Tag Archives: meat locker

King Solomon Foods

King Solomon Foods is a family owned wholesale meat operation that’s been in business in Brooklyn since 1938, making them one of the oldest wholesalers to distribute in the city. They serve restaurants, supermarkets, country clubs, delis, you name it… from all over New York City to all the way out in eastern Long Island. Even some of the biggest named steakhouses in the area get beef from King Solomon Foods. These were all going to Peter Luger’s.

Here – take a closer look at some of these beauties:

In addition to Luger’s, they’ve also supplied places like Ben & Jacks, Old Homestead and Primal Cut in Manhattan. Some places even hand pick their meat in the facility.

Last weekend, Grant Siegel, Vice President of Sales, gave me a tour of the King Solomon facility, which is located on the water in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Grant represents five generations of the family business. As a former college football athlete from Colgate, his competitive nature is an asset to the company. He’s young, just 23, and he’s aggressively marketing and selling their high quality meats with the goal of making King Solomon a transcendental force in the game.

There’s no quit in him. He’s up at 3:00am every day and working until 9:00pm, and even putting in weekend time, as he was there showing me the facilities on his “day off.”

You probably noticed that massive slab of beef hanging behind us there in that last photo. Here it is all by itself:

Not many purveyors in the city are getting fresh carcasses like this anymore. There are maybe four of them. Most places are bringing in boxed beef and then further portioning that out for their customers.

One very important thing I learned from Grant on this visit was how much of a difference a fresh carcass makes in the final product for consumers. Take a look at this photo:

Both short loins had been aged for eight days at the time. The one on the right was cut by King Somolon’s butchers directly from a fresh carcass, right there on premises. The one on the left is boxed beef. Boxed beef comes off the fabrication floor at slaughterhouses and is then sealed up in bags and sent out to distributors in boxes. Distributors then break the beef down further depending on what their customers want (restaurants, delis, catering halls, etc). The difference in color and fat quality is staggering. The fresh beef will have a much better flavor from the aging process. But I was blown away by how dark and aged it looked after just eight days.

Speaking of dry aging, take a look at this nice room. Lots of good spacing and great air flow. To me, this is a treasure trove, and it’s probably worth about $100,000!

As the business continues to grow, Grant says that they plan to open up a second, much larger dry aging room off the back of the facility. Take a look at some of the beautiful pieces that were aging when I was there:

Grant personally doesn’t like to push the aging past 28 days, but here is a rack of 50-day dry aged ribs:

Almost everything I saw was stamped as Prime, and the smell of these short loins, especially the ones that were cut from fresh carcasses, was amazing.

But short loins and rib racks aren’t all they supply, despite the fact that they’re cutting between 500 and 600 steaks a day. There’s lamb, veal, and tons of other cuts of beef. Watch:

More pics:

There’s a Kosher division, and they even grind their own burgers from trim. There are several different blends that they market. They do dry aged burgers, a “Brooklyn” burger (the official burger of the Verizon Center), a “King Solomon” burger, and a very popular chuck, brisket and short rib blend.

Additionally, a huge part of their business comes from poultry sales. King Solomon Foods moves about 250,000 pounds of chicken a week!

They are a direct receiver of chicken, so as a wholesaler that means their prices are extremely competitive. Bell & Evans, Purdue, Allen, you name it.

The business is already highly diversified. But Grant is looking to make this place a one stop shop, as they’re even supplying things like cheese, produce, turkey, seafood and sausage. For Grant, meat is a passion. It’s in his blood, and running this business was his dream. He’s always looking to take advantage of new technologies, study what’s available, and assess new business opportunities. He has the keys to the castle, so to speak. With youth and hustle on his side, he’s integrating a new mindset into an old school industry.

And he isn’t the only young blood in the family running things. His cousin, Zack Solomon, is the Executive Vice President of the company. He’s 29, and handles the day to day logistics and operations. Together, they represent the future of a business that runs five generations deep. That’s pretty exciting.

What’s even more exciting is that they sent me home with some really high-marbled, 28-day dry-aged strip steaks to try. Keep an eye out for some cooking videos and photos of these babies.

 

M. Wells Steakhouse

M. Wells Steakhouse overall score: 91

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.

Flavor: 10
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.

20140305_195454_LLS 20140305_195425_LLS 20140305_195334_LLS 20140305_200011_LLS 20140305_195739_LLS 20140305_195624_LLS 20140305_200114_LLS

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.

Price: 9
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!

20140305_215232_LLS

Bar: 8
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.

collage_20140305234301718 20140305_183008 20140305_182700_LLS 20140305_182744_LLS

We were also treated to a nice after dinner drink of sweet, house made maple bourbon/whiskey. It was perfect with our dessert.

20140305_212032_LLS

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.

20140305_191948_LLS

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).

20140305_191824_LLS

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.

20140305_191757_LLS

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.

20140305_195310_LLS

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.

20140305_210344_LLS

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!

Service: 10
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.

20140305_190014_LLS

Ambiance: 9
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.

20140305_181627 20140305_181720 20140305_181751 20140305_191200 20140305_191057_LLS 20140305_190953_LLS 20140305_191024_LLS

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.

20140305_194828_LLS

M. WELLS STEAKHOUSE
43-15 Crescent St.
Long Island City, NY 11101

Dylan Prime Revisited

Dylan Prime overall score: 95

NOTE: THIS JOINT IS NOW CLOSED!!!

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:

Flavor: 10
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):

rib eye for two
rib eye for two
filet
filet

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.

Price: 10
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:

William Price
William Price

Bar: 10
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.

Johnny Champagne
Johnny Champagne
main bar
main bar
flight of single malts
flight of single malts

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.

bone marrow with fried oyster
bone marrow with fried oyster

The shellfish platter was really nice too. Some big prawns, oysters, mussels with a chive cream (amazing), lobster, and crab claws.

shellfish platter
shellfish platter

My charred octopus was perfectly cooked, nice texture with the right chew and snap to it.

charred octopus
charred octopus

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.

Service: 10
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.

Ambiance: 10
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.

view from the chef's table
view from the chef’s table

Gallaghers – NEW & IMPROVED

Gallaghers overall score: 95

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.

Flavor: 9
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.

20140219_212644_LLS 20140219_212616_LLS 20140219_213615_LLS

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.

Price: 8
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:

20140219_224235

Bar: 10
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.

20140219_202558_LLS 20140219_212749_LLS

DSC00953

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.

20140219_205807_LLS 20140219_205847_LLS 20140219_205905_LLS

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.

20140219_221721_LLS 20140219_221657_LLS IMG_20140220_083454

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:

20140219_231157_LLS

Service: 10
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.

20140219_201609

Since I have to mention the bread: good crisp bread, nice spreadable butter.

20140219_202519_LLS

DSC00952

Ambiance: 10
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.

20140219_203047

DSC00954

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!

20140219_201204_LLS 20140219_201151_LLS 20140219_201107_LLS 20140219_201135_LLS_20140220000305912 20140219_201043_LLS 20140219_201022_LLS

DSC00949

DSC00950

DSC00951

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.

20140219_202015_LLS

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.

DSC00971

DSC00980

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:

DSC00984

I also put down some fries with it, and then ate bacon for dessert.

DSC00968

DSC00989

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!

DSC00963

DSC00973

DSC00986

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:

DSC00962

DSC00966

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.

DSC00958

UPDATE 6/2/18

Prime Rib: 9/10

Porterhouse: 8/10

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

Burger

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.

Prime Rib Sandwich

This is awesome. Available only at lunch time.

GALLAGHER’S
228 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019