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.
We had the strip steak. It was pretty crappy. No crust, WAY overcooked, and it tasted extremely cheap.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 5
There’s a good selection of cuts here all day long, but the quality of their supposedly high end steaks – for which they are charging upwards of $50 – was pure shit. I’ve had better steaks at Tad’s. What a waste of time and money, and my wife’s’ restaurant credit. Had I known the steak would be this bad, I would have just gotten apps or she could have kept it for drinks at the bar.
Portion Size & Plating: 5
This seemed very small for a $50+ steak. Thin, flimsy. I expected a little thickness for a strip steak. The size of the spinach side was too small for the price as well. Plating was basic and as I expected though.
Given such poor quality of the steak, even with the discount my wife had this place was a waste of money. We saved $50+ but still dropped about $70 on other items.
The bar here is actually nice. Big. I would definitely have a drink there again, and the cocktails were pretty good.
Specials and Other Meats: 7
There were no real specials read to us, but I didn’t expect much from a steakhouse in the airport. As far as other meats go, the standard chicken and lamb were there I think.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 5
We started with a wedge salad. It was massive – an entire head of iceberg lettuce. Great blue cheese crumble and dressing. Nice fried onions. I would have liked more bacon though.
The sautéed spinach was shitty. Watery, flavorless and a very small portion for the price.
Seafood Selection: 7
There’s standard steakhouse seafood fare here. I didn’t try any so can’t really rate it.
Service was good albeit a little slow toward the end. Nice waiter, and he seemed to know his meats as well.
For an airport eatery, this place was pretty nice inside. Open space, nice furnishings, and, as noted above, nice bar.
BOBBY VAN’S TERMINAL 8
JFK Airport, Terminal 8
New York, NY 11430
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.
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.
The radish, white bean and salsa verde made the perfectly tender and grilled octopus shine with a bright pop of acidity.
This had stracciatella, pesto and watermelon. Very refreshing.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
My buddy from Gotham Burger Social Club organized a kickass meal here at Scampi because he loved the place so much and wanted us to all try the greatness of PJ Calapa’s cooking.
We started with a round of seafood apps:
These were my favorite. They were dressed with fennel, chives and prosciutto, and they were minced up with Manila clams and placed back into the shell. You could just shoot them rather than having to pry them from the shell and eat them in one big sloppy bite.
This was a really nice, crisp and fresh crudo dish with tomatoes, castelvetrano olives and lime. Simple but perfect.
Mackerel is one of my least favorite fish to eat, but this preparation was nice – even with the eggplant in there, which I also usually dislike. Pine nuts, basil and tomato really brought his together.
While this wasn’t technically a seafood item, it contained anchovy in the “bagna cauda” dressing. The parmesan, fried capers and breadcrumbs gave it a really nice texture.
Next up was a selection of four pasta dishes:
This had Manila clams, filone and tarragon pesto. This was a great, light clam sauce dish with perfectly cooked “large semi-elbows.”
Long skinny lasagna style ribbon pasta with shrimp, parsley, buttre and lemon. Classic and so good.
Show stopper! The trumpet pasta was served in a buttery half-red sauce with fennel sausage, broccoli rabe and parmesan. It was perfect in every way.
Half-moon shaped ravioli filled with braised pork in a pomodoro sauce with pecorino. Really nicely executed.
Now on to the main entrée, the 60-day dry-aged tomahawk:
This beauty is only $135 for 42oz, but it’s limited availability, first come first serve, so you will need to ask them if they have any left if you want to try it (it isn’t on the regular menu). Pat LaFrieda, Creekstone Farms.
Chef PJ’s cooking technique is very involved on this beast. It sees constant movement and several methods of cooking, from the pan to the broiler to a butter bath. This is a 9/10.
We also had some nice sides with this steak:
These roasted onions were plated with gorgonzola, aged balsamic and crispy shallots.
Simply grilled but then topped with cured, grated egg yolk, toasted almonds and tarragon. Even the veggies get creative techniques applied to them.
These came with shaved fennel and castelvetrano olives in a light lemon dressing.
For dessert, we tried three items:
These were some of the best I’ve ever had. Very classic treatment with chocolate chips and ricotta cream.
This was an olive oil cake with mascarpone, berries, almonds and strawberry swirl gelato.
Semifreddo, dried apricot, pistachio, chocolate and almonds.
I highly recommend trying this place out. Everything I tasted was great – not one dish fell short or disappointed.
