KristalBelli – $56 For Bacon and Worth It

Steak is a fantastic dish and should be celebrated. There’s no better way to show your love for it than to share it with your friends. That’s the whole motivation behind the World’s #1 Steak Club, SteakClub7; to eat, share & enjoy Steak with your friends. Which steak, where’s is prepared, how it’s made, well that’s up to your interpretation and for this month’s Steak Club outing, we chose to diversify up the palett.

If you love meat and are open to ethnic foods, I’ll take the safe bet that you’ve eaten and love Korean barbecue. Known as “Gogigui” in Korean which translates directly to “meat + roasting”, which is refers to their way of grilling meat. The dishes are prepared right at your table on a table top grill. It’s a fantastic way to dine and experience a little food culture. At NYC’s KRISTALBELLI, they take this to a whole new level.

Founded by Korean entertainer, music mogul and business man Park Jin-young (AKA JYP), KRSITALBELLI is a high-end Korean barbecue restaurant located in Midtown Manhattan. JYP and his restaurant group have worked to create a brand new style of grill fashioned from crystal. The convex surface provides high-heat retention with a perfect distribution and creates a perfect cooking experience.

From their website:

The advantages of crystal grill:

• Infrared-ray – When it’s heated, it emits infrared ray enabling the meat’s inside to get cooked simultaneously with the outside so the meat holds more juice and the outside is much unlikely to burn. (Infrared ray is known to be the most beneficial wavelength to humans.)

• Cook time – Cooks meat 2~3 times faster compared to traditional stainless or metal grills.

• Appearance – Its clear color and shape provides a visual attraction to the grill.

• 99.9% natural crystal – The stone does not create any harmful residues.

• Artistic grill and table: Kristalbelli’s grill/table is the 1st to be artistically designed when all Korean BBQ grills just focused on its function until now. Our roaster is equipped with the downdraft system, which drags in all the smoke downwards.

It’s not only authentic but it’s very stylish and unlike other Korean barbecue restaurants, your server handles all the cooking.

For the proper Korean barbecue experience at KRISTALBELLI, you’ll want to order a number of selections from the menu. It doesn’t have a lot of choice but they are all pretty great. The entire meal should be split so none of this “that’s mine” businesses, if it’s on the table, it’s fair game! We started off with 3 dishes:

Haemul Pajeon “해물 파전” – Mixed seafood pancake with scallions. I didn’t try this but I really don’t like Seafood. The rest of the guys were into it.

Japchae “잡채” – Stir fried glass noodles with vegetables. This was delicious and robust with all kinds of great flavors and spices. I could’ve eaten this as an entire meal!

The KB (Kristalbelli) Salad – Sauteed pork belly on top of mixed greens accompanied with soy ginger vinaigrette. Seriously, do not skip on this. It’s simple but incredibly tasty.

Korean meals often come with lots of sides, dips and prepared vegetables that are meant to be eaten with the main dish so be sure to try everything that comes your way.

KRISTALBELLI offers four cuts of beef, Filet Mignon, Wagyu Rib Eye, Wagyu NY Strip & Wagyu Galbi . We went with the latter 3 so as to be able to try a bunch of different types. It all comes with onions and mushrooms that your friendly and skilled server will cook for you. Once it was ready, we ate it faster than it took to cook the steaks. Amazing quality, taste, flavor, execution and style.



The steaks of course come with more sauces, vegetables and pastes. We actually asked for more of the chili paste (bottom, center) because it was so amazing. I want to bottle and sell that.

The Wagyu Galbi comes from the Chuck Tail and cut that is not easy to come by. In fact KRISTALBELLI keeps a limited amount on hand so be sure to get there early and order some.

Want to see what $56 worth of bacon looks like? That’s actually 2 full orders of the KRISTALBELLI Samgyeopsal “삼겹살” – Pork belly. You have never seen a table of men salivate until you’ve witnessed the SteakClub7 watching while their server prepared this on the grill. It was incredibly rich, succulent and fresh tasting. Ignore the cost and be sure to order it.

And like all dishes, the Samgyeopsal comes with more delicious sauces to dip in which honestly, it does not need. No matter, you should try them all!

