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The Palm (Too)

Palm Too overall score: 87

I was recently invited by @JustAFoodieNYC into Palm Too for an influencer dinner with a group of Instagrammers. We tried an assload of shit, and all of it was pretty fucking tasty. Take a gander below, you goddamn savage meat maniacs:

Flavor: 8

I tried a bit of every steak on the menu (aside from the prime rib, which is only offered on Fridays and Saturdays). I’ll break the scoring down for each cut here.

Filet Mignon (14oz): 9/10

This baby had a nice crust on the outer edges, adding a really pleasing charred flavor that was the perfect contrast against the buttery smooth, pink flesh inside. If that reads a bit sexual to you, that’s because it was a jerkworthy piece of meat and I fucking intended the sexual innuendo.

Let’s move on…

Porterhouse: 8/10

This baby was pretty solid. While it’s not as thick as I’m used to seeing a porterhouse cut, this was meant as a “for one” steak. That’s nice, as most joints only offer a porterhouse for two or more diners. At 28oz, it did the trick for filling my bottomless shit-pit stomach.

Wagyu Rib Eye (12oz, boneless): 7/10

I was expecting a bit more from this cut. It was still good, but when eaten side by side with the other offerings at the table, it just didn’t hold up. There was a slight bitter element to it, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – just a character trait of the meat.

Bone In Rib Eye (24oz): 9/10

This fucker was tasty, and I’m torn between this and the filet for my favorite of the night. I’m leaning toward the filet, but that might only be because I tried more of the filet than the rib eye. But what I did try of this rib eye knocked my balls back into my stomach and made me feel like a little girly boy. My buddy @Food_P.o.r.n_NY took that cool shot, by the way. I can’t take credit for his genius.

Strip Steak (14oz): 8/10

The strip on this solo cut was on par with the strip side of the porterhouse, only here it’s obviously a thicker, dedicated cut.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

There are a ton of size options available here for the main four steak cuts, aside from the porterhouse (only one size). The selections are all prime quality and wet aged for 35 days or more. The meats hail from the Chicago area, a place called Consumers Meat Packing.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are generous here, and the plating is basic – nothing fancy. I mean there’s sawdust on the floor for fuck’s sake. This joint is old school and I like it!

Price: 10

My meal was free, so I’m giving full points here. Everything is reasonably priced, however. In fact there’s even a whopper strip steak for three that only costs $99. That’s a steal if it’s your cut.

Bar: 8

The bar area is a bit small for hanging, but it’s really charismatic and old timey. I’d definitely love to plop my ass down and sip on some old fashioneds or martinis here, especially while snacking on some thick cut bacon. In fact two of the guys I ate with did that exact thing just a few weeks back on a steakhouse bacon crawl. Awesome idea.

They also mix a good dry martini to boot.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

In addition to a special featured steak, there’s veal, lamb and pork here for alternative meats – even a wagyu beef selection for those with the bug. Fuck chicken.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We tried a ton of shit so I’m just going to rattle them off and highlight the best ones.

Beef Carpaccio

Seared Sesame Ahi Tuna

Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon: Absurdly delicious.

Fried Calamari

Coconut Crusted Scallops

Creamed Spinach

Green Beans: Very nice and distinctly “Asian” in flavor profile.

Brussels Sprouts

Half & Half (potato chips and onion straws)

Nova Scotia Lobster Mac & Cheese (with bacon crust): So rich and decadent. One of the better sides I’ve ever had. Sorry – no pic!

Doughnuts (also no pic)

Key Lime Pie: A classic, tried and true dessert done right. No pic!

Cheesecake (nope! no pic!)

Carrot Cake: Seven layers of pure joy for me.

Seafood Selection: 8

The lobster is definitely the way to go here. They offer a variety of preparations and several size options, depending on your budget and appetite.

Salmon and sea bass are also available as well as entree sized portions of the sesame crusted ahi tuna and crab cake apps.

Service: 10

The shortest amount of time that a waiter has worked here is about 20 years, so these guys are seasoned experts and absolutely phenomenal when it comes to congenial service. It’s also pretty impressive that they can sling all this food out in such a small kitchen (we took a little tour of the back).

Since I always chat about the bread basket in this section, here it is:

The sesame bread was my pick of the bunch. Butter could be softer.

Ambiance: 10

This place is classic. There’s a cork floor with sawdust sprinkled throughout; a tribute to the old days when The Palm first opened, and the staff would track sawdust into the restaurant while running in and out to get steaks from the butcher shop across the street.

