Tuesday, September 11, 2012

St. Anselm: Like sleeping with someone you hate and loving it

St. Anselm
 (September 2012)
355 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY

Point of order: steak eater Sanjeev, whose invitation was not influenced at all by betrothals or repeated high frequency lobbying, attended his first monthly steak dinner.  Hazing was kept at a minimum.

Jeff Axe Handle Rib Eye - 48 oz (medium rare), Butchers hangar steak (medium rare), Pork Chop of Appeasement  - Is there any way to change the cow icons to represent that these are the two most reluctant heffers I have ever awarded a restaurant?  The current cow icons are not hunching enough nor have their eyes cast downward in shame.  Okay fine, we abandoned the city's steaks for the twee armpit of Billyburg, and on September 11th no less.  So rather than supporting lower manhattan by eating at Delmonico's and injecting interstate commerce into NY Dolls, we crossed the Easter River and waited 45 minutes for a four top on a fucking Tuesday night for the privilege of breaking bread over a fair-labor repurposed wood bench.

Our fey waiter bristled-- BRISTLED-- at our initial order. "We are not a steakhouse," he scoffed, "we just happen to cook really good steak."  St. Anselm's was apparently a misunderstood rock band that was being pigeonholed by the mainstream media.  We added a pork chop to broaden our horizons.

He went off to retrieve "a list of their rib eye cuts."  Oh, I thought, this is like the tradition in Chinese restaurants where the waiter brings a still-flopping fish to your table for approval of its freshness and weight.  Falsehood.  He returned, and laid on our table a piece of paper with four numbers written down:  42, 47, 40, 48.  After much ceremony, we chose the 48 oz.

The real tragedy is that I am unable to completely shit on this place because, in the end, the food was delicious and affordably priced.  All meat was flavorful, though I do not recall much char or crunch.  We were perfectly capable of cutting the meat with the steak knives they supplied us.  And so, I am forced, under the Chinese immigrant system of food review, to ignore all these transgressions, and award two cows based on the cheap price and high quality tasty food.

Sameer:   - [Shared] - Lot of ground to cover on this one.  First off, I would like to thank Jeff for reinvigorating this blog, which, since left to my own devices, I made into a rote, mundane pile of cow flop.  Jeff, you are my steak wife, someone that challenges me to do better with my steak related life adventures.

Ok, St. Anselm.  Our second foray in BK for steak, and in keeping with Williamsburg, this place is the steakhouse embodiment of a hipster.  Snippy and smug, while trying to repress any real connection to something really good for fear it might be labeled.  Long wait due to an illogical table setup, waiters who cannot seem to grasp client service (except that one guy), trying to convince me chicken will be better than steak, and apparently they don't have knives sharp enough to slice the steak for us despite knowing we ordered a massive 48oz steak to share. In short, I loathed almost everything about this place.

Except the food.

Really, really delicious steaks here.  To the point where I was almost upset with them for trying to run from it and foisting a useless pork chop on us.  Delicious flavor, decent char, really beautifully executed with some great quality cuts.  Hangar was the laggard here for me, keeping the cow count down.  But I kept going back for more, to the extent we all wanted to take a syringe and extract the steak from our bellies to relieve the pressure.

So affordably priced compared to the ludicrous steakhouses of manhattan that we overordered like we were fucking pashas.  I am also baffled by presenting the steak weights on a piece of paper.  I guess the waiter could not be bothered to remember 4 numbers because that would make him like a mainstream waiter.  But whatever, it was delicious.

The bones from the ax handle are still sitting in my fridge 2 weeks later.