Rounding out the meal we did as you should and ordered Kristal Bibimbap “크리스탈 비빔밥.” Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish made with rice with seasoned assorted vegetables with chili pepper paste served either cold or hot (choice of beef or tofu) in our signature crystal bowl. As they mix it table side, the rice starts to stick to the bowl and crisps creating something like a moist rice chip. It’s incredible and if do not order this, you did yourself an injustice. We practically fought each other for the last bites.



KRISTALBELLI might be a little on the expensive side but you get what you pay for. If you want the best, you have to pay for it. That’s why I suggest going with several people so you can split and try a lot of dishes.

KRISTALBELLI is one of the most unique, high quality authentic ethnic dining experiences in NYC and the food, especially the Steak is nothing but delicious.

4.5 out of 5 knives
-Rev

Prime & Beyond – Everything But The Steak

All hail the MeatGod.  At 9:58 am on the first working day of the new year, he emails the rest of Steak Club 7; “happy new year fellow carnivores! let’s get this year off to a great start- when’s first steak club?” Nothing kicks of the year like a gathering of the fellas to take down a juicy hunk of beef. After only a few emails, we had a steak on the books, just in time for joeC’s birthday!

Prime & Beyond first opened in Fort Lee, NJ in 2003 built a reputation serving USDA Prime Steaks. Built on the passion and knowledge of owner “Q the Butcher” and his brother Kevin, in 2011 the company expanded into a 2nd location in New York City. It’s a new age steakhouse with a modern decor and an exposed kitchen. The menu is primarily beef, both wet & dry aged with a few other accoutrements including a dash of Korean fair with kimchi, rice and bulgogi. Their supply of steaks come from Master Purveyors from the Hunts Point Meat Market.


With bacon, sausages, salami, hot dogs and steak, lots of steak, we were all pretty excited to eat at Prime & Beyond.

Our meal, started like it often does, with bacon, specifically the “PB Special Bacon.” This was my favorite part of the meal. It was smoky, had just the right amount of fat and cooked perfectly. Along with the bacon we also had the Wagyu sausage links which tasted like a smoky kielbasa.

Prime & Beyond serves a special salad that has a tangy Asian dressing over lettuce, cabbage & tomatoes.

Before preparing our steaks, the server, in a very cool act of class, brought the raw cuts over to the table for us to peruse. If that doesn’t get you excited to eat, I don’t know what will.

I don’t eat kimchi but the other guys seemed to enjoy it.

I really enjoyed the grilled vegetables especially the sweet potatoes.

It’s listed as a main course, but we absolutely had to have the short rib stew bowl to share around the table. I really liked the broth and the tenderness of the meat but wish they had removed the meat from the bones before serving it.

Matt ordered the wet aged filet and was a little surprised when it arrived pre-sliced.

A cold sweet egg omelet, like tamago came with our meal. I thought that was an interesting addition to a steak dinner.

The Big P.A. and I split a dry aged porter house for 2. We too were surprised when our steak arrived sliced in this bizarre fashion. However, I was elated to see the steak was cooked to an absolute perfect medium rare. The steaks at Prime & Beyond are served with a scallion salad, which the waiter explained to us is meant to be eaten a top the steak. I tried a couple of bites and not only was it unique, I liked the mix of flavors it created.

If the odd slicing of the meat wasn’t enough to warn me, the below room temperature of the meat certainly let me know something was wrong. Upon further examination of the meat, I found it to be extremely fatty and beyond what I would ever consider proper marbling. For a relatively small cut of a porterhouse, this may have been the first time the Big P.A. and I did NOT finish off a steak at one of our gatherings. It wasn’t just our steak either, it was everyone on the table.

We also order King Oyster Mushrooms and French Fries. I didn’t try the Mushrooms because I don’t eat the fungus but the french fries were decent.

At the insistence of the Big P.A. we ordered a couple of desserts for the table. They had a great presentation and the pecan pie was pretty good.

Up until the steak, I was really enjoying my meal. The oddly served, cold and fatty cut pretty much guarantees we won’t be returning.

