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
UMAi Dry contacted me a few weeks back about their dry aging bags. I was intrigued by some of their promotional materials and video demos, so I told them to send me some samples to try out at home. I already had the sealer for use with my DIY sous vide machine, with which I made some kickass steaks.
Usually when I think about the aging process for steaks, I get overwhelmed and think I could never do it. This is something I should leave to the professionals. I worry about mold, bacteria, rancid meat, wasting money on failed attempts, etc. But with UMAi Dry this otherwise daunting task is boiled down to a super simple procedure. Essentially you just pop a hunk of beef in their special vacuum seal bags, put it in your fridge, and wait 35 days.
So I received my sample bags and ran out to the store to buy a nice rib roast, which I would later parse out into rib eye steaks after the aging is completed. NYC grocery stores don’t really have massive slabs of rib roasts sitting in the fridge section, so I had to ask the butcher what he had. He went to work for me, giving me a section of rib eyes with about four or five bones intact.
I was a bit freaked when I saw the price tag on this fucker. The butcher told me that the beef was prime, but that he only charged me for choice.
I guess that’s a good deal (several dollars per pound cheaper). But still… at $225 it could turn out to be a really fucking expensive mistake if I fuck anything up.
On the other hand, if this nearly 11lb hunk of prime rib eye ages nicely for 35 days, I could end up with several high quality rib eyes that would save me money on steakhouse dinners in the long run.
I took the gamble. I probably should have waited for a sale or something, but I was too excited to get started. About 30 minutes later I was starting the process of bagging and sealing.
I put some wax paper across the bones so that any sharp bits wouldn’t puncture or slice open the bag.
Once sealed properly, it just goes into the fridge on a cookie rack or drying rack, so that air flow goes all around the bag.
Then we just wait 35 days, with an occasional flip here and there. Here’s a pair of shots after 5 days with a flip. As you can see, the meat is already starting to darken and dry where the bag is in contact with the flesh.
Even darker after another week. It’s forming a “bark”-like layer of beneficial mold that helps to tenderize the meat as it develops.
And another week or so. I notice it’s also shrinking. Dry-aging processes tend to cause the meat to desiccate to the point where you can lose almost a third of the original weight.
After 35 days, here is the unwrapping!
The outside bark, which has the texture of really hard beef jerky, needs to be sliced off of the underlying softened meat, and the tough skin membrane over the ribs needs to be peeled and picked off.
It’s an arduous task, but the end product is totally worth the effort. Here are some shots that my wife snapped of the slicing, trimming and portioning process.
The inside is so gorgeous. This shot looks like angel wings:
A great looking fat cap was still intact. I was worried that I would have to carve off too much of that, but we did pretty good.
I’ve saved all the bark slices to use in making another beef stock or broth at a later date.
I ended up with two thinner boneless cuts, so I seasoned them up right away and seared them off in a cast iron skillet with some butter, garlic and onions (I cut one to fit them in the pan better).
The result was awesome. Perfectly cooked, super flavorful and really well worth the wait! The fat was entirely edible. Very soft and buttery, like beef jelly.
Those were just a couple of small boneless cuts. This cowboy chop was pretty incredible:
Now I’m wondering if I should try this again and just leave the shit in the fridge for several months. The flavor was great on this stuff. It had a nice earthy smell; a well-endowed scent of mushroom or truffle, with a slight hint of blue cheese. Like heaven.
If you’re adventurous with home meal prep, I highly recommend this easy-to-use product. I think I still have a few extra bags, so the next time I have a little extra fat in my bank, I might go in for another dry-aging experiment: maybe strip loin next time.
Final note: if your fridge is generally full, but you still want to age beef at home, I suggest getting a mini fridge, or a smaller dedicated separate fridge, just for beef. Put your temperature setting to about 35 degrees, and get a fan in there somehow to circulate the air. Always keep the beef elevated off the surface on a baking rack or something, too. No special aging bags necessary.