At first, The Palm was an Italian joint. The name was supposed to be “Parma,” after the city in Italy to which the owners were paying homage with their cuisine. The licensing folks at City Hall didn’t hear the brother owners correctly, and so the word “Palm” was licensed instead of Parma. They rolled with it.

Early on, an artist customer was unable to pay his dinner bill, so he offered to do portraits of the customers and staff as payment. That’s how the artwork all over the walls became a feature.

It’s a great place with a great history. The simple decor and manly vibe is a beloved calling card of a traditional American steakhouse like The Palm.

PALM TOO
840 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10017

Benjamin Prime

Benjamin Prime overall score: 88

The massive success of Benjamin Steakhouse and The Sea Fire Grill has afforded the owners, two guys named Benjamin who cut their teeth at Peter Luger, to open another location – Benjamin Prime – in which to sling their incredible food.

Nestled on 40th Street just below Grand Central in a modern yet elegant setting, Benjamin Prime attracts more than the usual steakhouse crowd. In addition to banktown big shots, business tycoons and groups of middle-aged guys on bro-dates, there’s a notably more female and young demographic dining there as well. The Benjamins attribute that to their diversified menu, which plucks the best from both Benjamin Steakhouse’s and The Sea Fire Grill’s menus, curates them and gently tweaks them anew.

The crowd mix is no surprise to me, since they offer things like a prix fix lunch for $35 and a three-hour $1.50 oyster happy hour from 4pm-7pm during the week. But they’re also garnering the attention of people – even celebrities – who are looking to host events in their handsome upstairs space, which boasts the ability to be either an open floor plan or sectioned-off rooms. The entire upstairs is enveloped by an impressive glass wall that showcases thousands of bottles of top choice wines; a perfect place to gather.

I was invited in for a complimentary meal to help promote the joint on Instagram and social media by the restaurant’s PR folks. I was impressed, and you guys know I’m always honest with you on here, regardless of whether my meal is free. In short, this place is pretty fantastic. Take a look at what we tried:

Flavor: 9

The porterhouse packed a good dry-aged punch for 28-days. I’ve had stuff that was aged twice as long but didn’t have half the flavor, so they’re definitely doing something right here.

That characteristic dry-aged beef aroma fills the room when the plates are coming to the table, and you can hear your steak before you see it, as they’re served sizzling on hot plates in the traditional, old-school steakhouse style.

While that serving method is generally not my cup of tea (I like a well rested steak and I worry about grey-banding on the edges), it is certainly done in the correct way here. The waiters don’t just plop the steak onto the table, walk away and allow it to continue cooking to well done on that screaming-hot plate. No. They will immediately serve you the delicious, pre-sliced, medium-rare steak, unless you’re an asshole who actually WANTS it to cook more on the plate.

In any case, I loved this porterhouse, and now I need to come back to try the rib eye, which is my favorite cut of beef.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

The masters at Benjamin Prime hand-pick their meat directly from the Pat LaFrieda processing facility. The restaurant is one of the few (if not the only) permitted to do that. This means you’re getting the best of the best at Benjamin Prime. The steaks are then aged in the restaurant’s own aging box.

Cut selections include porterhouse (for two, three or four), NY sirloin, filet mignon, rib eye and a wagyu NY strip. That covers all the bases and then some.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

It may be a bit tough for me to comment about portion sizes since we received a few items that were extra big to share with eight diners, while other items were individualized and smaller, just so we could have a taste. Based on what I could see around me, though, I can safely say that the portion sizes are all generous. The plating is standard, traditional American steakhouse style: nothing fancy, but just elegant enough to make your mouth water.

Price: 10

Since this was a comped meal for me, I clearly have to give it full points! But the menu isn’t unreasonable, which is kind of shocking since the location is primo Grand Centralville real estate. In fact, I mentioned above in the intro paragraphs about the crazy price fix deal and oyster happy hour that they offer. Both of these are excellent bargains.

Bar: 8

The bar was pretty crowded on a Monday at 6:30pm, which is great. It was hopping. It’s somewhat of a narrow space that stretches backward from the main entrance, but there is some window access and high-top seating to get comfy. The bar itself is gorgeous, with gas fireplaces lining the wall in back.