1 knife out of 5
-Rev

Wolfgang’s – Solo Mission – A Wolf In Sheep’s Bottling

The last time I paid a visit to Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in Tribeca, literally 2 months ago, minus one day, I had one of the BEST Steak dinner’s I’ve ever had in NYC. The SC7 gave them a glowing review with  4.5 out of 5 knives!! The restaurant has a beautiful dining room, great service and practically impeccable food. Read the review for the full skinny.

About this time every year, some of my friends from the music business and I get together for a yearly holiday Steak dinner. When the discussion came up this year on where to dine, I proudly pushed weight on scheduling at Wolfgang’s. Once everyone read the SteakClub7 review, it was an easy lock. The reservation was made and good times, good friends and good Steak was in our sights.

If you want to know how the food was, it was amazing. No need to recap the same review from less than 2 months ago. How was the company, I freaking love these guys and look forward to this event every year. Regardless of the fact that all we do is bust, rip and tear into each other, it’s a good laugh and a great way to enjoy each others company before we all disappear back into holiday mode with our families. I especially enjoy the annual shot of Steak Fat that my friend Ben and I share to commemorate the occasion. Try it, you’ll like it.

But the real story here, what I REALLY want to talk about is our server and the terrible attempt of a hoodwink that he played on us. Look at the picture below. Check on the left where the wine menu CLEARLY lists the Penfolds Bin 28 as a 2006 vintage. Then look at the actual bottle that was brought to our table. It’s CLEARLY a 2008 vintage. Had it not been for Paul, I wouldn’t have even checked but apparently this happened to him only a week at ago at Wolfgang’s Park Ave location.

No big deal right? Maybe the waiter made a mistake? Just bring it up and get it fixed? . He apologizes, brings the right vintage unless it’s no longer available, then he just adjusts the price. Well, yeah, that’s how it should work but that’s not how it went down this time. When we pointed out that the bottle he brought and what was on the menu was not the same thing, he just said “that’s all we have,” and shrugged his shoulders. As we were trying to ask him to tell us the adjusted price or see if they had any 2006, he proceeded to open the bottle and pour a sip into my glass for tasting. We asked again and his reply, after once again shrugging his shoulders, was merely “I am sorry. I can not help you.” We asked if he could get the manager to discuss the wine price and he said “no. There is nothing I can do. They haven’t updated the menu and the price is the same.”

What? WHAT? Are you kidding me? You mean to tell us that the difference in the years of a wine’s vintage have nothing to do with the price? So every single other restaurant, vintner, vineyard, grape grower, etc has been lying to everyone else this whole time and the difference of two years between vintages means nothing?

Clearly this guy thinks we are idiots and you know what, maybe we are. We decided to just let it go so as to not cause and scene and just go back to enjoying our annual meal together. But regardless of our salaries, social status, attire, or really anything else, the U.S. tender in my wallet spends the same as everyone else’s and to be treated with such disrespect is a show of bad business practice. When we were brought the bill, no changes were made, no free dishes, no special drink to apologize…nothing. That’s why we tipped 15% to the dollar. No need to return the disrespect we were shown by under tipping, but normally we would give a full 20%.

I wouldn’t normally use this forum to be negative as we try to be a deciphering mechanism to talk about great restaurants and awesome Steak, it needs to be pointed out to YOU, my fellow consumers, that if you eat here, this could happen to you too. I’m not telling you to NOT patronize this business, because the food is awesome but definitely be careful of what you order, what is brought and what you are charged.

So having said that, enjoy some amazing food porn and Happy Holi-Steaks.

 

No rating given out of sheer disrespect to us.
-Rev

Prime Meats – Eating Outside The Box

This many years into running the world’s number one Steak Club, it’s not becoming any easier trying to find all the best Steaks around NYC and providing a point of discovery. But that’s what we do and that’s what you look to us for. We eat Steak. We eat A LOT of Steak. Sometimes it’s great Steak, sometimes it’s not, but we know our role is to help you find the best steaks.

The more and more NYC becomes the best of best for food, the more and more places serving a great Steak that may not be in a restaurant classified as a “Steakhouse.” Great Steaks are starting to come from all sorts of kitchens out there and it’s less about what the restaurant is called and more about what they do to the cut once they have it. Call it a Steakhouse, a grill, a chop house, a bistro, eatery, or anything else, caring for a Steak is what it’s about.

