Tag Archives: tartare

Dry-Aged Tenderloin Tails

These are a big seller in my shop, and I just realized that I never featured them until now. My tenderloin tails are dry aged for at least a month and they pack a wallop of earthy flavor. Here are a couple of ideas for what do do with them:

A tartare preparation, and a sous vide + sear to medium rare situation, which is great for steak sandwiches or serving with a mild horseradish cream sauce.

ORDER HERE!!! You’re gonna love these tasty fuckers. Just $50!

Ai Fiori

My steak-eating crew and I came in here and tried 16 different items, so there’s no time for bullshitting. I will just get right down to it.

STARTERS

Dry-Aged Beef Tartare (bar menu)

This was damn good. Not as beautiful as Vaucluse, but it had a different flavor profile (Italian) that worked just as well as the classic French style.

Fried Soft-Shell Crab

So delicious. The zucchini puree underneath was a great Italian play for the sauce element, and the whipped ricotta just made it soar.

Octopus

The radish, white bean and salsa verde made the perfectly tender and grilled octopus shine with a bright pop of acidity.

Tomato Salad

This had stracciatella, pesto and watermelon. Very refreshing.

MID COURSES

Lobster Cavatelli

This sounded amazing but it fell a little short. It was by no means a bad dish. It was just not as stellar as the other entrees. Of course I would prefer this over the tomato salad from the appetizer courses. Duh. I just didn’t get a lot of robust flavors.

Spaghetti with Blue Crab & Bottarga

Winner. This was so delicious. Every aspect of it popped, and the robustness was there, while still preserving the delicate flavors of the crab meat.

Scallops

What made this really special was the corn pudding and toasted corn on the plate. I could eat buckets.

White Label Burger (bar menu)

My favorite of all the Michael White burgers. This one has Calabrian aioli and pickles on it, along with fontina, tomato and red onion. The blend is dry-aged Pat LaFrieda, just like the other White Label burgers as well. What’s really awesome here at Ai Fiori is the potato side that comes with it: pommes dauphines. I didn’t get a good shot, but they are basically breaded and deep fried balls of mashed potato. Again, buckets are needed!

ENTREES

Butter Poached Lobster

Insanity. One of the best lobster dishes I’ve ever had. So tender and flavorful, and it’s a really meaty lobster tail portion size with some sliced claw meat along the side.

Lamb Chops

These were wrapped in caul fat and crusted/glazed very nicely. The snap peas were a nice refreshing touch here to cut the fat, and I liked the use of barley in this dish. One of my favorite grains to eat when done right.

Tomahawk Steak (Costata)

This was an easy 10/10. Michael White’s large format steaks are just amazing at every one of his restaurants. While pretty much identical to the steaks available at Vaucluse and Osteria Morini, there is something to be said about the consistency of these steaks. Every time I visit, they are just as good, and they are all good at every restaurant. These are definitely signature items, and they are 100% worth ordering.

The charred lemon is killer! The rest of the meal was sides and desserts, which were all great but I won’t really dive to deep. My favorite dessert was the chocolate budino. There was some banana incorporated into that. Delicious.

SIDES

Broccoli Rabe

Chicory

DESSERT

Chocolate Budino

Almond Cake

Cheese Plate

I highly recommend both the burger and the tomahawk here. To start, split a pasta and a burger. Then hit the tomahawk for your entree, and get some extra pommes dauphines for the road!

AI FIORI
400 5th Ave #2
New York, NY 10018

Compere Lapin

This is Nina Compton’s joint, from the New Orleans season of Top Chef. My wife got us a reservation here and we were all pretty excited to try it.

The cocktails here are awesome, and I’m now firmly of the belief that New Orleans is one of the best places for cocktails in the world. Their take on a mule is served in a brass rabbit, and they can only serve 14 at a time, since that’s how many brass rabbit vessels they have.

I had a Louisville Slugger, which was basically a vanilla smoked old fashioned. Delicious.

Now onto the food. First was this board of amazing biscuits with two kinds of butter (sweet and maple bacon).

We started with a nice round of small plates and apps.

Crispy Pig’s Ears

These were awesome. Great Caribbean spice flavor (Nina hails from St. Lucia), crispy outside, and a little chew inside. Just right.

Conch Croquettes

Another nod to Nina’s background, these Caribbean conch fritters were soft inside and perfectly crisp outside.

Tuna Tartare

This was so good. The spice level was nice, but the flavor and quality of the tuna was exceptional. Not to mention that it’s beautiful to look at. My favorite of the apps, and that’s a big win considering what came next.

