Pietro’s – An Awesome NYC Classic

Ever since I ate at Pietro’s with Steak Club 7 back in June of 2009, I’ve wanted to go back. The food was great, the service was excellent and the good times were a plenty. There’s a lot of Steak restaurants in NYC and there’s also a lot of great Italian restaurants. However, there aren’t a lot of old school Italian restaurants that also seve great chops. Pietro’s is the place to go for both! This Italian-leaning steak house opened in 1932, this restaurant passed hands when original owner, Pietro Donini passed away. In 1984, Pietro’s moved to it’s current location on 43rd St.

As we do every year, some of my friends from the music business and I get together for a yearly holiday Steak dinner. With last year’s dinner having some lack luster results, I wanted to bring it back this year and suggested Pietro’s. This was going to be exactly the vibe we were looking for.

At this point, it’s now a tradition. Start off your meal with a platter of Pietro’s delicious chicken parmesan. It’s mighty big but it you have enough people, it’s perfect to split.

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While you’re at it, get an order of the meatballs as well. Actually, get one meatball for everyone at the table. We asked for an order to split to which our energetic and fun waiter said “are you kidding me? I’m not going to let you split meatballs, I am going to get you each one!”

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It’s a part of what many of my friends consider an essential part of a steak dinner, but I can’t stand shrimp, so I didn’t have any. I’m sure the rest of my table disagreed.

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It’s NEVER a bad idea to have some roughage as part of a meal this big and intense. The savoriness and intense flavor of a Caesar salad usually does the trick.

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Creamed spinach. I will never understand why people love this dish but they do and its extremely popular with steak dinners. My negative nancy-ness aside, I’m sure everyone else at the table would rave about the dish at Pietro’s.

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Garlicky green beans, now we are talking my style! I love love love green beans with steak and these were great.

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Bring on the start of the show, STEAK! Pietro’s offers a number of steak options but there is only one way to go. Come with a lot of friends and order steak by the number of people at the table. They’ll slice up a porterhouse and serve it to everyone at the table. Look at this picture. LOOK AT IT! Holy Wow! Yes it looked perfect and it tasted that way.

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You gotta have a little starch with a large steak dinner and Pietro’s offers you 9 choices! None of them will take you down a bad path but I definitely suggest the hash brown potatoes.

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While your at, try a helping of the french fried onions. They’re nice and crispy and work really well with witha  juicy bite of steak.

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Somehow not satisfied with the feast we had just ripped through,most of the table wanted to split desserts. While they were all good, the Italian Cheesecake (made with ricotta, not cream cheese) was outstanding and absolutely worth finishing off your meal.

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2.5 years later, Pietro’s is definitely as good as I remember. It’s definably classic NYC in it’s style, presentation, location and feel. The food is absolutely awesome, the service is top notch and the vibe is fantastic. It’s good for dates, parties, corporate dinners, dinner meetings and for 8 guys who get together once a year, dress up in their Sunday best and go out to celebrate the holidays by eating steak together.

 

4 out of 5 knives
-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

Bobby Vans – You Should Listen To Your Steak Club

I hate to be an “I told you so,” but in this case, it’s the truth. When SteakClub7 speaks, you should be listening. Some of you did, including the people seated at the table next to mine and those people have thoroughly enjoyed.

What the hell am I talk about? Thrillist Rewards and a Bobby Van’s “Choose Your Steak” adventure. Hopefully you’re already a member of Thrillist Rewards so you know about how glorious it is to get that email every Tuesday which grants you access to the coolest stuff in NYC. But if you aren’t, what are you waiting for? Sign up now here so the next time something like a $50 steak adventure at one of the SteakClub7 top rated Steakhouses, like Bobby Vans, comes up as a reward, you won’t be missing out.

Pardon me if I about to be preaching to the choir, please feel forward to skip over this and get right to the Steak porn.

Let’s back it up. Thrillist is a daily email that clues you in on the best and newest stuff, be it restaurants, music, bars, equipment, parties, clothing, services and just about anything else. It’s an editorial based recommendation service that’s created by a bunch of folks who clearly have great taste. They specialize in 20 cities in America with more on the way. At the beginning of 2001,  Thrillist did two really great things for New Yorkers. A. They launched Thrillist Rewards, a service for their nearest and dearest readers that creates Thrillist-Approved, one-of-a-kind, limited quantity, locals-only type experiences that you can purchase through them directly and B. they brought me on board to help source the deals with local merchants.

