Tag Archives: steaks

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

Pat LaFrieda Meats: A Steak Feast At Home

Pat LaFrieda. You’ve all probably seen the name before, and you’ll definitely see it again – especially because I’m about to publish a feature article on LaFrieda early next month for my “Meet Your Meat” series. But the man is a top notch, high quality beef purveyor with a rich family tradition of killing it in the meat biz. He provides the goods to the restaurants and chefs that make my favorite steaks.

He recently sent over two cuts of steak for me to enjoy at home; both dry-aged for 60 days, both prime, and both 2.5″ thick. One was a porterhouse, and the other a rib eye.

A video posted by Johnny Prime (@johnnyprimecc) on

This stuff is not just set aside for restaurants and hotels! You can order it for home delivery right here.

So, what to do with all this beef? I mean, I would have loved to eat it all myself, but that’s just rude. Instead, I invited over a handful of foodie friends and cooked up a feast for them.

Here’s how it went down:

Appetizers

For starters, I sliced up some truffle salami and made a very basic wedge salad with iceberg, grape tomatoes, thick bacon and a crumbled blue cheese and black truffle oil dressing.

Main Courses

I decided to cook the porterhouse in the sous vide machine, and then finish it off with a hard Searzall blowtorch sear. I loaded the sous vide bag up with some truffle oil (I froze this ahead of time, that way the contents in the bag were dry when I sealed it), rosemary and thyme. I also seasoned the steak with salt and pepper before sealing it up.

After about four hours in a 128 degree bath, I pulled it out and dropped it into some ice water to stop the cooking process. After a few minutes, I removed it from the bag, dried it off and blasted it with the Searzall to get that nice outer crust.

Before serving, I sliced it up and plated it, then drizzled black truffle oil on top, and hit it with some finishing salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

I picked up an extra filet from the grocery store as well, which I cooked the same way. This was mainly as extra meat, in case we didn’t have enough, and also as a control group to compare the meat quality from a nice grocery store cut against Pat LaFrieda. The cut I picked from Morton Williams looked nicely marbled and it was reasonably thick for just under $12.

When comparing the filet side of the LaFrieda porterhouse to the grocery store filet, the LaFrieda steak was hands down WAY better. There is no question about it. That 60-day dry-aging process really infuses an incredible amount of flavor into the meat.

If you are a beef lover, then Pat LaFrieda cuts are the way to go. In fact, one of my friends cooks up Pat LaFrieda steaks every Friday, and he calls it “LaFrieda Fridays.” HA!

For the rib eye, I went with a traditional cast iron skillet sear with maple bacon fat and herbs, and then I finished it in the oven. I let it rest, and then sliced that up and served it on a salt block, also with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Unfortunately for me, the temperature jumped from 120 to 145 WAY faster than it was climbing while going from 68 to 120. I turned around to snap pics of the porterhouse and BOOM. The steak went beyond medium rare. Lesson learned. In any event, it was still incredibly delicious at medium. The fat cap was heavenly!

To go with these steaks, I roasted some bulbs of garlic for slathering onto the meat and grilled some lemons.

Sides

I put together a nice side of roasted mushrooms and onions, sauteed broccolini (got to have something green I guess), and made a big bowl of tater tots.

Dessert

But no meal at Johnny Prime’s Food Research Lab would be complete without a dessert by The Cake Dealer!

The inside of the cupcakes were marbled vanilla and red velvet, which was perfect to represent the marbling of good prime beef!

Or it was just because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner…

Oh and by the way, here are the foodies that came by. Check out their profiles for pics of the feast, if you have a chance:

@thecakedealer (she’s always there, because she’s my lovely wife)
@thedishelinguide
@theninabobo
@rebecca_chews_nyc
@dequinix

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

The House

Pulsd was running a flash deal for this joint so my wife picked it up. The deal gave us a bottle of wine, a shared app, two entrees and a shared dessert. Not bad for under $70.

Our app was this nice smoked duck salad. The duck was nicely cooked and the romaine lettuce was dressed just right, and garnished with walnuts, raspberries and persimmon.

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My wife picked the cassoulet for her entree. It sounded great; duck confit, wild boar sausage and lamb. However, the beans seemed to reign supreme. The meat was all shredded rather than left in chunks. It had a good smokey flavor, but the “baked beans” texture left a bit to be desired.

