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

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

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

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote NYC – The Spatula City of Steaks

We love Steak. After 7 years of eating it regularly as the world’s #1 steak club, we still yearn for it. Sure, sure, we love the bacon apps, the glasses of scotch, the German potatoes on the side, the creamed spinach, shrimp cocktails, mac n cheese, onion rings, chocolate sundays, after dinner sambuccas and so forth. But what makes it all come together, the reason for the season, the climax of the event…the kairos moment, if you will, is when that tender piece of beef hits the plate, cooked to order, succulent, juicy, bursting with flavor and calling our names. That’s the what where why and who to this club, event and the prior run on sentence.

That’s also the reason behind Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote, the multi city Steak House with a location in NYC. You see, this fine dining and formal eatery has one thing and one thing only on it’s menu: steak. More than 5 decades ago the original location opened in Paris, serving Parisian style Steak Frites. There was no menu then and there is no menu now. Whether you are in Paris, Manchester, one of the locations in London or NYC, the menu, or should I say lack of menu, is the same: Salad, followed by Steak Frites. The waitress, dressed in a French Maid uniform, simply asks how you would like it prepared and then the meal begins.

Even though the Big P.A. had been to one of the London locations, the wonderful waitress took the time to explain the process: Salad, Steak Frites, Steak Frites,Pay the Bill, go home. She then politely explained that they only prepare the steak one of 4 ways: 1. Blue, 2. Rare, 3. Medium & 4. Well Done. There is no halves, meaning for me, who usually orders medium well, at a Parisian steak house, I go medium. Why? In Parisian steak prep, their M is our MR. Once each of us ordered, the waitress wrote down the selection, on the table cloth and then the meal began.

A few moments later, once you’ve tipped into your first beverage, the meal begins. A green salad with walnuts dressed with mustard vinaigrette starts your off right with some green. It’s fresh, clean, easy to eat and preps your stomach for what’s to come.

Then, as promised, out comes the sliced Steak & Frites. It’s a nice, perfectly cooked piece of sirloin. It’s topped in their secret sauce which tastes like a light peppercorn gravy. It’s freakin delicious. No joke, the steak is spot on. The frites, just the right amount of crisp. The sauce, doesn’t over power the meat but adds to the already succulent flavor.

As your rounding out the last couple of bites of your steak and frites, you’ll probably think: “this isn’t going to be enough. I am going to want more.” We most certainly did and Joe C even jokingly asked if we could see the “other” menu with the appetizers and sides. Our waitress was a good sport about it and giggled. She then asked if we were ready for our 2nd helping of steak frites. So yeah, that’s it: Salad, Steak Frites & more Steak Frites. By the time you rock through the 2nd helping, you’re going to be about full. The timing at which it’s served along with the place will more than surely fill you up.



That is, unless you are the the Big P.A. He demanded we split a chocolate sunday. Now here is the funny thing about the dessert menu at Le Relais de Venise, it’s rather extensive. Where and how that decision came from, I have no idea but I guess if you get that far into the meal, you are welcomed with a delectable menu of choices. I couldn’t imagine another bite but that my friends, is just how the Big P.A. roles.

If you love steak, you will love Le Relais de Venise. That’s all they serve and after you taste one bite, you’ll understand why they don’t need to serve anything else. If you can do it right and do it better than anyone else, you win.

4 out of 5 knives
-Rev

Brisket King of NY – 12 Chefs vs. 7 Steak Clubbers

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “steak” as “a slice of meat cut from a fleshy part of a beef carcass.” With a definition that wide it leaves a lot of room open to interpret what can or can’t be looked at as steak. While normally our carnivorous adventures take us to what would be consider more standard definition of a steak, there’s no reason why we can’t eat outside the box.

For this month’s outing, we didn’t hit up a steak house, nor did we end up at some restaurant serving a selection of cuts. Instead, we attend the “Brisket King of NY” event put on by Food Karma Projects. Their company produces a number of cool and unique, artisan food & media events in and around NYC including Cookout NYC, Pig Island, the Farm & Beer Expo among many, many tasty others. The Brisket King of NY event was sold exclusively through Thrillist Rewards, the go to place to get tickets to exclusive events like this.

For only $55 via Thrillist Rewards, we were going to be treated to unlimited samples of Brisket from some of the best chefs, restaurants & purveyors in NYC along with copious amounts of craft beer & indie spirits. The entire event was being judged by a number of local food critics & celebs including yours truly, The Rev.