So what’s the first thing I do with the opportunity, I call one of SteakClub7’s favorites, Bobby Vans Steakhouse in the Financial District.

Bobby Vans teamed up with Thrillist Rewards to offer your choice of a Sirloin of Filet Mignon Steak, choice of a fresh Mozzarella / Tomato or Crab Cake appetizer,  your choice of Avion Tequila cocktail and sides of Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach all for only $50!!! Not enough to whet your whistle? Add in 1/2 off all bottles of wine and an additional option of a $20 off-menu Filet Mignon Cheesesteak and if you aren’t already bummed you missed this, perhaps you shouldn’t be reading this site. Well since I am not just a member of the Thrillist Rewards team, I’m also a fan, you can bet your sweet little bippy that I bought a stack of these rewards for myself. With reward in hand, my wife and I headed down to Wall Street with our friend Paul to enjoy our steak adventure.

We started off with a little tequila. Paul and Cara got a Cheech and I went for a Margarita.

I can’t stand Seafood, so the appetizer choice for me was an easy one; Tomato and Mozzarella. The Mozzarella was SO creamy, you could’ve almost be considered it as Burrata. Topped with the most perfectly prepared Roasted Red Peppers ever made this a tasty winner. Cara, a huge Seafood fan, might argue over her Crab Cake.

My Mother used to tell me “you can’t have your Cake and eat it too,” but that clearly didn’t apply tonight as we ordered both of Thrillist Reward options; Steak + Cheesesteak. Now I’ve had this off-menu Cheesesteak before and it is spectacular so there was no way I was going to pass it up. The sandwich comes overflowing with savory cheese and sliced Filet Mignon and you’d be a crazy person to attempt to tackle it by yourself. Show the love and share with your friends. It’s an intense and awesome sandwich that will leave you salivating for more.

Awwwwwww Steak. It’s the reason for the season baby and no one, I mean NO ONE does it like the Bobby V. They only use the highest of high quality cuts of Beef and cook them to an absolute perfection every damn time. If you’re gonna go out for a nice Steakhouse meal, go to a restaurant that does with love and precision like Bobby Vans. With plates and plates of tasty vittles, the Steak Adventure hit full throttle. The waiter brought us a side of Béarnaise sauce that once applied to the creamy Mashed Potatoes made a great side dish even better.

No Steak meal is complete with out a little vino tinto and with an opportunity to choose ANY wine on the Bobby Vans list for half-price, we splurged and selected a deep and rich Italian Borolo from 2000.



Damn. That was a meal fit for a King, a Queen and another King and all for a great price at an amazing and historical restaurant. While I say thank you to Bobby Vans and to Thrillist, you can say thank you to me and SteakClub7 for making your awesome New York life even more awesome.

If you aren’t following SteakClub7 on twitter yet, now would be a good time to start.

4.5 out of 5 knives
-Rev

 

Bobby Vans – A Traditonal Christmas Shot

I love Nick Tieder. Nick is a dear friend and someone who let’s his passions fly unbridled to ensure maximum enjoyment. His teenager like appreciation for music, events and people is admirable. So when Nick asked me if I wanted to join him in planning another holiday steak-out for our friends, I undoubtedly said “HELL YES!!” Traditions are good, well at least the ones that don’t cause harm to others, but it gives people a reason to spend time together. Last year at this time I planned and holiday outing for our friends at Peter Luger’s Steakhouse. A grand time was had by all and it was well worth resurrecting once again.

Bobby Vans has several locations but this fantastic, NYC style steakhouse is best enjoyed at their Broad Street location, right across the street from the New York Stock Exchange. Diners have the option is sitting upstairs in the formal dining room, at the bar or in the more laid back atmosphere in the downstairs grille that still sits in the 1898 built vault room of the J.P. Morgan bank that was formally located here. Try booking a table for on Friday and Saturday nights when their ENTIRE wine list is half price. Traditional in every way, this formal dining room, covered in rich mahogany wood, chandeliers,  white linens and operated by well dressed and very courteous  staff. The regular menu has a selection of steaks, seafood, salad veggies and of course, potatoes. Everything at Bobby Vans is done with class and quality but don’t think for a second that it creates a stale atmosphere. Bobby Van’s knows how to make your dining experience fun and delicious.

If you’re going to stop in for a fantastic meal experience, please ask for Vincent and tell him Rev from Burger Conquest / Steak Club 7 sent you. It was absolutely the right choice for the Rev & Tieder Annual Holiday Steak Off!

