Tag Archives: ribeye

Ikinari Steak

Formerly the location of Prime & Beyond, Ikinari switches up this dedicated steak spot from Korean to Japanese, only this joint lowers the price tag “big league” and creates a casual, standing-only environment.

What a great bargain for good quality meat! All of their beef is choice grade from Aurora Packing in Illinois, and wet-aged at least 40 days. Most importantly, the beef is cooked properly and treated with respect. But what’s surprising is that, for a “fast food” style joint, this place can actually compete with mom and pop restaurants (and even some big name steakhouses) on quality and flavor, for sure. And definitely on price.

Here’s how it works: You pay 8-11 cents per gram, telling the butchers exactly how thick you want your cut of steak. They offer filet, sirloin and rib eye.

Naturally, I had a proper sized steak cut from each:

I’m fat. Here’s what my bill would have looked like, had this not been a press/media event:

There are a variety of sauces and condiments to use for both your salads/sides and steaks. I was prone to keep hitting the wasabi.

The Ikinari sauce is thicker and sweeter, while the hot steak sauce has a little bit of spice and is a thinner liquid. Both are soy based.

The onion and pepper dressings went nicely with the radish salad. This was a small size:

So after choosing your cuts, the guys cook it up for you and you wait for them to bring it over to your standing/eating area.

Very casual! The steaks then come out sizzling on a cast iron plate with corn and onions.

Here are some more shots of that sirloin:

They serve the steaks rare, so that you can continue to cook it to your desired temperature directly on the hot skillet. I pretty much left mine as-is.

Here’s the filet:

Freaking HUGE for just $27.

And cooked perfectly inside.

My rib eye was cut a bit on a diagonal, and thinner than the other two, but no matter. It was excellent, and since I ate all of these steaks myself, like a real man, I didn’t mind so much.

The filet was tops, with rib eye close behind (if not tied), and sirloin next. If I had to put numbers on them, they’d all be in the upper 70th percentile for flavor, especially if you add some of the earthy sauces into the mix.

When you think about how much steakhouses are charging for on-par and sometimes lower flavor scores than these, it makes you question the entire steak scene!

Another thing worth mentioning: the pepper garlic rice was wildly tasty! It even had bits of steak thrown into it, and it also comes out on a sizzling cast iron plate.

Mix it all up and then let it sit and sizzle, so that a good, tasty crisp develops on the bottom of that rice.

Essentially, this place is everything that you wish Tad’s could be. You go into a place like Tad’s (do you even go in?) with high hopes and a hunger for steaks while you’re on the go. But, without question, it fails you, every time. The meat sucks, and  it’s cooked like garbage.

Ikinari won’t let you down. I’ve eaten hundreds and hundreds of steaks in this great city, and I can tell you that this is a fantastic value, striking a bizarre but fascinating and attractive balance between steakhouse quality and budget dining. Give it a shot! Just don’t go there when your feet ache, because, as I said earlier, STANDING ONLY!

IKINARI STEAK
90 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003

Butcher & Singer

Butcher & Singer overall score: 90

My wife and I were in Philly for the weekend to see family and take in some sights. After a long day of walking around, we hit Butcher & Singer for a late evening carnivorous meal.

Flavor: 9

We ordered their Pat LaFrieda 50oz tomahawk rib eye. This thing was monstrous.

But, as you can tell, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare.

Let’s get right in there:

Gorgeous. And they did a fine job on this thing, especially considering there was no aging done to the cut. That bone adds a lot of flavor into the meat though. It was perfectly seasoned with a good crust on the outside, and the flavor penetrated deep into the muscle tissue for a nice even bite. I just missed that aged funk a bit.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

A strip, two filets, two rib eyes, and multiple sized porterhouses are available here. Not too shabby, but also nothing over and above. In addition, there are no dry-aged selections. They do a great job cooking these fuckers though, so that’s a plus. And all the meats are LaFrieda, so you know you’re getting top notch quality here.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are all nicely sized here, with the exception of the bacon. I felt there could have been two strips for $12. Plating is simple and basic – nothing fancy.

Price: 9

I mentioned the bacon above. In addition, I felt that the tomahawk was a bit pricey for a non-aged cut at $125. Their porterhouse seemed to be a better deal for two diners. In any event, it was still well worth the shell-out, and they ended up comping our dessert, which was very nice of them.

Bar: 9

I wish this bar was bigger, because I would definitely give it a 10 based on the quality of the cocktails alone. There was some lounge seating as well, which was nice, but ultimately this bar was a bit small for such an immensely high-ceilinged joint.

In any event they mixed a perfect martini.

And they sported an awesome cocktail menu, with an entire page dedicated to Manhattans.

