Tag Archives: veal

Trattoria Dell’Arte

This fucker is going to be short and sweet. A friend of mine alerted me to an interesting dish here that I just had to try. Chicken or veal parm with pepperoni on top like a fucking pizza:

Yup. That’s the veal. Those white blobs are extra burrata. Fuck yes. I always thought this place was a shit hole tourist trap, but apparently they’re slinging some good shit. Needless to say, I’ll be back for the chicken version, and possibly their Italian rib eye. Take another look at this thing, you savages:

Not quite as good as Tuscany Steakhouse nearby, which happens to be $6 cheaper as well (without the pepperoni). This was a whopping $56, but probably big enough to split with another person if you’re a raging pussy lip.

I went back for a full meal with my wife just a two months later. Here’s what we had:

Fried Artichoke:

Calamari and Braised Octopus:

Chicken Parmigiana Pepperoni:

That was fucking KILLER. Go get it.

Lemon Pie Brûlée:

Like a cross between key lime pie and creme brûlée. Very good.

TRATTORIA DELL’ARTE
900 7th Ave
New York, NY 10106

Patsy’s

Patsy’s is a NYC institution for Italian food in the Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen north area.

This joint has been around since 1944. I’m a sucker for old restaurants like this, so I had to give it a shot. Plus, they serve some really interesting dishes that I’ve only ever had at home growing up.

For example, I rarely see escarole served anywhere, and I love it. They do it a bit differently here than the traditional “escarole and beans” soupy stew. Here, its sautéed with garlic, olives, capers, pine nuts and raisins:

It was delicious. It reminded me of the stuffing my grandmother used to make for her artichokes. And speaking of which, they had stuffed artichokes on the menu too. I hardly ever see these anywhere except for at home either:

This was okay, but very pricey at $17. Honestly, my mother makes a much better one. This was stuffed with bread crumbs, olives, capers, anchovies, cheese and pine nuts. Very similar to how my grandmother used to stuff them, and similarly a bit dry like hers often were, since they are baked (usually for too long) after steaming. My mother steams and sautés instead of bakes, and stuffs them with breadcrumbs, cheese and sauce. A bit simpler, but it tastes way better.

My grandmother on the other side used to make stuffed squid for part of our massive Christmas Eve seafood feast. She stuffed them with cheese, anchovies, moistened Italian bread and egg. Then she would stitch them closed and they were cooked in a big bubbling pot of seafood sauce that contained blue claw crabs, shrimp, scallops, scungilli (conch) and more squid. It was amazing.

Anyway I see that dish even less frequently than the others above, so I had to order it when I saw it on the menu here.

These babies are stuffed with squid and shrimp, among other things. This was a pretty nice dish, especially the sauce, although a bit pricey at $36.

The last thing we tried was the veal parm. I pretty much have to order this whenever I see it on the menu, anywhere.

This one, however, was a bit of a let down. The breading fell off almost instantly upon cutting, and was just overall a bit soggy and not up to par. The potato croquette that came with it was just okay as well. The bar, however, was a nice little stretch of mid century modern goodness where I’d love to have a martini:

To sum up, nothing tastes as good as mom’s and grandma’s cooking, but when you need a fix away from home, Patsy’s might be the right spot to get it.

PATSY’S
236 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019

Kefi

UPDATE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

One of the very first flash deals my wife and I ever tried was here at Kefi, many years ago. We seem to recall liking it. Occasionally they still offer the same deal: one appetizer, two entrees, a side and a dessert. So we picked up the deal and went there this past weekend.

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I sampled a pair of Greek brews over the course of the meal. Both were good. The first was a lager and the second was an unfiltered wheat beer. The wheat beer, $3 more at $10, was the better of the two in my opinion, but the Keo was refreshing, like a Yuengling.

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We started the meal with a classic Mediterranean and Greek staple: grilled octopus on a bed of beans (chic peas and black eyed peas).

