Tag Archives: strip steak

Szechuan Strip Steak

A few months ago I had this wild idea that I would like a steak with an aggressively spicy Chinese flavor profile of chili oil, Szechuan peppercorns, cumin and garlic. Then suddenly I saw a menu item pop up at the Lobster Club with a strikingly similar list of ingredients, and the steakhouse Blu on Park is closing, making way for an Asian steakhouse which, perhaps, will feature something similar. Without wanting to wait for the new restaurant, and without having to drop bank and fight for a table at Lobster Club, I struck out to make my own, to turn my dream into reality.

I started out with one of my Piedmontese strip steaks because (1) they’re not dry aged, so I’m not competing with any other flavors, and (2) they’re cheap enough so that if I fucked it up, I wouldn’t feel so bad about it.

So what the fuck did I do?

Marinate the shit with chili oil, garlic oil, minced garlic, Szechuan peppercorns, Szechuan pepper oil, cumin, Chinese five spice and sesame oil.

After a few hours (or a few days if you want the flavors to really penetrate the meat), and after allowing your meat to get up to room temperature, dry off your steak with paper towels and season it all over with kosher salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder, a touch of Chinese five spice and cumin (those last two ingredient are potent, so a little goes a long way). If you have fresh chilies, cut up a few and toss those in as well.

Pour the marinate into a pan and start bringing the fucking heat. Once the pan is screaming hot (but not smoking up the joint), toss that steak in. Now throw in some duck fat (or butter if you don’t have duck fat, but tracking down some duck fat is 100% worth it to bring home all the flavors).

Once the steak sticks to the bottom of the pan, tip the pan and spoon the liquids over the top of the steak as the bottom side cooks up to a nice brown crust. After three minutes of this, flip and repeat. Once finished, remove the steak and let it rest before slicing. Here’s a video of the process:

Now throw a pint of leftover rice from your Chinese take out into the pan. You know – the box of shit that’s been in the back of your fridge all week. Mix all the oil and duck fat into the rice, and spread the rice out across the pan. LEAVE IT. Let it get crispy as fuck on the bottom without burning.

Once that’s done, plate the rice, slice up your steak, and top your rice with the steak. I did a fancy slicing technique for presentation, but you don’t have to get all crazy with it.

That’s about it. Enjoy, assholes! Oh and pro-tip: you can remove the peppercorns before frying up the rice. I didn’t do this because I like the numbing quality to them.

Nice Matin

My wife and I were recently invited into Nice Matin to help promote their Provencal menu in their celebration of Bastille Day.

I’ll say this: Nice Matin is the best French joint in the restaurant group’s ownership among other French joints (L,Express, Cafe D’Alsace, and Le Monde).

We tried a few small bites and drinks from that menu, and, of course, the strip steak frites from the regular menu.

First, we started with some Ricard, which was sponsoring the evening’s French kick-off night. Some diners win goodie bags, and you can enter for a chance to win a trip to France.

Tapenade:

Mussels:

Squash Blossom Beignets:

Onion Tart:

All of those were on the special menu, and all were really good. I think the favorites, for me, were the onion tart and the tapenade, but the squash blossoms were really light and tasty and the mussels were really nice.

The steak was a solid 8/10. The meat was super tender, and I really only took points off because the cook was a little bit over what I asked (medium rare).

The fries were perfectly cooked, but the addition of the Provencal herbs (like lavender) was a little bit aggressive.

For dessert we tried a sesame panna cotta and an olive oil cake. Both were really great, both flavor-wise and texture-wise.

Also, really nice bread here. Warm and tasty.

I definitely recommend this joint for anyone looking for some good classic French fare in the neighborhood.

NICE MATIN
201 W 79th St
New York, NY 10024

The American Dream

The American Dream is a package I put together for the 4th of July weekend, but since it was so popular, I decided to keep it available for a bit.

What You Get

1) Two dry aged Duroc pork chops, weighing in at 20-24 oz each;

2) A pound of thick cut bacon;

3) A pound of dry aged tenderloin tails;

4) And a 16oz Wagyu New York strip (my favorite steak of all time).

