Tag Archives: west side

Uncle Jack’s (west side)

Uncle Jack’s (west side) overall score: 83

My wife and I came here to use a Groupon that we purchased, which gave us a five-course steak dinner for two for just $99.

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Flavor: 7
We had the options to choose a filet and a strip as our entrees, so that’s how we rolled. Both came in at 7/10 for flavor. They were cooked properly to medium rare, they had a good crust and sear on the outside, and they were seasoned properly.

Filet:

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Strip:

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I think they just lacked flavor due to the fact that they were such lean cuts. As a steak man, I tend to always go with a rib eye, which generally has more marbling, more fat, and therefore more flavor. For this reason, when cooking cuts like tenderloin and strip loin, many steakhouses will be quite liberal in their use of butter. Butter adds fat flavor back into the beef, and it triggers all sorts of cum-inducing sensations that start at your taste buds and end at the tip of your rock-hard cock. I didn’t taste too much butter at all, so my dick remained pretty flaccid throughout the meal. I did taste soy, which was nice, but ultimately it competed with the steaks natural earthy and aged flavor qualities. As a result, the steaks were just a little flat, and lacked flavor depth. Most of the score here is for good execution on the cook temperature and sear.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
Uncle Jack’s has a really great selection of USDA Prime and dry-aged beef. Top notch stuff. There’s an elephant’s shitload of variety in terms of sizing, bones, cuts and even some specialty stuff like wagyu and kobe. An elephant shits large loads. That’s why I used that analogy there.

Portion Size & Plating: 10
The filet comes in three styles:  puss-bag 8oz, 12oz, or manly 20oz bone-in tenderloin. I must say, ordering the big tenderloin here is not a pussy move.  A little kid had one next to us and I felt like a rimmed out gaping asshole for sharing two steaks between me and my wife that, when combined in weight, added up to his one cut. That kid is going to grow up to crush so much pussy that he will STILL be crushing pussy while he rests between bouts of crushing pussy. The ribeye is 24oz (bone-in), the strips are 12oz or 16oz boneless, and the porterhouses start at 44oz (22oz pp). They also offer a cote de boeuf 44oz rib eye for two. Everything is pretty much on the large side here, which is good, and similar to Lex Steele’s penis. They even offer some wagyu and kobe selections as well. TONS of variety.

Price: 9
Since we had that great Groupon, this was a bargain. While it wasn’t the best steak we’ve had, I still feel that we got a good bang for our buck here.

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Bar: 8
The bar is perpendicular to the windows on the right as you walk in, but there are a few high tops along the windows for people watching. The location, 9th avenue and 34th/35th street, is not the best for hanging out, as it is close to what I call “the armpit of the city” (the Penn Station and Port Authority areas), but the bar does mix up some nice cocktails. Although the waiter or bartender got my martini order wrong (see service section below), it still tasted great.

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Specials and Other Meats: 8
There were no specials read to us that I can recall (probably because they knew we were eating from the Groupon menu), but they do offer pork, lamb and chicken for people who have too much estrogen in their bodies to properly enjoy beef like real men with dicks between their legs.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We had baked clams and a crab cake to start.

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I like that they give you eight clams per order (they split the clams up between us when they served them). The spicy butter and lemon breadcrumb stuffing was good, and the clams were whole, quality Little Necks, not chopped up cherrystones or bait clams that were then re-inserted into a clam shell that wasn’t its own. As for the crab cake, we loved the sauce in which it was served. It was like a reduced crab bisque soup mixed with vodka sauce. Very flavorful, and the top of the cake had a great crispy crust.

Our salads were next. My wife went with the farmers mixed greens. Some of the greens were soggy, wilted and probably rotten, so that was a bummer. Otherwise the salad had great flavor from the cranberries and pine nuts, and it was well dressed, so that’s a plus. My caesar was pretty standard.

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On the side we had creamed spinach and mashed potatoes.

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That pic is just a combined plate that I was eating from, not the full size portions. These were both pretty good, but nothing too stand out. I liked the potatoes better, which is reverse from my usual preference when it comes to these sides.

Seafood Selection: 8
There’s tuna, salmon, “day boat fresh catch” and surf & turf (lobster tail, shrimp or crab oscar with either a filet or strip). That’s a decent amount of shit in addition to the standard shellfish on the app menu. But if you’re ordering seafood for your main course at a steakhouse, you better have tits and a vagina, otherwise you are pretty much an asshole. Go home.

