Tag Archives: rib

Holy Ground

Holy Ground is a new sacred place for me. I like to call it Tribeca’s answer to the West Village’s 4 Charles. Only here, along with a sexy set-up, you get a bit more space and a hell of a lot more smoke.

Now, don’t get all excited; you can’t smoke here. I’m talking about smoked meats. I struggled with how to categorize this joint, but I ultimately decided to call it BBQ rather than a steakhouse or traditional restaurant, because several of the meat proteins are focused on smoking and/or slow and low roasting. Even their grilled steaks are slow roasted first, to allow flavors to penetrate deep into that tender, pink flesh.

You step into this meat sanctuary on the northwest corner of Reade Street, just east of West Broadway. That’s a mouthful, but read it carefully again and let it sink in. The door is pretty nondescript, but you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see this:

A hostess will lead you through a dimly lit, winding corridor and down a set of narrow, carpeted stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is a landing with a small but really fucking awesome bar parlor.

From there you can take in the vibe of this place, which is 100% my speed. It’s old tile. It’s dark wood. It’s deep reds. A speakeasy.

A few “rooms” are tucked away in nooks and crannies, up two steps here, around the wall there. Here’s the best seat in the house (when you look up):

Here is booth where we sat:

The four of us did some serious fucking damage. Let me get into it.

The cocktail menu is nice, but I had just tried a couple of cocktails (and a burger) earlier that evening at Manhatta, so I went with my usual: a gin martini. They are a bit on the small side, in those dainty, round, old fashioned martini glasses.

On a second trip, we tried both the red head and the odeon. Both were great. The odeon, on the right, is slammable!

The food menu is pretty meat-forward, but they do have some star quality fish and veggie items, which I will get into shortly.

We started with three apps and an entree to begin. I will tell you up front that we ordered nearly half of the menu, and nothing was bad. But the first thing to come out were these tremendous head-on, grilled red prawns.

They were damn delicious; one of my favorite dishes of the night. The heads hold a lot of juice, so when you pop them off, you may want some bread nearby if you aren’t going to slurp it all directly down your gullet like I did.

Next up was a plate of wings. These are smoked and char grilled, so they carry a fuckton of flavor. A great starter or bar snack.

We also grabbed the radicchio salad, which was one of my favorite items of the night. No shit. These veggies were perfect. I managed to get a shot before it was all gone, but my pic doesn’t do the dish justice. I will be returning soon to get it again.

The return shot:

We shared the beef rib as an appetizer. This is an impressive dish.

You’ll notice that sauce and color across several of the BBQ style dishes here. It has a mustard base with a little smokey and hot kick to it. Absolutely delicious. It’s like a cross of Carolina and Cajun style sauces. Very unique, like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.

The beef itself is slow smoked; tender, but still texturally intact. It isn’t some sloppy, soft, boiled, braised bullshit. This is the real deal. 9/10. And we learned that all the meats they use come from Dartagnan foods, which is a very high end purveyor of top notch proteins and gourmet ingredients.

On a second trip, my wife and I had the pork belly appetizer.

This is easily one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. The crackling is crisp, and that fermented chili sauce is killer. They only have a few of these per night, so go early if you want to try it. It is incredible!

Round two was the big show. This is where we crushed it. We couldn’t really narrow down our selections, so we just ordered everything – even the fish. We each had a different favorite too, which was pretty cool, and usually means that everything is great.

First, the wagyu brisket. This is the half-pound portion size for $21.

Again slow roasted and smoked, topped with that same delicious sauce. This is by far the best brisket I’ve ever eaten. 10/10

Next up, the Kurobuta pork shoulder. This is the individual portion size for $32.

This was so juicy. Extremely tender, and again that sauce really pushed it along into greatness. 8/10.

You may be thinking, “Well, shit, why don’t they come up with some more variety in the sauces on these things?”