The Price Tag

Just $125 for about 88-96 ounces of delicious, high quality meat. I’ve marked this package down from $165, so get on it while I’m still feeling patriotic!

ORDER HERE

NOW OPEN: My Butcher Shop

WWW.JOHNNYPRIMEMEATS.COM

The time has finally come for me to start slinging meat as opposed to just crushing it.

Over the last six years I’ve really fine-tuned my taste for high quality beef. I can almost pick out flavor notes like those freaks who test milk and wine, only I do it with beef. Blue cheese “funk” here, aroma of hazel nuts there, earthy mushrooms over yonder. You get the idea.

Writing restaurant reviews lead to writing recipes, and striving to replicate the steakhouse experience in my kitchen – even to the point of dry-aging beef at home.

My concern and respect for this amazing protein also fostered a desire to learn about the entire beef life cycle: from cow/calf operations to stockers and backgrounders; from corn farms to grazing ranches; from forage to feed; from fabrication floor to front of the case, and all the way back to the restaurant again. Start to finish. No stone left unturned. I’ve even addressed various nutritional and environmental concerns.

I’ve become an expert on steak. But photographing, eating and writing about beef was no longer satisfying me. It seemed that I hit a wall and was spinning my wheels. I wasn’t fulfilling the goals I had for this website. Or maybe my goals changed, because now I feel the need to offer these meaty experiences to you, rather than just tell you about them. I’m still going to review restaurants, highlight products and write informative articles about beef. But now there’s got to be more than just those things.

That’s why I’ve decided to open an online butcher shop. I’ve been working with an extremely high end “middle meats” company that has the resources and connections to buy out massive stocks of incredible prime, American Wagyu and even Japanese Kobe beef. They’ve got a multi-million dollar state of the art facility in the Bronx’s famous Hunt’s Point Cooperative Market with a crazy dry-aging room, a huge blast freezer and all the support they need from an incredibly skilled team of butchers.

All my steaks are cut to order, and can be fully customized. They’re individually vacuum sealed, wrapped in butcher paper and signed by a butcher before being shipped to you. Shipping, by the way, will be free and arrive at your door just 2-days after the order is cut.

I’m really excited about this. I’ve hand selected every cut that I’m offering, and I’ve even cooked up and tasted everything to verify that it’s something I’d want on my own plate. If you tend to agree with me on my steak review opinions, then you’re in good hands with anything you order from my butcher shop. You won’t be disappointed. Johnny Prime Meats will impress you.

My plan is to stock a few items that will always be available. For example, the best steak I’ve ever eaten is the American Wagyu strip.

I’ll be offering that all the time, along with a few prime dry-aged rib eye options and a prime dry-aged porterhouse.

But the bonus is that I’ll also be showcasing some rare and unique proteins that have limited supply and quantity. For example, I’ve got my hands on some really sweet dry-aged Duroc pork rib chops right now, as well as some dry-aged tenderloin tails for the grill. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll try to locate some dry-aged veal, American Wagyu hanger steaks, or lamb bacon.

And speaking of bacon, you’ll be able to add a pound of thick cut bacon to any order for just $10 at checkout. Because what steak meal at home is complete without that steakhouse style slab of thick cut bacon?

I hope you guys are interested. Check out the shop. Browse the offerings. And keep your eyes on my meat!

New York Prime Beef

This will serve as sort of a double whammy review, since I used some nice products while cooking up these amazing steaks from New York Prime Beef.

New York Prime Beef is a high end middle meats (ribs and loins) brand that operates out of Hunt’s Point in the Bronx. I was invited in to meet the owner and employees, get a sense of the business, and try out some of their amazing products.

New York Prime Beef sells top notch prime, American wagyu and kobe beef steaks. They ship fresh overnight to anywhere in the US – never frozen unless the customer asks for it.

Each cut is beautifully packed in shrink wrap and butcher paper – even signed/initialed by the butcher who does the cutting.

Now let me tell you; I’ve had some really great steak in my day, as you can imagine. But the American wagyu strip that I took home and cooked was fucking flawless. Seriously one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, and I made it myself!

