Taking over the old Maloney & Porcelli space is Monterey, a gorgeous mid-century modern decor and cuisine inspired restaurant.
The cocktails are fun here, especially the martini cart, where you choose between three gins or three vodkas, then you choose your vermouth as well as bitters and garnish. While a bit small and not so strong for the high price point ($26), it was a great presentation and idea.
They have a nice big gin and tonic.
For starters we tried the special pork trotter with sweetbreads and coddled egg.
This was richly delicious.
To balance that, we cut it with some crisp fried artichoke that came with a bright citrus aioli.
For my main, I ordered the prime rib, which comes to you on a classic table side cart.
While mine was a bit diagonally mis-cut, it was a perfect chuck side beauty. Check out the pronounced spinalis and complexus.
Very nice medium rare temp and with a great crispy seasoned coating on the edges. 9/10.
The prime rib comes with a generous sized cup of buttery, whipped mashed potatoes. We added the red pepper broccolini to go with it.
My wife had the crab and uni spaghetti with lime butter sauce. Really nice! The sauce tasted almost like a roux.
For dessert, we had the dark chocolate tart and the ricotta beignets. Both good, but we preferred the donuts!
We were both very happy with this meal, and I definitely want to come back to try more of their offerings – especially the pork chop! Here’s the damage – not sure why the header says “Book and Fox.”
Meat maniacs! I recently got my hands on some sexy knives from Tuo Cutlery. Check out this quick video to see which blades got:
My first use of these was with a thick bone in rib eye from Babylon Village Meat Market. Since it was close to Valentine’s day, I figured I would make a heart-shaped steak presentation. But instead of just butterflying a boneless rib eye and making a heart, like everyone does, I wanted to play around with something on the bone and make it a pretty pink roast rather than an ugly brown monstrosity.
Here’s what I did:
The knives made it easy to accomplish this goal. After opening the thick vac seal plastic with my kitchen shears, I used the sharp and versatile paring knife to score or “scruff” the steak, making use of an Adam Perry Lang technique for obtaining more surface area for a better Maillard reaction crust on the seared sides. After searing and roasting to completion, I split the rib eye down the center along the bone, using the long carving knife to make two halves. That thing is meant for massive roasts and raw butchery work, so it was a little bit overkill. Fun though. Lucky for me, the bone favored one side of the cut, so I was able to leave it attached to one half of the heart. Opening this up to reveal the medium rare center created the pink heart shape that I wanted. But since I was sharing this with my wife, I used the nimble boning knife to slice one side up.
Anyway that’s it! The knives were great, as was the meal!
Romeo Meats has been serving the local Bensonhurst Brooklyn area and surrounding restaurants since the 1950s.
I recently had the pleasure of trying one of their gigantic dry aged tomahawk steaks.
This friggin’ thing was 2.5″ thick!
Needless to say, I was worried about overcooking the outside and simultaneously undercooking the inside, so I tried something a little different than my usual pan searing or sous vide techniques for thick cuts.
First I coated both sides with salt and “dry brined” it in the fridge for a few days. Then I massaged some Res Antiqva olive oil onto it once it got back up to room temperature, and then added some cracked black pepper. I seared it on a cast iron grill pan for about six mins each side (three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, FLIP, three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, OFF/REST). After that, I let it rest for a few minutes before roasting it low and slow for about an hour at 170F. Finally, I blasted the fat side under the broiler for about 5 minutes just before removing it from the oven. It rested up to about 125F-130F. The result was like prime rib on the inside, but with a steakhouse crust on the outside. Watch:
Absolutely amazing! I hope you give this preparation and plating a try with your next monster sized rib eye. I call it the broken hearted tomahawk, or the stingray.
The Red Meat Lover’s Club is a group of carnivores that hosts meaty events all over the place, and, in the process, the club raises money for charities through both ticket sales and auctions during the events.
I attended their “Feast of the Beasts” event, which was held at The Breslin and benefitted the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. The menu was pretty incredible.
We started with passed bites and sips of fine whiskey, and then moved on to the main part of the meal.
First was a pair of roasted, crispy skin suckling pigs.
Absolutely delicious, especially the cheeks:
Then we moved on to lamb shanks. Endless amounts of lamb shanks…
But the main event was the roasted steamship round.
Check out this video:
The outer bits had so much great dry-aged flavor, and I was shocked at how perfectly cooked the inside was: a nice medium rare.
The sides were great too, roasted carrots, spicy broccoli rabe and crispy potato gratin.
I will definitely be hitting more of these events in the future, and you should too! They even sent me home with some cigars.
My wife took me to Thomas Keller’s new Hudson Yards eatery, TAK Room, for my birthday. This meal was pretty awesome, so let me get right down to business.
This place has a great selection of classics, spins on classics, and new style cocktails. I went with the “Old Hat” old fashioned. I liked it, but both my wife and I liked her order better (Waldorf Vieux Carre)
We both remarked that the cocktail pricing wasn’t too rapey. And it’s worth noting here that the bar and lounge area is seriously impressive. The bar is backed by windows, offering an impressive view. There’s plenty of lounge style seating near the bar, where you can drink, snack and enjoy the live music on the stage.
