Tag Archives: tartare

Hawksmoor

The high-end English steakhouse chain Hawksmoor has finally landed here in NYC. I’ve been looking forward to trying this place since I heard the rumors of its opening, pre-covid. It recently opened its doors, and I was able to try it out before the holidays (after which I’m assuming NYC will go into lockdown mode again over this new Omicron variant).

Anyway here’s the review – that’s why you’re here:

Hawksmoor overall score: 88

My wife and I came here for a quick meal before catching a flight to Spain. She had a credit for something like $56 so that covered the steak.

Flavor: 9

As far as steaks are concerned, we only tried a 40oz aged rib steak that they had as a special for the night. It was great, although a little bit under seasoned. In fact, a few items throughout the meal needed salt, but otherwise excellent. The steak had a great cook temp and a nice charred crust with good aged flavor throughout.

We also split a cheeseburger as an app, which I thought was great. I typically don’t like brioche buns for a burger, but this one help up nicely. The meat was cooked perfectly.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

There’s a good selection of cuts here, both boneless and bone-in, staple cuts and irregular cuts (like rump), prime and aged. But they may need to beef up their availability, because by 7pm they only had two 30oz porterhouse steaks left on a Thursday. I know it’s the busy season, but this shouldn’t happen at a steakhouse. I had to take a point for that.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portion sizes ranged from 10-40oz, and nicely plated on Staub cast iron pans. Other dishes were sufficiently fun, yet elegant, without being stuffy, which matched the whole ambiance of the place.

Price: 7

The pricing here is definitely on the high end when you compare it to other steakhouses in NYC (especially the ones that are part of larger chain ownerships). On the flip side, Hawksmoor touts a “natural beef” program, so that niche market of steaks is expected to come with a price tag premium.

Bar: 10

The bar is a great place to sit and eat (which is what we did), and they offer some inventive house cocktails in addition to an impressive selection of bottles behind the bar. One negative: the martinis are small, but at $12 for Beefeater 24 it’s a more than fair price. Michter’s 10 year is $28, and the 20 year is $118 (we had some of that deliciousness).

Specials and Other Meats: 8

I would definitely come back to try the veal, but I was a little bit surprised at the lack of pork and lamb options on the menu of this English chop house. Other than beef, they only offered a chicken dish by way of alternative meats. Nonetheless, the 40oz rib steak that was on special was awesome, and I can respect a steakhouse that’s LASER focused on beef.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We tried a bunch of stuff, and all of it was great. The aged rump steak tartare with pickled shiitake mushrooms was unique and had a mild sweetness to it, along with a gorgeous orange egg yolk.

I really loved the bone marrow roasted oysters. Top notch, and a must order!

The potted beef was good but needed a little bit of salt. Awesome onion marmalade and Yorkshire to go with it.

I would pass on the triple fried “chips.” They had a good crisp on them, but overall they lacked personality and seasoning.

That little red bottle is actually the surprisingly good tomato-based steak sauce. Give it a shot!

The desserts that we tried were both masterpieces. When you go here, make sure you get either the Meyer Lemon Bomb or the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Wow!

The tribute bites, however, while beautiful and tasty: I would pass on those next time.

Seafood Selection: 7

The oysters were awesome, but we didn’t try either of the seafood mains that they offered on the menu (lobster and halibut). Maybe next time, but likely not. Again; only two offerings, but I respect the focus on beef here.

Service: 10

Our bartender was incredibly knowledgeable about both the food and drinks, and she made excellent suggestions when we asked for recommendations. Everyone in the front of the house was really nice and helpful.

Ambiance: 10

Both the bar room and the main dining room here are beautiful. Elegant, steakhousey, bustling, fun, and energetic. And good music, too, not too loud.

Here’s something from the dining room that was very apropos – seems like both are being diminished lately.

I can’t wait to go back and try more of the menu.