Enter The Box. When he was ushered into this elite Club of Steak junkies, we knew he loved the Meats but we didn’t realize the revolution he would bring to the group. Long story short, as coincidence would have it, The Box started pushing to eat outside the box, choosing places we wouldn’t normally have thought to get steak. Long story short, The Box has delivered us into the next evolution of SteakClub7 and with this month’s pick, he solidified the future of our elite group.

And that’s how we ended up this month in Brooklyn. It should also be noted that The Box has a car and is willing to drive. Prime Meats, no-reservations restaurant located in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens, has been hot on the scene for some time. The rustic looking tavern gone restaurant is always busy and as much as you would like to call ahead for a table, you can’t.  Run by childhood friends turned Kings County restaurant superstars, Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, Prime Meats is a German-inspired farm to table restaurant. The idea was to create a turn of the century style restaurant into fresh and interesting tribute to the past. All dairy and produced are sourced from the Pennsylvania based Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, while the Pork comes from the West Village based Faicco’s Pork Store. The beef, all-natural Angus, is supplied by Creekstone Farms, a farm that raises it’s cattle humanely, allowing them to graze freely. Before processing, the cows are fed a corn-based feed that aids in the flavor profile of the meat.

Most Steak meals start with Bread and that’s why The Box ordered House-made Pretzel with Butter and Mustard for the table as soon as we were seated. Buttery, warm and extra specially tasteful in the Mustard, these settled the hunger in our stomach’s so as to give the rest of our meal a better focus.

After letting The Box lead us to another borough and through the tasty Pretzels, I told him, “I trust you implicitly here, so just order whatever you think we will like.” The first of which was “The Vesper Brett;” Alpine tasting board with house cured bacon, landjager, chicken liver pate, pastrami calve’s tongue, smoked maple ham and house – made pickles. Landjager, well that’s about one of the tastiest things to ever come out of Germany and Bacon, well say no more. The rest of the offerings, weren’t so much for me but everyone else loved them.

OH MAN, it’s one of The Box’s fave dishes and he was excited as hell to share it with us; Roasted Beef Bone Marrow with Radish, Gremolata, Roasted Garlic & Toast. Was it good? Yeah it was good but that’s the kind of word you use if you want to under play how “good” it tasted. I did say OH MAN right? This savory treat was unbelievably delectable. We fought over the last bits of the Marrow, hacking at the insides of the bones with knives trying to scrape out the last bits.

While a normal SC7 dinner has us eating various Potatoes and Greens for sides, tonight was going to be a little different. Our first side; Herb & Gruyere Cheese Spätzle. A popular dish in Germany, it’s made of boiled Egg Noodles and in this case, covered in Cheese. Oh yeah, they’re awesome.

Not only have I never heard of Sürkrüt Garnie before eating here but I haven’t seen it since! The dish is made of Slow cooked pork belly, Thuringian bratwurst, Calf Tongue & Knackwurst served with housemade Sauerkraut. It’s a Meatstravaganza unlike anything you’ve ever had or will ever have again and as far as I know, you won’t find anywhere but at Prime Meats.

DeBragga & Spitler Dry-Aged Côte De Boeuf  36 day dry-aged certified Black Angus served with watercress salad. Average – 27 oz. – 52 oz.. Yeah, we ate that. There’s really no need to go deep into a deeper description here after I tell you the following. Not only did it taste better than it sounds, we all fought over the rights to scrape the bone!

There are few words that light up the Big P.A., like “bacon” does, but one of the others is Merguez. The man loves it and if you have had it, you know exactly why. Elysian Farm Lamb Stew Lamb shoulder, cured Lamb Belly, housemade Merguez Sausage, White Beans & Marrow Breadcrumbs. Almost reads like a porno flick about food right? THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS!! The dish is practically a Cassoulet but not exactly. It’s just further proof that the people at Prime Meats are obsessed with great Food.

Damn. The Box rules supreme. Prime Meats is further proof that great Steak can come from any where. Eat there and you’ll understand, it’s not about one item or a couple of items, but moreover, about an outstanding meal top to bottom.