Table Bread & Crudite
This was a nice touch; the crudite was cold and fresh, and that butter extruder thing is becoming insta-famous. There are two varieties of delicious house made breadsticks as well.
Green Garlic Agnolotti, Razor Clams, Gremolata
Strong opener, and an easy contender for my best pasta dishes of 2019. It almost had an oreganata flavor to it, with a great balance of textures.
This had some freshly shaved horseradish on top of the raw egg yolk, and was really nicely executed.
Prime Rib Cart Service
Take a look at this video of the prime rib service cart:
That’s Snake River Farms domestic wagyu cross, highly marbled and riddled with intense flavor.
This is easily one of the best prime rib orders I’ve ever had. At $110, I would bark about it being too expensive, but it really was worth every forkful. 10/10.
Short Rib Beef Wellington
Check this out:
A beautiful specimen. The short rib was snappy, but super tender.
The puff pastry was perfectly cooked from end to end. Perfect execution.
The only thing I disliked about it was the perigourdine sauce. It had a bitter and almost burnt flavor to it. Luckily that was poured on the side rather than on top of the dish. 9/10.
Champagne Cake, Strawberry Creamsicle Ice Cream
This was a pretty tasty special for dessert (not on the menu), and they generously gave us a couple of glasses of rose champagne to go with it, on the house. Here’s the dessert menu:
Box of Caramel Corn
This comes with your dessert, for the table. Jumbo size pops, very few kernels. Highly addictive.
Views, Decor & Service
Last but not least, one can’t really do a proper review of a joint like TAK Room without speaking about the views, decor and service.
The outer rim of the gorgeous dining room overlooks “The Vessel,” the new scalable art structure in Hudson Yards.
The decor is like a cross between 60’s mod and 20’s art deco. It’s truly beautiful. The service matches the spectacular views and decor, with an impeccably neat, attentive and genuinely nice wait staff. We even saw the likes of Thomas Keller himself, doing one of the prime rib cart services, with Geoffrey Zakarian watching from afar:
One of the managers gave us a quick kitchen tour too, which was really interesting to see. The place is immaculately clean, and they showcase their selection of premium meats in a glass cabinet near the kitchen entrance. Listen carefully for specials, as they were offering cote de boeuf rib eyes at varying sizes.
In summary, this was one of the best meals I’ve had this year, and I look forward to going back to try more beef and even their roast chicken for two. We just need to save up a little bit, because this place is pricey. All in, this meal was $467 with tax and tip. Woof. Here’s a look at some of the pricing:
Here’s a quick update of the minute steak (a thin slice of NY Strip, also Snake River Farms) with fries.
I think a thicker but smaller cut would be better here, and maybe call it a three minute steak. 7/10. The fries were great though.
And a follow up on the burger, which the NY Post called the best in the city.
This is pretty good. Wagyu patty with aged cheddar, LTOP, on a sesame seed bun. I think I prefer a couple of other burgers here in Hudson Yards over this one, but for $24 it comes with those awesome fries, so it’s a good deal. Lunch only though.
20 Hudson Yards
New York, NY 10001
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
I came here with a group of friends to tackle their dry-aged six-bone standing prime rib roast. Watch this:
If their regular steak selections are anything like that monster, I think this could end up being one of the best steak joints in town. Read on.
These guys dry age everything on site, and this roast was aged for two months (61 days). The edges had a great earthy, nutty and mushroomy flavor to them from that aging process.
And as you can see below, the center was cooked perfectly.
Unfortunately, on a second visit, the prime rib wasn’t as good. Still had great flavor, but the texture was a bit off for some reason. 8/10.
I did try their porterhouse as well. This baby was tender all over, and had a nice crust. It was cooked just right at medium rare too. 9/10.
I even tried something very special and unique as well. A 500-day dry aged strip steak.
This was wild. It’s not on the menu, and it was something the chef was doing experimentally. It had a super aged flavor that was almost like meat fuel or butane. I liked trying it, but I’m not sure I would go all in on something like this often. Too aggressive for me.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
In addition to the four major steakhouse cuts, they also offer that prime rib as a regular menu item, king or queen cut. Everything is graded at prime and dry-aged on site. I also like the fact that they proudly state that the animals are raised on corn, which helps develop all that tasty marbling.
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions are all pretty good here from what I can tell. The sides are big enough to share with two people, for sure.
This place is on par with the steak joints in midtown, but the rack of ribs comes in at $80pp and includes sides. That’s a good deal.
This place has a great long marble bar with elegant surroundings. I would definitely hang here. They mix up a nice martini too, and have an interesting signature cocktail list.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
There weren’t any specials read to us (we had pre-ordered this monster in advance), but the prime rib rack is pretty damn special itself. As far as other meats go, you basically only have lamb or chicken. I can respect that though: focus on the beef!
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried a number of items during this feast. I’ll list them all and discuss.
Bone Marrow: 7/10
This had good flavor but there just wasn’t enough of it. The grilled lemons were a nice touch though, and the bread was delicious.
