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

Il Latini – Solo Mission

Il Latini
http://www.illatini.com/
via dei Palchetti 6/r (Palazzo Rucellai) Firenze, Italy 50123

If you are looking for the truest of Tuscan dining experience while in the fantastic city of Florence, Italy, look no further.

Did you make a reservation yet? No?!?!? Keep reading and learn why you should.

If it wasn’t for the crowd gathered outside sipping complimentary wine and snacking on mellow Italian cheeses, this unique foodie haven would appear to be one of the most unassuming restaurants in the town of Firenze. Down a little alley, not far from the river Arno, you will find Il Latini. Reservations are a great idea but due to the surprisingly large sizes of the 4 dining rooms within, getting a seat, as long as you are patient, shouldn’t take too long. Soon you’ll be seated, of course family style, and sipping HEAVILY on the delicious house Toscano Rosso.

The restaurant gladly showcases off a gigantic selection of cavatappi (cork screws) as well as hocks of Serrano ham, proudly hung, and aging, from every piece of ceiling available. If you can get a seat in the section waited on by Julio, you’re already ahead of the game. Julio (and any staff member for that matter) will guide you through their amazing selection of Tuscan cuisine offerings but pay attention, there are no menus. It’s all in the servers head and they will make every effort to design you the perfect meal from their Tuscan country side cooking.

It’s a special place where conversation is almost as important as the food. Menu highlights include ribollita, Pappa al pomodoro and stracotto soups, ravioli made with white wild boar, braised pork and what I considered to be the star of the show, the most delicious and savory perfectly cooked bistecca Fiorentina. Don’t skip out on their home made desserts and wash them back with a selection of after dinner drinks and espresso.

Did you enjoy the robust wine, the thick and hearty olive oil or the sweet and chewy biscotti? You’ll be glad to know all of these items are for purchase and if you don’t bring back your friends and family something from Il Latini, what kind of person are you?

If you don’t LOVE Il Latini, you don’t love food and perhaps yourself as well.

4.5 out of 5 Knives
-Rev

 

With that, I give you THE official Il Latini Ribolitta Recipe. If you make it, I expect an invite with at least 24 hours notice. Thank you

Ingredients: Tuscan kale, savoy cabbage, beet, olive oil, leek, salt and pepper, carrots, celery, red onion, white beans, parsley, basil, whole wheat bread, ripe tomatoes

Preparation:
Fries of olive oil and leek.
Add the ripe tomatoes preserved if possible.
Then add the vegetables, that before you have cut in cubes.
Add the white beans with their water.
When the vegetable soup is ready, cover it with the bread slices; add olive oil and let boil

Peter Luger – The King of Steak Wears a Hollow Crown

steak club 7 peter luger ticket

It was cold out, but the walk to meet up with the Meat God for my ride to Williamsburg, Brooklyn had a spring in the step because it was steak night, and I was gonna eat right.

For the first Steak Club 7 trip of 2009, January’s captain The Rev had decided on a place with a long tradition of serving prime porterhouse to a packed house of satisfied diners.

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I remember my first time at Peter Luger, I’d not long been living in New York and with cash in my pocket (they only take the Peter Luger credit card or cash) I jumped in the cab and headed over the bridge to the promised land. You could say that was the night I had my first proper steak, coz they don’t serve it this way back in jolly ‘ole England and boy was I not disappointed. Luger’s had since become the place I’d take out of town friends to show them how steak is done in New York City.

So fast forward a few years and here we go again. There had always been somewhat of a reluctance shown towards Peter Luger by my colleagues in the SC7, something I’d never understood so I was keen to dine there with the boys so we could all see just how great the place is.

Luger’s is known for it’s slightly snobby approach to its clientele and unlike other places we’ve been recently I think they greeted the concept of a steak club visiting their restaurant with some amusement. Once we were seated the waiter walked over with menu’s and pulling his face somewhat and shaking his head asked the assumed question of “you don’t need menu’s do you”?

You see they’re famous for their porterhouse at Luger’s, and by being there you know that right? Right?

We knew we were in for a big night so to kick thinks off right a massive order of twelve pieces of bacon was conveyed almost immediately, actually, scrap that, it was for eleven as the Rev had a plan in mind, bacon AND a burger before the porterhouse. Alas it wasn’t to be as the burger is a strictly lunchtime item so the Rev was left thinking what might have been.

The bacon was incredible, served up with some of the Luger steak sauce rarely have I seen (heard) the boys of the SC7 so quiet. Just typing these words is making me hungry for some more of that pork goodness.

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Two huge plates of tomato and onion were ordered which I didn’t partake in as they’re two things I just don’t like raw but I did rock some of the shrimp which was certainly above average, fresh and tasty.

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And then ladies and gentleman in attendance and the millions reading around the world, the main even of the evening, porterhouse for five, two helpings of hash browns, creamed spinach and broccoli too.

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As is tradition the waiter put two slices of the porterhouse on to each of our plates although I thought it curious that both were from the same side. I usually like one slice from the strip and one from the fillet to begin with but it wasn’t to be. Potatoes were heaped on to the plate as was the creamed spinach. We’d all agreed on medium rare for the steak which was all good with me. I like to enjoy my steak without sauce but I applied generous portions of the sauce on to my hash browns, yum, just the way I like it.

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I tried the potatoes first which were superb, a wonderfully crunchy texture to them and you could really taste the crisp. The spinach was also delicious although a little runny perhaps. And then the steak, ah, that first bite, always so satisfying.

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I think JoeC was the first to say what we were all thinking, “is it me or is this steak a little tasteless” and he was right, it was. To say I was disappointed was an understatement but this just wasn’t how I remembered it. Joe was right, the steak was, well, a little tasteless. We talked about why we all felt this way, perhaps our pallet is just finely tuned now, perhaps we should have ordered three porterhouse for two rather than one for five but the bottom line is this – Peter Luger is no longer the king of steak in New York City.

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There are places that take more pride in what they’re doing and want to fight harder for your buck. Maybe Luger’s has become complacent, I don’t know, but as I commented to the Rev as we were walking out, this ain’t the place I’m taking my out of town pals for steak any more.

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Dessert was nice, three of Luger’s special “Holy Cow” hot fudge Sunday’s and I went for the pecan pie which was up there with the bacon in terms of how tasty it was. Of course I covered the pie in a massive amount of their homemade schlag (whipped cream for the uninitiated) which put a huge smile on my face.

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No Salty Moore tonight which was a shame for the first visit of the year and we lost Jon at half time (before the porterhouse) as he had to go to work, but it was another fun night for the boys despite the mediocre steak.

6 out of 10 knives
-The Big P.A.

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