Posts Tagged ‘bone’

Pursuing my tour of some of the finest steakhouses of New York, having tried Peter Luger, Keens, Strip House, Quality Meats  and Wolfgang.

Dropped by Gallagher’s Steakhouse, a historical steakhouse, which, during the days of the prohibition, was the first illicit establishment selling alcohol where gamblers and stars of Broadway would meet.

In the incredibly competitive steakhouse market of NYC (perhaps, the steakhouse mecca of the world – I mean, do you know any other major city with that many world class steakhouses? Do you? ), you know you have reached the enviable status of a historic shrine at whatever you do when the NY Times writes romanticized write-ups with eye-candy photographs of this sort about you – .

At Gallagher’s Steakhouse,  I ordered:

Platter of 12 oysters – Dabob bay from Hood canal (Washington) and Canadian lucky lime. Nicely shucked quality fresh oysters. The lucky lime had the advertised citrus-tone finish in evidence. The intertidal beach cultured  Dabob bay oysters, quite briny for an oyster coming from the Pacific. The mignonette properly done. A platter of fine oysters. 7/10

The 20 oz rib eye steak (Grade: USDA Prime), dry aged for 28 – 32 days on premise in their glass-enclosed meat locker ( You can see it from the street – a sight to behold). The meat is grilled on hickory coals, a rarity in a city where most steakhouses do broil their steaks. Grilling meat over an open fire has always been my preferred grilling method for meats. The requested medium rare doneness achieved with utter precision. It delivered on flavor (the seasoning, exquisite –  the steak  as delicious as it gets) and was superbly tender throughout. The great grilling effect of the open fire in evidence to the eyes/smell/palate.  Dazzling crust. My steak had its juices settled within the meat, therefore timely rested. A steak is not a moon landing mission and one can do great steaks at home, indeed, but what matters here is that this is a steakhouse and it is doing one of the better steaks in NYC. Easily the best rib eye steak I ever had at all the top tier steakhouses of NY. 10/10

The creamed spinach. Here too, the G seems to have the edge as the creamed spinach had superb taste and great balance between the cream and spinach flavours. Superb texture too. Just some delicious creamed spinach like few — surprising, indeed – seem to be able to pull out at the NYC steakhouses. Vibrant fresh and delicious flavours. 9/10

Even the crème fraîche to accompany the baked potato was not of the ordinary sort. The baked potato managing, somehow, not to be just an average piece of tired looking baked potato simply because most kitchen brigades keep such simple things for granted (as most diners do, actually), when, in reality, the sourcing of your potato and how you timed its baking makes a big difference. Here, they did care about that difference.

Bottom line: A very beautiful steakhouse (the warmth of materials such as  wood and leather never failing to entice) in the classic genre. But the food was as great. Where many steakhouses seem to deliver  tired renditions of classic steakhouse food, the G seems to find a way to make it a bit more exciting in mouth (even their homemade sauce to accompany the steak, made of tomato/garlic/Worcestershire sauce, was well engineered as far as balancing flavors go, its taste great ). A commendable steakhouse, indeed.

Overall rating: Food 9/10 One of the very best steakhouses of NYC.   The steaks are great here, but everything else as well. For my taste, the G and Peter Luger are my No1 steakhouses in New York, with the G being a better all rounder, for sure. Furthermore, nothing beats the appealing  texture as well as memorable grilling aromas of a steak that is grilled on open fire (a broiled steak looks unappetizing in comparison). Service 8/10 (superb service in the typical classic NYC steakhouse way). Gallaghers Steakhouse Addr: 228 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019 Phone: 212-586-5000 URL: http://www.gallaghersnysteakhouse.com/

 

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Keen’s Steakhouse – New York, NY

Posted: July 6, 2019 in aged beef, best aged beef, best aged steak, best dry aged beef, best dry aged steak, best porterhouse steak, best restaurants in new york, Best steakhouses, best steaks, excellent service, High hospitality standards, new york, steak, steakhouse, The World's Best Steaks, Top steaks in the world
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Keens is an institution of NYC, a piece of restaurant  history that started in the  19th century (established in 1885). Its dark wood walls are covered with a tasteful  display of  memorabilia (time-honored paintings, photos, cartoons).   This restaurant could be an incredible shooting location for a movie.