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I went with the Pat LaFrieda black Angus strip, for a $6 up charge.

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That’s a garlic and herb butter on top, and roasted fingerlings in the back. It wasn’t bad, but my first cut revealed a few lines of sinew that were really chewy and discouraging.

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Other cuts were better, as you’ll see below. but overall there was just too much chewy bits for my liking. Strips always have that one side with a hard line of gristle too. This was no exception. Flavor was nice, but it could have used a bit more seasoning and searing. 6/10.

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For dessert we went with a cheese plate that included five different styles. All were good.

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THE HOUSE
121 East 17th Street
New York, NY 10003

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

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

Beatrice Inn

Beatrice Inn overall score: 93

Beatrice Inn is a cozy West Village chophouse that’s headed up by Chef Angie Mar, who made her bones under April Bloomfield and other big time chefs before striking out with her own meat-centric restaurant. Actually, you may recall an earlier experience I had with her food at Meatopia last year.  She was roasting wild boar that day, and it was delicious.

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Just thinking about the fucking awesomeness of that day again gives me a chubby… If you haven’t seen it, jump out to that link above and scroll through some of the pics. It was a meat eater’s heaven.

Anyway I’ve decided to treat this review as a kind of “sneak peak,” since I know with a high degree of certainty that I will be back again in the near future to try other items, and also to make sure my wife tries what I consider to be one of the best dishes in the city (I hope the suspense is killing you).

Another caveat I will mention here: I was struggling with whether to categorize this as a steakhouse or just a standard restaurant that happens to be very meat-centric. You’d think that after rating over 100 steakhouses and 60 steaks at non-steakhouses, I’d have a better grip on this shit. But Beatrice Inn is a different kind of joint, and it threw me for a loop because it’s not just about the beef; it showcases a shitload of variety in terms of animal proteins. It may not matter to avid readers who actually pay attention to my words over the numbers, but squeezing this review into my ranking system yields an artificially low score due to the constraints of my imperfect ranking system. Another reason I decided to treat this as a steakhouse is because what Chef Angie is doing is pretty unique, and she’s kicking some serious ass in a world that’s heavily dominated by male chefs. Now, you know me: I’m not one to get all “women’s lib” when talking about female chefs, but aside from Ruth Fertel (founder of Ruth’s Chris), she’s really the only other woman that comes to mind who owns/operates a restaurant that is almost 100% meat, steak, animal carcass, etc.

Last caveat: I was dining with a large group of people when I came here, most of whom I did not know very well, so I would have felt awkward taking my time shooting photos of everything the way I normally do. No one wants to eat cold food! Next time I will make sure the photos are more numerous and better quality.

So let’s (finally) get down to business…

Flavor: 9
This flavor score is an average score between ONLY the two cuts of beef that we tried; the 60-day dry aged cote de boeuf, and the 20-day dry aged wagyu hanger steak. It does not include the other items we tried, like the duck and pork shoulder, which I discuss below in the “other meats” section. Once I return to try more beef items, this score is likely to shift upward, since I saved one item that I really want to sink my teeth into for when I return with my wife (the 127-day whisky dry aged tomahawk rib eye, as seen on The Meat Show).

But anyway, back to the delicious shit we actually did try.

First the cote de boeuf:

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This was served with roasted garlic, marrow, blistered blackberries, charred prawn butter and thyme. It had a really unique woody, smoky, charred flavor to it that grew on me as I continued eating. I had never really tasting anything like it before. It was well-rested and cooked to a beautiful medium rare with minimal grey-banding and hardly any myoglobin “bleed out.”

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Since we shared this with a table of seven, we asked the kitchen to slice it up, which they gladly did for us.

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While there wasn’t much spinalis dorsi (fat cap) on this cut, I didn’t really expect it due to the long dry-aging time. Remember: dry-aging beef causes it to lose nearly 30% of its weight, and then you have to trim the bark off, which, unfortunately, sometimes happens at the sacrifice of some cap meat.

The real star of our beef entrees was this 20-day dry aged wagyu hanger steak. It seems that this was the table favorite for the beef.

