8/10

I’m rarely impressed with mashed potatoes after growing up eating my mom’s, which were butter- and mozzarella- laden trays of pure heaven. But they were smooth and buttery. Very nice.

Mushrooms & Spinach: 9/10

Both simple and delicious. I would get these again for sure.

Chocolate Cake: 9/10

This thing is enormous and can easily feed a table of four for the $25 price tag. In fact, this fed seven people (though we also shared another dessert as well).

Butterscotch Creme Brûlée: 8/10

Wow. Super rich, very sweet, but really fucking tasty. Share this otherwise you might overload on decadence. Below is a shot of the dessert platter that came out on my second visit, to share among 10 people.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s salmon, three-pound lobsters and big eye tuna on the seafood entree menu. I like how this and the chops menu are streamlined and slim, but that means fewer options for you picky assholes out there.

Service: 10

Impeccable. Everyone is attentive, really friendly and knowledgable. The bread basket here is quite interesting, and contains cheese baked flatbreads, chocolate and strawberry muffins, olive bread and other stuff. Very nice.

Ambiance: 9

This place is gorgeous inside. The floor space isn’t gigantic, but the ceiling height is. That really gives the joint a grand and spectacular feel.

There’s also a private dining room, which is where we ate:

I will definitely be back to try some seafood and their porterhouse.

1184 Broadway
New York, NY 10001

AJ Maxwell’s

AJ Maxwell’s overall score: 76

I used to love this joint. I have been here, I think, four times. My wife and I used to get $20 and $40 gift cards in the mail from them randomly, simply by virtue of them being a newly opened restaurant that was loyal to new customers. I dig that. We were happy the first few times we went, but this review is based on a much different dining experience.
Flavor: 7
My buddy and I each had ribeyes – their supposed “signature” dish. We were both a bit disappointed. We experienced tough meat in the central portion of the ribeye (no marbling), and an overall lack of flavor or seasoning throughout. It wasn’t bad, but certainly not on par with my prior experiences here and steaks at other joints. My buddy ordered medium rare and it came to him rare at best. It was VERY undercooked. Bad. I’ve had the ribeye before, and it was better. I’ve also had the filet and braised short rib, which were better than average.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
AJ offers porterhouse for two, three or four, ribeyes, all manner of filet, and even some specials – like a bone-in filet (the conundrum). Score for that. To top it off, they have a killer pinot braised short rib. My feeling is that they are passing off high quality choice for prime, or using low quality prime (if that is possible). There is just not enough flavor going on in the cuts – likely due to lack of aging, or lack of quality marbling. At least not like I remembered from previous visits.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions are on the heavy side, which is good considering you aren’t getting the best flavor or quality. At least in this respect you get some good poundage for your buck. EAT UP and SHUT UP.
Price: 6
Too high. For $55, I expect my ribeye to be fantastic, especially when it is marketed as their signature cut. I’ve had better tasting ribeyes for $40 on Long Island. Know your role, AJ. You are slipping. For six oysters ($17), 2 ribeyes ($55 each), the cheapest bottle of wine ($??) and a trio of appetizers ($21), the total came to about $150 each (tax and tip included). Better off hitting Del Frisco’s around the corner for that cost.
Bar: 9
The bar is great, and the bartender, who is a regular fixture there (his name escapes me at the moment), is really friendly. He will get you whatever you want (such as a steak or a double espresso), and mixes a really good martini. The bar room is cool because it sits right along the windows of 48th street – nice place to hang, especially after a hard 60 hour work week.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
I’m always happy to see alternative meat on the menu. AJ’s is good with that. They always have a nice non-traditional cut, along with the braised short rib and pork/chicken/veal cuts.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6
Let me say, the six oysters we had were fantastic… but the fries were sub par (I’ve had better at the diner around the block from my house), the creamed spinach was blah (it lacked seasoning and was a little watery), and the mac & cheese was something on the boxed level. No crumbs, no meat folded in, no burned crisp to it… absolutely no texture. Over all a disappointing app experience (aside from the great, cold, fresh oysters [which were a little overpriced at $17 for 6]). The oysters even came with a nice little basket of hot sauce, fresh horseradish, crackers and other sauces.
Seafood Selection: 8
Honest – I didn’t really pay attention to anything other than the appetizers – they had lump crab, lump lobster, a good shrimp selection, and fantastic oysters. Viewing their menu online shows a normal type selection for the vaginal non-meat items.
Service: 9
Our waiter was awesome – good guy, knew his meat, helpful. That’s all I ask for. He didn’t push anything on us, nor did he leave us lacking anything throughout the meal. 
Ambiance: 8
As a relatively new corporate type steak joint, AJ’s is a bit lackluster in terms of charm, but it is nicely decorated and set up. I think with more time it will come into its own, or start to develop its own character… but right now it is just a very plain type of space.  It is nice and open, high ceilings, etc… but basic. The bathroom urinals are cool because they have a foot-pedal flush, so you don’t have to dirty up your hands anymore after they just cupped your balls. That’s always a plus.