 

The avid fan of history that I am  had to find himself in this charming old world  decor, espying what could have possibly been the pipe of Roosevelt over here (thousands  of clay pipes of  patrons who dined at Keens are on display on the steakhouse’s ceiling), climbing the same stairs as Einstein over there.   Nowadays, Keens is one of NYC’s most popular steakhouses, attracting tourists, locals as well as many connoisseurs of North American steaks (as you will see below, their steaks did not « rest on their laurels »). But, with legendary places like this one, I am on my guard, always ensuring that  the lore shall never be part of the lure.

On a previous visit here, over 2 years ago, I did try their fabled slow roasted lamb loin‘s saddle  chop (aka the ”mutton chop“). It is not mutton, anymore. It  is  lamb  that they do serve nowadays. The lamb is raised in  Colorado,  some of the  most sought after lamb  in the nation. Colorado does offer to its  free-ranging sheep,  vast swathes of vegetation to feed on, thanks to the numerous mountains and hills of the state. The sourcing of this piece of  pasture raised lamb was  of high level , its subtly earthy lamb flavor  (milder than, say the flavour of lamb from New Zeland)  dazzled. Boasting an enticing color, definely tender, this  was as great as your roasted lamb loin‘s saddle  chop  will be if served to you at a top tier  steakhouse. 9/10

Then last year I dropped by with a long time genuine connoisseur of North American steakhouses and we had the porterhouse.  For anyone truely familiar with beef aging, it was easy to enjoy the great effect of the dry aging (they dry-age and butcher the meat on the premises) process that went into that piece of meat (great concentration of beef flavor). The thing about aging meats is to think about the right effect for the right meat. Oftently, you see people dry aging then wet aging their meat (perfect recipe to cancel the benefit of dry aging that meat …), dry aging meat that has fat that is so delicate that it cannot  ‘age’  well (highly marbled wagyu as in this case at Dons de la Nature, one of Tokyo’s leading steakhouses. It is the sort of fat that is way too delicate to   benefit from dry aging — I will write, later on, a detailed article on what type of fat benefits from the aging process and why), dry aging fishes that have the taste of nothing if you age them (few fishes do benefit from the dry aging process, most do not…most fishes that are aged do simply fit in the ridiculous trend of aging the flesh for the pleasure of following a trend, as stupid as that – ). Not all steakhouses do master the dry aging of meats as  obsessively well as, at, let us say, Le Divil in Perpignan, but the concentration of flavor of that porterhouse steak  at Keens revealed some serious mastery of the dry aging of their meats.   8/10

 

This is my 3rd visit here, and this time I ordered the prime rib of beef  (king’s cut – meaning that it’s bone-in),  the  medium rare doneness that I wanted was precisely achieved,  and it came charred at my request, served with au jus.  The loin end   rarely fails to be flavorful once cooked,  and yet, you realize how, in the USA, they have perfected its cooking  with no shortage of dazzling renditions of the  prime rib such as the ones you can enjoy at  establishments such as the House of Prime RibLawry‘s or   Dickie Brennan‘s  to name a few. But this prime rib at Keens was not out of place in that fierce competition, as here again, you had all the qualities of a stellar piece of North American steak (the quality of the meat really high as you would expect from a North American steakhouse of this reputation, the standing rib roast timely cooked, its delicious fat properly rendered, the seasoning competent, the steak craveable ).   8/10

 

I love Keen but I was NOT  in love with my platter of a dozen of oysters: all had their superb maritime flavour in evidence, true, but some of the oysters were served a bit too cold than expected at a restaurant serving seafood. The shucking could have been better, too.