I tested their drink slinging skills with a dry gin martini, and they passed with flying colors. They also have a really nice menu of special house cocktails that looked delicious.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

They offer a Niman Ranch aged rack of lamb that I’m dying to try. But if you’re looking for chicken you can go fuck yourself, because it isn’t offered on the menu. Man up and eat red meat for fuck’s sake. You’re at a steakhouse!

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10

We sampled a bunch of stuff on the savory side, but we didn’t get into dessert. As such, I reserve my review score here to be amended if necessary (I suppose I always do that anyway for subsequent visits). But based on the savory success, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with the sweet.

Benjamin Prime does something wild that I’ve never seen before: a dedicated tartare menu section. They offer four: (1) a duo with salmon and yellowfin; (2) filet mignon with truffle cream and shaved truffle; (3) strip loin with caramelized onion and foie gras; and (4) wagyu beef with caviar and egg cream. Come on! That’s fucking cool.

We tried the filet and the strip versions. I went in thinking I’d like the filet (left) better because of the truffle, but I came away liking the strip (right) better because of the onion and foie. The strip delivered a really robust, powerful punch of funky flavors. Awesome.

The sea scallops are perfectly seared and extremely tasty. I could eat a dozen at a clip, no sweat. The celery root puree really makes them pop in terms of flavor.

Bacon. Fucking ridiculous. Just get it.

I mean come on… Look at this… It’s just as thick as it is wide!

They serve a “creamless” style creamed spinach, which I always love when I see it on menus. It’s just better than the traditional, heavy style. They really nailed it with this one.

We also did some three-cheese mac & cheese, as well as creamy corn with pancetta. Both were really great.

We also snacked on some blistered shishito peppers. These were awesome. They’re lightly salted, have a great char, and boast a hint of fresh, herbal heat that kicks in with the occasional fiery one.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a ton of great looking seafood on the menu here, and I think that’s part of the reason why they’re attracting a slightly different customer base than Benjamin Steakhouse. Here, they’ve made an effort to combine the best of both their steakhouse brand and their seafood restaurant brand. Next time, I will order a fish entree as an app to share, so I can properly score this category based on more than just the scallops (which were incredible, as I mentioned above).

Service: 10

Nothing short of perfection here. The staff is absolutely great, from the front of the house, to the wait staff, to the bus boys, to the management. They’ll make you feel like royalty in this place.

Ambiance: 8

They’ve really done a tremendous job with the space here. The main dining floor has high ceilings and good light from the windows along the street, but it’s cozy enough to feel private and intimate. Upstairs is great for even more privacy or a special event. They’ve managed to strike a nice balance: Benjamin Prime achieves the modern vibe while simultaneously maintaining the right amount of traditional.

BENJAMIN PRIME
23 E 40th St
New York, NY 10016

The Rib Eye Steak

The Rib Eye is the most ultimate of steaks, period. It is an awesome cut of beef.

Etymology: The etymology on this is pretty self-explanatory. The “rib” part of the name is because this cut of meat is connected to a rib bone. The “eye” part of the name is a reference to the circular, more centrally located portion of the cut that is more uniform than the outer portions of the cut. You will likely see the Rib Eye steak, or rib chop, called by many names.

For example, the Cowboy Rib Eye is a bone-in version of the cut:

There’s also the Tomahawk Rib Eye, which is so named for its resemblance to a Tomahawk-style hatchet. When butchered, a long “handle” of rib is cut clean to expose the bone (it is “Frenched,” as they say), and the steak meat is left at the end of the handle to form the hatchet blade:

Here’s a shot of my buddy; he’s about to get clobbered with a Tomahawk Rib Eye by Chef Josh Capon at Bowery Meat Company:

There’s also the Delmonico cut, otherwise known as a Scotch Filet. Applying what you’ve learned here, you can probably guess that this cut is boneless (filet means “boneless” in French). Delmonico’s claims this cut as their own because they named a house special boneless cut Rib Eye steak after their restaurant, way back in the early 1800’s when they first opened.

Anatomy: The rib section of beef spans from ribs six through twelve, and, obviously, hails from the rib section of the animal.

Rib Eye steaks are mainly composed of the Longissimus dorsi muscle (the “eye” portion of the steak) and the Spinalis dorsi muscle.

