Romeo Meats has been serving the local Bensonhurst Brooklyn area and surrounding restaurants since the 1950s.
I recently had the pleasure of trying one of their gigantic dry aged tomahawk steaks.
This friggin’ thing was 2.5″ thick!
Needless to say, I was worried about overcooking the outside and simultaneously undercooking the inside, so I tried something a little different than my usual pan searing or sous vide techniques for thick cuts.
First I coated both sides with salt and “dry brined” it in the fridge for a few days. Then I massaged some Res Antiqva olive oil onto it once it got back up to room temperature, and then added some cracked black pepper. I seared it on a cast iron grill pan for about six mins each side (three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, FLIP, three mins, turn 90 degrees, three mins, OFF/REST). After that, I let it rest for a few minutes before roasting it low and slow for about an hour at 170F. Finally, I blasted the fat side under the broiler for about 5 minutes just before removing it from the oven. It rested up to about 125F-130F. The result was like prime rib on the inside, but with a steakhouse crust on the outside. Watch:
Absolutely amazing! I hope you give this preparation and plating a try with your next monster sized rib eye. I call it the broken hearted tomahawk, or the stingray.
Quality Bistro opened back in January, if I recall, right when I started a hellish new job with insane demands on my time. Then, of course, the entire city went into lockdown from Covid-19. Somehow my work-life balance got even worse. I’m only just now finally beginning to break away from the +60 hours/week grip of this gig, to get back out there and review restaurants for you savage bastards.
Anyway, the point of that bullshit preface is really just to say that I’m excited to finally write about a new(ish) joint that I’ve tried, especially one that’s serving some awesome food.
Here’s my quick video run down of those spots, if you haven’t seen it:
First of all, this new place, Quality Bistro, is totally decked out. This is easily the most gorgeously decorated space in the entire Quality Branded suite of restaurants. High ceilings, beautiful booths, decor and tables – really on another level. They spared no expense. So when you go here, make sure you request a table inside. I recommend the booths in the room on the left when you walk in. The bar is sick too (hopefully some day soon we will be allowed to sit at one again).
The menu is decidedly French, which makes sense given the “bistro” restaurant name. But like all their other restaurants, they are aggressively beef-forward. I wouldn’t call them a steakhouse, per se, but they get very close to it. They offered five steak cuts when I was there: a filet mignon, a strip, a bavette, a tomahawk and a “cote de boeuf” rib eye for two. We went with the tomahawk, but let me run through the other stuff we tried.
We started with the escargots and the crab cake. The escargots are probably some of the best I’ve had in the city, rivaling Paul Denamiel’s at Le Rivage. Very close competition! And they’re in the shell too, which I love. Order these, and get a dozen because you save $10 when you jump from a half ($19) to a full dozen ($29).
The crab cake is massive. It’s about the size of an 8oz burger patty, thick too. Super crisp, great sauce. I think this would be amazing as a lunch sandwich with pickled green tomato on a brioche bun or a croissant, with a bit more green on top. Absolutely delicious.
Our mid course was the prime tomahawk. This comes slathered with Rogue Creamery smokey blue cheese – a TON of it!
The smell coming off of this thing was so amazing. It filled the massive dining room with funk.
The cook temp was a perfect medium rare. So juicy, so tender, and so packed with flavor. This is an easy 9/10. I stripped the fucker clean!
We chased that with the corn custard brûlée. I had high hopes for this, but it fell short for two reasons: (1) The inside was less custard and more clumpy scrambled egg. This is usually a turn off for me, but the flavor was really good, so I still devoured it. And (2), a bit heavy on the caramelized sugar on top. Too thick for my liking. The flake salt, however, really made the flavors on this pop. I can see this side being a star with a bit more fine tuning.
*SEE UPDATED REVIEW NOTES BELOW!*
Our third course was the Moroccan fried chicken. They serve a whole bird for two in a beautiful tagine with fresh cilantro, Moroccan pancakes and a trio of dipping sauces (spicy honey, Moroccan cilantro chimichurri and citrus yogurt).
The breading is really nicely spiced, with great middle eastern earthiness and aromas.
Absolutely jerkworthy. I’d get this again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’m glad we ordered big, because we took more than half of it home. I’m about to eat the left overs right now, and I’m psyched!
Last, we had the apple tart sundae with cinnamon ice cream. This was really good, and big enough to share with your date at just $12. The cinnamon ice cream tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, my absolute favorite cereal of all time!
I guess that about does it for now. I plan to go back and try some of the other cuts, particularly the bavette frites, since that’s a little less common on menus. Definitely give this place a shot. Gaetano, Scott and Roger will treat you right. They provide amazing, clean service here, and you’ll feel safely spaced apart and very comfortable. Can’t believe I have to even mention such things right now…
My wife and I went back for round two, and tried a bunch more stuff.
For apps, we tried the taste flame, which is the joint’s take on Detroit style pizza + bread service. This was incredible!
Probably my favorite app here so far though, is this tuna carpaccio. Spicy, fresh, and deliciously refreshing.
These jambon beurre bites are pretty damn tasty as well.
This time, my wife went with the branzino. This was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. It comes with a choice of either salad or fries.
I went with the bavette, and also went with the French fries option.
They developed a great char on the outside…
While maintaining a perfect cook temp on the inside…
This was a solid 8/10. Really nicely executed.
On the side, we gave the corn brûlée another spin, and MAN were we glad that we did. As I expected, with the improvements I outlined above, this dish was a star. Much nicer texture inside (real custard-like), and lighter on the sugar top. PERFECT!
So that’s two steaks down, three to go: filet, strip, and rib eye for two. I’LL BE BACK!
Strip steak has a mild aged flavor, but a really nice peppercorn crust. Perfectly cooked throughout. 8/10.
Rib eye for two is great – a solid 8/10.
Lemon chicken is a sleeper here. Amazing dish!
Also really loved the glass for the French Bird cocktail. They should sell them!
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