Service: 7
Unfortunately we had some slow service here. The staff was all nice, pleasant and courteous, but we found ourselves waiting a while to get drinks and order food. It picked up a bit after that, but it was slow to start. This was a little odd since the place wasn’t too crowded when we went at 6pm. A few other things I found to be odd or a bit off: (1) The steak sauce doesn’t come out to the table with the steak. You have to ask for it. We didn’t get sauce (not a problem, but I always like to taste it), and I overheard another table asking for it since they didn’t get it either. (2) Also there was no bread basket. Finally, (3) this time I ordered my martini on the rocks instead of up. They made it up instead. Not that big of a deal, but figured I’d mention it. I didn’t send it back, and it still tasted great.

Ambiance: 8
This joint is old school, where waiters wear bow ties, tables are covered in white cloth, and the decor consists of wood paneling, large mirrors, exposed brick, ornate chandeliers and a patterned tin ceiling. It’s a warm and inviting atmosphere, yet classy and elegant, without being pretentious. It’s a classic steakhouse look and feel.

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UNCLE JACK’S (WEST SIDE)
440 9th Ave
New York, NY 10001

Meatopia

Thanks to food friends Matt Bruck and Lulu Phongmany I was able to attend the carnivore paradise known as Meatopia at this year’s NYC Wine & Food Festival.

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Originally set up by the late meat enthusiast Josh Ozersky, this is the 11th Meatopia event. Meatopia also happens in other cities worldwide, expanding like my belt size after indulging in these delicious meats.

The concept here was pure wood and coal fire, no gas or electric. Just flames and meat carcass. Some shit was done quick on the flames for a sear, and other shit was done low and slow in smokers like these:

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With heavy hitters like Creekstone Farms and Pat LaFrieda involved in the mix, you can imagine how excited I was to be here. And without mincing words I will simply say this: Meatopia is the greatest food event I have ever attended in my life.

Upon walking out onto Pier 92, I was blasted with the invigorating scent of roasting meat, and bathed in the billowing bovine smoke that was coming off of the giant Pat LaFrieda fire pit. Heavenly rays of sunlight shone down through the smoke and kissed the meat, as if God himself was proclaiming this to be a righteous undertaking.

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Chef Capon, of Bowery Meat Company and Burger & Barrel fame, was there with LaFrieda, helping pull apart the 1000lb beast that roasted away on top of the grill.

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What a sight to behold! And nothing was wasted from this animal. As you can see, even the head got picked apart by the savage carnivores that roamed the pier. Even the guys at Gotham Burger Social Club took a bite.

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Want to know the most depressing part about the LaFrieda station? I didn’t know this meat was for the crowd. I thought they were providing the meat for all the other stations to use in their dishes, like a supplier of sorts. By time I figured out that I could eat this shit, they had run out. That’s right – they ran out of 1000lbs of meat!!! I was on line for it, five people away from getting a bite, when they finally called it quits on the beast. Not even a scrap!

I did try every other item at the event, however, which is probably a rare claim to make for anyone who attended, I would imagine. There was so much food. I think maybe 30 stations or more. It was very easy to get full if you weren’t smart, or fat.

My first and last stop of the day was this killer broth made by Marco Canora’s “Brodo.” This hearty and hot beef stock was just the right thing needed to keep warm on the windy pier.

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As I wandered around with childlike wonder, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the Beatrice Inn station, where Chef Angie Mar was slinging pig for her hungry meat minions. I found myself just staring at this shit. Something deep inside me was triggered. Something primal and cave man -esque…

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These not-so-little piggies were roasting on a spit all day and night.

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Watch them spin!

So the actual food item being served here was a whole roasted wild boar, blackberries, port and mash. Here’s what a small plate looked like. My photo does it no justice:

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This was succulent, juicy, crispy and savory. It had a slight hint of sweet from the berries that made the pig flavors pop. It was one of my top choices of the day, for sure.

Another favorite was Hometown Barbeque. This was a masterful execution of beef rib. So tender and juicy. I know those words are used up like cheap hookers, but they are accurate. The bark on these ribs was crisp without being too hard – just enough to lock in all the meat juices. It had sweetness, but the savory beef flavor was the star of the show.

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Occasionally some meat angel would come around and plop one of these dinosaur bones in your hands for you to gnaw on for a while. Some were from Hometown, and some were from LaFrieda.

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Another favorite was this sri racha pork belly by The Backroom at Moody’s. I went back for it twice. The belly was cooked sous vide style for 48 hours (okay that probably involves electricity), and THEN smoked. It had a nice pungent flavor that reminded me of fish sauce or Vietnamese food.

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They also presented a nice array of charcuterie:

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My favorite of the day, just slightly ahead of that pork belly, was this hot beef tongue sandwich by Harry & Ida’s Meat & Supply Company. The meat was so soft, unlike what you might expect from common tongue preparations that can sometimes be rushed, or have the consistency of deli meat.

