Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Keen's Steakhouse: Steaking it up with the Daily Show

Keen's (Dec 2010)
72 W 36th St
New York, NY

Sameer: - "Legendary" mutton chop (medium rare) and T-Bone (medium rare) - Steak was slightly under-seasoned, though I prefer that to over-seasoned (read: Del Frisco's). Still had a nice charring, but I actually found the med rare not executed to my liking. The outside got slightly overcooked. A steak I enjoyed, but based on the preparation, I think the NY strip is probably better.

I am not rating the mutton, but I will say that it was delicious. At first, I could not distinguish between the taste of the mutton and steak, but that lack of palate quickly faded after a few bites. Outstanding mint jelly.

Jeff: - Same - Excellent flavor of the T-bone and well executed medium rare. I did not grow weary of the cooked outer portions as I am keen to do. (Do you see what I did there?)

Mutton was superior, but does a mutton purveyor really have competition in this city? Flavor here was more subtle than the T-bone, but relax, there is still a fine gamey flavor, for those of you that find yourself in the strange position of eating lamb yet being concerned about the lambey taste. The mint jelly was indeed potent.

I think I would like to take this opportunity to depart from the strict meat-centric review policy. We revised the cow system, and I consider that a green light to be able to consider other factors of a steakhouse.
For example, like atmosphere. Normally I cannot tell the difference between ambiance and ambulances, but Keen's is a steakhouse I would like to be a member of, if membership could be had. The multi-storied steakhouse feels like a storied, rustic cabin replete with artifacts of the past. Merriment is a constant soundtrack. Walls are alight as if by kerosene lamps. This is an ideal winter steakhouse. I want to return.

Krishna: - Same - The t-bone was cooked well. The mutton was flavorful but was a little too lean for my taste (I suppose I just really enjoy lamb chops). I liked the thick cut of both.

I too would like to be a member if only to become friends with the cast of the Daily Show.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sparks (2): We love you

Sparks (November 2010)
210 E 46th St
New York, NY

Sameer: - Prime Sirloin (rare) - Almost one year after the inception of this formidable tradition, we return to Sparks. For me, all my original comments still hold true, even though I've been around the block since our first visit, so to speak.

Jeff: - Prime Sirloin (rare) - I found it odd that we could not tell the different between the medium rare and the rare steaks on the table. Is it possible they just cooked it the way they saw fit?

It seems so, because the steak was damn delicious again. Outstanding flavor, fat content, and seasoning. A delight to eat again and again. This steak puts a lot of the crap we have eaten out there to shame, in terms of flavor.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quality Meats: Steak made for 12

Quality Meats (October 2010)
57 W 58th Street

New York, NY

Sameer: [zero cows]- Dry Age Porterhouse For Two (rare) and Rib Cut Steak For Two (medium rare) - The most herculean slab of beef I've ever seen. Rib eye had some good flavor sporadically, but overall it was just too rare for my tastes. I know we don't rate service here, but this is one instance where better service could have really improved the meal. We could have been advised about the goddamn size of the steak and that medium would have been better, instead of getting an offhand, apathetic "medium rare or medium or i don't give a flying fuck" reply from the waiter. Porterhouse was nice, but agree with Krish.

Jeff: [diddly squat] - Same - The Rib steak was a damn brontosaraus rib served on a plate. Huge cuts of meat. I have never seen a MR come out so deep and red. Should have ordered a M to bring out more flavor of the meat.

Porterhouse was nothing to write about.

Krishna: [zero]- Same - I think we learned a valuable lesson on this outing: no more debating on how we get rib eye steaks prepared. The double rib was impressive to look at but the flavor wasn't great. I did enjoy the steak sauce though.