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This was fantastic. The char added a great crisp for texture and a lightly ashed flavor to the outer edges of the ‘pus. The meat was tender with no chewiness to it. Coated with a generous to borderline over-the-top amount of lemon juice, parsley and scallions, it was bright with flavor.

My entree was a complete let down, unfortunately. I went with the hanger steak.

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It looks good enough, but the meat was so fucking tough that I had to actually spit several bites out onto the plate. Gnawing at steak is not cool. On top of that, the steak actually had a bitter flavor, from the copious amounts of lemon and the soaking contact with the broccoli rabe beneath.

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I managed to get a good amount of the steak down my gullet by sawing at the hard grain across the bias, furiously shaking the table in the process, and focusing mostly on the overcooked bits that were on either end of the steak (they were easier to cut). Very disappointing. In sum, it was under-seasoned, bitter, over-cooked in some parts, under-cooked in other parts, and tough as fuck. This was actually the worst steak I’ve eaten in all my years of dining in NYC, and I’ve even had steaks at Tad’s! I’m giving it 3/10.

On the plus side, the steak did come with a split and grilled sausage, which was pretty decent, and sort of fulfilled my desire for meat.

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My wife had the better entree: braised lamb shank with orzo.

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The meat was super tender and had a rich stew-like flavor to it. Luckily, she wasn’t able to finish, so I had a good amount of this to tide me over from that lame steak.

On the side, we shared this order of roasted cauliflower. Nothing to get too excited about, and nothing to complain about either.

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For dessert we shared this chocolate mousse with sesame ice cream.

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Eventually, the chocolate flavors overpowered the light sesame flavors in the ice cream, which was unfortunate because I really enjoyed that sesame ice cream. The first few bites, when combined, reminded me of halvah. This dessert could be a huge hit if they pump up the sesame flavors or tone down the chocolate flavors to strike a better balance.

So, in conclusion, I suggest sticking with the staple Greek proteins – octopus and lamb – if you dine here. Those two dishes were great.

KEFI
505 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024

Fig & Olive

Mark this down as one of the best Groupon deals ever. For about $70 my wife and I had a four course meal with cocktails included.

Speaking of cocktails… what an impressive menu of unique items! We tried the fig and walnut julep (left), which was bourbon, elderflower liqueur, port, muddled black mission figs, mint, lime and garnished with shaved walnuts. This was the better of the two drinks, in my opinion. It wasn’t too sweet, as you might expect, and the taste was very refreshing and herbed. The other was the Fig & Olive (right): Organic cucumber vodka, olive oil, egg white, simple syrup, celery, lime juice and blood orange puree. Very nice and light.

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This plate of rosemary bread was served with three different olive oils. All three had a slight bitter flavor to them, as I imagine they are very fresh and very virgin. I’m not sure I’m into that. I like a standard olive oil that isn’t too bitter on the tongue; a slutty olive oil who knows her way around my mouth, if you will… not a pristine, clueless, unfucked virgin.

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First was a trio of crostini, which was shared. The first was burrata (with tomato, pesto and balsamic), the second was prosciutto and ricotta (with fig and walnut), and the third was crab (with heirloom tomato and zucchini puree). All three were excellent. Tough to pick a favorite here. Quality ingredients, fresh flavors, simple, masterful.

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The apps were also prepared beautifully, with great flavors to boot. We had the octopus and scallop dishes. The octopus dish was gorgeous. Tentacles were braised and sliced paper thin, arranged on the plate like carpaccio, dressed with olive oil, roasted peppers and olives, and then garnished with micro greens and roasted baby potatoes. The ‘pus was very tender and clean, with no chew. I don’t know about you, but I like a clean ‘pus.

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The scallop appetizer came with three good-sized pieces that were seared nicely and cooked to the proper consistency and temperature. The sauce was an orange-spiced carrot and olive oil tapenade, and there were some orange segments, micro greens and a citrus dressing to top it off. These were really dynamic, with all sorts of delicious flavors popping around when you chewed.

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Had we been charged the regular menu price instead of the Groupon price, we would already be at $74 without even getting to the entrees, which, together, would have cost $64 by themselves, and then a $12 dessert, too. See what I’m saying? We had $150 worth of food for about $70. Amazing fucking deal!