The more anterior your cut, the more Spinalis you’ll find in the steak. The Spinalis is the coveted cap of meat that wraps around the fatter end of the steak and usually has much more marbling than the rest of the Longissimus eye, or interior of the steak. That “fat cap” is also called the Deckle when it is butchered away from the remaining eye.

photo credit: http://www.acookblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_7574.jpg

Highly skilled butchers know how to remove it from its position across an entire standing rib roast section of ribs, so as to keep it all together as one giant cut. But then that ruins the rib chop, in my opinion, since you’re taking away the best part. Some steakhouses have taken to tying several Deckle cuts together in a spiral formation to create an all-fat-cap steak. Bowery Meat Company has one such cut, which they call the Bowery Steak:

STK also offers one on special from time to time:

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The Spinalis has a more intense marbling, and, thus, much more flavor and tenderness. If you are so bold, the next time you order a Rib Eye at a steakhouse, ask for an anterior cut that has more of this fantastic Spinalis muscle.

Preparation: There are a ton of ways to prepare a rib steak. The most comon forms are searing in a pan, grilling, or broiling. Another common method of preparing this kind of meat is roasting. A “standing rib roast” is a section of Rib Eye steaks that has not yet been portioned into individual steaks.

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When this rack of ribs is roasted slow and low to a pink medium rare, the end product is called Prime Rib.

It then gets sliced out into portions for individual consumption. This is a mammoth cut that we got from Burger & Barrel:

I know what you’re wondering, and the answer is Yes: Prime Rib and Rib Eye steak are the same exact thing. They are just prepared differently, using different cooking methods.

Cheaper cuts of rib steaks are actually the most common type of beef found in Philly Cheesesteaks as well. The meat is cut super thin and then cooked on a flat top with cheese, onions and other toppings, then shoved into long sandwich bread (incase you’re an asshole who has no fucking clue was a cheesesteak is).

Side Bar: is a Philly Cheesesteak better than a Cheeseburger? I think so… Man… Now I’m hungry for both…

Flavor: This steak has a high fat content, and that makes it very important to have a quality cut of beef, or an aged cut of beef. In high quality and aged cuts, this fat will render out or melt away much easier during the cooking process. This will impart a tremendous amount of flavor into the steak, and it will leave the remaining flesh with a very tender and soft texture. Don’t be afraid of the fat. Fat is not the same as gristle. Fat is good. Fat is your friend. Any good butcher will get the gristle off and leave the good fat behind. And when that good fat is REALLY good, it’s like having a delicious beef jelly with each bite of steak.

As discussed above, the Rib Eye is really like having two steaks in one (The small Spinalis Deckle or fat cap, and the larger Longissimus eye). The Spinalis is soft, tender, has lots of fat flavor and sometimes develops a crisp during cooking. The eye is more dense, but still well marbled so that it retains intense flavor. The eye is more uniform than the Spinalis. So: two steaks in one, kind of like the Porterhouse. Plus, there’s a nice, meaty beef spare rib to gnaw on at the end, if you order a bone-in chop.

Since there is generally more fat and marbling in this cut across its entirety, you will get better flavors than with the tenderloin or Strip, in my opinion. Clearly, high fat content is not for everyone. If you want to avoid fats in your diet, then go with the tenderloin. I actually really enjoy the flavor of fat. Fat, now, is sometimes referred to as the sixth flavor sensation. There were always four: (1) savory, (2) sweet, (3) bitter and (4) sour. “Umami” claims to be the fifth, and is meant to encompass the earthy, funky, fermented flavor sensations that you experience with mushrooms, truffles, aged beef and blue cheese. I just dislike the word “umami,” so I use “earthy” instead. The sixth is “fat,” apparently, as decreed by various food people who get paid to sit around and do these things. I’m not sure how it works, but I seem to be able to recognize a distinct sensation on my tastebuds, along with a buttery flavor and slippery feel, whenever I eat shit like pork bone ramen or a Rib Eye steak. Maybe there’s something to it?

Anyway, I hope this was an informative and educational post for you meat minions out there. Knowing this shit, I think, is very important.

Strip Steak

Etymology: According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, this steak is marketed under various names, including Ambassador Steak, Club Steak, Hotel-Style Steak, Veiny Steak, Kansas City Steak and New York Strip Steak. Delmonico’s offered Strip as a signature dish way back in the early 1800’s. Due to the cut’s association with NYC, the New York Strip Steak name was born.

Anatomy: The Strip is cut from the other side of the tenderloin, across the vertebra on the T-bone or Porterhouse.

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Also known as strip loin, the Strip Steak is cut from the short loin part of the animal, from a muscle that does little work, like the Filet Mignon. It is generally more tender than the similarly situated but more posterior-located sirloin section of the animal. While it is essentially the same kind of meat as sirloin, the muscles in the rear do a bit more work than the short loin, so can be a bit more tough.