The porterhouse was thick and cooked well but was not memorable in the end.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Craft: Nothing special

Craft (September 2010)
43 East 19th St
New York, NY

Sameer: - Côte de boeuf (medium rare) / Sirloin (rare) - Côte de boeuf for me was tender, nicely charred, and had positively mouth watering flavor. I savored each bite, and could have eaten another one. The sirloin was a magnificently prepared rare, but most of the flavor came out of the sauce, and I found it a bit too chewy, even for rare.

Jeff: [zippo] - Same - Nothing blew me away about either piece. This was my first côte de boeuf, and I thought the thick meat cut into thin slices was novel. Well-aged, well cooked. I didn't enjoy the sear on the côte de boeuf was overdone, dry, and underseasoned. Bonus half a cow for the included marrow (which was served on the same plate as the steak, so I can't ignore it as a side).

Krishna: [zero]- Same - In response to the half-cow comment, I think we should seek to reduce the complexity of the rating system rather than increase it. Given that no review has been given less than 3 cows to date, I'm not sure if we have the appropriate baseline or rating metric. I propose we retroactively take away three cows from every rating and restaurants with a "no cow" rating indicating that we won't make an active effort to return.

The steak was pretty good but I wasn't a huge fan of the sauce and the chewy texture at some parts of the meat on either cut. I think I enjoyed the sirloin marginally more that the côte de boeuf.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Minetta Tavern: Burger = steak

Minetta Tavern (August 2010)
113 MacDougal St
New York, NY

Sameer: - Black Label Burger (medium rare) - A special edition. And well worth the departure from tradition. The borderline psychotic care exercised in creating and preparing this burger was apparent from even the appearance of the food. The carmelized onions were an absolutely perfect pairing with the subtle tinge of roqueforte in the aged meat. The custom made bun was heavenly; it did not overpower the burger in the least, but only served to make the meal more flavorful. But the beef. Marvelously cooked, the combination of steak cuts provided such extreme flavor and juiciness, I loved this burger from start to finish. 2, not 3 cows, because of the same issue Jeff raises. Waxiness under the tongue which developed halfway through the burger for me and got stronger, which we think was the clarified butter.

Jeff: - Black Label Burger (medium rare) - The first bite was a unique experience that left me speechless. This is the finest crafted burger I have ever eaten. Every element, from the meat to the supporting bun, is well-suited and well-made. The meat was juicy, tender, flavorful with smokey aged qualities. The handling of the burger was sublime, meaning the bun-to-meat ratio was spot-on. I mentioned the first bite because bites Two to the Final bite were marked by an odd waxy texture in my mouth. I have no idea what is going on there.

Krishna: - Black Label Burger (medium rare) - I know this should be about the burger but the bone marrow cannot go unmentioned (don't worry, not in the rating). It was rich and flavorful. The burger was aged really well and almost had a bleu cheese flavor to it. The patty had a light and flaky consistency (i.e, not dense), which was quite nice.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wolfgang's: Krishna is as practical as always

Wolfgang's (July 2010)
4 Park Ave
New York, NY

Sameer:  Porterhouse Steak for 3 (rare) - Best serving of rare I have had yet. The center of the steak was nothing short of heavenly. Good charring on the outside, good fat distribution. Would have given it 3 cows but much of my steak was a bit underseasoned, and needed steak sauce. Excellent though, overall.

Jeff:  Porterhouse Steak for 3 (rare) -  Outstanding aged meat. The filet part in the center of the cut was the most delicious bites I have had to date. Melting buttery smooth meat. Next time though, we must pull all meat pieces off the plate before they cook from the heat of the plate.

Krishna: Porterhouse Steak for 3 (rare) - I agree with Jeff.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BLT Steak: Cameo review by Jay

BLT Steak (June 2010)
106 E 57th St
New York, NY

Sameer: [Zero bovines] - Delmonico Cut (med rare) - Not really sure what the "delmonico" cut means at a restaurant that is not delmonico's. A good piece of meat, though didn't have great marbling. Decent flavor, nothing exceptional, but a really excellently executed medium rare.