4.5 out of 5 knives
-Rev

Wolfgang’s – Making A Spectacle Out of Steak

Can you imagine what it’s like to do something for 40 years straight, I mean other than like breath or brush your teeth??! I’m not even 40 years old so based on my own experience, doing anything for 40 years is unfathomable. But let’s just say you did something for 40 years? What would you do then?  Well if you’re Wolfgang Zwiener, you keep doing it but instead you do it for yourself.

You see, Wolfgang was the headwaiter at Brooklyn’s Peter Luger’s Steakhouse for 40 years and after leaving, he opened up a Steakhouse of his own. While the menu is very similar to that of Petey Luge’s, there are 2 important differences to note. #1. Wolfgang’s original location is in Manhattan and #2. they take credit cards. For a guys like us in the SC7, this makes all the difference int he world.

Since then Wolfgang has opened in Waikiki, Beverly Hills, Midtown Manhattan and now Tribeca. Even though every member of SteakClub7 has been to Wolfgang’s we have never had an official outing. The opening of the newest location seemed like as good a reason as any to make it finally happen. The Tribeca location is on Greenwich Street in a beautiful with high ceilings, a gorgeous dining room and a massively, massive 1000 bottle wine room.

Sounds like a perfect location for our monthly SteakClub7 feast!

In true to form fashion, The Big P.A. ordered slices of Wolfgang’s extra thick, sizzling Canadian Bacon. This is staple of the New York Steakhouse and something we dearly love.

I’m not a seafoodie but the other fellas claimed that Wolfgang’s had some of the best and freshest shrimp they’ve ever had in this town.

Normally I go for the wedge salad but opted on this occasion instead to split a Caesar with Jon. When the Box ordered a wedge and the very creamy blue cheese dressing showed up, I had no choice but to add some to my salad.

My great Grandma G.G. always reminded us to eat our vegetables and when it’s an SC7 dinner, JoeC and I always ask for sautéed broccoli. Wolfgang’s was fresh. hot and full of ripe flavor.

Soon enough the star of the show, the Steaks started to arrive. MattyWinks, as always, ordered up a Filet. This was no ordinary Filet my friends! This was the thickest, tallest, biggest cut of Filet I have ever seen!

As the porterhouse steaks came to the party, in perfect fashion, the friendly and well dressed wait staff started to dish out the food. I love that part. The steaks arrive slightly just under cooked to specification. The plates they server on are so hot that it finishes cooking right in front of you. Gotta. Love. The. Sizzle.

As always, we order an array of sides to go along with the beef. This time around we got the creamed spinach, cottage fries and German potatoes (not pictured.) The German potatoes were super delicious. The creamed spinach is not for me and as for the cottage fries, they’re just big, huge fresh made potato chips and while they are good, I’d rather have mashed, french fried or even more German potatoes.

This is practically the exact same meal I eat at every single SteakClub7 and every time I get it, its pure joy. It’s the prefect steak meal especially with a little Australian or Argentine wine. Every once in a while though, it’s better than it’s been before and tonight at Wolfgang’s was that night. The Steak was absolutely delicious! Cooked completely to perfection and with just enough seer on the outside with a little salt & pepper that all the natural flavor of the dry-aged, high-quality meat comes bursting out.

As per the norm, the Meatgod got his hot fudge sundae, no whip cream. The Big P.A. & JoeC plunked down on some cheesecake and an apple strudel for the group to share.

To say Wolfgang’s nailed this one, would be 100% right on the money. The Steak was phenomenal, the sides were great, the service was impeccable and in fact, the only real complaint; the 6 jerks with funny glasses that I had to eat it with.

4.5 out of 5 knives
-Rev

The Palm – Justifiably Costly

I generally love The Palm, but I REALLY love The Palm location in Tribeca!

With the support and fantastic attitude of our waiter Nichole, we embarked on a fun filled, flavor laden, 3 hour gorge-fest.

Aps:  The Palm now has slab bacon!  I’ve had it twice at this location.  The first time it was simply divine.  On this night however, it was overly fatty.  Flavors were there but it’s tough when there is an 85% to 15% pure fat to meat ratio.

Shrimp:  Some of the best in world!  Huge and fresh.

Kobe Sliders:  Oh man they are good!  The creamy aoili is the kicker…

Hearts of Palm Salad:  My favorite and HUGE with just the right amount of dressing.