Steak Tartare

The meat was nicely minced and served with a skim-coat of smoked beef fat. Amazing! My buddy, who is a big steak tartare aficionado, loved this. This shit was way better than the garbage we had at Dickie Brennan’s.

Now onto the main courses.

Jamaican Jerk Drum

Drum is a fish that’s local to the area. It’s white and flakey, kinda like a halibut. This had a nice crisped coating of jerk spices on the exterior, and a super tender and flakey interior. I loved it. What made this dish really pop, though, were the drops of citrus custard that dotted the plate. When you got that pungent hit of lemon curd in with a bite of all the rest, it really came together.

Seafood Scialatielli

This homemade spaetzl-like pasta was perfectly cooked and served with some high quality shrimp and clams. We really liked it.

Curry Goat

I didn’t get a photo of this, but I did get a bite of my friends dish. It was so tender and flavorful. Nina really nailed it.

Dessert: Soursop Semifreddo

Very rare to see the exotic soursop fruit on a menu stateside, so my wife and I jumped at this. It was served in a log shaped semifreddo form, with shaved celery, meringue and shaved cucumber. Really well balanced.

This was easily one of the best meals we had in New Orleans. I highly recommend this joint.

COMPERE LAPIN
The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
535 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130

Vai

We scored a Gilt City deal for this place: $79 gets you two cocktails, two apps, two entrees and a shared dessert.

We started with the charred octopus and veal tartare. Both were well executed and tasty.

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The octopus had a great snap to it, yet it was still very tender.

My wife picked the pork tenderloin for her entree. I thought it could have had a third medallion of pork, but since it came with some shank meat and belly meat, I guess it wasn’t a big deal.

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I had the roasted skirt steak (Creekstone Farm), though I could swear it looked and tasted more like a hanger steak. It had a great outer crust from the roasting process, and it was cooked to a perfect medium rare inside. However, both this and the pork entree lacked salt. Luckily there was a small bowl of flake salt at the table for adding. 8/10.

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For dessert we shared this chocolate mousse cake. Very nice.

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As it turns out, the general manager remembered me from when she waited tables at Vic & Anthony’s. That earned us a complimentary glass of bubbly! So nice.

VAI
429 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Koshe Poke

Koshe Poke is a Kosher poke joint inside Eden Wok on East 34th Street. Poke has skyrocketed in popularity here in NYC. We went from no poke restaurants to about 10 or more, seemingly overnight.

For the uninitiated, poke is essentially chopped up raw, dressed fish with flavorful toppings. It’s actually a Hawaiian dish, so many of the flavors and toppings are Asian/Japanese inspired, like sesame oil, soy sauce and green onions.

In many ways it’s similar to tartare preparations of salmon and tuna, only it is generally cut into larger pieces and dressed with more items. Here in NYC, it is more like a “sushi salad,” since often times the poke is thrown into a bowl with rice, quinoa or greens. It’s even showing up in burrito form now, too.

In any case, I’ve had poke a few times before the craze finally made it to NYC. Back in the mid/late 90’s, my sister lived in Hawaii for a stretch of about four years. That’s really when I first became aware of the dish, just from talking with her and having the topic of food come up on occasion.

My experience with poke in Hawaii was a mediocre one. The dish I tried contained ahi that was a bit stringy in spots, so I was a little bummed out. In fairness, I probably should have tried it in more places when I was there.

Koshe Poke is the first NYC poke joint that I’ve tried since the trend took hold. I liked it. The fish tasted fresh and was good quality, and the toppings were all flavorful and highly varied.

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The concept is simple, and highly customizable. You start with a choice of either brown rice, white rice, greens or a burrito as the “base” of your poke meal. While this is not in keeping with the traditional ways of Hawaii, it makes the poke more like a full meal rather than a side or salad item.

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Then you choose your protein from among items like tuna, salmon, and yellow tail. You can get them grilled too if you want, and you can add additional proteins for just $2.

After, you can choose up to six add-ins from a selection of 13, one sauce, four toppings, and a choice of two crispy items from a selection of 12. You get all of this for just $12, which is a great deal.

I went with tuna and salmon on white rice, with carrot, cucumber, avocado, sweet corn, scallion and hearts of palm. I chose the Hawaiian salt sauce, topped it with wasabi, and added sesame seeds and dry noodles as my crispy elements.

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I was happy with this bowl, and kept referring to it as a “sushi salad.”

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One suggestion I have is that they should have the option to get the rice served cold, that way the cold items like raw fish stay chilled and don’t warm up in the bowl from the warm rice. The main issue with that, though, is that cold rice tends to clump together and get sticky, which could be problematic. In any case, this is a good riff on poke, and I’m glad to see the item establishing a solid presence in NYC.

