Peasant – Fire Good!

Back when I was a young boy, just becoming a young adult, my Father yelled to me in the house. “Come outside. I want to show you how to grill.” I looked at my Dad and said “how hard can it be? You put the hamburger patty on the grill. It turns brown. You flip it. Then you eat it.” With that my Dad made me get two eggs from the fridge and he made me breakfast of the grill. My young mind was blown. That’s the day I learned that fire is just a heat source and if you respect it, you can tame it.

Respect the fire and you will own it. That’s kind of the mantra at NYC’s Peasant. The SoHo eatery servers rustic Italian fare, all of which is cooked in a gigantic wood burning stove. Whether it’s the pizza, the pasta or the meats, it’s all tamed under intense wood burning heat. Dishes are in limited quantities, especially the seasonal and nightly specials so be sure to ask as soon as your seated. If you hear something you want to shove in your face, speak up immediately. I love a restaurant with a one page menu. It says they know what they’re good at cooking and they want to share it with you.

One more thing about Peasant, they keep it very natural in the restaurant. Most of the light is by candle and there isn’t a whole lot. As a result, it made things tough to get good pictures. I didn’t want to be blowing off a flash every couple of seconds in a packed dining room so therefore my pictures will apear a little dark. You’ll get the gist regardless.

Sounds like a perfect way to celebrate joeC’s birthday!

The meal starts of with some of the finest, crustiest, most perfectly baked Italian bread in the 5 boroughs. The inside are white and soft while the crust is not quite chewy, not quite crusty but all tasty. Eat it alone, with olive oil or with cheese but definitely eat it.

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Again, it’s just fire, but if you’re going to perfect cooking in a wood burning oven you have to make a great pizza. Thankfully, Peasant does that. Be sure to get whichever most strikes your tables fancy and eat it! The pizza is legit and made with very fresh tomatoes. The whole pizza is so delicious and robust; Crispy crust, buttery cheese with a nice creaminess, good spice if you order the spicy sopresatta and peperoncini.

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Have you ever eaten burratat? To put it simply, it’s fresh creamy mozzarella stuffed into less creamy but still fresh mozzarella. Some say it’s cheese, I say it’s a work of art. Do not miss out here and be sure to eat the basil, it’s incredible.

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One of the specialties of the house is their sardine dish. There was no way in hell I was even going to consider taking a bite of this. The other guys a the table were loving it.

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Speaking of seafood, I won’t eat, how about some razor clams? No thanks, but they did smell good. The rest of the 7 thought they were great.

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I love pasta and I’m a sucker for great pasta. I love all kinds of Italian dishes but if I could eat pasta for every meal, you bet your bippy I would. Realize too, that’s coming from the guy who pens Burger Conquest, The NYC Wing-Off & Steak Club 7! When it was asked at the table if we wanted to split some pasta for the table, I demanded that we do. The Lamb Ragu – unreal. Get on your horse and ride. Incredibly savory. Perfectly cooked cavatelli. Perfect au dente. The pappardelle was just simply delicious. Amazing use of basil. A true example of what happens when you take your time cooking something. The pasta was a double dose of awesome.

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Most of the fellas ordered the bistecca alla fiorentina. It’s a classic preparation to a classic steak; 28 ounce of dry-aged t-bone beef. One of my favorite ways to prepare steak. It comes with a side of Mac n Cheese. While normally it wouldn’t even be in question for me to order this, the cards were in a different hand.

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It in limited quantities every night but the seasonal special at Peasant is my favorite dish on the planet, venison chops. Here it’s served on cabbage reduced with prosciutto. The server couldn’t even get the full description of the dish out before my hand was in the air signaling that I had to have one!

Unfortunately my venison, much like the guys’ bistecca alla fiorentina it was incredibly undercooked. In fact, the French called it black and blue. Now don’t get me wrong, I think tartare is stupendous, so I am not afraid of raw meat. Tartare however needs to be prepared a certain way. A steak that’s just raw on the inside but charred on the outside is not even close to medium rare which is all what we prefer. I hate to say something negative about a restaurant that otherwise we loved but this really brought it down a notch for me. Especially with such a great cut of meat.

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Box on the other hand had a different story to tell. Peasant tries to use as much of the animals as possible as they would in Italy. As a result, tonight they were offering a split and cooked suckling pig’s head. Box is a huge pork fan and couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

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A good steak dinner needs a good green to accompany it and Peasant does it right with Italian green beans.

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With the exception of my steak preparation, which can easily be changed, I thought Peasant was great. Would definitely go back for more!

3.5 knives 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

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

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

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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