My answer is this: most people aren’t ordering every major protein on the menu when they come here. Most likely just one person at the table is getting a dish that has the sauce on it. And most BBQ joints have the same sauce on the table for you to slather onto your meat anyway. No one is complaining there about variety, are they? I say it’s fine. The sauce is delicious, and it works with those three BBQ dishes (pork shoulder, beef brisket, beef rib).

Our next protein was the king’s cut prime rib with smoked herb jus.

This baby was cooked dead on to medium rare even though it was smoked for hours first. That is a feat in itself, but it still managed to stay juicy and tender. Bravo. 9/10.

Take a look at how thick it is too, and the size of the cap. This easily feeds two people who have normal appetites, possibly three.

Last but not least in the world of meat was the grilled wagyu rib eye. This “Thousand Dollar Steak,” as it’s called on the menu, is 30-days dry aged and served with a demi-glaze and onion puree.

It, too, is smoked before being grilled. This went a little over, but it was no matter because it was still incredibly tender and flavorful. The sauce reminded me of a really concentrated onion gravy like mom used to make. It had a spectacular cap too. 8/10.

But wait… there’s more! Whole branzino.

This was char-grilled to perfection and served with a nice bright tartar sauce and lemon. One of my buddies said it was just like his mom used to make, and he loved it. This was one of my favorites of the night as well.

On a second trip, I tried both the ribs and the chicken. Both were served in a different sauce than the beef items above. They were different from one another, but both were on the sweeter side. I generally dislike sweet in my entrees, but this was mild and just right, not over the top. The chicken had an almost maple flavor to it.

The half order of ribs is enough for one. There were eight good-sized ribs on the plate.

For sides, we tried the broccoli, collared greens and mac and cheese.

The mac was the most superior of the three for me, and it was wildly tasty when we dragged those thick rigatoni pasta tubes through that delicious BBQ sauce.

I’m not sure how we managed, but we tried a few desserts as well.

This was a strawberry shortcake, and it was served uniquely in a glass, almost upside down, if you will, with the graham cracker crumble as a topping rather than a crust.

A classic ice cream sundae in a mug. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream, toffee sauce, vanilla crumbs and whipped cream.

This is the Black & Blonde:

The base is a bed of toasted meringue, and on top are some toasted hazelnuts, a white chocolate bar and salted caramel.

This is one of my new favorite places to eat. Not only is the environment great, but the food and service are top notch as well. This place is going to start getting packed out, so make your reservations ASAP. I’m going back again very soon, and again and again as often as I can.

HOLY GROUND
112 Reade St
New York, NY 10013

NYC’s Top 5 Places for Prime Rib

I’m still making my rounds in the NYC prime rib scene, but I’ve sunk my teeth into some of the best there is. This list represents the best I’ve had so far:

1) The Grill

Easily the best expression of the dish that I’ve ever had. Somehow the flavor from the crust penetrates all the way into the center of the meat. Sauces aren’t needed, despite there being a little bit of jus on the plate already, but it comes with shaved horseradish on top (if you so desire), and a duo of horseradish cream sauce and dijon mustard on the side. All served table side from a fancy rolling cart with hinged cloche.

2) 4 Charles Prime Rib

If you can manage to get a table here, you must order the prime rib. It is their sole purpose for existence. The real dilemma comes in the form of which version to order: King Cut (bone-in, pictured above), Queen Cut (boneless, and a little smaller), or English Cut (thinly sliced). Gendered royalty and our European cousins aside, you won’t be disappointed with whatever cut you choose.

3) Keens

An absolute classic. It’s big, it’s beautiful, and it’s delicious. This and the mutton chop are the two items that put Keens on the map and set their place in stone among the best steakhouses in the world. If you haven’t been here yet, you’re missing out. Plus I love that they use beef from Strassburger Steaks. Good people and fine quality products.

4) Gallagher’s Steakhouse

This baby is near perfect and really only suffers from a slight lack of crust on the exterior. I really loved it, and you can smell that potent dry-aged flavor as soon as the steak comes out into the dining room.