Our sides of creamed spinach , sautéed mushrooms and cooked broccoli did not tantalize both my girlfriend and myself :  for both of us,  this preparation of their creamed spinach  did not  enhance  the taste of the spinach. And they did add a bit less cream than I would have preferred.  Still, their way of doing it is one legit classic way of cooking the creamed spinach and I am fine with that.  The broccoli,  I need them to retain a vivid fresh appearance  (I am not here to talk about cooking techniques but there’s a technique for that, there is a technique that allows your broccoli  to be nicely cooked while retaining its perfect crunch and vivid looks, a technique that is widely documented. There is no doubt that the kitchen brigade at Keens knows how to do that, but, again, their choice is to remain classic, therefore they did use a more classical approach  and that is to be respected. As for the mushrooms, they  looked and felt as if they were sautéed a bit too long  and served a bit too late,  the taste of the mushrooms not in evidence.

The crab cake of my girlfriend  featured   fresh crab flavour, the seasoning well judged. The crab came from Maryland and it is in season right now, consequently its depth of flavour was remarkable. Of her crab cake, she said that it was about “”the full taste of the crab and not a lot of filler””, which was a good thing.  7/10

Bottom line: This article of the NY Mag had its author arguing that   « The meat isn’t first class anymore, especially by the standards of today » at Keens…another one of the absurd and senseless suggestions of our so-called food journalists. A steak is first class if the quality of the meat is great, the cooking accurate, the flavours on point, the extra steps to elevate the taste of that meat making a difference (for example, my pieces of steak, here, at Keens, did benefit from the nuances that an educated palate would detect as nuances that can only come from a competently dry aged piece of quality meat). And you do all of that better than at most other steakhouses, which is the case of Keens.  You stop being first  class the day your steak costs an arm and a leg only to have the taste and feel of a generic-tasting piece of meat that you  would buy at the supermarket (the case of one so-called legendary steakhouse right here in The old Montreal …). Keens has nothing to do with an outdated steakhouse.  For his  steaks, Keens is still one of NYC’s very best. I was not in love with the sides, but again, this was (more of) a matter of preference (at the exception of the mushrooms) rather than the sides being faulty. They need to control the temperature of those oysters, though. My number 1 North American steakhouse is still Peter Luger (the one in Brooklyn) , but that takes nothing away from the superb steaks of Keens. The service and ambience at Keens are  also  great. One of my preferred chophouses in NYC. Steaks (9/10), Appetizers (7/10), Sides (6/10 ), Service (8/10 ) –  Keens steakhouse Addr: 72 West 36th St. New York, NY 10018 Phone: 212-947-3636 URL: http://www.keens.com

 

Quality Meats NYC (Addr: 57 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019, USA Phone: +1 212-371-7777)   is a restaurant  backed by Smith & Wollensky, a steakhouse institution in NYC (that now has several branches across the US as well as abroad). It is part of a  group of restaurants that include some of the most successful eateries of NYC such as Don Angie, Smith & Wollensky, Park Avenue, etc. They do offer a contemporary take on North American familiar dishes  such as their take on the North American steaks . It  is hip and does have a social vibe. The decor features  several   elements  pertaining to the  neo rustic chic interior design, elements such as marble, wood, and stainless steel. Chandeliers and white ceramic tiles completing the decor.

I went there because not all steakhouses in NYC do offer great  bone-in rib eye steaks, my preferred cut for a steak. They do stellar Porterhouse steaks, at virtually all the great chop houses  in NYC. But rib eye steaks are either absent from their menus, or do come in meager size, and are rarely dry aged (it is pointless, for me, to splurge on wet aged meat, my palate oftently associating it with just a generic piece of steak).  On this particular occasion,  I was also looking for a steakhouse exempt from the usual  potential “”dry aged” or mixed  type of service (However great is the food, if the service has the potential to make me vomit, the food is worthless) . I heard that QM has fine  hospitality standards and that they  do  an excellent rib eye steak. I went  to find out.