Definitely a cool place to hang out, even if you’re not eating.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There are pork chop and lamb chop selections here, as well as a girly chicken entree. Not bad, but I’ve seen better.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with the thick cut maple bacon, which was awesomely sweet and savory at the same time.

Yes, that bacon is smiling at you.

I wish there was one more slice for that price of $12. Oh well.

For sides we went with a half portion of creamed spinach, which was generous for just $6. This was just okay. It did the job.

The stuffed hash browns were excellent. This was basically a latke of shredded potatoes with chunks of diced potato and sour cream inside. Fried to a crisp. Excellent for leftovers with fried eggs on top.

For dessert we went with the ice box lemon cake, which was similar to a key lime pie, only frozen. I liked this very much.

Seafood Selection: 9

There’s a great deal of nice looking seafood on the menu. Branzino, swordfish, shrimp, lobster and salmon. We also got a peek at the seafood tower app from across the restaurant and it looked marvelous. Not to mention they also had some east and west coast oyster varieties that were being offered on special.

Service: 10

Our waitress was awesome. She knew her meats in and out, and she was quick with answers to my questions about the beef itself, where it came from, whether it was aged, etc. Also, the bread was good. It was served with a soft, whipped butter, and it was warm and fresh.

Ambiance: 10

Fantastic. I am guessing this was an old bank that was converted into a steakhouse due to the incredibly high ceilings.

And they’ve got a nice bull head in the rear.

They play fancy 1920’s music, which is a nice change up from the typical trendy bullshit I’m hearing in NYC these days. Bravo.

BUTCHER & SINGER
1500 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Oro

I was recently invited to Oro by the owners to try out some of the classic and modern Italian fare that they serve at their spacious, beautifully appointed Long Island City restaurant.

Oro means “gold” in Italian, and the food equivalent of gold is just what they’re serving you here, especially when you indulge in some of the highlights that I mention here in this review.

First off, there’s an excellent cocktail menu. I went with a blueberry and bourbon drink that was really nicely executed. My wife went with a selection from their Moscow Mule menu. Also excellent.

The waiter will bring out some fresh house made bread next. It’s toasty warm and served with a dish of EVOO and vinegar.

We started with two nice, fresh and delicate apps: scallop crudo with crispy prosciutto in a grapefruit sauce, and charred octopus. Both were perfect. The scallop crudo was really fresh, light and crisp. I wish we ordered two!

The octopus has a great flavor and still kept a slight firmness without being too soft or too chewy – a sweet spot middle ground. There was a good spice kick to it as well.

We shared the duck bolognese pappardelle pasta (which was good, but just needed a bit more salt):

And the 28oz tomahawk ribeye:

That blob you see is an herb butter, which added a green-tasting freshness to each bite.

The meat itself hails from Snake River Farms, which is not only a purveyor of fine standard meats, but also American Wagyu. The owners of Oro are friends with the people at Snake River, so you know the cuts will be of high quality.

The cut itself was cooked a slight bit over from what I would have preferred, being more towards medium than medium rare.

But no matter. The flavor was still good, and the fat cap was delicious. Not to mention that at a price of $52, you’re saving big money and you’re just one stop into Queens from midtown Manhattan. At a place like Cut downtown, that Snake River Farms steak is going to run you almost $100. Crazy discount here. And this can be shared with a second diner, so even better. 7/10.

The steak selection here is pretty impressive. As soon as next week, as a matter of fact, there will be even more of a “butcher’s block” selection here, which will include a 36oz porterhouse as well as what’s already on the menu (filet, strip, tomahawk, and pork chops).

On the side we had some arancini, or fried rice balls, which were fun and tasty.

We also had the sweet potato creme brulee. I didn’t think I’d like it when we were told about it by the waiter. As such, we didn’t order it. But the waiter brought it out for us to try anyhow. It turned out to be my favorite item of the night!

It was sweet without going overboard, and the brulee crunch and marshmallow topping was just thrilling. I even remarked that if you plop a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it, it would make for a perfect dessert. Do yourself a favor and get this when you come here. It is unbelievable.

For our proper desserts, we tried the fig panna cotta and nutella bread pudding with homemade fluff. Both were incredible, but I give the edge to the panna cotta. So silky, smooth and light, but packing a big flavor punch.

ORO
41-17 Crescent St
Long Island City, NY 11101

Tri-Tip & Newport Steak

Newport steak, aka “the apartment steak,” is essentially part of a tri-tip steak, which hails from the bottom sirloin portion of the animal.

Tri-tip is usually butchered into larger sizes for people to use on the grill or in BBQ style smoker preparations. A single tri-tip cut can feed a few people. It has a definitive grain direction and can be very tender and flavorful if cooked, sliced and served properly. For a nice write-up on how to properly execute a tri-tip on the grill, check out this post from BBQ Pitstop.