5) Maxwell’s Chophouse

Last but certainly not least, Maxwell’s is my wild card choice. They’re new on the scene, but they’re coming out swinging! Their prime rib is available on the regular menu, but my friends and I called ahead to reserve a rack for six. This was downright barbaric! Watch:

Some honorable mentions here would be Porter House and Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse.

That should do it. I’ll update this as I try more places, so keep an eye out. And as always, I am open to recommendations in the comments below.

4 Charles Prime Rib

I agonized a bit over whether I should review 4 Charles Prime Rib within my 10 categories for steakhouses. In the end I decided to review it as a regular restaurant, as I felt the steak selections were so LASER-focused on prime rib that the overall score would be artificially low if plugged into the steakhouse review framework.

But who cares, right? You bastards just want to see the pretty pictures and know whether I think you should eat here.

The short answer: YES! Eat here immediately.

I was here with my wife and two other friends to do a full-cavity search on this restaurant menu’s ass. No gloves. No lube. Raw and dirty. Here’s what we ate:

THE BURGER

We split this as an appetizer, and yeah, I know: We didn’t get it “au cheval” style like in Chicago, with the egg and bacon on top. There were several reasons why we didn’t: (1) Overkill. It would be too fucking tall with thick cut bacon and a fried egg sitting on top of this double cheeseburger. And with the addition of lettuce and tomato? Fuhgettaboutit; (2) One of my friends can’t eat egg yolk; and (3) After I spoke with some friends whose burger opinions I value, it was clear that baconless and eggless was the way to go.

So how was it? Great. It’s crafted in a similar style to Genuine Roadside or Hard Times Sunday, where they serve up classic American doubles. However, at those places you’re paying half the price for something that I felt was just as good, if not better. My opinion: skip the burger. It’s great, but not worth the $20 price tag (fries not included).

THE FRENCH DIP

This isn’t on the menu but it’s often offered as a special for the day, and they pre-cut it for four people (even though we told them they didn’t have to). Thin sliced beef, provolone cheese, great sandwich bread, jus and horseradish sauce.

Verdict: amazing. Get this and split it as your appetizer like we did. You won’t be disappointed. In fact, you’ll probably be as amazed as we were.

THE PORTERHOUSE

DeBragga supplied this porterhouse, which was offered as a special for the day. It was only dry aged for 10 days, but it packed a great earthy flavor while still retaining the character of the beef. It was 32oz and $120, marketed as being “for two.”

How was it? 10/10 – perfection. Well, I mean, the crust could have used a slight bit more char on the outside, but the flavor was so tremendous that it didn’t matter. The quality  was insane, and texture was incredibly tender. Served with a Bernaise sauce.

THE “4 CHARLES CUT” PRIME RIB

This is 24oz of bone-in, slow roasted Anderson beef out of Chicago. It cooks for three hours at 250 and then five hours at 125. The result is an incredibly juicy and tender roast.

That’s horseradish cream sauce there in the picture, and the steak also comes with jus. This is easily in my top three for prime rib here in the city, with a very close Keen’s and Burger & Barrel also in that top three. 10/10.

SIDES

Blue Cheese Creamed Spinach: I thought this would be really potent and harsh, only good for a bite or two to add richness to the prime rib, but it was mild and tasty. While I really enjoyed it, it was not my favorite creamed spinach. I would say that it’s worth a try if you fancy yourself a creamed spinach connoisseur.

French Fries: Solid. Not amazing, but not bad by any stretch. They get the job done, they’re nicely fried, and they’re crisp. Served with a garlic aioli.

Roasted Broccolini: Despite the typo on their menu (brocolinni), these were really nicely done. I love this fucking veggie, so I like to get it every time I see it on a menu. These fuckers prepared it just how I do: Simply seasoned and dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic; and then roasted until it’s cooked through, developing a little bit of charred texture on the heads.