UPDATE DECEMBER 2019
Brunch is also great here. I came with my wife and tried a few pasta dishes and their brunch burger.
The burger comes with a fried egg, arugula and spicy “bomba” sauce, which is comprised of capers, artichoke, calabrian chili and other Italian goodies. It was incredible.
Probably one of the best burgers I had in 2019. Smashed/fried fingerlings are just okay.
The carbonara pasta was a bit too creamy. Nevertheless, we destroyed every strand of spaghetti.
The Lobster Club is the newest venture by Major Food Group (The Grill, Parm, Carbone, The Pool, etc). What attracted me to this joint was their chili oil-, cumin- and Szechuan peppercorn- spiced tomahawk rib eye. You may recall my Szechuan strip steak recipe, where I used a similar flavor profile. Let me just admit up front that mine wasn’t as good as theirs, despite mine looking prettier and my crispy rice being fantastic.
Anyway, let me get to the meal already.
I started at the bar with a great cocktail called the Umeshu Highball: Japanese whisky, aged umeshu and sparkling water.
At the table, my wife had the Jasmine Blossom: Bourbon, plum sake, plum eau-de-vie and sherry. Garnished with a big slice of fresh ginger.
At dessert, we shared the Banana Goto: Japanese whisky, espresso, cacao and banana whipped cream. This went perfectly with our dessert, as you will see later.
The cocktails were all awesome, and I would definitely come back for a drink at the bar, for sure.
Our first course was sushi. This is an entree but we shared it as an appetizer. At $68 this is pretty hefty, but the quality was indeed top notch.
We shared the Sansho Octopus dish next. This was pricey at $28 for a single large tentacle, but it was pretty tasty, and served with some Asian style pickled radish and cucumber slices, as well as what reminded me of a chimichurri sauce on top.
Before the steak came out, they brought out this cool platter of sauces for the steak. None of them were really necessary, given the richness of the steak and the aggressiveness of the flavors, but a few of them went well. Namely, the confit garlic and the chili sauce.
The steak itself was a haymaker knockout punch of flavor. This shit is aggressive, spicy and there’s a LOT of it. You should take my 10/10 score of this with a warning: I happen to LOVE these flavors. The steak reminded me of the tingly beef noodles or the spicy cumin lamb noodles at Xian Famous. That is not everyone’s cup of tea! If you just want dry-aged beef, then go with the porterhouse here. This baby is minimally aged and it packs a wallop of interesting flavor.
The quality was great. Very tender, great cap size, edible fat. It was also cooked perfectly. If you want unique, then go for it. It’s $195 for 46oz (including the bone), and, as I said, it’s aggressively spiced. You may want to split it with three others rather than two just to give your taste buds a break.
The steak also comes with a pair of sides: blistered shishito peppers and grilled king mushrooms (my favorite kind). These were both excellent.
For dessert, we shared the Japanese Iced Coffee Kakigori. This is essentially coffee and cream flavored shave ice. A mountain of it, at that. It paired perfectly with the third cocktail I mentioned up top.
Overall this was a really good meal, but it was expensive. I probably wouldn’t go back, but I’m glad I did go. I needed to try that steak!
I came back here a second time to try the Szechuan steak again with some friends who convinced me that I should have it a second time. This time is was a bit tough. 7/10.
We also tried their porterhouse.
This, too, is pricey at $185. What I didn’t realize is that the flavor is that of sesame, in keeping with the asian theme here.
The flavors were nice, but again there was a texture problem. When you are paying this much for steak, they need to be perfect. 7/10.
Zeppelin Hall is a massive biergarten in Jersey City. They’re currently (through 2/4/18) celebrating BACONFEST, a glorious time when they roll out a special menu that features various preparations of bacon with influences from all over the world.
As you can see, there are a lot of bacon dishes. Here are the ones we tried:
Bacon Wrapped Tomahawk Steak
I mean let’s get right to it. This thing is fucking insane. It’s a three-pound of beef lollipop, wrapped in delicious maple bacon.
The bacon adds a nice sweetness to the dry-aged meat and compliments is in an unexpectedly nice way.
This is a must-try for any meat lover.
This braised pork belly dish still managed to have a really crispy skin on it. Excellent.
Can’t go wrong with bacon tacos. These were perfect.
Bacon Empanadas. These were fantastic, filled with bacon and cheese.
Bacon wrapped shrimp – always a crowd pleaser.
A country known only for it’s poutine, and no other significant contributions of society besides Jim Carrey, must be represented with strength and resolve. Excellent fries.