Photo Credit: BBQ Pitstop, https://bbqpitstop.com

If you like the flavor and texture of tri-tip, but only need to feed yourself, you can get a Newport steak, especially if you’re living in Manhattan. In New York City, Florence Meat Market in the west village has popularized the “Newport” cut, which is a single serving size of steak that has been butchered from the tri-tip.

Photo Credit: Kathryn McGowan, https://blog.kathrynmcgowan.com

It also has been called the “NYC Apartment Steak” by food blogger and recipe historian Kathryn McGowan. I think this is a fun reference to the small NYC apartments near the butcher shop in which it is nearly impossible to cook. She provides a recipe as well – check it out. Very simple to execute.

This cut is meant to be easy to cook, and small enough to fit into your small pans, set upon your small stove top in your small kitchen, within your small apartment for which you’re paying a large rent.

Cut

Cut overall score: 80

Wolfgang Puck just opened up a new location of his steakhouse “Cut” in downtown Manhattan. Of course I had to check it out. A buddy and I came here with our ladies to get down on some steak.

Flavor: 8
We were able to sample three different cuts: rib eye, sirloin and tenderloin. All three hailed from Creekstone Farms, and all three were bone-in.

The rib eye here is a solid 8/10. It felt a bit small for 20oz, but as you can see it had a great outer crust.

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Inside was perfectly cooked. Check out the cut:

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Where it fell short, for me, was the cap. There wasn’t much to it, unfortunately. The eye was delicious though, and I think it was the most flavorful cut of the night. I didn’t get pics of the other two.

I’m giving the tenderloin a 9/10. It had that same great sear and same great cook temp. The flavor was excellent for a tenderloin, too.

The sirloin was not marketed as a NY strip or strip loin, so I am considering it to be an “other cut” for categorization purposes. In all likelihood, it was probably a strip, but one can never be certain without actually doing the butchering oneself. This was an 8/10. Again, same great crisp and cook, and the flavor was nice for a lean cut, though I did prefer the rib eye and tenderloin over the sirloin.

As for the sauces, well, each steak comes with a free sauce on the side. There are about six to eight to choose from. We tried a bunch: house steak sauce, bernaise, creamy horseradish, and yuzu. While I prefer my steak naked, the best of the lot was the horseradish. Their house steak sauce was a bit aggressive on the tarragon (I think that’s what it was in there – not rosemary).

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
This place is truly amazing in terms of available cuts and quality. A quick scan of their menu reveals that they not only offer all of the main steakhouse cuts in various sizes, but you can also choose by farm. They offer stuff from Kansas (Creekstone), Illinois (corn-finished), Ithaca New York (grass-finished), and Snake River (American Wagyu). On top of that, they feature legit Miyazaki beef from Japan as well. You can even order a tasting that will give you 4oz from various farms, that way you can actually taste the difference between them. Currently, they only do this with the sirloin – not the rib eye. Honestly I don’t think any other steakhouse has this extensive of a selection.

As if the cuts of beef for steaks aren’t enough variety, they also feature wagyu beef short rib and wagyu beef sashimi. Amazing.

Oh, and they bring the shit out to show you, too.

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Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portions could be a bit larger here for the pricing. I understand the cost of high-end beef, but at $88 for 9oz of American wagyu rib eye, you are getting ripped off. If that’s what I am going for, I will happily just head the fuck over to Del Frisco’s to get 23oz more wagyu beef for an additional $7 (32oz, $95). And that fucker is a clear 10/10 score on flavor – one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten.

Price: 5
See my rant on portion size above for some weight here as well. But in addition to that issue, I felt that some of the items were way overpriced for what we were getting. In particular, the marrow app, the tortolloni, and the mac and cheese.

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Bar: 8
The bar is pretty cool, and there are some great cocktails and booze selections available. However the prices are a bit too high (a non-alcoholic “mocktail” was fucking $14), and I was hoping for a more street side experience. The bar is just off the lobby of the apartment building / hotel with no view of the downtown streets, so the vibe is slightly off a bit.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
There are no off-menu specials, with the exception of an addition that was not yet printed – another offering of steak. But there’s chicken, pork and lamb for alternative meat selections, if for some reason you are avoiding all the tasty beef on the menu. The app selections also feature veal tongue, suckling pig, and bone marrow flan. Really interesting.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried a bunch of stuff. Let’s get right down to business.

The mac and cheese was really tasty, but insanely overpriced at $16. Apologies for not getting a photo of it.