We started off our meal test tasting the latest creation from GiddyUp! Sauces, a NYC Steakhouse style Steak Sauce on the Bobby Van’s bread basket. I wish I could tell who they were for but trust me, they are FANTASTIC.

HEYOH HEYOH! A surprise for the table, an order of the secret menu Chef’s prepared bacon. It was grilled to perfection in a balsamic reduction and it was spectacular.

We also got an order of calamari and baked clams, neither of which I tried because seafood is YUCKY.

Ahhhhh! The apex moment of excitement, the arrival of the porter house steaks, ordered for the entire table (that’s 4 porter houses for 2 between friends.)

Watch the magic happen, listen to my reel of clichés and see what everyone had to say about the PERFECTLY prepared medium-rare porterhouse for two.

Add in some tasting veggies and potatoes on the side and you have one fantastically traditional NY Steakhouse style meal.

It was at the monumental celebration that the “shot of steak fat” had its public debut. (See video entry here.) It’s taken from the juice of a porterhouse, poured into a glass and shot like one would liquor. It sounds disgusting but trust me, it’s AWESOME …

…and now it’s a holiday tradition!

The official “change the gloves” sign of Steak Club 7, the upright t-bone.

As always, I polished off my steak meal with a black Sambucca and espresso but at BV’s, espresso comes with rock candy on a stick!

Until next year, happy steak eatin’ all

4.5 out of 5 knives
-Rev

Algiubagio – Solo Mission

Algiubagio
http://www.algiubagio.net/
Fondamenta Nuove, 5039
30125 Venice, Italy

Don’t believe what you read in the travel books, this places serves more than just meat and in fact, the menu is a focused list of interesting appertivos, antipastos, primos, secondos, contornos and dolces. You’ll be seated amongst wooden crates filled with wines from all over Italy, all of which are available to drink.

Confused? No worries, the wait staff will be delighted to help you make the perfect selection. Hopefully Giulio will be looking over your table as he’ll know exactly what you should be ordering. Be sure to tell him Rev sent you!

You’ll instantly smell the intense and rich chocolate that’s available for your dessert and in fact, I dare you to try to make it through your meal without, at least once, saying “we have to get some of whatever chocolate we’re smelling.” Come hungry and try everything that’s suggested. In fact, I strongly suggest you let the wait staff design a suggested meal just for you. For me that was a sampling of meats, ravioli’s stuffed with goose and black truffles, followed by a filet of steak cooked in gorgonzola cheese and vodka. The same type of options are available for fans of seafood and vegetarians.

Fit for foodies, families and lovers with adventurous palettes, this off the beaten path is a candle lit gem.

4 out of 5 knives
-Rev

CO 1503 (EWR to LAX) – Solo Mission

I was sitting in LAX waiting for my flight home. Normally I would order my traditional pre-Continental Airlines ritualistic turkey burger from Ruby’s Diner, but not this time. This trip to LA had been particularly burger intensive, including visits to 8 oz. Burger Bar and Stout. In fact, I had come to the airport directly after eating Pie and Burger.  I decided instead to play Russian Roulette with whatever meal my First Class Cabin seat had in store for me. With hopes for something semi-decent I boarded my flight.

Upon settling in which includes removing my sneakers, popping 2 Atavan and ordering a drink, the stewardess brought me the menu. BOOO-YAAA!!! We have a winner! There it was, Choice #1 in the “MAIN COURSES” section.  STEAK!!! I would’ve been happy with some grilled chicken or pasta but this, this was much better. Much like my fellow Steak Club 7 member, joeC and his NY Sirloin, I had won the Continental First Class meal lottery!

The meal began with a nice glass of red wine and a bag of almonds. I suppose almonds feel a little classier than peanuts but they are definitely healthier. They have a high amount of monounsaturated fat content which can help to lower cholesterol. Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E. While I won’t assume Continental Airlines made the choice for health reasons, I thank them.

Not a fan of seafood, I passed on the lobster and skipped right ahead to the salad and warn bread. The mozzarella balls in the salad were good and I appreciated the dressing was “lite” Ranch. Again, my health thanks you.

However, I did slather nearly the whole pat of butter on my warm and delicious whole wheat role. Thus negating the health benefits of the almonds and “Lite” Ranch dressing. The First Class cabin offered quite the array of warm roll options from whole grain to pretzel, garlic and more.