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Dedicating less time to aging this cut is smart, since the hanger itself isn’t very big to begin with; any longer and you may risk having to trim off too much bark. Also, with a cut like hanger, which is normally pretty well-marbled to begin with, you are really doubling down on the intensification of flavor that you get from the dry aging process. The result for this cut is amazing. It’s one of the best hanger steaks I’ve had. It was super tender and juicy, and perfectly cooked. The beef flavor really stands out here as well, since it was wisely prepared in a more simple manner, with shallot butter and thyme. After all, they don’t call this cut the “butcher’s steak” without good reason!

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
Take this number with a grain of salt, as it skews low due to the limitations of my review categories. Beatrice doesn’t necessarily fit perfectly into the “steakhouse” genre, but since they offer so many wonderful animal proteins, I had to include it as one. While Beatrice only offers one traditional steakhouse cut (rib eye, in two forms) and one “other cut” (hanger steak), they really knock the shit out of the “quality” aspect to this section as well as the “other meats” category below. Most of the beef, from what I understand, comes from Pat LaFrieda, who is a standard bearer for high quality beef, especially in the Northeast. No filet. No strip. No porterhouse. I probably wouldn’t order those anyway, given all the other goodies that grace the menu here.

Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portions are generous and plating is beautiful without getting into the pretense of tweezers and excessive plate-wiping. It’s exactly what you want from a nice meal of this type.

Price: 9
I think our table enjoyed a bit of a discount since one of the people we were with is best friends with the chef. In any case, given the pricey location of the restaurant and the high quality of the menu items, it’s only natural that this place can be expensive. Luckily there are lots of “for two” or “for the table” items available that can be shared to defray costs. And the hands-down best item I tried (see “other meats” below) is a mere $27 entree. So there’s really something for every budget here. Even the high rollers can enjoy truffle- and duck egg-topped burgers for $90, or a whisky dry-aged steak that’s about $600 for a 50oz tomahawk.

Bar: 10
This joint was jumping even as we were leaving after 11pm on a Wednesday. The bar is ground floor level and feels like a speakeasy. There are some seats in a lounge type spot by the windows, and a warm fireplace at the end of the bar. In fact there are fireplaces all over this joint! I love it. The cocktail menu is really special too, with lots of unique takes on old classics.

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I recommend the smoked Manhattan, which fills the room with a really woody aroma every time someone orders it. If you want something more refreshing and crisp, try the Big Poppa, made with truffled gin, citrus and egg whites.

Specials and Other Meats: 10
There aren’t enough points available to award here. Only 10? Here’s a list of the other meats on the menu: applewood smoked rabbit for two, milk braised pork shoulder, lamb wellington for two, chicken for two to four people, roast duck flambe for two to four people, beef cheek, braised oxtail, and whatever other specials the chef is working on in the kitchen that day or week. It’s fucking amazing.

We tried the roast duck flambe. Here’s how it comes to the table:

It had a really nice smoked flavor and is served with cherry jus, fingerlings and lyonnaise.

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Once the presentation is made with the flames, they take it away and chop it up for easy consuming.

The absolute best item we tried, and what I submit to be one of the best pork dishes I’ve ever had, is the milk braised pork shoulder with jasmine rice soubise, hen of the woods mushrooms and sage.

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Chef Angie has been making this dish since she was 15yrs old, so by now it has been perfected to perfection, or whatever status is even more perfect than perfect. It was bright, savory, juicy and soul-satisfying. You really need to get it when you come here, and I’m really fucking sorry that I didn’t shoot it.

We also tried the game pie, which contains wild boar, lamb, venison, pearl onions and fingerlings inside. But the suet crust is something I’ve never experienced before. It’s essentially a pie crust made with rendered beef fat, so it’s crispy and meaty, harder than a normal pie crust and a shitload more satisfying to eat. It should also be noted that the entire pie is formed around a marrow bone for good measure. Because why the fuck not? I didn’t snap a pic of this but a friend of mine who went there recently got a great shot. My description begs for an image, so I’m sharing her pic here:

A photo posted by Jean Lee (@jeaniusnyc) on

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10
I apologize for only shooting the fries and tartare, but I’ll get on it next time. Everything we tried was amazing. We started with the chicken liver pate.

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It was smooth and creamy, served with a blackberry sauce and whole grain mustard that were the perfect pairing for the pate when spread onto delicious toasty bread.

The lamb tartare was really nicely executed. It was mild and had none of that gamey flavor that you might expect. Dotted with blueberries, it had just the right amount of acidic pop to it.