The suckling pig and pork belly was excellent. Not as salty as I was expecting, but really nicely plated. Also overpriced at $25 for six cubes that were the size of large Las Vegas gambling dice.

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Bone marrow flan was very nice, but overpriced and small in size. It was similar to the creme brûlée from Beatrice Inn, only savory.

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Broccolini was fantastic. I highly recommend this item. Topped with shaved cheese and adorned with roasted tomatoes, one cannot possibly go wrong.

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Tortolloni was overpriced for seven small dumplings. They were nice and mild though, which is exactly what my wife wanted.

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Doughnuts dessert came with about six doughnut holes, all the same flavor (granulated sugar coated). Some of the purees that came with it weren’t that good (sweet potato), but the ice cream was nice.

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Seafood Selection: 8
There’s lobster, “loup de mer” (branzino), cod and sole on the seafood menu here. Scallop preparations, hamachi, a crab and lobster cocktail and a tuna tartare can be found on the app menu. Not too shabby, though I didn’t notice any oysters or clams.

Service: 9
One thing worth noting here is that you can add a variety of nice items to your order (for a fee, of course). But you can add a fried egg, white truffles, blue cheese, mushrooms, garlic, bone marrow, etc. to the steaks you order.

Bread is on point. The table receives a basket of mini pop-overs (we got a second basket) and five different style dinner rolls/breads to choose from with a nice whipped butter. All are delicious. My advice is to fill up on bread and share a really good, high end steak.

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Ambiance: 7
This place suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. There are two huge panels on one wall that show a kind of cheese-bag conversation between a chef and a woman. We surmised that this had something to do with how Wolfgang Puck met his wife, and it turned out we were right (our waitress overheard us talking and confirmed it when we asked).

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The dining room was vast and dark; a bit too sexy for my liking. And the random neon lighting at the bar felt a bit too “Miami Vice.”

CUT
The Four Seasons Hotel
99 Church St or 27 Barclay St
New York, NY 10007

Bedford & Co.

My friend Jean invited me to Bedford & Co. for an Instagram infleuncer dinner, since she and a few others were going to be digging into a nice large format rib eye for two (along with other tasty items) and tasting a variety of wines for the restaurant’s “Wine Wednesday” pairings with their somm, Sarah.

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This 28-day dry-aged 40oz bone in rib eye from Master Purveyors is a “for two” steak, which comes with lardo, watercress and roasted garlic for $125. We were five, so we pigged out on other shit too.

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The prices of beef have certainly gone way up lately. I remember when I was chomping on 36-40oz steaks for one at half the price just a few years back. But hey, this one was free! Not gonna complain.

We were able to sneak into the kitchen to watch Chef Justin Neubeck and his team flame this baby up for us.

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But while we were waiting for that to finish cooking and then properly rest, we sparked up some scallops with pumpkin puree, kafir lime and roasted pumpkin seeds.

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This was a really interesting flavor combo, and I really liked it. The round sweetness of the pumpkin contrasted nicely with the acidic pop from the lime.

The entrees rolled out all at once, and the five of us Instagrammers went bonkers taking photos of everything.

The first thing I tried was the Long Island duck breast.

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Garnished with a scallion ginger oil, glazed with honey, and accompanied by a cranberry purée, this was easily one of the better duck breast dishes I’ve had in quite a while.

Berkshire pork chop was next.

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I’m hard to please when it comes to pork chops. My mom used to cook them in a glass covered electric skillet so that they were somehow juicy on the inside but crisp on the outside, and with onions, potatoes and cherry peppers. Very Italian, as I later discovered. With all that said, this was a pretty good version. It had a sour orange glaze and was served with pink winter squash and marinated radicchio.

The main event was that steak, though.

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A cut this thick is difficult to cook properly. Lots of times you’ll end up with some spots that are too rare, while the outside is overcooked. I have to hand it to these guys; they did a pretty solid job with this monster.

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As you might have noticed from the raw shot above, there wasn’t much of a fat cap on this baby, but what scraps were there after trimming was used to make the lardo, which was really nice. Also I feel like the 28-day dry aging was done masterfully (by Master Purveyors, no less). They really packed a ton of funk and earthiness for the minimal end of the aging process. 8/10.

Since this was essentially a carnivore party, we had to try the burger at this place. It has been getting a fair amount of attention on social media lately, and for good reason. Look at it, for fuck’s sake.

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This beauty is topped with bloomsday cheddar, caramelized onion and thick cut braised pork belly. So juicy. Get it when you come here, even if you have to split it with a group of people, like we did.

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And of course the fries are excellent as well, which are cooked with herbs right in the fryer oil.