My expectation was the usual expectation of any steak lover: I needed my steak to be a fully flavoured juicy slab of prime beef, exquisitely  seasoned, unleashing   a great deal of umami sensation in mouth. Did the steak meet that expectation? First, a description of the steak I did order:   a 24 oz. long-boned Black Angus Prime, dry-aged rib steak.  Aged for 40 days. My rib eye had a delicious seasoning, but it was cooked  past the requested medium rare doneness. A bit dry and tough here and there, as well. However, I will give them a second chance as this is a first rate restaurant that deserves a second chance. I surely will do that soon, with, next time, the choice of the porterhouse. I trust that this was an isolated slip as the local steakhouse experts have long praised the rib eye at QM. 5/10

Other items that I did sample here :

With my steak, I took the creamed spinach, which was tasty and   packed with enticing fresh spinach flavor. 8/10

The other side dish I did order was their popular crispy potatoes, which are blanched in duck fat, seasoned with garlic , thyme, and bay leaves and dressed at the last minute  with a hot sauce of butter seasoned with garlic , thyme, parsley, chives  and rosemary.  Great.  8/10

Bottom line: A classy restaurant. I hope I will be luckier with the steak the next time I will go back there. The sides are great.  The service, at the exception of a young lady with long straight black hair at the entrance (she seems to suffer from some serious attitude problem) was of world class mention. Definitely a place where I will return.

 

This puts an end to my two months of intense search for Montreal’s finest steaks at steakhouses, butchers and steak shops. The results of such search is always controversial: this or that one was perhaps forgotten, this or that one has the advantage of offering this or that whereas the other does not, bla bla bla. But the advantage I have is that I am not paid to do this, therefore do owe nothing to no one, it is my own hard earned money and all I care about is sharing what I think is fine or not. You take or you leave it.

So, I paid a visit to Boucherie Bio Saint-Vincent (Marché Jean Talon), known as one of Montreal finest butchers. What sets them apart is that the meat they sell comes from the Charolais cattle (as opposed to the wide offering of Canadian and US Black Angus), a breed that I know well thanks to my long years  in France. Their  Charolais is raised here locally in Quebec at les Fermes Saint-Vincent , grass fed, and the meat is aged for at least 21 days.

This is quality meat, there is no doubt about this, and at the simple visual inspection of the rib steak, I was impressed by the superb texture of the meat  as well as great condition of the  the bone that’s attached to it (recently, I was served at an upscale steakhouse with a rib steak which bone was bent in such an unappealing way that I had visions of the beast being mistreated…imagine how tiny were the chances for that steak to score high..those seem to be little details but a superb steak scores high on all fronts, even on such seemingly futile aspect).

The thing to set straight is that there is no debate over this being superior or not to the other steaks I have scored high  earlier on. Charolais is known to  feature a meat that’s essentially lean, so take this into account if you want to order this meat. This is grass fed, whereas all the steaks I reviewed earlier on were mostly corn finished.  On the aspect of tenderness, I have no reproach to raise:  it was perfectly tender, though expectedly a bit firmer than some of the Certified Canadian Black Angus  rib steaks  I have  sample (normal, the Black Angus rib steaks had obviously higher marbling and were aged longer).   On the aspect of the aging, Charolais beef being lean, you can’t really expect the deep aging effect of a  long dry aged rib steak of the fattier (obviously not a bad thing when it comes to meat flavor) Canadian Black Angus breed, to take an example.  That said,  for my taste, and with the reminder that Charolais and Canadian Black Angus are great in their very own merits,  Maitre Boucher Marc Bourg’s 40 days aged rib steak remains the most impressive cut of all the aged rib steaks I tried all along this rundown, especially for its texturally well accomplished marbling, deeper rich  flavor of the fat,  and an aging aspect that shone through superbly (fabulous gamey/nutty character).