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The truffle fries were cooked to a perfect golden crisp, and went well with our aged beef selections.

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For dessert we shared an apple “croissant” (for lack of knowing the exact term) that was topped with vanilla ice cream and a foie gras caramel.

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It was really amazing. The croissant was crispy but soft, warm and delicately “appled.” I was really tempted to get their famous bone marrow creme brulee as well. Next time!

Seafood Selection: 8
Beatrice Inn offers halibut and branzino by way of the sea, which we didn’t try on the first trip (see update below). But we did start with some west coast oysters that were crisp, creamy and fresh. They came with a really interesting horseradish sauce that had a kick of spice to it, perhaps the same kind of smoked spice flavors you get in something like nduja or chorizo. It was wild. Anyway, while that was technically an appetizer, I figured I would talk about it here since I didn’t try any seafood entrees.

Service: 10
Top notch, really great service here. Everyone is dressed in classy, old-fashioned attire, like you’d expect at a legit steakhouse. Water glasses are filled promptly, the food comes out at the right pace and temperature, and waiters/waitresses are attentive and know their shit forwards and backwards.

Ambiance: 10
I described the bar area up above, but the rest of the joint is just as impressive. There are two rooms off the bar. One is a large dining room and one is a semi-private elevated area with a massive fireplace and a skylight. You feel like you’re in an inn or old fashioned town home, but laid back and comfortable as opposed to stuffy.

I highly recommend trying this place ASAP. It’s been a hot, trendy spot for a while now, but I can certify that it’s with good reason. It’s not pretentious like other places that trend hard in the food scene, and the food is “fuck you” delicious – every damn bite of it.

UPDATE 12/27/16

I went back twice since the review above. One the first visit, we kept it simple and got a burger. It was great, but I think it needed a crunch element to make it really pop. The 45-day dry aging process really does impart a great flavor to the meat, and the use of a mild brie for the cheese is genius.

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On the third visit (yes, I like this place a lot), we tried a nice variety of new shit. To start, we went with these deep-fried dates that were stuffed with cured ham. Really fun and delicious.

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We shared a few entrees as well. First, the branzino en croute. So nicely cooked. For one diner, this was the favorite item of the meal.

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Yes, its a fish cooked inside a bread crust. So good.

Next was this braised rabbit for two. This was enough for three or four, for sure. The meat is so plentiful on this, which surprised the shit out of me.

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We also went with the 30-day dry aged rib eye, since I wasn’t super stoked about the 60-day last time. This was perfect.

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I only took a point off because it was a bit on the thin side. But the texture, flavor and cook temp were all remarkable.

We also had this roasted squash on the side. It had a sweet flavor profile, so I was wishing we added a scoop of ice cream to this and ate it for dessert.

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We did enjoy the bone marrow creme brûlée for dessert, however, it was a bit light in terms of the portion size. I’d say that you get about two or three tablespoons worth of custard inside the marrow. I wanted at least double or triple that amount for the price we paid.

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In the end, I took a point back for price (dropping from 10 to 9), and gave a point back for flavor (rising from 8 to 9).

BEATRICE INN
285 W 12th St
New York, NY 10014

Christo’s Steak House

Christo’s Steak House overall score: 83

A food buddy of mine, Jared from Food & City, set up a nice small press dinner at this joint since we recently got to know the person who runs social media and PR for this joint and a few others in the area. Check out the run-down:

Flavor: 8
While some parts were over-seasoned, some were also under-seasoned on this porterhouse for two. However, the cook temperature was a perfect medium rare, there was an awesome crust on the outside, and the meat was well rested and juicy. 8/10.

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We shared among five people because there were other entrees to eat as well, like this sous vide and smoked beef rib.

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This baby sits in a temperature controlled bath for 48hrs and is also smoked like BBQ brisket. The result is a really top notch entree that rivals the best smoke houses in town. I think it just needed more sauce. 8/10 (and also mentioned in the “other meats” section).

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Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Master Purveyors supplies all the meat for Christo’s, so we are dealing with excellent quality. You can see in the images above that the porterhouse has excellent marbling throughout the cut. Really good quality fat. Everything is aged in house for 21-days, and all the major cuts are covered with some large format options and alternative cuts as well (hanger, skirt, beef rib).