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We did a pair of sides as well. Brussels with bacon and apple cider, and roasted wild mushrooms. These were dynamite! The roast on those sprouts was fantastic. Great texture and crisp. And the mushrooms were the perfect pairing with the earthy steak.

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Just when you thought we were full, the desserts came out. Chef Canty makes all the stuff in house. We got to try the carrot cake (my favorite of the three – so rich and delicious), cheesecake in a jar, and apple crostada.

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Definitely one of the best carrot cake renditions I’ve had in the city, right up there with Bob’s Steak & Chop House and Ocean Prime.

I definitely recommend this place to anyone who generally likes any of the shit that I got to try. All high quality, deftly executed shit.

BEDFORD & CO.
The Renwick
118 E 40th St
New York, NY 10016

Bob’s Steak & Chop House

Bob’s Steak & Chop House overall score: 88

My buddy Jeff from @foodmento organized a nice influencer meal here and invited me to tag along. Bob’s is a chain steak house that hails from Texas. They just recently opened shop at the Omni Berkshire Place hotel on 52nd and Madison. Since Texas knows beef, I was really excited to try this out. Here’s how it went down:

Flavor: 8
We had two beef items and lamb. I’ll focus on the beef here and discuss the lamb later.

The 22oz cote de boeuf rib eye was the better of the two steaks we had. It was cooked perfectly to medium rare, with a nice crust on the outside that was packed with good, simple seasoning. 9/10.

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The 28oz porterhouse had a slightly different flavor profile to it that I wasn’t really feeling. It was still good – don’t get me wrong – but going back and forth with the rib eye created a stark and noticeable difference. 7/10.

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Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
There’s a lot of variety here. Three different sized rib eyes, filets and strips, and a t-bone as well as a porterhouse. Excellent showing. All the cuts are wet-aged for 28 days, so the flavor is a bit different than the standard dry aged cuts at many NYC joints.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions here run slightly small for the steaks in relation to the pricing. The cuts themselves are good sizes, though, and so are teh other items like sides and apps.

Price: 7
My meal was comped, as I was here for an influencer gig to promote the restaurant. The prices, however, are a bit high for the sizes, with a 22oz “cote de boeuf” being $62 and prime porterhouse being $75. Luckily the quality is pretty much on point.

Bar: 9
The bar is great. It’s a big rectangle with a bunch of high top tables situated along the windows that look out onto 52nd Street. Definitely a spot you can hang at for a bit. They also mix a good martini with blue cheese stuffed olives. Hendricks is $16, which is very fair in my opinion.

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Specials and Other Meats: 10
This joint has a solid variety of other non-beef meats. They offer lamb, duck, pork, and veal (the other white beef). Fuck chicken. We tried both the lamb and the duck, and both really stood out as exemplary menu items that are totally worth trying. These would even be great as appetizers to share with the table.

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Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried a lot of shit, and if I go deep into each with descriptions, this will be a long fucking review. So let me just rattle them off and highlight a little here and there.

Bacon: (thick cut slabs of Neuskes – outstanding):

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Crab cake (great honey mustard sauce):dsc07073

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Potatoes (these were incredible – you can see them on the bottom right side of the steak here, sliced like thick potato chips, baked to a crisp, and covered with cheese sauce and onions):

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Onion rings (amazing stack and perfectly cooked):

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Mushrooms:

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Roasted Brussels (because you need a little green sometimes):

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Creamed Corn: I didn’t get a pic but it was excellent.

Creamed Spinach:

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Fried Calamari (great crispy batter):

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Smoked Salmon (the prosciutto of the fish genre – excellent):

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Baked Potato & Carrot: See pics of the composed dishes above. The thick, long, and obviously phallic carrot is prominently placed on each plate, it seems, like the raging boner that hides within Donald Trump’s pants. You can just imagine the jokes that went around the table with that.

Carrot Cake (very moist and tasty):

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Creme Brûlée (perfect execution):

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Key Lime Pie:

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Bread Pudding:

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Chocolate Brownie Cake:

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Seafood Selection: 9
There’s salmon, shrimp (scampi or fried jumbos), crab cakes (entree portion), lobster tails and fresh fish of the day available. Not a whole lot, but it certainly will get the job done for the assholes who aren’t ordering meat. In fact, we ordered the shrimp scampi with black pepper pasta, and it was fantastic.

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I kept going back in for more and more, bite after bite.

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Service: 10
Impeccable. Everyone here is amazing and attentive. They know their menu well, and make excellent suggestions. Worth mentioning here is the amazing jar of pickles and peppers that comes out to every table. Careful or you might fill up on this instead of steak!

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The table bread was warm and flakey, like a large dinner roll.