Preparation: For me, the Strip is best at medium rare, to preserve the tenderness and reduce any mealy or grainy textures that can develop from overcooking. It is always best to get a really great quality cut for this chop, something prime+, as all the intra-muscular fat, or marbling, will become soft and the muscle will tenderize all over.  You will often see it marinated or rubbed with spices, to impart additional flavors, but grilling and broiling in the traditional style is fantastic as well, especially with butter and herbs.  It can be served bone-in or boneless. Leaving the bone in will impart more flavor and help with the cooking process, since the bone conveys heat into the center of the meat while locking in juices.  At home, marinade this puppy in something like soy sauce and garlic, and slap it on the BBQ for a few minutes on each side and you will have the perfect home-cooked steak.

Flavor: This cut contains fat in levels that are somewhat in between the tenderloin (virtually none) and the Rib Eye (plenty of good, melty fat). Like the tenderloin, there is little variation throughout the cut, so the flavors and textures are more uniform for the Strip Steak, unlike the Rib Eye which has varying textures and flavors from one end of the cut to the other. The texture of a Strip can sometimes be a little bit grainy or mealy, and a bit more tight than a Filet Mignon or a Rib Eye – especially if it’s cooked too much.

Filet Mignon & Tenderloin

Etymology: Filet, in culinary terminology, means boneless. Mignon, in French, means dainty or small. As such, this is a steak ideally suited for chicks: small/dainty, and with no bone.

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Occasionally on a steakhouse menu you will see a “bone-in filet.” Given what I just mentioned above, that phraseology is completely self-defeating and confusing, as it simultaneously means both “bone-in” and “boneless.” However, it seems this sort of language is becoming commonplace. If it were up to me, I would prefer “bone-in tenderloin” to be listed on menus instead. There is no wording conflict with that phrasing, and it is an accurate description of what is being presented. In other words: all Filet Mignon is tenderloin, but not all tenderloin is Filet Mignon.

Anatomy: Traditionally, a Filet Mignon was cut from the anterior end of the tenderloin. In the beef chart image below, you can see a portion of the tenderloin section highlighted in red.

diagram-filet-cut-1500

That is where Filet Mignon was typically located, though most butchers label all steaks cut from the tenderloin as Filet Mignon (this allows for larger portions). The tenderloins run along both sides of the spine. They taper from thick, in the posterior of the animal, to thin in the front.

In their unbutchered form, they contain what’s called the “silver skin” still attached to the flesh. This is a thick connective tissue that is pretty much inedible. When butchering the full tenderloin, you will want to slice that off (it is NOT tender).

While this next photo is a repeat shot of a lamb vertebra Barnsley chop (the mutton chop from Keen’s), the anatomy is exactly the same for beef. This will illustrate exactly where the filet comes from. Essentially this is a double porterhouse, with a filet and a strip on each side. In addition to understanding the Filet Mignon, this image is useful in demonstrating the anatomy of the Strip and Porterhouse cuts as well, since they all come from the same place – the vertebrae of the animal:

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Preparation: Preparations of this cut vary greatly. You may see this cut sliced thin and pounded flat, served raw for carpaccio. You may also see it finely chopped for tartare. A simple pan sear with butter and herbs, however, is probably the most common preparation.

Yet another style is Chateaubriand, which is a large section of the thick portion of the tenderloin that is roasted boneless, then sliced and served with a reduction sauce.

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There is also Beef Wellington, which is a portion of tenderloin that has been coated with pate and then wrapped in puff pastry dough prior to cooking.

Flavor: Widely considered the most tender and least fatty cut of beef on the animal, the flavor should be uniform from one end to the other, with very tender and soft texture the whole way through. There is hardly any fat content in the standard cut of Filet Mignon. Some chefs will wrap the filet in caul fat (a lacy, fatty, web-like membrane that surrounds the stomach of an animal) before cooking. The webbing melts away during cooking and imparts a fat flavor into the meat. But it is more common to use things like butter, or to wrap a filet in bacon to add the fat flavor into the meat.

The Porterhouse Steak

Etymology: There is some difference of opinion on the origin of the word “Porterhouse,” with several restaurants and cities claiming to have created the name. For example, Martin Morrison served large T-bones in his Pearl Street (Manhattan) “Porter House” around 1814. This history was popular in the late 1800’s, but some say a Cambridge, Massachusetts proprietor by the name of Zachariah B. Porter added his name to the steak. Still, others argue that the Porterhouse name stems from various 19th Century U.S. hotels or restaurants called Porter House, such as the Porter House Hotel in Flowery Branch, Georgia.