Look at the freaking marbling on this. Even the marbling has marbling.

It was a really simple cooking process. You can’t fuck it up. Season first with some salt. Heat up a little bit of oil in a cast iron pan until it’s screaming hot. Pop the steak on there for two and a half minutes per side.

But I actually used some truffle oil, truffle salt and truffle butter that I got from The Truffleist to boost up the decadence even more.

Take a look at the video:

The finished product was absolutely stunning. To be honest, this beef doesn’t need anything except for salt, but this truffle wagyu meal was fucking TITTY BAGS. I want to eat like this every day!

The texture is melt-in-your-mouth. You can cut this shit with a fork. The flavor has a buttery quality to it that sets it apart from standard beef or even prime, dry-aged beef. This stuff is like the foie gras of beef!

And that’s not to knock the other cuts they offer. Wagyu or Kobe isn’t in everyone’s budget. I also tried a prime porterhouse, and a prime dry-aged rib eye. The minimum these guys will age a cut of beef is 28-days. When I was at the facility, I saw some that had been aging for 60 days.

But anyway, let me get back to what I made at home. These babies were cut nice and thick, so I wanted to make sure I got a proper cook temp all the way through.

Sous Vide machines are all the rage these days. Everyone is buying them up because they allow you to cook meat perfectly every time. No more worrying about fucking up an expensive cut of beef!

I set mine to 128 degrees and let the fucker crank for about six hours. Then I pulled the meat out of the machine and let them rest and reabsorb some juices in the bag. Once they were about rom temperature plus, I removed them from the bag, patted them dry with a paper towel, and blasted them with a blowtorch. See below:

As you can see, I seasoned AFTER slicing and plating. This allowed me to get a better sense of the actual beef flavor for reviewing purposes.

The meat is fantastic. There’s a nice mild funk from the dry aging process on the rib eye. It doesn’t clobber you, which is good. The beef was tender and juicy, and really responded nicely to basic seasoning like salt, pepper and olive oil.

I think I liked the porterhouse a bit better. The tenderness of both the strip and filet sides was incredible.

I highly recommend this stuff. Order some today and let them know that Johnny Prime sent you. You’ll probably have the meat in time for dinner grilling on Sunday.

One of the coolest things about this spot is that the owner, Vinnie (great name), is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

He’s a drag racer, a pilot, an old car guy (like me), and an art enthusiast. He even has some wild graffiti art on his rooftop (he supplies the paint for the artists).

I think that about covers it. I hope to see his products flood the market. They’re so good.

Dominique Bistro

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

Dominique Bistro is a small French joint in the West Village. I recently had the opportunity to try a pair of steaks there when I was invited in by the restaurant’s PR group.

But let me start at the beginning. I also tried the escargot and the steak tartare appetizers. The escargot was very herby and flavorful. Nice texture and nicely cooked.

The tartare was delicious. It was well seasoned, and the toasted bread, mixed greens and caperberries were great with it.

Okay on to the steak! First, the steak frites. This was a nice 14oz bone-in strip, cooked to a perfect medium rare and well seasoned.

Easily a 9/10. And the fries? Maybe some of my favorite yet.

Next up, the filet mignon.

This 10oz beauty was served on a bed of truffle oil infused mashed potatoes with spinach and gravy.

Also a perfect medium rare inside.

While a sauced steak isn’t generally my thing, this one really worked. It was so juicy and tender. 8/10.

I highly recommend this joint; they know how to handle their meat.

DOMINIQUE BISTRO
14 Christopher St
New York, NY 10014

Vaucluse

My wife picked up a nice Gilt City deal for this joint that gave us $200 to spend for something like $100. I had heard great things about the burger here, so I figured it was time to check it out now that there was a flash deal at play.

The cocktail menu is pricey at $18, but very nicely crafted.

We shared that burger (the “White Label Burger”) as an app. The patty is an aged beef blend; the cheese is fontina; and it’s topped with a tomato jam and dijonnaise.

They cook it nice and rare, so you don’t lose any of that aged funk to the heat. It’s a potent burger, and part of me still loves a classic roadside American burger better, but this is kinda like having a steak between a bun. Definitely nice.