KOSHE POKE (INSIDE EDEN WOK)
43 E 34th St
New York, NY 10016

Hunt & Fish Club

Hunt & Fish Club overall score: 90

Just a quick FYI about the format of this review. I was under the impression that this joint didn’t seek to be classified as a steakhouse. But now, everywhere I see this place mentioned in print, it is being called a steakhouse. SO I’ve taken my restaurant review and stuffed it into a steakhouse review format. That’s why it looks like a Walmart fatty stuffed into a runway model’s dress.

My wife surprised me with dinner here for Valentine’s Day.

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What an incredible meal! We started with some cocktails. Gin martini for me, and some sort of sparkling apple drink for the wife.

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A nice  unexpected surprise was a pair of big popovers. These were pretty good, but not quite up to the standard set by BLT Prime. One was very airy and light, while the other had a crispy outer shell with a lop-sided, more dense, doughy bottom.

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There were several items we wanted to try from the app menu, so we just ordered them all. First was the filet mignon tartare. This rivals the Quality Meats tartare. Easily one of the best in Manhattan. The plate was ringed with minced red onion, boiled egg whites and egg yolks. The beef itself was extremely soft and tender despite being hand cut. It was topped with a raw quail egg for that needed fat. So fucking good when spread onto the little waffle chips that came with the plate.

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Next up was the bacon. These were nice and thick: we had a strip each. I’ve had better in other places, but this was an excellent way to chase that delicious tartare.

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Our third starter was the oxtail and bone marrow French onion soup. This was really delicious and rich. The broth had such a nice flavor from all that beefy goodness. While I still like the French onion soup at Le Village better, this was an exciting, innovative take on what is frankly a boring item.

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For my main course, I had this delicious, perfectly cooked bone-in rib eye steak. Aged prime all the way, people. So fucking good. Easily in my top steaks. The crust had a great sear. There was a slight amount of bleed-out, but it was not due to lack of rest. It was just juicy as fuck.

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My wife had a halibut dish that was cooked with king crab for a nice flavor boost. I can see why they call this place Fish & Hunt – both the meat and the fish are spectacular and deserve to be featured prominently.

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My wife and I basically said FUCK YOU to greens in this meal. Instead of sharing one healthy veggie side, we went with two unhealthy, starchy, carby veggies. First was horseradish mustard mashed potatoes. Really fucking tasty. The horseradish gave it a good kick in the balls.

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The other was truffled tater tots. Holy shit these were decadent and earthy. They were cooked with truffle oil, and the creamy dip sauce that came with them had minced truffle in it as well. BOOM!

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For dessert we shared a yogurt based panna cotta. While the texture was really not the kind you associate with panna cotta, this flavor was really light and delicious. It was creamy, airy from the berry foam on top, and it had an awesome crumble made from brown sugar on top. Then topped with some fresh berries. Fucking nice.

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The bill came with a pair of freebie signature hibiscus vodka cocktails that tasted like adult fruit punch. I liked it. Also two golden boxes with chocolate candies inside. One was coffee dusted, and the other was salted dark chocolate truffle. REALLY rich and flavorful.

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We ate like royalty in this place. Definitely worth trying despite a pricey total bill. Give it a shot!

UPDATES

The rib eye is still nearly perfect. Here are some updated pics:

I also tried the porterhouse, which was a solid 9/10.

I also tried the carpaccio, herb fries, bacon, brussels (with more bacon), and the carrot cake. Everything is great.

Flavor: 9 – very near to absolute perfection

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9 – could use a few more cut options. Quality is fantastic though.

Portion Size & Plating: 8 – steaks are a good size, but slightly thin, and certainly mismatched when looking at price.

Price: 8 – this is an expensive joint, but the rest must be expensive too.

Bar: 10 – great street-side drinking, elegant, fancy, and nicely decorated. Plus there’s another bar downstairs for more intimacy.

Specials & Other Meats: 9 – solid showing of alternative meats on the menu.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10 – everything we had was awesome here.

Seafood Selection: 10 – with a name like “Hunt & FISH Club” you expect no less. The presence of Alaskan King Crab as an entree is impressive.

Service: 8 – perhaps because we went on Valentine’s Day, which is super busy, we didn’t get the five-star treatment we expected.

Ambiance: 9 – very elegant and glamorous. I can understand why celebs have been flocking to this place.

HUNT & FISH CLUB
125 W. 44th St.
New York, NY 10036