My entree was the veal Milanese, which was pounded thin, breaded, and fried to a golden crisp and then topped with shredded Parmesan cheese. On the side was a pesto fettuccine, roasted garlic broccolini, and a tomato-mascarpone sauce that was reminiscent of a vodka sauce, but much better. This was a great dish. I typically don’t go for items like this, but the sides of pasta and broccolini (which is one of my favorite veggies, along with escarole and artichoke) sold me on choosing this. I’m glad I got it. Everything was perfect.

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My wife had the Maine lobster bouillabaisse, which also had grilled scallop, mussels and Chilean sea bass in it as well. The sauce/broth base was lobster bisque, which was poured in tableside. On top was some shaved fennel and parsley, and on the side was a saffron garlic aioli and an olive oil cracker. This was a nice seafood dish. I thought it was a bit small in terms of portion size, but it was tasty and we didn’t leave hungry.

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For dessert we shared the Fig & Olive tasting, which came with four bite-sized portions of different desserts. First was a crunchy praline. This was like an elevated nutty, chocolatey candy bar. Very nice!

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Next was a chocolate pot de creme. Very rich, yet light and airy due to the froth on top. A solid tasting, and those little dots on top were some crunchy bits of puffed chocolate or something. Nice touch of texture there.

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Next was my favorite of the four, the dessert crostino. It had pistachios, sour cherries, a mascarpone-style spread, and some micro greens on a cookie. Freaking delicious. So many differetn flavors and textures going on. Complex yet simple!

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Last was panna cotta, which was reminiscent of a strawberry cheesecake with graham cracker cumble. It was very tart, but also very tasty, with a hint of basil.

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Great meal. If they’re still offering the Groupon deal you should definitely get down here and try the food. The ambiance is a bit over the top trendy and “scene-y,” but you’re ultimately there for the food and drinks, right?

FIG & OLIVE
420 W. 13th St.
New York, NY 10014

Mosner Meat & Butchery Class

For our fifth wedding anniversary, my awesome wife surprised the shit out of me with a butchery class and tour at the Mosner family meat processing plant in Hunt’s Point in the Bronx.

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The business has been around for nearly six decades, starting with meat deliveries from the back of a station wagon until the brand slowly built up to become a well known, high-end meat distributor for some of the area’s finest steakhouses and meat purveyors.

Butchery Class 001

Three grandchildren of the original Mosner start-up (Seth, Jessica, and Ben) run the incredibly informative tour and butchery class on Saturdays. The first thing you’ll do is suit up in a butcher’s coat and some gloves. Just a word of advice – bundle up if you do this. Inside it is just about freezing.

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It starts out with introductions and some information from Jessica about the company, what they do, the history, etc. Then comes an awesome, testosterone building meat chant in call-and-response format. MEAT MEAT MEAT! This is a shot of Ben pulling us in for the huddle just before the chanting began.

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Once inside, the learning begins. Seth and Ben informed us about the lamb and veal they deal in, including how it is treated at the farm (they enjoy a stress free and healthy life, which makes for better flavors), how it is slaughtered (with the utmost standards of humaneness), and how it is processed (skilled artists and craftsmen butchers).

Ben & Seth & Veal
Ben & Seth & Veal
Ben & Seth & Veal
Ben & Seth & Veal
Ben & Seth & Veal
Ben & Seth & Veal
Me & Veal
Me & Veal
Lamb
Lamb
Veal
Veal
Veal
Veal

Check out some of the other beautiful decor here:

Hooks & Pulleys
Hooks & Pulleys
Lamb Mobile
Lamb Mobile
Lamb
Lamb
Lamb
Lamb
Lamb
Lamb
Yum
Yum
Hooks
Hooks
Lamb all wrapped up in plastic
Lamb all wrapped up in plastic
A peek underneath the skirt of some hanging lamb
A peek underneath the skirt of some hanging lamb

Next up, Jessica runs through some of the important (and often times confusing to those not in the know) labels that the meat industry applies to various products.

