It’s been a while since I’ve been out to eat at a place I haven’t yet tried, and that means it’s been a while since I’ve posted a review. Well, here is my latest and greatest.
Brad’s Burgers and BBQ is a small spot on the Upper West Side that slings burgers and BBQ, as you might have guessed from the name. I tried a few of the BBQ-sided items on my visit last week.
Their brisket platter is different from what you normally expect from a BBQ joint. Here, the brisket is shredded instead of sliced, and it’s already hit with some vinegar-based BBQ sauce. I guess you can call it “pulled beef.”
Despite being a fan of the more traditional sliced style, this was fine. The meat was cooked nicely, and it had nice flavor to it. The cole slaw was good (I usually don’t like coleslaw much), and the waffle fries were perfectly crisped.
The corn bread was standard issue, but we also tried the Mexican corn on the side. This just needed a hit of some salt and pepper to make it pop. Perhaps a little jalapeño heat would have helped too.
The pulled pork sandwich was hearty. It comes dressed with sliced pickles, tangy sauce and coleslaw.
The star of the meal, however, was the fried chicken sandwich. This was marketed as spicy, but it didn’t bring much heat. However, it did bring some great flavor and textures. Happy to report they use thigh meat for this baby. This comes with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, sautéed onion and special sauce.
We also tried their coconut cake, which was almost like a cross between cake and a cookie in terms of density and flavor. The cream cheese frosting was nice.
This place is no Hometown, Fette Sau or Pig Beach, but it should get the job done if you’re in need of a fix and don’t feel like traveling all the way to Brooklyn for some ‘cue.
BRAD’S BURGERS & BBQ
522 A Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024
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.
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!
I finally got around to trying the Japanese import ramen shop Ichiran. This place allows you to completely customize your bowl, where you choose the strength of the broth, the firmness of the noodle, and all of the toppings. Here’s how I ordered:
The ramen was awesome.
Deliciously rich, velvety pork broth. Perfectly cooked, firm noodles. Fork tender slices of pork loin and chashu.
The matcha pudding is really nice too, and I usually don’t like matcha very much.
So glad that this shop opened up so close to home on 49th.
The Ribbon is a neighborhood bar and restaurant that serves up an impressive list of chops and roasts. The place is very popular with families, and you’ll see a ton of parents with their kids in there on weekends during the day. In fact I think my table was the only one in the back of the restaurant that didn’t have a child at it (aside from my immature ass, of course).
My wife and I started with cocktails. I enjoyed this Ol’ Thyme Gin, which had pear, thyme infused gin, amaro and lemon.
The Mr. Pimm was light and refreshing, pairing gin with cucumber, lemon, mint syrup and elderflower.
We started the steamed clams and a trio of pate, all of which were excellent. I was just hoping for a little heat with the clams since I saw “peppers” in the ingredient list. Probably just minced bells. The chorizo in there was nice though.
For our mains, we had the two prime ribs on the menu; pork and beef.
The pork was a little bit dry, but the apricot jam was a great way to get the juices flowing.
The 16oz king cut prime rib was great.
Nicely roasted to medium rare. I’m sick of ordering this dish and having it come to me raw and difficult to chew. They do it correctly here. It’s served with a nice jus and a light horseradish cream sauce. At $61 this may seem steep, but there’s no waste on it. Even the jiggly fat bits are edible. 8/10.
On the side we had some sauteed broccolini, which was a nice way to cut the fat.
And for dessert we shared the chocolate chip bread pudding (it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). This had a nice brulee crunch to it on the edges, which made for a good mix of textures.
I definitely recommend this place, and I’ll be going back there to try more shit for sure. Here’s the William, FYI:
My wife and I came here with a big group of foodie friends for a pre-Thanksgiving blowout. We ate a shitload of dishes, but the stars of the show were these two:
That’s right: a crispy skin suckling pig, and a 9lb king crab. Here’s some video of that pig being carved up for us, table side:
Those buns were amazing but the pork meat itself was the best I’ve ever had in terms of suckling pig. The flavors penetrated deep into the flesh of the meat. And if one pork dish wasn’t enough, we also fried this one as well:
The crab was prepared three ways: steamed, fried and in a steamed egg porridge:
We ate two kinds of clams:
We even ordered a steak. This was no good though. I tried one slice of this breaded t-bone and it was too tough for me to even finish half. 2/10. I left two points on the table because the sauce was interesting at least, and the broccoli was good with it.
All the other dishes were excellent though, including this chicken:
And this fluke:
Yes, we did eat some greenery:
And of course wontons, as per the name of the restaurant, in soup form:
There was even dessert that we somehow managed to eat: mango flan/jelly and a warm pumpkin soup that was reminiscent of Indian desserts:
I definitely recommend this joint. This was the best large format pig I’ve had to date. It runs $168 and you need to order a day or two in advance. It would probably feed five or six people if you ate just that and some veggies on the side. As for the crab? Skip it. It was delicious as fuck, but that shit runs $50 a pound.
WU’S WONTON KING
165 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
I’m going to keep this one nice and simple. Boucherie Park is the second location of Boucherie, which I love. The menu is the same, and the decor is very similar. While I like the ambiance of the original location a bit better, this joint has an area up front that I like to call the “meat bar,” where you can order freshly carved slices of prosciutto. They even offer baguettes and sandwiches during the day for lunch from this area. With that give and take on the ambiance of each spot, they actually even out at the same score: 95. You may as well jump over to that review to read more on each section (though I may need to update it). This place is excellent.
On another visit we had chicken and rabbit. Rabbit:
Bacon is an important part of the steakhouse experience. After all, a slab of thick cut bacon is just as much a staple to the classic steakhouse meal as a side of creamed spinach, a plate of ice cold raw oysters, or a nice strong martini.
Devouring a plate of thick cut bacon before eating a steak is one of the most manly and satisfying things you can do. As such, I’ve endeavored to highlight the five best bacon dishes that NYC steakhouses have to offer.
These slabs are house smoked and cured, sous vide for days, and then rendered off to perfection with Tuthilltown Spirits’ Noble Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. At about an inch and a half thick per slab, you can almost order this as your main course and treat it like a “bacon steak.”
If you want a taste of something that’s slightly out of the ordinary but still satisfies your thick cut bacon fix, this is your place to go. This bacon has some kind of sweet chili glaze on it that separates it from all the rest on this list. It’s really unique, tender and crisp, but also really fucking thick (over an inch thick, so also big enough to eat as an entree). An absolute must try.
If classic, thick, un-fucked-with bacon is what you’re after, then this is the place to get it. This is some amazingly crisp and tasty stuff. Also very thick at about an inch. What you get here is your standard morning breakfast bacon, but at a whopping portion that comes off the grill looking so beautiful. Fucking insanity.
While not exactly a full-on steakhouse, this joint represents the bacon scene with mighty force. They serve this thick-cut Nueskes bacon with a peanut butter sauce and jalapeño jelly. This shit is like fucking crack to my taste buds. You need to try this if you haven’t done so already.
Another great entry in the classic style category, this “Canadian” slab bacon is legit. Usually when I hear the words “Canadian Bacon” I think of circular shaped stuff that tastes more like ham than bacon. Not here. The soft, buttery fat banding alternates perfectly with the lean meat on these grilled slabs. They are also nearly an inch thick, so you really get great satisfaction from this dish.
I’d love to hear your thoughts for other possible candidates. I briefly considered Keen’s, Peter Luger’s, Bob’s, Palm Too, Strip House, and Ben & Jack’s, but ultimately I felt that they just couldn’t stand up to these five. They’re just on another level.
Since two of the above places are now closed (Greenwich and Angus Club), I have added two: