The newly Michelin-starred Francie in Brooklyn was a mix of both great and “meh” dishes. I’m honestly a bit shocked that they received a star, but one or two items that we tried were truly top notch.
We started with the sourdough bread and lard, the duck mortadella, and a duck sausage that was on special for the night.
The duck sausage was the winner of these, but I must also point out that the lard that came with the bread was killer. They should be selling it by the jar. It had a nice hint of lemon to it that cut the fatness just right.
We also tried the barigoule (braised artichoke, fried chicken, mushrooms, egg yolk). This was really unique and tasty, and I’m glad we tried it.
We tried four pasta dishes. Of these, the rigatoni with green garlic and fennel pollen sausage was the best, followed by the tortelli with suckling pig and cracklings (despite the second being slightly too salty). The cavatelli was good for a more veggie friendly option, but the lobster ravioli was a bit of a let down to several of us.
For the mains, we ordered two entrees for two: the rib steak and the dry aged duck crown.
Both were beautifully cooked and presented.
But the duck was the star of the show. Perfectly crisped skin atop a layer of buttery soft rendered fat, with juicy, succulent, pink duck flesh beneath. Big win.
The steak was just meh. There was something sweet going on that didn’t sit well with me – I believe it was a molasses glaze. I still ate a shitload of it, but for the price point of $175 I would never order it again. It was too small in addition to having a confusing flavor profile, especially with the weird maple hollandaise that it came with. 6/10.
Over all, I highly recommend coming here for the duck apps, the rigatoni and tortelli pasta dishes, and the duck crown. Skip on the rest. For drinks, they do make very nice cocktails, but they’re pricey.
Carne Mare is a great Italian steakhouse down in the seaport. My wife and I went with another couple this past weekend, and we really dove in!
We had both the prime rib and the 45-day dry aged porterhouse for two. If I had to pick a favorite between the two, it would be the prime rib.
It was “porchetta spice” rubbed on the outside, and cooked to a perfectly tender and juicy medium rare inside. It floated in a shallow pool of veal jus. Amazing. This baby now ranks in my top 5 for sure.
The porterhouse was nicely cooked and served on a metal platter with bone marrow, herbs, a light watercress salad, and blistered cherry tomatoes. Great aged flavor, and even cook temp all over.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
I wanted to take a point here because they ran out of the duck that we wanted to try, and also because the prime rib is very limited. By 8pm on a Friday, there were only two pieces left. Go early! However, I decided to restore the point, since I wanted to try the veal over the duck anyway, and that’s what we ended up having.
Portion Size & Plating: 10
The prime rib was 16oz, and the porterhouse was 45oz. Both are robust. Other portion sizes were healthy as well, especially for the carpaccio apps, which I find are typically small.
This joint is definitely pricey. At $66 for the prime rib and $185 for the porterhouse, you are well over the average for NYC pricing. However, the quality is top notch, so I didn’t feel too burned over it. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t order the porterhouse again since it comes out to $92.50 per person. That’s high!
The bar here is beautiful, as is the entryway into the bar room.
With views of the water, this is almost unbeatable. They have a great selection of cocktails and booze, and I definitely enjoyed the martinis they mixed for me.
Specials and Other Meats: 7
There were no real specials read to us, but I didn’t expect much from a steakhouse with such an extensive menu. We did try the veal milanese. This was good, but it could have been better. It was breaded and fried whole, without being pounded flat like a traditional milanese dish.
Because of that, it had a bit too much chew. I also expected a mix of greens to be on there as well, which is common with a milanese.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10
What an awesome set of apps and desserts. First off, the octopus and veal carpaccio apps were probably the best apps I’ve had in a long time. Please make sure you get them.
On the side, we had a roasted and smoked beet (which was actually a veggie entree item), mushrooms and roasted carrots. All of them were great, but when you go, you should focus on the mushrooms (marsala style with porcini cream).
The baked spumoni is an absolute show stopper with layers of chocolate, vanilla, cherry and lemon inside. Save room for dessert!
Seafood Selection: 6
All of the seafood we tried was great, and the selection was nice as well. The main letdown of the meal was the spicy lobster spaghetti. I just sorta fit it into this category though, so don’t let this be an indication of their other seafood entrees.
It was cooked nicely, but the portion of pasta was on the small side (lobster was large though). Also, there was no real spice to it. Meh. Good pasta, but not enough of it and not spicy as advertised.
Our waiter was amazing, as were the hostesses, bartenders and managers. Our first table had a leak from the ceiling overhead (it had just started to pour, thunder and lightning). They swiftly moved us to a table that had an even better view, and they graciously gave us a bottle of wine that was worth nearly $200. We were blown away.
Also worth noting: they serve amazing table bread here, in the style of pull-apart bread. They will just keep bringing it out if you ask.
This place is really nicely appointed. I can’t wait to go back and experience a meal in the bar room. High ceilings, good music, not too loud and not too quiet.
Most fusion restaurants are characterized by a big swing, and a big miss. The intentions are usually good, and the concepts make sense on paper, but at bat on the plate, they just don’t have the right swing. Kimika is the exception. Chef Christine Lau VERY successfully marries Japanese, and other aspects of regional Asian cuisine, with high end Italian cuisine. She knocks it out of the park! My wife and I went with another food-obsessed couple, so we were able to try most of the menu.
First off, excellent cocktails! I loved their take on an old fashioned.
To start, we snacked on a bowl of spiced olives, tuna tartare and wagyu + uni skewers. All fantastic.
This squash and sunflower pesto pizzette was an incredible expression of Asian + Italian – also very light and crisp. A great snack.
The “pasta” dishes are where you really see that marriage, though. This shrimp and prosciutto tortellini with mochi in a Japanese broth was probably our favorite bite of the night.
The crispy rice cake lasagna with Italian sausage was up there though, and I’m finding myself craving this as I write…
Even the vegetable selections are all beautiful mash-ups of Italian and Asian flavors, and all of them were great! Our favorite was the charred green beans with olive tapenade and prosciutto (first pic below).
The mains are pretty incredible here. We started with an amazing porchetta. Look at that crispy skin!
Then we moved on to a surf & turf plate, composed of spot prawns that were basted with uni butter, and a killer dry-aged steak with a pickled greens and wasabi spread.
So good! And easily one of the best steaks I’ve had in a very long time. 10/10 – it really brought the funk!
Dessert was also a homerun with the yakult soft serve (our favorite), tiramisu and warm mochi bomboloncini.
I highly recommend this place, and I can’t wait to go back!
The menu here at Primal Cut Grille (Inside the Sapphire 39th Street strip club) is largely the same as the menu at Primal Cut (inside the Sapphire 60th Street strip club). This review is just a photo dump of the items we had there, with reference back to the original review of the 60th Street location (which is now undergoing renovations). Also check out this cool video of their baller’s steak, the Golden Tomahawk:
Meat maniacs! I recently got my hands on some sexy knives from Tuo Cutlery. Check out this quick video to see which blades got:
My first use of these was with a thick bone in rib eye from Babylon Village Meat Market. Since it was close to Valentine’s day, I figured I would make a heart-shaped steak presentation. But instead of just butterflying a boneless rib eye and making a heart, like everyone does, I wanted to play around with something on the bone and make it a pretty pink roast rather than an ugly brown monstrosity.
Here’s what I did:
The knives made it easy to accomplish this goal. After opening the thick vac seal plastic with my kitchen shears, I used the sharp and versatile paring knife to score or “scruff” the steak, making use of an Adam Perry Lang technique for obtaining more surface area for a better Maillard reaction crust on the seared sides. After searing and roasting to completion, I split the rib eye down the center along the bone, using the long carving knife to make two halves. That thing is meant for massive roasts and raw butchery work, so it was a little bit overkill. Fun though. Lucky for me, the bone favored one side of the cut, so I was able to leave it attached to one half of the heart. Opening this up to reveal the medium rare center created the pink heart shape that I wanted. But since I was sharing this with my wife, I used the nimble boning knife to slice one side up.
Anyway that’s it! The knives were great, as was the meal!
Romeo Meats has been serving the local Bensonhurst Brooklyn area and surrounding restaurants since the 1950s.
I recently had the pleasure of trying one of their gigantic dry aged tomahawk steaks.
This friggin’ thing was 2.5″ thick!
Needless to say, I was worried about overcooking the outside and simultaneously undercooking the inside, so I tried something a little different than my usual pan searing or sous vide techniques for thick cuts.
First I coated both sides with salt and “dry brined” it in the fridge for a few days. Then I massaged some Res Antiqva olive oil onto it once it got back up to room temperature, and then added some cracked black pepper. I seared it on a cast iron grill pan for about six mins each side (three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, FLIP, three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, OFF/REST). After that, I let it rest for a few minutes before roasting it low and slow for about an hour at 170F. Finally, I blasted the fat side under the broiler for about 5 minutes just before removing it from the oven. It rested up to about 125F-130F. The result was like prime rib on the inside, but with a steakhouse crust on the outside. Watch:
Absolutely amazing! I hope you give this preparation and plating a try with your next monster sized rib eye. I call it the broken hearted tomahawk, or the stingray.
Strassburger Steaks‘ “Steakhouse Collection” of home delivery chops is wonderful. Thick, aged cuts of highly marbled beef are vac sealed and shipped right to your door in tight styrofoam coolers, surrounded by ice packs.
The first thing I made was a rib eye. I overcooked it a little, but here’s my video:
It was really flavorful, and the aged profile really came through nicely.
Next up, I did a Philadelphia Italian-inspired twist on taco night: ground beef, blue cheese and broccoli rabe.
These were incredible! The beef was 80/20, really brightly colored pink and delicious.
Then I tried a “dry-brine” on a highly marbled porterhouse. Here’s a pic before brining.
Check out the video:
As you can probably see, with the exception of the area right near the bone on the strip side, this technique made for a really great Maillard brown crust.
I undercooked it a bit, but thoroughly enjoyed.
I still have a lot more to try, but this is a great start. I definitely recommend these steaks for home delivery. And don’t forget, I wrote an article about Suzy Strassburger and this company way back. Check it out HERE if you haven’t read it yet.
Boucherie just keeps the hits coming! Even in the face of a global pandemic, these guys opened up shop in spectacular fashion. While the menu is similar to their village locations, this joint offers Chef Dom’s incredible prime rib.
Nice and thick – 9/10!
We also took down their pork and veal chops, both of which were stunning and delicious – 10/10.
What really stands out to me about this place is the decor. The joint is situated on 6 1/2 Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets in midtown. The restaurant spans the entire length of the atrium, with high glass ceilings overhead.
It’s a beautiful place to eat, and much of it is technically outdoors. The Christmas season is very special here, with their massive tree in place.
The floors are heated, so you’ll actually feel warm even when sitting outside.
Like their other locations, they still have a nice meat/charcuterie area, stocked with legs of prosciutto and even dry aged steaks.
All of their classics are well represented, like escargots and absinthe cocktails.
We especially liked their seafood apps like the shellfish tower (the raw bar here is incredible – almost as big as their regular bar), the smoked salmon, and the whipped cod and potatoes.
And the broiled lobster? INSANE!
Since everything is pretty much the same aside from the prime rib and a few other menu items, I’ve decided to piggyback this review off of my reviews of their other locations in the West Village and Union Square. Definitely get over here ASAP and give it a shot.
Overall Score: 95
LA GRANDE BOUCHERIE
145 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019
Quality Bistro opened back in January, if I recall, right when I started a hellish new job with insane demands on my time. Then, of course, the entire city went into lockdown from Covid-19. Somehow my work-life balance got even worse. I’m only just now finally beginning to break away from the +60 hours/week grip of this gig, to get back out there and review restaurants for you savage bastards.
Anyway, the point of that bullshit preface is really just to say that I’m excited to finally write about a new(ish) joint that I’ve tried, especially one that’s serving some awesome food.