Jessica educates the class
Jessica educates the class

“Antibiotic Free” vs “No Antibiotics,” for example (“No Antibiotics” means NO ANTIBIOTICS have ever been in the animal. “Antibiotic Free” means that there were no traces of antibiotics in the animal at the time of slaughter, but that doesn’t mean the animal never had any antibiotics in its lifetime). Here’s a nice little print-out that they gave the class: not everything we learned is on here, but this is a great start.

butchery terms

After this, we watched Chris, AKA “Da Butcher,” perform a lightning fast demo of his amazing butchery skills as he broke down the roast and rib ends of a pig in what had to be under 3 minutes WITH pauses in place to show us and explain what he was doing.

Da Butcher's Tools
Da Butcher’s Tools
"Da Butcher" in action
“Da Butcher” in action
Da Butcher's Artwork
Da Butcher’s Artwork

Then we had an opportunity to buy some high end meat at super wholesale prices. I’m talking PRIME beef for $9.99/lb. They even had an entire trailer full of game meats, with lots of harder to find stuff like elk, duck, venison, kangaroo, gator, snake, ostrich, pheasant, squab and others. Are you FUCKING serious?!?? I was in heaven! We decided to get some rarities like duck sausage and confit duck legs, but I could have easily blown the mortgage on this delicious shit.

high-end meats for sale
high-end meats for sale
duck leg confit
duck leg confit
sausage variety
sausage variety

Now for the hands-on stuff. I had to put my camera down, so there are no “action” photos, but we all got to do what “Da Butcher” did in his demo: namely, slice up the roast and rib of the pig.

Piggy
Piggy
Piggy
Piggy
The Classroom
The Classroom
The Classroom
The Classroom
The Classroom
The Classroom

We were instructed on everything from the best way to hold the knife, to how to properly get the meat off the bone without nicking or slicing up the good bits. Afterwards, we took all our cuts over to the vaccum sealer and put them into boxes that were pre-labeled with our names on them. That’s right – you get to bring home all that delicious piggy meat that you just butchered!!!

my share of the butchery
my share of the butchery
one of our boxes
one of our boxes

I watched as the staff expertly portioned and wrapped the prime stuff that other classmates had purchased.

Ben saws some porterhouses down to size
Ben saws some porterhouses down to size
Ben & "Da Butcher"
Ben & “Da Butcher”
Some prime T-bones
Some prime T-bones
"Da Butcher" trims some of the fat off before it heads to the sealer
“Da Butcher” trims some of the fat off before it heads to the sealer
Porterhouses coming off the vacuum sealer
Porterhouses coming off the vacuum sealer

Then Ben took me around to show me some of the offal that they sell as well. I’m talking everything – liver, heart, bones, sweetbreads – you name it, they sling it.

Veal Heart
Veal Heart
Liver
Liver

As you may have guessed, I’ve reviewed some of their steakhouse customers, and I have to tell you: there is a stark and obvious correlation. The places that use Mosner to source their meat all have excellent ratings on my leaderboard.

What an amazing gift! If you guys get a chance, you should definitely go as well. Not only do you learn a lot about the meat proteins you are eating, but you will come away with a great appreciation for the hard work and effort that goes into bringing these products to your dinner table. My wife knows that I secretly wish I were a butcher, so this was a real treat for me. Look – I even got a participation award.

Butchery Certificate

Once we got home, I was itching to try some of what we just worked on, so I took the stew meat scraps and threw them into the slow cooker with apple moonshine, apple sauce, apple flavored water, and a bunch of mulling type spices like cinnamon and cloves.

Me, magic-wanding in a mix of kosher salt and crushed red pepper
Me, magic-wanding in a mix of kosher salt and crushed red pepper
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stew meat swimming in the slow cooker

I set it on low and slow. Four hours later the result was amazing. My wife and I threw it onto a sandwich with some pickled cabbage and a spicy mayo. Check out the recipe HERE.