Anatomy: The Porterhouse is a cut of steak from the short loin portion of the animal that contains both strip loin and tenderloin meats. See the highlighted portion in the diagram below:

It is cut from a lumbar vertebra that is sawed in half through the vertebral column.

The downward prong of the “T” is a transverse process of the vertebra, and the flesh that surrounds it (spinal muscles) makes up the meat of the Porterhouse.

DSC02003 illustrated watermark

Essentially, it is a large T-bone steak from the rear of the animal that has two different types of meat (tenderloin and strip loin), one on either side of the “T.” In the picture below, the strip loin or Strip Steak is on the right, and the tenderloin or Filet Mignon is on the left.

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The small semicircle at the top of the ‘T’ is half of the vertebral foramen, which is the name of the hole that passes through each vertebra for housing and protecting the spinal cord. They run the whole way up the back, all the way up to the brain of the animal.

The anatomy of a Porterhouse differs from that of a T-bone only in that the Porterhouse contains a larger portion of tenderloin than its T-bone counterpart.

This is primarily due to the fact that Porterhouse steaks are cut from further in the rear of the animal, from lumbar vertebrae, where the tenderloin is much thicker. Experts differ, however, on how large the tenderloin must be to differentiate a Porterhouse from a T-bone. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications state that the tenderloin of a Porterhouse must be at least 1.25 inches thick at its widest, while that of a T-bone must be at least 0.5 inches.

Here is a shot of a short loin with multiple vertebrae still intact and not portioned out into individual Porterhouses and T-bones.

photo credit: http://f.tqn.com/y/culinaryarts/1/W/M/f/-/-/short-loin-2500.jpg

You can see on the left there is a good sized, thick portion of tenderloin. That thins down as you move the the right, and seems to disappear by time your eyes reach the far end of the cut.

Just to drive home the anatomy a little more, here is a great excerpt and image from Russ Cooks:

“Up close and personal, this is where the T-bone fits.

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photo credit: http://www.russcooks.com/images/t-bone-illustration.png

The black line across the top of the two T-bones pictured here is the outside (top of the back) of the steer. You can see the T-bone in the schematic illustration higher up on this page as the topmost part labelled Rib. Above the ribs, what you touch if you pat the steer’s back, is the New York strip. Beneath the ribs is the tenderloin from which a filet mignon is often cut. T-bone steaks cut closer to the shoulder are known as Porterhouse while those cut closer to the loin are just T-bones.”

Preparation: Most times, T-bones and Porterhouses are either grilled, seared in a pan, broiled or blasted with high heat in specialty steak ovens made for charring the outside of the meat without over-cooking the inside. Butter is essential, and heavy seasoning is important as well. Herbs and garlic help boost the flavor too.

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Flavor: Since this cut contains both the Filet Mignon and the Strip Steak, I refer you to the flavor sections for those cuts below, with a notation that the bone being left in often adds a more robust flavor while helping to retain tenderness and juiciness. These are very popular items at steakhouses because they can be cut large enough to feed anywhere from two to four people. Additionally, with two different types of meat in one steak, one can vary the flavors that one experiences with each bite.

Sea Grill

The Patina group of restaurants is awesome. If you sign up for their email list they send you a $50 credit to use for your birthday, and they give you a pretty big window of time to come in and use it. We used my wife’s credit for a dinner at Sea Grill recently.

I started with a hearts of palm salad. I was hoping for more hearts of palm, expecting less leafy greens, but it was good nonetheless; just a bit tangy from all the citrus.

I had the wagyu strip loin for my entree. At $56 this is a very small portion. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked, however, so that’s a plus. The cut could have used a bit more char on the edges, but it still comes in at a 7/10. It would have been an eight if it wasn’t for the price/size ratio, even with wagyu in mind.

My wife tried the oyster stuffed quail. It sounded really interesting, but ultimately the flavor combination was a bit odd. The bird itself had a nice game, iron and blood flavor, which is exactly what you want sometimes when getting down on game birds. I think those oysters just threw it off for me.

For dessert we shared the key lime pie. This was tangy and tart, and it was a generous-sized piece; easily good for sharing.

SEA GRILL
Rockefeller Center
19 W 49th St
New York, NY 10020

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

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

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