The moment of truth!! Could Continental Airlines serve up a pre-cooked quality steak meal several thousands of feet in the sky? I was about to find out. The answer my friends, is yes. They key to serving a delicious meal is starting with quality product. Although some of the meals I have been served in coach may lead me to believe otherwise, in this instance Continental did just that. The steak comes from Sterling Silver Meats, a respected distributor for quality beef and pork products.  While the steak was cooked to a temperature higher than my preferred medium-rare, I wasn’t really going to hold Continental to that high an expectation. The steak was made from a quality cut and had a nice, natural, beef flavor. The sauce was good and I must admit, a pat of herbed butter makes nearly any meat taste amazing. Some may call that cheating but I called it delicious! Expecting a dry, flavorless pile of dust, I was very happy to bite into the creamy and flavorful mashed potatoes with broccoli.

Intrigued by my stories of Steak Club 7 and Burger Conquest, my seat mate Dave, decided to join me in my high-flying steak adventure. He agreed, for airplane food, it was beyond satisfactory and very enjoyable.

Dave and I shared a great chat about food, politics, NYC living and many other topics over a few more glasses of “vino tinto” before the big, signature, Continental Airlines First Class Cabin,meal-ending, finishing move! The stewardess, who was really light-hearted and made our flight really fun, looked at me and said “I can tell you know how this works so what’s it gonna be?” I replied “hell yeah I do. I want it all!” Dave looked at her and said “I’ll have whatever Rev is having!”

A few moments later, a vanilla ice cream sundae with hot fudge, hot caramel, hot strawberry sauce, chopped nuts and whipped cream appeared in front of us both. At this point, the memory of a quality steak was lost past gone and replaced with a hot and cold, sweet and savory, bad-for-you but oh-so-tasty ice cream sundae. NOM NOM NOM!!

It’s a move that rivals Rey Mysterio Jr.s Greatest Hurricanrana ever.

Kudos to you Continental Airlines for putting together a decent steak dinner in your first class cabin. Now let’s work on getting some quality vittles happening in coach.

4 knives out of 5
-Rev

Emeril’s Orlando Solo Mission – Happy Anniversary

Hard to believe it’s been a year since my wife and I celebrated our marriage with a Steak at the Bull and Bear in New York City’s Waldorf Astoria. But I couldn’t be  happier! So while in Orlando for our 1 year anniversary, we decided to have dinner at Emeril’s at Universal City Walk.

Emeril’s menu isn’t all that long but it certainly is unique with Emeril’s creole touches. On this particular evening the special included a tasting menu. While 2 of the items held no interest for me, the 3rd had me wild eyed and excited; “Black Pepper Crusted Australian Kobe Rib Eye with Hudson Valley Foie Gras Calvados Mousse, Smashed Red Bliss Potatoes, Grilled Artichokes and Red Wine Bordelaise Sauce.” There are so many flavors there that by the time you get to the end, you have forgotten what you started with. I asked our very accommodating server if it would be possible to order it as a stand-alone entrée. Fortunately me, the restaurant was happy to oblige.

Ribeye wouldn’t be my first cut of choice but there was no denying the need to try this steak. I purposely stopped and took a breath before tasting my first bite, otherwise there would’ve been no slowing me down and I would’ve inhaled the thing instantly. With each bite, so many different flavors went rushing across my taste buds. The beef itself was slightly gamey tasting, which I am a huge fan of, but with slightly peppered taste. It wasn’t all that salty but certainly had a flavor like I have not tasted before. Foie Gras Mousse was slightly sweet but quite succulent. The Bordelaise Sauce was fantastic and when mixed with the Grilled Artichokes and potatoes, made so that every bite of the dish tasted different from the one prior. It was a carnival of flavors.

Eating steak as often as I do, the change of pace was welcome and there is no question, I savored this piece of beef. I will say though, that the intensity and mixture of tastes would not be something I would regularly order. A simple steak, cooked in its own juices with a little salt and pepper is hard to beat. But, as a little switcheroo, this was worth it. Being a very talented and successful cook, I am sure Emeril knows that and probably why this was the special!


I ordered my standard black sambucca and espresso to end the meal. Just when I thought the taste sensation was over,  I took a sip and was blown out of my seat. Hands down, this was THE BEST espresso I have ever had. Bold, rich, dark and bursting with the strongest tasting bean, quite possibly, known to man. It was so good in fact, that I pulled a move I never go for, I got a second.

A uniquely fantastic meal with a uniquely fantastic woman. I couldn’t be any luckier. Happy anniversary Cara!

4 out of 5 knives
-Rev

 

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