Here’s my quick video run down of those spots, if you haven’t seen it:
First of all, this new place, Quality Bistro, is totally decked out. This is easily the most gorgeously decorated space in the entire Quality Branded suite of restaurants. High ceilings, beautiful booths, decor and tables – really on another level. They spared no expense. So when you go here, make sure you request a table inside. I recommend the booths in the room on the left when you walk in. The bar is sick too (hopefully some day soon we will be allowed to sit at one again).
The menu is decidedly French, which makes sense given the “bistro” restaurant name. But like all their other restaurants, they are aggressively beef-forward. I wouldn’t call them a steakhouse, per se, but they get very close to it. They offered five steak cuts when I was there: a filet mignon, a strip, a bavette, a tomahawk and a “cote de boeuf” rib eye for two. We went with the tomahawk, but let me run through the other stuff we tried.
We started with the escargots and the crab cake. The escargots are probably some of the best I’ve had in the city, rivaling Paul Denamiel’s at Le Rivage. Very close competition! And they’re in the shell too, which I love. Order these, and get a dozen because you save $10 when you jump from a half ($19) to a full dozen ($29).
The crab cake is massive. It’s about the size of an 8oz burger patty, thick too. Super crisp, great sauce. I think this would be amazing as a lunch sandwich with pickled green tomato on a brioche bun or a croissant, with a bit more green on top. Absolutely delicious.
Our mid course was the prime tomahawk. This comes slathered with Rogue Creamery smokey blue cheese – a TON of it!
The smell coming off of this thing was so amazing. It filled the massive dining room with funk.
The cook temp was a perfect medium rare. So juicy, so tender, and so packed with flavor. This is an easy 9/10. I stripped the fucker clean!
We chased that with the corn custard brûlée. I had high hopes for this, but it fell short for two reasons: (1) The inside was less custard and more clumpy scrambled egg. This is usually a turn off for me, but the flavor was really good, so I still devoured it. And (2), a bit heavy on the caramelized sugar on top. Too thick for my liking. The flake salt, however, really made the flavors on this pop. I can see this side being a star with a bit more fine tuning.
*SEE UPDATED REVIEW NOTES BELOW!*
Our third course was the Moroccan fried chicken. They serve a whole bird for two in a beautiful tagine with fresh cilantro, Moroccan pancakes and a trio of dipping sauces (spicy honey, Moroccan cilantro chimichurri and citrus yogurt).
The breading is really nicely spiced, with great middle eastern earthiness and aromas.
Absolutely jerkworthy. I’d get this again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’m glad we ordered big, because we took more than half of it home. I’m about to eat the left overs right now, and I’m psyched!
Last, we had the apple tart sundae with cinnamon ice cream. This was really good, and big enough to share with your date at just $12. The cinnamon ice cream tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, my absolute favorite cereal of all time!
I guess that about does it for now. I plan to go back and try some of the other cuts, particularly the bavette frites, since that’s a little less common on menus. Definitely give this place a shot. Gaetano, Scott and Roger will treat you right. They provide amazing, clean service here, and you’ll feel safely spaced apart and very comfortable. Can’t believe I have to even mention such things right now…
My wife and I went back for round two, and tried a bunch more stuff.
For apps, we tried the taste flame, which is the joint’s take on Detroit style pizza + bread service. This was incredible!
Probably my favorite app here so far though, is this tuna carpaccio. Spicy, fresh, and deliciously refreshing.
These jambon beurre bites are pretty damn tasty as well.
This time, my wife went with the branzino. This was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. It comes with a choice of either salad or fries.
I went with the bavette, and also went with the French fries option.
They developed a great char on the outside…
While maintaining a perfect cook temp on the inside…
This was a solid 8/10. Really nicely executed.
On the side, we gave the corn brûlée another spin, and MAN were we glad that we did. As I expected, with the improvements I outlined above, this dish was a star. Much nicer texture inside (real custard-like), and lighter on the sugar top. PERFECT!
So that’s two steaks down, three to go: filet, strip, and rib eye for two. I’LL BE BACK!
Strip steak has a mild aged flavor, but a really nice peppercorn crust. Perfectly cooked throughout. 8/10.
Rib eye for two is great – a solid 8/10.
Lemon chicken is a sleeper here. Amazing dish!
Also really loved the glass for the French Bird cocktail. They should sell them!