DESSERT

Lemon Meringue Pie: Really nice thick meringue on top. Super fluffy and lots of flavor. The pie itself was just right: not too tangy and not too rich. I loved it. I’ve always loved a good lemon meringue pie. And look at those peaks! Also the serving size is tremendous – basically a quarter of the entire pie.

Chocolate Cream Pie: The good folks at 4 Charles Prime Rib brought this baby out for us on the house. I was really blown away by this gesture, not to mention how cool everyone was with the four of us taking photos of the food. I like to think that we weren’t too obnoxious, though. In any case, this was really delicious. The bottom was a sort of Oreo crust, and the whipped cream and chocolate sauce just took that rich, flavorful chocolate pie filling to the next level. Great stuff, and I’m usually not huge on chocolate desserts.

The Damage

Boom. You need to eat here. I can’t wait to go back.

4 CHARLES PRIME RIB
4 Charles St
New York, NY 10014

New in the Shop: Lamb Ribs!

I’m really excited to be working with Mosner Family Brands to bring you all this rare and delicious protein.

These are LAMB RIBS, you meat maniacs!!!

 

You don’t see them too often, but they’re really special.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em, as they say… and, well, I got ’em… And now you can get some too. You don’t want to miss out on these – especially you game meat and BBQ fanatics out there. These are pure heaven.

ORDER HERE!

Brooklyn Meat Retreat

The New York Beef Council recently hosted a “meat retreat” at Brooklyn FoodWorks, where 3rd generation butcher Kari Underly, of Range Partners, gave a tutorial on how to break down ribs and top butt or sirloin.

All the meat here was supplied by Strassburger Steaks, and was prime grade beef.

We basically broke the rib down into spinalis and eye filets.

For the butt, we broke that down into roasts and filets, as well as top sirloin cap filets. I left the fat on, and plan to grill it like picanha.

After trimming and cleaning up, we had lunch and discussed some information about the beef industry, the beef lifecycle, and beef nutrition. Then we cooked up some of what we just cut.

I made garlic and thyme rib eye filet steaks with portobello mushrooms and a blue cheese sun dried tomato sauce.

I have to say, it looked and tasted pretty amazing.

The other people at the retreat cooked up some awesome recipes as well, and all the recipes are available HERE.

The best part: we got to bring home everything we butchered!

I highly recommend getting involved with New York Beef Council activities if you’re like me and have a passion for beef. Even if you just have questions about beef safety, raising cattle, farming, or packing/slaughter. These guys and gals really know their stuff, and they’re awesome people.

Osteria Morini

My wife was recently browsing around the Instagram foodporn landscape when she came across this image of a massive rib eye:

osteria morini
Photo Credit: Osteria Morini: @OsteriaMorini on Instagram

I was immediately intrigued when she shared it with me, but I kind of just put it on the mental list of places that I needed to try. Like any fool who is just looking at photos and not actually READING captions, I missed the integral part of what was going on and why my thoughtful wife sent it to me:

“BIG news. Literally. Tonight only we are serving 120 day dry aged Tomahawk Steak. It’s on a first come basis and there are only 7, so call to reserve yours now.”

120 fucking days?!?? Wow. So a few days go by and I get this frantic text from my wife: “GET YOUR CAMERA AND MEET ME AT OSTERIA MORINI TONIGHT AT 6PM!”

I responded. “Okay. Why, what’s going on?” Then she proceeded to explain to me the details of what I had glanced over a few days earlier. She’s a very patient person. I do this often, apparently. But my mouth dropped. She had secured us one of the seven 52oz, 120-day dry-aged Pat Lafrieda/Creekstone Farms rib eyes just a week or two in advance of our 7-year wedding anniversary. They only offer them on the first Wednesday of every month, so scheduling is limited. Anyway, I ran home and got my camera, because we were about to celebrate with the best steak we’d ever eaten.

The steak is not trimmed of any excess fat, and the bone is left with all the meat still attached prior to cooking, as you can see in the Instagram photo above. This is ideal when dry-aging, because eventually you have to trim off the outer bark and you inevitably lose some meat when that happens. Better that it be fat and gristle than your spinalis dorsi. Even still, this particular cut is still left with tons of surrounding meat and tenderized fat. Ours came out to the table pre-sliced, beautifully plated and ready for gorging:

DSC03073

DSC03086

Everything is edible on this. Even the fat breaks down into a really delicious beef jelly after that much time aging.

DSC03098

The cap was truly something to behold. Packed with tons of flavor and so fucking tender. As for the eye (longissimus dorsi), just take a look at this perfectly cooked masterpiece of a slice:

DSC03085

I half expected something so funky and nutty that it would almost be unrecognizable as steak, and more akin to blue cheese. But it was mild and pleasant, not so robust that it became odd tasting, like what can happen with some long aging processes. This was just right. I was smiling the entire time. This is the best steak I’ve ever eaten. 10/10, and still a 10/10 on a second visit years later.

But let’s not brush aside the other great Italian cuisine going on here at Osteria Morini. The bar has a great selection of Italian-inspired cocktails that are really unique and interesting.

DSC03059

The atmosphere is home-ish and comfortable. It’s warm and inviting, with lots of wood tones.

DSC03062

By 8:30pm the lights had dimmed significantly and the place was wall-to-wall jammed. The food is so great, it is no wonder why. But when you take the stellar service into consideration, a packed house becomes a no-brainer. GM Phillip Buttacavoli made us feel very much at home, and all employees from servers, to kitchen staff, to bartenders were really helpful, pleasant and nice.

The foccacia table bread was warm, toasty and nicely seasoned.

DSC03065

We started with the stracci pasta: long, wide ribbons of egg-forward pasta with a braised wild mushroom sauce and rosemary oil.

DSC03066

Perfectly cooked, and delicious through and through. The other pasta dishes all sounded great too. I will definitely be back to survey more of those selections.

The steak, which was a very fair $145, came with our choice of two sides as well. We went with the parmigiano roasted asparagus and the parmigiano fingerling potatoes.

DSC03095

DSC03093

The asparagus reminded me of the kind my mother used to make. Very simply cooked but with parmigiano over the top to add in some salt and flavor. And the potatoes were perfectly crunchy and nicely seasoned all around.

For dessert, we tried the gianduja budino: a baked chocolate and hazelnut custard with candied hazelnuts, brown butter and salted chocolate cake crumbles.

DSC03105

I loved it. It had just the right amount of sweet and savory to strike a great balance. They even gave us some complimentary glasses of saffron and cardamom amaro to go with the dessert.

DSC03109

We ended up using a great Gilt City deal on this meal. My wife paid something like $145 for $200 worth of credit to apply to the bill at pretty much any Altamarea Group restaurant (except for Marea). That left us with a little bit to cover at the end.

DSC03112

What a fantastic meal. I can’t wait to go back!

UPDATE 8/1/18

Had a bunch of pasta dishes, which were all excellent:

Octopus was really tender, and had a nice char on the outside.

Incredible “White Label Burger.” Custom Pat LaFrieda beef blend with tomato, speck aioli, and fontina cheese with sides of parmesan and parsley onion rings and fonduta.

And crispy breaded veal wrapped in prosciutto and covered with truffle cream sauce.

OSTERIA MORINI
218 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012

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

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

Bistecca Fiorentina

Bistecca Fiorentina overall score: 80

UPDATE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

My wife and I came here for a quick meal before catching the opening night performance of Rocky (the musical) on Broadway. Stallone showed up at the end of the performance so it made all the singing and dancing worth while.

20140213_224301

Anyway this little pre-theater joint had a great looking menu. It turned out to be a great meal.