This is top notch shit from Nueskes. Easily on par with Angus Club or Tuscany Steakhouse, and very close to a top five bacon app.
Mashed Potatoes: 8/10
I’m rarely impressed with mashed potatoes after growing up eating my mom’s, which were butter- and mozzarella- laden trays of pure heaven. But they were smooth and buttery. Very nice.
Mushrooms & Spinach: 9/10
Both simple and delicious. I would get these again for sure.
Chocolate Cake: 9/10
This thing is enormous and can easily feed a table of four for the $25 price tag. In fact, this fed seven people (though we also shared another dessert as well).
Butterscotch Creme Brûlée: 8/10
Wow. Super rich, very sweet, but really fucking tasty. Share this otherwise you might overload on decadence. Below is a shot of the dessert platter that came out on my second visit, to share among 10 people.
Seafood Selection: 8
There’s salmon, three-pound lobsters and big eye tuna on the seafood entree menu. I like how this and the chops menu are streamlined and slim, but that means fewer options for you picky assholes out there.
Impeccable. Everyone is attentive, really friendly and knowledgable. The bread basket here is quite interesting, and contains cheese baked flatbreads, chocolate and strawberry muffins, olive bread and other stuff. Very nice.
This place is gorgeous inside. The floor space isn’t gigantic, but the ceiling height is. That really gives the joint a grand and spectacular feel.
There’s also a private dining room, which is where we ate:
I will definitely be back to try some seafood and their porterhouse.
New York, NY 10001
I built this cool hibachi grill using some clay pots that I picked up at Home Depot.
As you can see, the first thing I cooked on it was some thick cut bacon. That’s lamb bacon, by the way. Really nice.
I lit the coal brick with a blowtorch.
This baby made my apartment really smokey because the fat drippings were hitting the hot coal. Otherwise, if there was no fat dripping, the hibachi was relatively smokeless. The cooking itself was more like a slow roast. I think, since I only used one brick, that made the process take longer. Next time I’ll try with two or three.
This past weekend I went all in and made a Sunday roast out of some Strassburger Steaks sirloin that I butchered myself at a butchery class. I had it netted/trussed so that it held its shape during the cooking process (that’s why it has lines on it).
First I rubbed it with some delicious Botticelli extra virgin olive oil. I really love that stuff. It’s the best olive oil I’ve had, and it doesn’t take on a bitter taste like some extra virgin oils do.
Then I seasoned with kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. After that, I sealed it up in a sous vide bag with a few sprigs of rosemary. I left it in the bath overnight for 12 hours, set to 128 degrees.
After I pulled it from the bath, I poured out any meat juices into a cup for using later.
I let the meat cool own to room temperature before searing it in a pan with some butter and the rosemary. I spooned the excess butter over the top as I cooked it, and ensure that I got a good sear on all sides.
Always let your meat rest before slicing. I rested this roast for about 15 minutes. While you do that, you can pour the meat juice into the melted butter that’s left in the pan and reduce it gently into a brown gravy sauce.
I served with a big salad and some roasted potatoes. But man, oh man. That beef was so delicious.
Oh and speaking of Botticelli Foods, they happened to send me and my wife a nice package of stuff to try out here at home.
I just used the EVOO with my roast, but my wife used almost everything here and baked these awesome little farfalle muffins – a take on my spaghetti pie, but with prosciutto cups, bow tie pasta, roasted red peppers, mozz, eggs, parmesan cheese and spinach. Insanely delicious.
Many of you know that I’ve talked about Tabelog in the past, a Japanese food review website that recently launched here in the US. They approached me about helping them to attract new users to the website, so I co-planned and co-hosted a whole beast feast with them at DBGB, where we and a crew of hungry food writers and photographers tore into a delicious suckling pig like a bunch of ravenous carnivores!
This pig, which is sort of like a giant pinwheel or sausage full of various pork cuts, feeds up to 12 guests and comes with salad, grilled flatbread, veggies, pork rinds and Baked Alaska for dessert.
At $575, this is a pretty good value, and you can throw in unlimited select beers and wine for just $30 more per person.
The pig is plated really beautifully when it comes out to the table.
From those shots you can really see the “pinwheel” or sausage thing that I was talking about. It isn’t just a roast pig like you might see at a Flip joint. The meat was really tasty, and consists of all parts of the animal, just packaged and presented in a different way from a standard pig roast. The only downside, for me, was that the skin was not crispy. That’s the best part about roasting pigs!
In any case, I got a bunch of incredible shots of this handsome bastard’s face.
I even managed to convince some of the dinner guests to pose with the pig’s head. Here’s Doug:
My boy Ben (@StuffBenEats) was a bit shy and didn’t pose with the pig. Oh well. Next time. I certainly posed with it! This shot was taken by Jay from The Dishelin Guide:
And here’s a shot of me getting ready to dig into the nasty bits like the brain, the face meat and the nose, taken by Jesse of Scrumphsus:
If you’ve got a big group and you’re into this kind of “Carcass Club” dining like I am, then I think you should add this to your list of potentials. It isn’t the best roast pig that I’ve had, but it certainly was pretty tasty and made for a fun night.