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions here are big. We were actually able to get a peek into the kitchen to see the steak cooking and plating process in action.

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But these two videos really bring it to life, and in the second one you can see just how huge the portions are.

Keep watching…

Another thing to mention in the plating section is the lobster mashed potatoes. They serve the potatoes directly in the lobster shell. Pretty awesome.

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Price: 10
You get a lot of bang for your buck here, with steaks that still pack a ton of flavor but run a lot cheaper than the midtown boys. The quality is the same; it really is. I see the Master Purveyors trucks making deliveries all the time at the places in midtown. Yet, while we weren’t charged for the meal, I think everything only came to about $500. This is insane considering the amount of food, and the same bill in midtown would be $750. I’d definitely come back here.

Bar: 7
This joint has a nice cozy bar and lounge area off to the side when you walk in. I think it makes for a great neighborhood spot to meet up for a drink even if you’re not dining. And bartender Jeff mixes a good martini.

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Specials and Other Meats: 8
Since we were guests of the restaurant, the management and staff brought out everything they wanted us to try. That said, there were no specials read to us. In terms of other meats, aside from that awesome smoked beef rib, Christo’s offers lamb, pork chops and chicken, as well as hanger steak and skirt steak.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We tried a shitload of stuff in this category. I’m just going to drop the photos in and talk briefly.

Classic trio of Greek spreads. Keep in mind, we are in Astoria here, so this is a steakhouse with clear Greek influence.

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Lamb gyro tacos:

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Crab cakes:

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Lightly breaded and fried firm Greek cheese:

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Bacon. Delightful.

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Why, yes, more bacon please…

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Veal meatballs:

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Hanger steak egg rolls:

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Lobster mashed potatoes:

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Parmesan and chive fries:

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Grilled asparagus:

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Cheese cake and chocolate lava cake:

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My favorites were the bacon, all the Greek items and the crab cakes. Stick to those and you’re in great hands.

Seafood Selection: 8
Scallops, shrimp, salmon and whole branzino are on the menu here for entrees, and I assume lobster as well due to the presence of a tank in the entry area. We tried the branzino. It was very simply prepared: roasted and de-boned.

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Service: 10
The service here is top notch. Everyone is attentive, courteous and pleasant, from the bar to the back of the restaurant. And here comes the usual shot of table bread to boot. I always do it. Don’t know why.

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Ambiance: 7
They really do a great job with the space here. It’s cozy, warm, comfortable and has a classic steakhouse vibe. Since this place is situated in the residential neighborhood of Astoria on the first floor of an apartment building, they are somewhat limited in what they can do. While this place is no Keen’s in terms of grandeur and decor, they certainly deliver everything you want from the traditional steakhouse experience.

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CHRISTO’S STEAK HOUSE
4108 23rd Ave
Astoria, NY 11105

The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Steak

Every food-oriented website out there, whether it’s Eater, Grub Street, Thrillist or what have you, has their own version of “The Ultimate Guide for Cooking a Steak,” or whatever it may be. Many of them do offer good information, but they’re almost all incomplete. They set you up with one method for one cut of meat. This piece will serve as a place where you can get instructions for cooking several different cuts of steak via several methods. Let’s get right to it.

GRILLING

This is probably the method that most people are familiar and comfortable with. Since it is actually my least favorite way to cook one of the four major cuts, I will discuss it first, up front, with the caveat that I do actually prefer grilled skirt steak to any other cut that’s done on the grill. That said, there are some significant pros and cons for grilling. Depending on what you want out of your steak eating experience, you should take these into consideration before deciding if this is the right method for you. What time of year is it? Summer, winter? Are you grilling over charcoal or propane?

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Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Grilling: Skirt, Flank, Hanger

Pros

  • Easily accessible
  • Familiar and comfortable to most home cooks
  • No smells or smoke indoors
  • Can easily cook many steaks at once

Cons

  • Fat, flavor and juices fall through the grill bars
  • Can be difficult to control heat levels
  • Lowered ability to sear evenly

Grilling is perfect for outdoor cooking in the warm months, and especially for large groups of people. You don’t get any lingering smells in your home, and you can enjoy the day like a good American, beer in hand as you cook. Since I like a good even sear across the entire cut of meat, I generally don’t like cooking the four major cuts of beef in this manner. Generally I go for skirt or flank, something that benefits from a good, fast blast of heat; something where I don’t mind if I lose a little fat or juice through the grill bars; and something cheap that can be sliced up and served family style. Charcoal is a tough medium to master. Some people are experts at creating and maintaining even heat levels for a cooking session. Others use propane. This is easier, cleaner, and more convenient, but you lose some of that desired charcoal and smoke flavor unless you’re adding soaked wood chips to the grill as you cook. If grilling is right for you, then read on below.