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This was more like pulled meat, or braised stew meat. Absolutely delicious. And they even had a nice tongue hanging on display for food porn photos:

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I’m jumping around again here, because I want to front-load this review with the most interesting shit up top, in the event that you meat minions start to nod off, or the ADD kicks into high gear.

CHORIZO ICE CREAM!

There. Did that wake you up a little? It was actually good. These novelty ice cream flavors always strike me as purposefully odd – done with the intent of shocking someone rather than actually delivering a good flavor. But this chorizo ice cream was lightly chorizo flavored, and it was balanced by the presence of caramel. Oddfellow’s is not pulling stunts here. This is good shit.

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There was a healthy variety of rib eye and prime rib preparations going around (Hawksmoor London, Andre Lima de Luca and Balthazar, in particular). Never did I feel like the shit was overlapping or redundant. I was actually surprised at how nicely cooked they all were, given the windy conditions and an open flame that is hard to control or regulate in terms of temperatures.

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Speaking of those wind conditions causing problems, I think Jason French and the guys at the Ned Ludd station were battling what was probably the worst of the wind conditions. They were one of the first booths next to the large tent in the back. As the wind whipped in from the southwest, it gathered along the tent walls and flowed directly to their station, which was on the south-facing side of the pier. WHAM. The wind over there was bonkers. I have no idea how they were even able to cook in such conditions.

The meat quality of their lamb dish suffered a bit, at least in the plate I had, as it was overcooked and slightly tough. My guess is that these guys were concerned about serving something raw, and wanted to keep the meat roasting despite the wind – so they had to keep stoking the flames. It was still really tasty despite all that nonsense, which is a testament to the chef and cooks. I think if they had more control over the environment this would have been a winning dish: Whole roasted pastured lamb with grape leaf cumin yogurt sauce, and a basmati rice salad with golden raisins and cilantro.

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And I was glad to see a nice lamb carcass gracing their work station:

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Perhaps the most prominently featured cut of the day was short rib. Check out all the different varieties below:

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This last one is from Ai Fiori.

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Tough to choose a favorite between those. If I had to, I’d probably lean toward The Cecil (their veal was really memorable), or Hill Country.

Naturally there was some brisket as well:

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One interesting item was this braised beef cheek terrine from Employees Only. Super soft and flavorful. I was hoping to see more cheek represented at this event, but this was really nice with the pickled tomatoes and radishes on top.

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The only place featuring strip was El Blok. It as really nicely cooked with fresh turmeric and sour orange, sitting on a side of smoked calabaza.

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There was a beef pinwheel sandwich from Brindle Room:

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And several other pork and non-beef items, most notable of which was probably this Portuguese porchetta fried rice from 42 The Restaurant – a very interesting mash up of Asian and Portuguese flavors:

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Funny thing about that last photo: I was joking that chicken doesn’t really count as meat. The sauce on there was actually really great though, so it became acceptable to serve at this event, in my eyes.

This station sent me home with a packet of Badia spice seasoning. I always like samples!

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There was even some dessert as well. I didn’t take a picture of the cookie I ate, but this banana chocolate turnover with maple bacon and peanut butter from Oceana was excellent. In fact their menu looks pretty brilliant, and it’s somewhat nearby, so I will have to go with my wife soon to try it out.

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Don’t look so glum, whoever you are working back there in the pit… There’s meat hanging behind you and I’m sure there will be other Meatopia celebrations in the coming months. Can you say MIAMI?!?

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That about does it guys. What an amazing day. I don’t want to wash any of my clothes because the lingering smell of smoke and meat is too precious to cast aside. It should somehow be bottled and sold as cologne.

Oh yeah… one last photo – my stalker pic of Iron Chef Michael Symon, who was the host of the event. People were waiting for hours just to press the flesh with him. I was too busy eating for any glad-handing with celebs!

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Ippudo (west side)

I’ve tried almost everything here except for the Hakata classic, which I definitely need to get down on at some point soon.

First off, this place has an excellent selection of Japanese beers and cocktails. I have a photo somewhere… let me see if I can find it:

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Next, a great assortment of apps and small plates to get the belly ready for ramen. We had some octopus items (Tako & Eringi Karaage), some fried fish, and spicy bacon shit (Pork Teppan).

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Now on to the ramen. First is spicy Karaka-men with added pork belly. This was a great bowl of food:

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Akamaru. A little thin on pork meat in my opinion, but tasty.

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Torishio. My wife had this; a bit thin for my liking, but had good flavor and was light.

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Yup. I even tried the veggie ramen. Definitely a soy sauce base with mushroom flavor, and small portion size.

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IPPUDO WEST
321 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019