NY Strip:  Cooked medium and to perfection.  We were about 50/50 on steak preparation as a table.  A couple of the cuts for the table (bone-in fillet and porterhouse were bloody red even though they were ordered medium or medium rare).  Mine was incredible though.  It’s always good, trust me.

The other steaks…

The sides are what I believe to be the best and most consistently good of all the high-end NYC steak houses.  Cheesy crusted potatoes, hash browns, 1/2 and 1/2 (half frizzle onions, half potato crisps), creamed spinach,  broccoli “aglio olio,” and a spectacular sauté of three different types of mushrooms….all top notch, warm in temperature, and seasoned to perfection.

For desert, in honor of Box’s birthday, a huge slab of their legendary carrot cake, some of the best vanilla ice cream in the world, and of course espresso and Black Sambucca.


This was an expensive one.  About $185 for the drinkers and $130 for the soda-type folks.  We even had about $50 in gift cards!   In my world, it’s totally justified with the selection, portions, quality, ambiance and a great wait staff.

4 out of 5 Knives
(1/2 point lost for other guest’s steak temperature/doneness and 1/2 point off for price).
-JoeC

Les Halles – A Switch Up and a Swing For The Fences

It’s been nearly 6 years since we started what has become the “world’s #1 Steak Club” and one would think at this point, we had even nearly every steak in NYC. Truth be told, we probably never will and that is the beauty of eating great steak in the world’s greatest city. We started with 7 members and have since lost 2 both of whom were replaced with 2 more great members and still remain, focused on our goal of eating great steak once a month while, in the spirit of SC7 member, the Big P.A., “sharing out a night with the chaps.”

November was my month to pick the restaurant and the battle is the same every time; somewhere new, somewhere favored or something completely different. This time around, I decided to switch hit and pick a non-traditional NY Steak House and instead go for a restaurant whose entire menu is celebrated with positive reviews. I thought it was an appropriate move since our special guest for the month was Big Datti Marc, one of the Steak Club 7’s original members. This was going to be Marc’s last big meal in his home town before moving across the country to Las Vegas.

For those not in the know, Les Halles is the restaurant that put everyone’s favorite surly Travel Channel’s “No Reservations” show host, Anthony Bordain into the food spotlight. Choose from either the John Street, FiDi location where the menu is very French in nature or do as we did and make a reservation at the Les Halles’ Park Avenue restaurant located in an area of NYC known as the Gramercy. While still serving a primarily French influenced menu that includes Cassoulet, Clams Casino and Confit de Canard, this location also has an impressive list of steaks. Be sure to get a reservation as it’s, as you can imagine, very popular and tell em Steak Club 7 sent you, our table is #31. That may or may not get you anything but I can tell you that despite them being very busy, the entire staff is not too involved to stop by to find out your thoughts on the food, drink or service.

Everything at Les Halles is great and even the butter and bread appetizer is fantastic!

Les Halles as a great charcuterie that doesn’t just rely on cured pork meats. The Salumi is magnificent but don’t be afraid of pulled pork confit. The texture is not what you’re used to and a little creamy but it’s well worth trying. Personally I never liked pate but that’s because any I’ve had before didn’t taste like this!

It’s not on the menu but ask and be sure to ask VERY NICELY for an appetizer of bacon. ITS STUPENDOUS!!! Don’t expect any sweetness, as the flavor of all natural pork is savory and smoky.  If you are too timid to ask or just want more, you can get the same bacon on the bitter frisee salad. Chopped into smaller bite sized pieces, it’s tossed in a very, very light dressing that provides merely provides a background for the salad. Oh man the bacon!

Each and every steak is prepared with the utmost of care and attention and if you ask for it to be cooked medium rare, expect a steak that practically defines the cooking temperature.  My NY Strip was one of the most tender and well-cut steaks I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.

Nearly every dish at Les Halles is served with Frites and there is a reason, these truly “French” fries taste like hot, full-bodied potato chips as opposed to just being a greasy blast of hot starchy grease.

Les Halles gained and maintain their popularity with the highest level of some of the best personal service and quality prepared foods.

4.5 out of 5 knives
-Rev

Bonjour Big Datti, please hold us a table at Delmonico’s.

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