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Ambiance: 9
I like the large, open feel to this place. Finally, you can stretch out in Manhattan and not hit the back of someone’s head. Also the decor is beautiful with warm grey paneled walls and beautiful table settings.

BOB’s STEAK & CHOP HOUSE
21 East 52nd St
New York, NY 10022

Boucherie

Boucherie overall score: 87

My wife and I came here for a special preview dinner that was hosted for friends, family and influencers on the night before the official opening. I really enjoyed the meal, and I plan on coming back again soon to try more of their steak selections.

Flavor: 8
My wife and I split the cote de boeuf for two.

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This massive tomahawk rib eye is 36oz and comes with some nice roasted marrow bones and a bordelaise sauce.

The steak comes out pre-sliced and ready to rock, served in a beautiful pan, atop a bed of roasted veggies.

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The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, it was well-rested before slicing, and it had a good crust on the outside.

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Okay I took a shitload of photos of this thing… My wife said she ate a few slices that had a grainy texture. I didn’t notice it, so I pretty much enjoyed it immensely. Even the fat was really soft and edible. Like a beefy Jell-O. We also carved off the awesome crispy meat that sits along the rib, which was spectacular.

On a second visit, however, this wasn’t quite as good. The meat lacked seasoning (as did several items that night – maybe they ran out of salt or something), and when tasted side-by-side with the other meat items we tried, it just didn’t hold up. 7/10.

The strip steak frites, however, was absolutely delicious.

This one was seasoned well, in fact it was almost too salty, but I didn’t mind.

No waste, all pink, great sauce and peppercorn flavor. 9/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
Most of the cuts here are dry-aged, but there is no indication on the menu about how long they are aged.

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It could be that they age them in house, continuously, as there seemed to be a good amount of space and massive stainless steel appliances.

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There are two types of strip, a filet mignon, a chateaubriand for two, a hanger steak and a cote de boeuf rib eye for two on the menu. They lack a proper porterhouse, but this is a fun menu because there are plenty of other meats to choose from as well.

Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portions here are massive. I suspect the sizes of some of these items may come down a bit after they get on track in the kitchen, but every dish we tried was large. As for plating, you can see how beautiful the pan of steak looked above.

Price: 8
We didn’t pay anything for this meal, other than a tip, so I can’t really complain. The menu prices are pretty normal though, and given that the portion sizes are all generous, I had to conclude that you get a good value for your money here. As such, I will leave this scored at 8/10 until I visit again for a better perspective on the pricing.

Bar: 10
The bar is a beautiful and impressive stretch along the side wall, adorned with absinthe drinking tools and proper glasses for enjoying the spirit. They offered just a pair of signature cocktails, which I imagine will change often since one was overly summer-themed, for some reason, and both were made with absinthe. But the bartenders definitely know what they’re doing. They mix a mean old fashioned.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
The non-beef selection is pretty great here. Well, there’s veal too, which is baby beef: veal porterhouse, if that’s your thing. And there’s tripe too; alterna-beef! There’s also a rack of venison, which was amazing.

They first coat it in honey, and then crust it with mustard, breadcrumbs and garlic before searing.

And finally, there’s duck, chicken, and even some rabbit in a pasta dish. This lacked seasoning but the meat was tasty and tender. Also the pasta was cooked perfectly.

I also tried the lamb shank with cous cous, which was a new addition to the menu from my last visit. This, too, needed a hit of salt, but the meat was spectacular.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We only tried apps and sides. Since the place was pretty slammed with their friends and family extravaganza, we figured we would clear out before dessert so that some other people could get a seat to eat. Here’s what we tried:

Blood Sausage – not everyone’s cup of tea, I acknowledge that. But this was one of the best versions I’ve had. There was no grainy, mealy texture to it, and no overly iron-flavored bites involved. A few spots contained some chew, but nothing repulsive.

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The serving size was massive, and it was plated with roasted apples and a potato puree. If you split a salad with your dinner-mate, this could easily be ordered as an entree.

Steak Tartare – I love meat, so the idea was to try as many meat items as possible before ordering a meat entree. This tartare was great, and also a very big serving size. In fact, it was so big that it really could have used three quail eggs, if not a full chicken egg.

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The texture was smooth without being too fine, and it had a good pop of flavor from the capers and herbs within.

Our sides unfortunately came AFTER our entree, but to be honest we didn’t mind. The table would have been a bit crowded with everything on it, and my wife and I actually felt a little bad for how slammed the staff was for such a massive preview night with so many guests piling into the dining room all at once.

Fries – Hands down the best French fries I’ve ever eaten. Unreal. I mean, crispy outside, and like mashed potatoes inside. Perfectly seasoned as well. They just needed a mayo or something for dipping.