Flavor: 7
For steaks, we shared a rib eye and a single cut porterhouse. The rib eye was flavorful and cooked nicely at a medium rare. It had a few gristled spots and was generally pretty thin, but overall I liked it. The porterhouse was good too, and served with a gravy of some kind, as well as a rosemary, butter-garlic and white wine gravy (and a steak sauce, which I didn’t use much). Since the porterhouse was served on a hot plate and pre-sliced, however, it overcooked a little as it sat there. Still pretty tasty though.

20140213_183941_LLS 20140213_184212_LLS 20140213_184131_LLS 20140213_183242_LLS

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
The cuts were aged and in general good quality. As noted above, my rib eye was a little gristled and thin. They offered all the four basics in terms of cuts, and even a few outliers.

Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portions here are good. My rib eye was probably about 14-16oz, bone-in, and about an inch or slightly less in thickness. ALthough that’s a little small, it was reflected fairly in the price at only $36. It compared with the rib eye sizes at Keens, Bull & Bear and Dylan Prime. The porterhouse for one was 32oz, which was a good size, and also at a fair price.

Price: 9
Our bill came to $180. Pretty great considering how much we got to eat. We ordered two cocktails, a big seafood tower, two steaks, and a side.

Bar: 7
This place is situated in the ground floor space of a brownstone building just west of the theaters, on 46th between 8th and 9th. I didn’t expect much from the bar but it was actually set up in a nice spot where you could gaze outside and hang out for a drink. The martini was well made as well – maybe could just use some bigger olives.

Specials and Other Meats: 9
There was a big menu of special items that I assume varies each week or even each day. They offered lamb, veal, chicken, pork, all of it. They even had this incredible looking hunk of prosciutto sitting in a vintage, hand-cranked meat slicer right in the middle of the dining room. I asked about it: fully operational and they use it when people order prosciutto.

20140213_174734_LLS 20140213_180806_LLS

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
For an app we had the seafood tower, which I will discuss in more detail below. On the side we had a plate of fried artichokes. They were interesting. A little dense/heavy, and you had to eat around the pinchy parts just above the quartered heart, but I enjoyed. To our surprise the porterhouse for one came with a small side of creamed spinach. It was actually great; not too salty or overly creamy, great spinach flavor. We had no room for dessert, plus we wanted to get to the theater.

20140213_184544_LLS 20140213_184034_LLS

Seafood Selection: 9
There’s a lot of nice looking seafood on the menu; and I assume it is all nice quality because the price points were almost the same as the steaks. While we didn’t get the branzino or the sea bass, we DID order the hot & cold seafood platter for two. That came with four oysters, four clams, four scallops, three shrimp, three grilled & breaded langostines, a lobster tail, and a king crab leg. Everything was delicious, and the platter rivaled those in some of the best steak joints in the city.

20140213_181348_LLS

Service: 10
The staff was excellent. All the waiters were dressed to impress, including the bartender. Nick, one of the guys working the floor, is actually related to the Ben & Jacks folks, so you know this little steak place comes from good breeding stock. Our waiter served slices of the steak onto our plates for us, dressed it with sauce, and even did it all again when he saw we were clearing the first set of slices. Water was always filled, and the table was cleaned and neatened between courses. The table breads consisted of bruscetta (two pieces) and a nice hunk of crispy bread. Maybe one suggestion would be to bring the bread out at a warmer temperature, and with softer butter.

20140213_174831_LLS

Ambiance: 7
Obviously this place isn’t set up for the kind of experience you get at Keens or Quality Meats, where they dump millions of dollars into the decor. The walls are exposed brick, the floors are weathered wood, and there are no big fancy booths. But it is clean and nice, and they do have Sinatra on the stereo system. Take it at face value: this is a nice little bottom-of-the-brownstone restaurant geared for the pre-theater crowd, with curbside dining during the nice weather. It serves good food (and great seafood) at fair prices, and the staff is incredible.

20140213_175629_LLS

BISTECCA FIORENTINA
317 W. 46th St.
New York, NY 10036