And like any good French joint, it’s served with frites.

These were pretty good, but not quite on the level of Boucherie, which has now become my benchmark standard, to which all French fries must be compared.

We also tried the calamari stuffed with lobster and rice.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much lobster to this dish. In fact, I couldn’t really find any or taste any in the bites I had. In any case, the tomato sauce was nice, as was the cook on the squid.

My wife had some rabbit, truffle and cheese ravioli for her entree. This was a small portion size for $25, but they at least warned us ahead of time that it would be.

They were excellent. Each raviolo seemed to be partitioned, with one side having the rabbit, and the other side having the cheese.

Of course, I had steak.

This was served with some dressed watercress, but I quickly brushed that bullshit aside. I sliced it up so you could see the perfect cook temp on this prime NY strip steak.

This was actually a steak frites, so it came with more fries and a peppercorn au poivre on the side. Well, I asked for it on the side so I could get this intense shot of foodpourn.

Did you just bust? Because I did.

I ate every bite. It was a great little steak. I didn’t detect any aged flavor, and I assume they would have advertised that if it were the case. Not too bad at $44, but on par with the Jubilee rib eye steak frites that I had just the other day for $40. 8/10.

We shared a lemon tart with basil ice cream for dessert. This was really pretty, and tasted a bit like a key lime pie with the herbaceous basil ice cream on top. We liked this a lot.

Oh and I should mention that this place also brings out an amuse at the beginning, as well as petit fours at the end. I only snapped the amuse, which was a tiny popover style bread with a truffle cream filling. The dessert capper was a chocolate hazelnut bite.

UPDATE 8/18/18

On a second trip, I came in to promote the burger for the Altamarea Group, as well as to try some other items with a group of Instagrammers. Here’s what we had:

Escargots served on bone marrow.

Veal carpaccio.

Steak tartare.

Squid ink spaghetti.

Those rabbit epaulettes again. So good.

Wild boar strozzapreti.

The White Label burger.

Duck.

Veal chop.

Tomahawk rib eye. This was a 10/10 – absolutely perfect.

And some desserts.

VAUCLUSE
100 E 63rd St
New York, NY 10065

Lean Beef

I recently had dinner with a friend of mine who had just gotten an angioplasty. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when surgeons open up blocked arteries and restore normal blood flow to the heart. If your arteries stay clogged, you can have a heart attack and die. Duh.

My friend’s doctor obviously cautioned him to avoid saturated fats and bad cholesterol. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a steak once in a while, and that’s exactly what he wanted for dinner on the night we hung out. I have that effect on people…

So there were two steaks on the menu; a NY strip and a skirt. My buddy asked the waitress, “which one is more fatty?” She said the strip, which, all things equal in terms of grade and cooking prep, is completely false. I informed my buddy why she was wrong after she stepped away, so as not to embarrass her. But I figured I would share that knowledge here with you guys, too. Here’s why she was wrong:

NY strip steak is a strip loin cut of beef, which is the most prized part of the sirloin. Sirloin is considered a lean cut of beef. In fact, any time you see the word “loin” in describing a cut of beef, that means it’s lean. The one caveat I’ll give is that fat content also depends on the grade of beef, not just the location of the cut. Prime has more intra-muscular fat (marbling) than choice, for example, and something like Kobe has more than prime.

The term “lean” means that the beef has 4.5g or less of saturated fat per serving, and 10g or less total fat per serving. About 66% of beef cuts are considered lean cuts. That’s pretty fucking good!

Skirt hails from the “plate” or diaphragm muscle of the bovine anatomy. It’s not listed above because it isn’t within the definition of lean. It has more fat content than a strip steak, especially after a strip is trimmed by a restaurant. Most of the fat on a sirloin lies on the outside of the muscle, as opposed to the inside marbling (which, by the way, contains “good fats,” like olive oil and avocados do). But when external fat is trimmed away, you’re down to low fat content.

The real question, then, becomes: How is the steak prepared? Does it come with a cream sauce? Is it cooked with tons of butter? Is it simply seasoned and grilled? All of this matters tremendously in terms of calculating the total fat content of a particular dish.