A 100% bacon patty burger? Yes please. Just add sauce, as the patty can get dry when the bacon must be cooked completely through.
And of course, bacon mac and cheese. Our pride and joy.
Bacon and kraut. A nice combo.
Bacon wrapped pork skewers. Yes.
Other honorable mentions: Italy’s bacon bolognese sauce, and Venezuela’s bacon arepas. Both excellent.
That about does it. Get over here before February 4th and indulge.
88 Liberty View Dr.
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Primal Cut is a newly revamped steak restaurant within the Sapphire gentleman’s club. I was invited in for a free meal to help promote the joint. Take a look below:
Chef Thomas Perone does a great job with the 40oz tomahawk rib eye for two.
The 37 days of dry aging gave it a really nice aroma.
And Perone and his team nailed the crust on this thing.
Perone leaves soon for The Lambs Club, but he assures me that his staff runs the kitchen extremely well, so you’ll still be in great hands.
With new chef Daniel Fleming at the helm, I tried the porterhouse, as well as a repeat of the tomahawk.
Slightly over on the edges, but there was a good flavor throughout. 7/10.
This baby didn’t have as much flavor as the porterhouse, but it seemed to be more evenly cooked to a medium plus. as opposed to parts medium rare and parts medium well. 7/10.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Two sizes of filet, two sizes of rib eye (a cowboy cut and a tomahawk for multiple diners), a porterhouse for multiple diners, a strip, an A5 wagyu strip and a wagyu spinalis round out the menu here. Really fantastic showing, and the majority of the beef cuts hail from Strassburger Steaks. Can’t go wrong there.
Portion Size & Plating: 9
The 40oz tomahawk was a great size for sharing with another person. And all the other items were well-hung too. The plating is basic steakhouse style: minimal and elegant.
I was expecting skyrocket prices for a joint that’s located in a pricey strip club. But $55/pp on the steaks for two is really fair, especially if ogling tits and ass while you dine is your thing. All soups and salads are $12, and apps range from $14 to $25. Very fair.
The bar here is on the small side, but they do mix a nice martini. The bartenders are sporting some revealing lingerie style attire – which I think is actually sexier than the gowns that the dancers walk around in – so that boosts up the “stay for another drink” factor in what would otherwise be a not-so-impressive stretch of bar.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
There were a couple of specials that weren’t on the menu, usually a different kind of house-made pasta that’s rolled out on specific days (like their lasagna, which all the strippers love). Big points here for the wagyu presence on the menu, otherwise there is just chicken and lamb for alternative meats.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We tried a few apps and sides. The salmon poke bowl was really tasty and tropical, with a nice pop of flavor from the pineapple.
The half pound slab of bacon is great too, with a nice sweet and savory sauce that will change your expectations of bacon.
The 5-cheese truffle lobster mac is decadent and tasty, and had a great crispy crust on top. You should definitely order this.
I was disappointed with the asparagus. These are the thin, limp, fibrous kind and not the thick, long, stiff ones you expect to sprout up at a strip club… I mean steakhouse.
This French toast style ice cream sandwich dessert not only tasted great, but for some strange reason I kept subconsciously seeing caramel drizzled tits every time I looked at it.
Maybe because I was in a strip club?
On another trip, I had this awesome carpaccio with fried capers. This was one of the best carpaccio I’ve ever had.
Seafood Selection: 7
There’s salmon and sea bass on the menu, aside from the nice array of appetizers.
If you dine here, try to get Alfonso as your waiter. He’s really friendly and helpful, knows what to recommend, and is just really on top of his shit. Everyone is friendly, there are no pushy dancers trying to get on top of you while you eat, and aside from the occasional girl walking around in a skimpy outfit as you hear the DJ calling her name to the main stage, you’d never really know that you were dining in a strip club. Whether that’s good or bad depends on you.
I know, I know: How can you rate a steak joint within a strip joint anything lower than a 10 for ambiance?!?? That aspect is excellent, obviously, especially for the waning existence of hetero-normative, straight, cis-gendered alpha males like the majority of my readers. But the dining room is in need of a little sprucing up. It’s a relatively small spot too, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they certainly have the ability to upgrade this place to the level of the untouchable midtown giants. There are low ceilings, it’s a bit stuffy (I think there was a ventilation and AC situation when we went), and the overall feel is very cavern-like. I think they should go all out in this place, maybe throw a few dance cages or a stage in there too. They don’t need to be topless dancers, but just embrace the strip club vibe! All that said, I went in at 6pm. Maybe things heat up later in the night.