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Creamed Spinach – Full, sauteed leaf spinach that’s really just served with a cream sauce at the bottom, to be mixed up with the spinach. Not bad. I’ve had better, but this was certainly not a bad item.

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We tried a few other sides on a second visit. Frisee salad with egg and bacon. Very French and very good.

French onion soup:

Mussels with bacon. A very nice creamy sauce was going on here too. Great with bread.

Fois gras pate. Incredibly smooth.

Ratatouille:

Profiteroles:

Chocolate mousse cup:

Crepes Suzette:

Seafood Selection: 8
You are dining at a place where the name, in French, means Butcher. Why would you even consider seafood as a possibility? If, for some fucking retarded reason, you’re considering eating something from the sea here as an entree, they offer halibut, trout and salmon. Since I didn’t try any, I can’t really comment.

Service: 7
Since this was a preview event that was incredibly swamped, you shouldn’t rely on the numbers here. We experienced a few missteps, but nothing that we didn’t expect given how packed it was. We had very slow service, and sides coming out after the entree. Some people, however, had some horrendous issues, like never getting their food. I’ll give this place a chance to officially open and sort itself out for a few weeks before I come back and give it an official score. For now I’ll stick with a general 7/10 as a place holder.

Oh yeah… the table bread comes with both meat and veggies; that’s pretty amazing. A slice of country ham with artichoke heart, pickled eggplant and bread:

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Ambiance: 10
What an amazing space. Wow. I mean, my photos didn’t do it justice, so I passed on sharing them here. But the place is located at the old Garage Bar spot, where you have 20ft wood-beamed ceilings overhead and a skylight. Also, the decor they went with is astoundingly gorgeous.

BOUCHERIE
99 7th Ave South
New York, NY 10014

Bespoke Kitchen

The concept behind Bespoke Kitchen is a totally custom dining experience that’s different every time. The idea is simple: aside from about a dozen starter items, you choose from four proteins and whether you want your protein to have rich or light flavors. The alternative is to leave the entree completely up to the chefs with a secret protein. There are several chefs, too, by the way. All have different culinary backgrounds, but all are incredibly talented and well-experienced.

When I was here for an influencer event via their PR group, NYC Restaurant, organized by The Dishelin Guide, the available proteins were rib eye, branzino, sea bass or duck. The secret protein turned out to be lamb on this night, but I didn’t get to try any. It did look beautiful though:

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Let me get back to the starters though. We tried a bunch, so I will just fire them off with some commentary to go with each.

STARTERS

Diver Scallops:

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These were pretty good. They were halved scallops served atop a bed of spaghetti squash, hen of the woods mushrooms and pine nuts. The outside was seared and caramelized just right, leaving the meat supple and juicy inside.

Bacon Tasting:

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Thick cut belly, maple bacon and lamb bacon graced this beautiful natural wood platter of pork. My favorite was the lamb, not only because it is delicious but because it is a rare gem to find on any menu here in the city.

Bacon Dumplings:

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Why the fuck not? These were like cheddar and bacon Totino’s pizza rolls, only elevated and in a nicer wrapper.

Mixed Ceviche:

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Light and refreshing, this bowl contained fluke, octopus and shrimp, with a side of sweet potato chips.

Short Rib Gnocchi:

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The gnocchi were light but with a crispy coating on them, and the short rib was rich and extremely flavorful. Big fan of this dish.

Grilled Octopus:

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This was really well executed. The tentacle was very tender, and the squid ink balsamic on the plate was perfect for smearing onto the purple potatoes. Check out my buddy Ben’s awesome shot of it:

A photo posted by Ben Hon (@stuffbeneats) on

My other crappy pic:

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ENTREES

Each protein comes as a fully composed meal, complete with a starch and a veggie. Naturally, I went with the rib eye. I also tried some of the duck.

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The rib eye was really juicy and succulent, with lots of nice beefy flavor. While there wasn’t much cap present, the eye was delicious. I score it at a nice 8/10. Two other rib eyes were ordered in our group, and each one was plated differently, with different veggies. One even had a poached egg on top!

But check out this duck!

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The fat could have used some better rendering, to get that rubbery quality out completely, but that is a tough challenge to accomplish on a breast while still maintaining a good medium rare cook temperature. I was fine with trimming the fat away and munching on that beautiful pink breast meat.

DESSERT

Burrata Cheesecake:

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This delight is made in house, which is very impressive being it is a burrata cheese. It was super creamy and light, served with graham cracker crumble and an apple caramel. It was simple and delicious.

Cinnamon Bun:

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This was really tasty, and my favorite of the desserts. It was a soft cake inside, some good crisp outside, and lots of ooey gooey dolce de leche glaze on top.