Crab: [Zilch] - NY Strip (rare i.e. red, cool center) - Steak never quite jelled for me. Flavor lacked pop, meat was a little more cooked than I would have preferred. Next time, order "blue" (very red, cold center).
Setting notes: one cow. UES yuppie hunting grounds.

Jay: - Filet (med rare) - Steak was cooked to a good temperature but the flavor was kind of bland.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peter Luger's: The hype

Peter Luger's (May 2010)
178 Broadway, Brooklyn

Sameer:Porterhouse (Rare) - Very nicely cooked rare, great color, great juice. A little dry for my liking, and little depth of flavor. A simple piece of meat very well cooked, but lacking the kind of flavor complexity necessary to differentiate for me.

Jeff:Porterhouse for Three (Rare) - I thought our cut of meat was substandard: unevenly marbled, and oddly shaped in some parts. Still, well aged, and well flavored for all its lumps. I've had PL before, and I've had it better.  This would be 3 cows, but I am factoring the highs I have experienced in the past.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Strip House: Misleading restaurant name

Strip House (Apr 2010)
13 East 12th St
New York NY

SPare meal: height=23 - NY Strip (med rare) - Delightful charring on the outside, but a bit inconsistent and sometimes overdone across the cut. Powerful flavor combined nicely with an expertly prepared medium rare. The garlic clove accompaniment was a nice touch.

Crab: height=23 - NY Strip (Rare) - Outstanding flavor. Rare was cooked a little more warm than I prefer, but the outstanding flavor and seasoning still made it a highly enjoyable steak.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Del Frisco's: Learning experience

Del Frisco's (Mar 2010)
1221 Avenue of Americas

SPare meal: height=23 - Double eagle strip (med rare) - A flawlessly executed medium rare, which brought out the flavor nicely. Quality cut of meat, but major downside was the seasoning. A little seasoning is desirable, but the steak was so immersed in seasoning, it was overwhelming to the point that some had to be scraped off. Would have scored significantly better otherwise.

Crab: height=23 - Ribeye (med rare, eventually) - Initially ordered rare which was a mistake on reviewer's part. Meat very marbled. Asked server to re-cook into medium rare. Cooked perfectly to bring out flavors and fat of the meat. A delight to eat. Sides note: Cauliflower with brie/truffle oil was an outstanding pairing of flavors/nutrition. The mac&cheese was below average.

Additional unreviewed steaks by Krishna, Raj, and Abhay.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Primehouse: Shortest reviews ever

Primehouse (Feb 2010)
381 Park Avenue South
New York, NY

SPare meal: [No cows] - 65 day aged bone-in ribeye (med rare) - A well prepared steak, but for me severely lacking flavor in some form, perhaps partly on expectation of the much vaunted “himalaya salt room”, plus the bone-in. What flavor I did perceive was unquestionably exceptional. Overall enjoyable but lacking a major dimension I can’t justly describe.

Crab: [Zero cows] - South Park Ave Filet bone-in (rare) - Not bad.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sparks: The awakening

Sparks (Jan 2010)
210 E 46th St
New York, NY 10017

SPare meal: - Prime sirloin (rare) - Perhaps one of the most enjoyable steaks I’ve ever had. Perfect crispness on the outside, with an equally perfect rare inside for me. The flavor was inspired. Ideal marbling with fat gently distributed throughout the cut, providing no overly chewy mouthfuls, and just enough fat in each bite to enhance the flavor.

Crab: - Prime sirloin (rare) - Outstanding flavor. Perfectly cooked. Juicy/crispy on the outside.

Editor's note: This dinner began, with little pomp, the monthly occasion. Two gentlemen simply wanted to gather, swap news, imbibe spirits, and laugh heartily. That it should be over planks of meat seemed appropriate. And afterwards, the gentlemen conferred and agreed that this was a good thing, and that it should be repeated. And so began the STEAK OF THE MONTH CLUB.