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Instructions

  1. Get your steak up to room temperature and pat it dry.
  2. Crank up your grill to as high as it will possibly get.
  3. Season the skirt/flank generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the meat with the grill top open. Do not poke, prod, press or move the meat once it is set down on the grill bars. Allow the bars to create nice markings on your meat.
  5. After a few minutes, flip once and repeat the previous step.
  6. Use a meat thermometer or the “hand test” to ensure that your steak is properly cooked to medium rare. Remove it from the grill at 135F.
  7. Let the steak rest for a few minutes on an elevated and porous surface, like a metal baking rack. During this time the meat will continue to cook a bit more while off the flames, and it will retain more juices during the next step.
  8. Slice against the grain of the meat, or “against the bias,” and serve.

PAN SEARING

This is probably my favorite method for cooking steak. I always try to use a cast iron skillet, as they just work better for creating that crusty sear that we have all come to know as steak lovers. If you can’t get your hands on one, then a standard pan will do.

Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Searing: Filet Mignon, Strip, Rib Eye, Porterhouse

Pros

  • Even sear across entire steak
  • Juices stay put
  • Easy to execute

Cons

  • Smoke smell can permeate the home, set off smoke detectors
  • Pan cleanup can be annoying
  • Large pan needed for big or multiple cuts
  • Cast iron not ideal for glass electric cook tops

Instructions

  1. Get your steak up to room temperature and pat it dry.
  2. Crank up your burner to as high as it will possibly get, and heat up the pan with a small amount of butter.
  3. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Sear the shit out of your steak, and add a wad of butter to melt in the pan. Throw in some rosemary and garlic too, if you like. Do not poke, prod, press or move the meat once it is set down. Allow the meat to stick to the pan a bit, with as much of the bottom surface touching the pan as possible.
  5. Spoon the melted butter over the top as the meat cooks, basting it in flavor.
  6. After a few minutes, flip the cut with tongs and do the same thing of the other side of the steak.
  7. Once both sides are seared, then you should also sear the edges if you are working with a thick-cut steak. Anything over an inch and a half should get a little side sear if possible.
  8. Use a meat thermometer or the “hand test” to ensure that your steak is properly cooked to medium rare. Remove it from the pan at 135F.
  9. Let the steak rest for a few minutes on an elevated and porous surface, like a metal baking rack. During this time the meat will continue to cook a bit more while out of the pan, and it will retain more juices.

Alternative Instructions From Step 8 Onward

This secondary step is helpful if you have a very thick cut of steak, and a good, hard sear is all you can really get from the pan without overcooking. You want your meat to be pink from top to bottom, with no “grey band” in sight. To achieve this on thick cuts, lots of people will put the steak into the oven at a low temperature, like 250-300F, to allow the internal temperature to come up to medium rare once the pan-searing steps (1-7) are complete. Here, a meat thermometer is key to ensure that your meat is cooked to the proper temperature inside.

REVERSE SEARING

This is very similar to searing with an oven finish, like above, only done in the reverse order.

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Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Reverse Searing: Thick Cuts of Filet Mignon, Strip, Porterhouse, Rib Eye

Pros

  • Even sear across entire steak
  • Juices stay put

Cons

  • Slightly more difficult to execute than a simple sear
  • Multiple cooking steps and waiting

Instructions

Here, the first step is to cook your steak in the oven at a low temperature, like 250-300F, to allow the internal temperature to come up to rare or medium rare. Again, use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy. Once that step is done, the steak gets finished in the hot searing pan with butter. This will form the desired crust on your steak. You just have to be careful not to overcook your steak in the pan as you are trying to get that crust to form. I recommend allowing your steak to cool down to room temperature before searing it off, and/or getting that pan screaming hot before you put the steak in.