HAWKSMOOR
109 E 22nd St
New York, NY 10010

The Ten Bells

This nice wine bar in the Lower East Side has an awesome happy hour deal that includes $18 carafes of red, white or rose along with dollar oysters in three varieties, every day from open until 7pm. On weekends they open at 3pm so my wife and I popped in to try a bunch of stuff. We were the first ones at the bar. This is what one side of it looks like:

The wine was delicious.

And so was this tomato flavored brandy:

For bites, we did two dozen oysters (eight of each variety, all nicely cleaned and fresh);

Steak tartare (this was really nicely prepared – one of the better tartares I’ve had);

And boquerones/anchovies.

Everything was great, and I can’t wait to go back for more.

THE TEN BELLS
247 Broome St
New York, NY 10002

Life Rooftop

Life Rooftop took over the space formerly known as the Viceroy at the top of Le Meridien hotel, near Central Park. The views are spectacular.

The cocktails are excellent.

And the food, which is more along the bites and small portions angle, is really delicious. The seafood tower is impressive. It comes with lobster, king crab, langoustines, shrimp, clams, oysters, caviar, tuna tartare and hamachi crudo.

The lobster roll is pretty packed full of meat too.

The stars of the meal for me, though, were the deviled eggs with caviar, and the wagyu tartare.

Their dessert sundae and churros were really great too. I’d definitely eat here again.

LIFE ROOFTOP
24 W 57th St
29th Floor
New York, NY 10019

Balthazar

In all my years in NYC, I never tried Balthazar until last night. I had heard all the great stories: awesome steaks, awesome fries, awesome bread. Only one of those is true, but there are other things worth noting.

My wife and I stopped in for a quick meal at the bar. We started with some nice stiff cocktails, and a pair of apps: escargots and steak tartare. BIG FRENCH.

The escargots were awesome. We crushed them quickly. The tartare was average to good, but the slices of toasted bread were awesome. In fact, the Balthazar bread is so good that other restaurants use Balthazar bread for their bread service.

For our mains, we had the burger and the steak frites.

The burger was really good. Nice crust, great flavor, ample cheese coverage.

The steak, however…

… was Applebees level trash. It was cooked nicely, but the quality was average at best.

I can make anything look good, but this was a 5/10 or 6/10 at best. At $42 this felt like a rip off, and I think it was either flank or flatiron. Not strip as I was kind of expecting. The fries were very good, but not quite at awesome level. Go across town to Raoul’s if a killer burger and steak frites is what you’re after. Here, I would stick to the bread, the burger, and the snails. And yes, the fries are still worth trying if you haven’t already.

BALTHAZAR
80 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

The Stand

Wyoming Whiskey teamed up with pitmaster Tyson Ho (from Arrogant Swine in Brooklyn) for a killer meal at The Stand near Union Square.

To get the juices flowing, we sipped on the Wyoming Whiskey bourbon as well as a cocktail made with Delirium Tremens and the whiskey. Very nice.

We started with a delicious Brazilian style elk tartare that was paired with a herbaceous frozen cocktail called a batida that featured the whiskey.

Then we moved on to a Filipino style BBQ quail with a smoked old fashioned. This course was awesome.

The smoked leg of venison was nice, tender and thinly sliced, served with Bengali spices and a fat washed whiskey sour.

Next up was nori wrapped rib eye and BBQ sweetbreads. An odd combo for sure, but the sweetbreads were my favorite bites of the meal. This was paired with a nori and mushroom infused Manhattan.

Dessert was a nice blackberry and vanilla ice cream pie/crumble with a swig of the single barrel.

I really dug this meal. Most of this is not available on the regular menu at the Stand, but based on tasting chef Harold Villarosa’s cooking alongside Ho’s cooking, I would go back for sure.

THE STAND
116 East 16th St
New York, NY 10003

Dry-Aged Tenderloin Tails

NOTE: THESE ARE LIMITED AVAILABILITY ITEMS!
As of now, we are sold out unfortunately.

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