Chocolate Pudding:

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This lacked sweetness, and almost tasted as if it was sugarless or “diet” – not fake sugar, but NO sugar, or LOW sugar. I didn’t mind so much, since I don’t have a huge sweet tooth to begin with, but some other diners expressed dissatisfaction. I did get that cocoa flavor from it, though, and the texture was nice and smooth.

Butternut Squash Ice Cream:

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This was really interesting, and at first I didn’t think I’d like it, based on the description. Imagine candied yams in an ice cream format, but without that horrible starchy texture. It was similar to that flavor. I was oddly attracted to this, so I just kept going back to it over and over. That must mean it was a success.

I definitely recommend coming to this joint. Every meal you eat here will be different, even if you and your table-mates order the same exact thing at the same exact time. It’s kind of fun, new, exciting and adventurous. I’m happy to see something unique like this in NYC.

BESPOKE KITCHEN
615 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014

Carnem

Carnem overall score: 83

Every once in a while I score a Groupon deal for a steakhouse. This particular deal came out to be about $28 for $60 worth of food at this relatively new steak joint in Brooklyn. Check out the verdict:

Flavor: 7
While this had the trimmings of an 8/10, I took a point away for two reasons: (1) relatively little amount of spinalis (fat cap), and (2) some pretty thick grey banding.

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The meat itself was dry aged for 28-days, so it just started to develop that nice funky and earthy flavor.

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At 38oz on the bone, this was enough for two. It had a buttery flavor with a good crust on the outside.

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Despite the grey banding, it still retained a good amount of juiciness and my wife and I finished it all.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
All cuts served here are prime, Certified Angus Beef quality, with most being dry aged for 28 days. They offer two types of hanger, three versions of a filet, a rib eye for two (pictured above), a porterhouse for two, and two sizes of strip loin. I was bummed that they didn’t have a single cut rib eye on the menu, for one, but they did have a wagyu rib eye on special this particular night.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions here are good. Plating is rustic yet pretty, as you can tell by the skillet and wood serving platter for the steak.

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Price: 8
While the porterhouse is a bit pricey at nearly $70/pp, it is a big 42oz hunk of meat. The rib eye for two was a bit closer to normal at $104 for 38oz. However the pricing comes in very close to the midtown Manhattan range, so make sure you pick up that Groupon deal to offset this a bit. All in, this was about $168 after the $60 credit was applied, including tax and tip.

Bar: 8
This joint offers a nice variety of cocktails featuring fun and unique throwback spirits. They also have a nice wine selection both by the glass and by the bottle, and you can even get the finer wines served by the glass through a Coravin type method of pulling a glass of wine out of a still-corked bottle through a needle.

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The bar itself is oriented perpendicular to the street, but it is a nice area for sitting and hanging out.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
In addition to the 12oz wagyu rib eye that was on special, they also offered lamb and veal dishes. The regular menu boasts pork chops and chicken as well. This is a fairly strong showing.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
For starters, we tried two items. First, this grilled pork belly wrapped in cotton candy.

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This was pretty fun, and the hunk of pork inside was substantial for just $3. Next up was the Spanish charred octopus, as recommended by our waitress.

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I’d say this was about one large tentacle’s worth of meat, with some roasted, halved fingerings and bacon. It was tasty! Good call.

For our side, we went with the creamed spinach.

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This was sort of a flop. It wasn’t very creamy, and the texture of the spinach wasn’t leafy. It seemed like a high quality frozen spinach.

For dessert, we went with both the waitress’ and host’s recommendation: the fried oreos.

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This was absolutely fantastic. It came with three battered and deep fried oreos and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then some chocolate sauce was drizzled on top. Despite being full from our meal, we devoured every bite of this shit.

Seafood Selection: 8
Sea bass, salmon, lobster risotto and seafood paella grace the menu here in terms of seafood. Not bad, but maybe one more item like a whole roasted fish would do the trick. Then again, you’re coming here for beef, right? You should be.

Service: 10
The service here is impeccable. Wait staff, bussers, host and bartenders are all working at top notch levels. And since I always do it here, let’s talk about the table bread:

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The bread itself was a bit hard and dry, but the garlic and herb whipped butter was super smooth and tasty.

Ambiance: 8
This place is really nicely decorated. It has a more modern touch, and it’s dim (they even have menus with built in lights so you can easily read them in the dark). The seats are spacious, and there’s even a backyard and downstairs area.

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Overall Summary: This is a great score for a small mom and pop joint out in Brooklyn. This is a welcome addition to the steakscape, and Brooklyn is definitely in need of more options the further you go out. I would definitely eat here again, and certainly recommend picking up a Groupon if they’re still available.

CARNEM
318 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215