So Voilà, my rundown of Montreal finest steaks and steakhouses is over. It is just meat, so as I wrote earlier on, your good luck lies in the hand of your butcher, his ability to select the finest meats out there. Serious butchers do not cheat with quality, so boot from there.

On an ending note, here are my suggestions for what I view as a top of the crop rib steak:

1.Pick a 2′ thick rib steak. It is just more appealing to watch, and if there’s anything
faulting, it is easier to spot.
2.Bone-in, not boneless. Again, better for the visual aspect, it adds flavor and nature never lies:
a bone in superb condition tells a bit about how well the animal might have been treated.
3.I personally prefer a beautiful dry aged bone-in rib steak than the fresh vivid red textured
younger ones. The trick here is to get a butcher who is ahead of his colleagues on virtually all fronts:
-it needs to be a serious butcher with the exceptional ability to shop for the finest meat possible.
A good way to know if your butcher rises to the challenge is to question him/her about his way of
selecting his/her meat. Just ensure you have informed yourself a lot about meats, have experienced a lot
with their subtleties, visited farms, are passionate about the subject, and trust your instinct:
good liars will always leave trails of BS on their way. Real serious butchers stick to strong principles
of quality.
-rib steaks from some breeds and at higher grading do  react better to proper aging technique.
for example, I find that a carefully selected quality Canadian  Certified Black Angus is better rewarded — compared
to some other breeds — to a high standard dry aging technique. His marbling simply reacts well, its texture
showing a convincing beautiful and natural smoky-looking aging appearance. Lower grades do certainly suffer
from less convincing beautiful aging aspect, and non serious condition of aging (wrong temperatures, inappropriate aging room)
always lead to amateurish cuts
-a great butcher knows how to get the most of his aged rib steak. For example, I never trusted mixed aging techniques
such as wet aging then dry aging, etc. They just don’t provide beautiful aging texture, in my experience. Long dry aging
a nicely marbled and carefully selected meat provides simply better aged cuts. A butcher who seems to genuinely
understand this principle is a winner in my personal assessment.
-Look at how the aged rib steak meat is stored. It should be hanged, unless you are, of course, picking it from
a counter at a meat shop. But then again, I prefer the butcher who goes in his aging room and slice that cut
in from of me.
-if you see your aged meat sealed in plastic, look elsewhere. Aged meats need to breath
-a butcher who encourages you to spice your aged rib steak with pepper and sauces is basically suggesting
a recipe to kill the appreciation of the meat. After all, this is perhaps the sign that his rib steak is not enoughly
good to be appreciated in its full glory.
-butchers are like musicians. The better ones will fire more inspired vocal compositions. Notes if you want.
so if your butcher keeps repeating what all other keep saying, it is not one of the best. A sign of a great butcher
transpires in the little inspired gestures that makes a real difference in the enjoyment of your meat.
As an example, during this 2 months run down, Maitre Boucher Marc Bourg was the only one  to suggest I lay the piece of meat in a specific position  while its resting on the counter before being grilled. That is showing great understanding of  meat, since indeed that position ensures proper continuation of the butcher’s hanging technique and improves tenderness. Great call.
-If your butcher seems to play little attention to details about the treatment of the cattle, the level of stress at slaughtering, the diet of the cattle…that is not a good butcher at all
4.Beautifully dry aging of a carefully selected high grade rib steak reacts well on a grill. No need of oiling the grill or your meat for real top quality dry aged cuts. You’ll kill its fabulous texture. Just lay that beautiful cut of rib steak  on the bbq grill  for the time that matches with the doneness you want to achieve. Do not go beyond medium rare! Do not add butter! No Pepper, Lol! Let it rest in aluminium foil and just pour a bit of fleur de sel on that beauty! Enjoy!

PS:  If you know of any place where I can sample Simmental, please let me know.