BROILING

Generally speaking, broiling means that the heat source is coming from above the meat and close to the meat. Contrast with baking, which means that the heat source is below and more diffused or distant from the meat. Broiling a steak gives you more direct exposure to the heat source than baking, whether it’s an open flame (gas oven) or the heating element (electric). While not as direct as, say, touching a hot pan, broiling is better for cooking traditional cuts of steaks than baking, because you can get a charred outer crust easier and still get the inside of the meat to the desired temperature. Baking is better suited for roasting meats, since the heat source is often diffused a bit by the oven bottom when baking.

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Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Broiling: Thick Cut Bone-In Porterhouse, Thick Cut Bone-In Rib Eye, Bone-In Tenderloin, Bone-In Strip, Large T-Bone

Why the bones, you ask? When cooking with “surrounding” heat, like roasting or broiling in an enclosed oven, bones are very effective at radiating heat into the center of the meat tissue. This method, therefore, also makes large/thick cuts easier to work with.

Pros

  • Cleaner, less smoke and permeating odors
  • Relatively easy to execute
  • Easier to get an evenly cooked center of your meat

Cons

  • Easy to overcook if not careful
  • Requires meat thermometer (puncturing meat is never good)
  • Harder to get the desired crust than other methods

Instructions

  1. Get your steak up to room temperature and pat it dry.
  2. Set your oven to broil.
  3. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring your oven rack close to the heat source (near the top) and place steak in the oven in a shallow roasting pan that can catch any drippings.
  5. Once the top crisps up a bit, flip the meat in the roasting pan to get the crust on the other side as well.
  6. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your steak is properly cooked to medium rare. Remove it from the oven at 135F.
  7. Let the steak rest for a few minutes in the roasting pan. During this time the meat will continue to cook a bit more, and it will retain more juices.
  8. Slice the major muscles off the bone, slice the muscle against the bias, and arrange the meat on a platter for serving.

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ROASTING

Roasting is synonymous with low and slow diffused heat from a bottom source, or all around the meat, from all sides. This method is best suited for large hunks of meat that take a long time to cook down to the center, generally for serving many people.

Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Roasting: Standing Rib Rack Roast, Chateaubriand, Large Brisket

Pros

  • Great for large format dining
  • Easy to execute
  • Result is very juicy, tender and delicious

Cons

  • Takes a long time to finish
  • May require extensive carving
  • Generally lacks outer crust like a standard cut of steak

Instructions

  1. Many people like to brine their meats before roasting. While this is generally more common with pork roasts or fowl, some steps can be taken with beef to increase flavors. You can crush up some garlic and stuff it into your roast (flavor injectors), or rub it on the outside of the meat; you can rub it with rosemary or roast it on a bed of herbs; and you should season it generously with a multitude of spices. You want all those flavors to permeate deep into the meat, so massaging, rubbing and pushing into the meat is all recommended. If you use a flavor injector, I suggest getting a lot into one or a few injections, that way you don’t pierce the meat too many times.
  2. Set your oven to a low bake temperature, like 350F.
  3. Place your meat on a roasting pan to catch any drippings, and set it in the center/middle rack of your oven.
  4. Place your meat thermometer into the center of the roast.
  5. As the meat cooks, use a turkey baster to suck up liquids from the bottom of the roasting pan, and squirt it over the top of the roast occasionally. This will add some flavor to the outside and help to create a flavorful edge to the roast.
  6. Remove it from the oven at 135F. Let the meat rest for a few minutes in the roasting pan. During this time the meat will continue to cook a bit more, but the resting phase will help the meat retain more juices for the next step.
  7. Slice and carve for serving. Sliced roast beef pairs perfectly with both hot gravy and cold horseradish sauces (either cream-based or tomato-based).

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SOUS VIDE

Sous Vide means “under vacuum” in French. In this method of cooking, you are cooking your steaks in vacuum sealed bags by submerging them in a hot water bath to precisely the desired temperature, and then finishing them in a pan as a secondary step. This may sound like high tech restaurant science only kind of stuff, but there are items available in the consumer market to do this with great results at home.

Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Sous Vide: Thick Cuts of Filet Mignon, Boneless Strip, Boneless Rib Eye, Bavette, Denver Cut/Blade Steak

Pros

  • Perfect internal temperature every time
  • No monitoring necessary
  • Easy to achieve success

Cons

  • Requires a special unit or item, a vacuum sealer and bags
  • Wait time can be lengthy
  • Still need to use a pan (or torch) to sear the outside

Instructions

Lucky for you all, I’ve got a nice discussion of the sous vide cooking method here, with pretty pics and everything. In any case, here is the gist of it:

  1. Season the steak however the you want. I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, garlic oil and crushed red pepper.
  2. Place steak into vacuum seal bag and seal it up with some butter and herbs inside (rosemary is always nice).
  3. If you’re a poor bastard and can’t afford a vacuum sealer, you can use ziplock bags. Place your meat into the bag and begin to submerge the bag into the water bath. Once you are all the way close to the zipper, zip it shut. The water surrounding the outside of the bag will push out all the air from inside. This is the poor man’s vacuum sealer. If you do this, you may want to put a smooth, clean rock in there too, just for good measure, to keep the meat from floating.
  4. Set your temperature to however you like your steak cooked. I put mine at 135F for a nice medium rare. I’m dealing with grocery store meat here, people. Don’t give me any shit about that being too well done.
  5. Wait about an hour or two. Don’t panic! You can’t overcook your steak in a sous vide bath. That’s the whole point of it!
  6. Remove your steak from the water bath and let it cool back down to room temperature.
  7. Re-season it a bit, if so desired.
  8. Sear it. I use a Searzall, because why not? But you can easily just toss this baby into a real hot cast iron pan with some more butter and herbs to get that brown and crispy coating.

DIRECT FROM FROZEN

Some food scientist people were messing around and cooking strip steaks in a test kitchen; some cuts were thawed in a fridge overnight, and others were still frozen. The results stunned them. The steaks were cooked more evenly, with less “grey band” when cooked direct from frozen, and those steaks retained more juices (they lost less moisture during the cooking process). While they took longer to cook, they still browned at nearly the same rate as a thawed steak.

I think a major issue that home cooks with have here is that it may be difficult to prevent ice crystals to form on the outside of the meat during the freezing process. When cooking, these ice crystals will melt into water or sublimate into water vapor. At that point you are either boiling or steaming the bottom of your steak in the pan, which is bad. When doing that, you won’t ever achieve the crust that we carnivores all desire.

The scientists attempt to solve this problem by freezing the steaks in a special way at first, uncovered and flat. Once they’re frozen, they are then wrapped and bagged for storage. If you’re going to attempt this you will want to be very careful to replicate the freezing technique that the scientists utilized, to avoid excessive ice crystals from forming on the outside of the meat.

This method involves cooking in a pan that contains a good amount of oil. This is done to ensure that the nooks and crannies of the steak surfaces all get cooked the same amount, and it helps to displace any water that may melt out of ice crystals. Second, it also retains more heat, so you can bring the steak surface up to browning point faster, without overcooking any of the interview (which should still remain pretty cold since it is frozen). The result is less grey banding, and a more end-to-end pink steak interior.

You will still need to finish the steak in the oven, however, since the interior will likely be too rare or still frozen if you only use the pan.

In any event, here is my analysis:

Scientists’ Preferred Cuts for Frozen Steak Cooking: Strip

Pros

  • No waiting for steak to thaw or come to room temperature
  • Less meal planning needed ahead of time
  • Nice, even cook temp throughout

Cons

  • Difficult to avoid ice crystals
  • Complicated freezing technique
  • Still requires second step in the oven

Instructions

Refer to this link and the embedded video below for proper steak preparation and cooking instructions.

DIRECT ON COALS

I haven’t tested this method out myself yet, so you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt, as above, with the “Direct from Frozen” method. My first exposure to this method was when I saw Alton Brown discuss it on his blog. I was intrigued enough to include it here, but since I no longer have the ability to cook often with real wood, I have never tested this out.

Alton’s Preferred Cut for Coal Cooking: Skirt

Pros

  • Fast
  • Natural flavors

Cons

  • Covering in foil step essentially steams the meat
  • Potential for soot contamination

Instructions

I think the best bet here is to just follow the directions from Master Alton, since he’s a culinary wizard, and I’m a mere apprentice. One thing I’m apprehensive about, which I noted in the “cons” section, is the part where Alton wraps the hot steak in foil. This means the meat will cook in steam. He then tosses it back into the juices. All of this makes me think “wet steak,” and that turns me off.

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For more specific recipes, as opposed to these more general methods of cooking, check out my recipe page.