Greenwich Steakhouse is a newly opened French-inspired steak joint in the West Village. Chef Victor Chavez helped open Smith & Wollensky, and is a 30yr veteran chef from there. He tried retirement, but decided that he wanted to be back in the game. As such, he opened Greenwich Steakhouse.
I recently set up an “influencer event” here to help get some photos and reviews out there. Take a look at all the crazy shit we tried, and enjoy the review below.
Cajun Rib Eye: 10/10 (I have had it several times)
I’m starting with the best steak first. This baby was cooked to a perfect medium rare from end to end with an awesome savory crust on the edges.
But the hint of cumin in the Cajun rub really sets this baby off as the best steak in the joint.
The spicy oil at the bottom of the place is reminiscent of the delicious sauce you get with the cumin lamb noodles at Xian Famous Foods, which I love.
When you come here, this is the steak to get. Chef Victor just absolutely nails it.
48oz Porterhouse: 8/10 (had this a second time and it was 9/10)
This is nice and thick, and really goes great with the marrow butter sauce addition.
There was some grey banding since this is such a thick cut of steak, but nothing was dried out.
48oz Tomahawk Rib Eye: 6/10 (had this a second time and it was 7/10)
Unfortunately this was a bit overcooked for our liking. Some parts were dry as a result, but the flavor was still nice.
Strip for Three: 9/10 – extremely good crust, really nice texture.
Filet Mignon: 9/10
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
All the meat here come from Strassburger, a great supplier. Chef Victor dry ages them for three weeks in-house to develop a bit more flavor for his guests. There are several sizes of the four major cuts available.
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions here are pretty big. The plating is on the nicer side with steel pans being used as serving vessels.
The prices are on par with midtown NYC steakhouses, but since they are slinging some of my favorite food in the city, I have to say this place offers a good deal.
The bar is a short stretch on the first floor with some seats along the window for people watching.
It’s on a nice stretch of Greenwich Ave in the village too, so likely will be a good spot for nightlife.
Cocktails are nice, particularly the Great Kills.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
The waiter read us some specials that were not on the menu. We tried one of them, a shredded Brussels sprout salad. I thought it could use some more dressing, but it was tasty.
For alternative meats, they offer a nice variety: veal, chicken and lamb. Perhaps a pork chop would round it out. We tried the lamb and it was incredible. So nicely seasoned and flavorful.
While the lamb may no longer be available, they do offer a veal parmesan that was excellent:
And a veal chop that is absolutely delicious.
A recent addition to the menu is a Saturday prime rib roast.
Check out this video!
At just $59 this is a steal. 7/10.
And if filet mignon is your thing, try the whole roasted tenderloin:
An easy 9/10 for that. Feeds 6-10 people at $295.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
This is the best thick cut bacon I’ve ever had. It was about a half inch thick, and each order comes with three massive slabs. We cut them each in half since we had a table of six.
The fries are pretty good as well:
The marrow is overkill. If you are eating steaks here, each cut will come with some roasted bone marrow, so no need to go for the app. Here are three delicious boats of bone meat though:
Creamed spinach was also nice:
As well as the hash browns:
The crab cake is top notch. This thing rivals Del Frisco’s.
Especially now that the sauce for it has a cajun flavor profile:
Nice hand cut steak tartare:
For dessert, we went with the ice cream tartufo:
And chocolate cake:
All were good, but my favorite was the creme brulee.
Seafood Selection: 10
We tried the seafood tower, which comes with oysters, king crab, shrimp, lobster and lumb crab meat.
The shrimp were massive! For entree items, they offer tuna, halibut, lobster, sole and salmon. Branzino was on special as well. That’s a serious variety!
Crab & Avocado Salad:
The staff here is all top notch. The guys are pure gentlemen and it doesn’t surprise me that Chef Victor would staff his joint with such people. The table breads are served from a basket at the outset.
They’ve done an awesome job with the space here. The main dining room is on the second floor and boasts elegant chairs and a bright space. Very different from other steak joints.
The third floor has a huge table for parties, and holds about 8000 bottles of wine in elegant glass-windowed rooms flanking each side.
This is also one of the only places you can actually eat beside a roaring fireplace, on two different floors. Amazing.
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:
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…
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.
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!
Everything is reasonably priced here. In fact there’s even a whopper strip steak for three that only costs $99. That’s a steal if it’s your cut.
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.
Green Beans: Very nice and distinctly “Asian” in flavor profile.
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.
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.
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.