Why do I mention this? Because the method of cooking could flip these fat levels very easily. If the strip is being cooked in a pan filled with butter and then smothered in a cream sauce, while the skirt is simply seasoned and grilled, then maybe it’s best to get the skirt if you’re trying to be mindful of overall fat content. It all depends, like adult diapers.

My advice: don’t ruin good beef with a sauce. I love the flavor of beef, so I don’t like to mask it with sauces of any kind. Simply season and fire it up. If you live by those rules, then you can take the fat content of lean cuts at face value and be confident that you’re eating a low fat, lean beef meal that’s both nutritious and delicious.

North End Grill Bistro du Nord

The Union Square Hospitality Group is hosting a pop-up French restaurant called “Bistro du Nord” in the North End Grill space throughout January. This is the group of restaurants headed up by chef Danny Meyer, who recently went “no tip” and “service included” in the menu pricing of all his joints. Even the coat check is included! But the prices… for a tip-included place, they were amazing. I was expecting some inflated numbers, but to me, they all looked like what you’d see at any other restaurant.

I was invited in by the group to sample some of the delicious items that chef Eric Korsh is featuring on this limited run menu (though some items may still be available after the pop-up is finished). He’s the chef there at North End Grill, even when there is no pop-up going on, so you can expect the same level of execution and awesomeness if you happen to miss the pop-up.

So let me get down to it, because we tried a lot of good stuff.

Duck egg en meurette.

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If you’re like me, and have no idea what some French culinary terms mean, then I will explain. “En meurette” basically means that the duck egg is served in a red wine reduction, like a bourguignon or meat gravy type sauce. The egg here was nicely poached and served with mushrooms and black truffles.

Roasted oysters with spinach and bacon.

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I believe some cheese was involved as well. These were beautiful and fantastic.

Escargot with garlic and parsley butter.

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Really nice in the little skillet, and already plucked from the shell, so no work is involved.

Tarte flambe.

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This was essentially a nice, light, airy flatbread – almost like zaatar, but less aggressive with the spice.

French onion soup with bone marrow.

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Beautiful. This one was topped with a piece of toast and melty gruyere, but that bone marrow in the middle was just absolutely awesome.

Now for the entrees.

Steamed trout.

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I was a little skeptical of a steamed fish item, but this was so tasty. I even remarked that it reminded me of something Scandinavian, perhaps because of the presence of dill and a thickened broth sauce.

Crispy skate wing – my apologies for not getting a picture. This fish was so light yet flavorful that it threw me off guard. The crisp on the outside of the fish was so awesome.

Roast chicken.

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Super crispy outside skin and perfect tenderness within. The cabbage wrap was filled with more succulent, tender meat as well as some fois gras and parsley root. Very elegant.

Cassoulet.

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What a refreshing improvement from the last cassoulet my wife and I had at The House. This one had the meat on full display: pork belly and a duck leg. With trotter and white beans in the dish, this was a nice and hearty dish, but it didn’t seem heavy at all.

NY strip steak au poivre.

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I had the kitchen slice this for us so it was easier to share. This was perfectly cooked to medium rare, and the peppery sauce really complimented the prime beef. The chef trimmed off any gristle from the sides, and the quality of the cut was top notch. It was lean but very flavorful, and the texture was incredibly tender. 9/10.

On the side we had some wood grilled fennel, which was really nice and helped us digest. We also had some fries, as they came with the steak. They had a perfect crisp and were nicely seasoned.

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There’s always room for dessert.

Apple and huckleberry galette.

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This was right up my alley. Sweetness with a little bit of tartness, and then warm mixed with cold ice cream. Perfection.

Chocolate souffle.

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Perfect execution on this, and the chocolate was rich and decadent without being overpowering or overly sweet.

Paris-brest.

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I loved this. The one here was apple and hazelnut cream flavored. It was light and airy, soft yet crisp. I could easily inhale a few of these.

I think that about does it. Get your asses down here and try some of this delicious French fare while the pop-up lasts!

NORTH END GRILL
104 North End Ave
New York, NY 10282

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