Here’s the official press release:

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Food Karma Projects is happy to announce its first big meat event of 2012: A Brisket A Brasket returns on Monday, February 27th, this year renamed to Brisket King of NYC. We’ll be crowning the winner at a larger venue (Santos Party House at 96 Lafayette Street). After the success of last year’s subdued affair, we are pulling out all the stops with 10+ chefs and farms/food purveyors, including Thomas Perone (Joseph Catering), Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery, Chef Jessica Wilson with High Point Farms (Trumansburg, NY), Chef Joe Dobias, Murray’s Cheese, Sam Ullman with Hudson Valley Harvest (NY State grass fed beef), Chef Emma Feigenbaum, Eric Johnson aka Mr. Bobo, Chef Robbie Richter, John Brown Smokehouse, The KitchenNYC’s Patrick Connolly, and additional co-host Jimmy’s No. 43. More chefs TBA.

Co-hosts, Gastropolis editor Annie Hauck and Food Network Kitchen’s Jake Schiffman, will help add a new special feature to this year’s event: artisanal spirits tastings curated byModern Distillery Age. Plans are to have 5-6 local artisanal spirits, including Catskills Peace Vodka, Square One Organic Spirits, Dutch’s Spirits, Finger Lakes Distilling, Tuthilltown Spirits, Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, and LiV – Long Island Spirits. Wine, craft beer and a cash bar will be available.

Of special note, “Brisket King of NYC” has attracted some of the top food authorities to serve as judges that will include Charles Granquist (Food Network special events), Cricket Azima (a judge at last year’s event), four-time James Beard Award winner Rozanne Gold, Mark Russ Federman of Russ and Daughters, Joe Distefano (a.k.a. Joey Deckle), Rev. Ciancio from Idle Hands Bar/BurgerConquest.com, Robin Maii (chef/professor at Kingsborough Community College’s culinary department), Chef Paul Denamiel (Le Rivage), and Peter Kaminsky (author of Culinary Intelligence: The Art of Eating Healthy [And Really Well]).

Winning chefs will get prizes courtesy of Anolon Nouvelle, Wüsthof and Microplane based on both the Judges’ decisions and People’s Choice awards.

The event runs from 6:30-10 p.m. and will include special Catskill Peace Vodka cocktails (a CPV Pickleback Martini Shot and a CPV “Bullshot” made with brisket juice from the event). A portion of the proceeds benefits New Amsterdam Market.

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While we could’ve sauntered around the room, causally taking our time to try all the purveyor’s samples, we practically raced around the room, devouring bites as quickly as we could get them into our hands. It was as thought we thought we weren’t going to be able to try each or, either that or a very hungry Englishman by the name of The Big P.A. was too excited and too hungry to take it easy. As it turns out, we did actually miss out on a couple bites due to samples running out, demand and a disappearing fork situation.


Chef An­drew Got­tlieb
– Hand-made red mole brisket with av­o­ca­do cre­ma, fresh lime, and pick­led onions.

John Brown’s Smokehouse
– Burnt ends with foie gras and tangy coleslaw

Ducks Eatery – Chef Will Horowitz
– Bubby’s oak-smoked brisket with papaya salad

Jimmy’s No. 43 – Chef Jessica Wilson
– Beer-braised brisket with roasted grape chimichurri

Murray’s Cheese Shop
– Brisket with Raclette on Bread

Thomas Perone – Thomas Joseph Catering
- Brisket on Polenta

Joe Dough
– Brisket sub with pickled onions and peppercorn may

Patrick Connolly – The Kitchen NYC
- Worchestershire-braised brisket with horseradish on bread


Robbie Richter
– Shabu Shabu

Em­ma Feigen­baum – Bristrami Boudain
– Panko-crust­ed brisket meat­ball with a sharp mus­tard aioli

PERSONAL FAVES:
John Brown’s Smokehouse
– The most brisketly appropriate dish in the competition.
Murray’s Cheese Shop - The brisket itself, braised with red wine & lamb stock was pretty damn good but what had me coming back for 2nds & 3rds was the deliciously stinky raclette cheese.
Duck’s Eatery/Chef Will Horowitz – The savory brisket when paired up against the sweet crunchy salad made this my favorite dish of the night.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS:
People’s Choice 1st Place – Chef Andrew Gottlieb
People’s Choice 2nd Place – John Brown Smokehouse
People’s Choice 3rd Place – Murray’s Cheese

JUDGES AWARDS:
Best dish by a host: Chef Jessica Wilson cooking for Jimmy’s No. 43
Best interpretation of brisket: Joe Dough
Best deep-fried brisket: Chef Emma Feignebaum
Best student of Tom Deutsche: Chef Thomas Perone
Best reinvention of a condiment: Chef Patrick Connolly
Best brisket on a bun: Mr. Bobo’s
Best brisket not cooked sous-vide: Chef Sam Ullman
Best use of all parts of the cow: Murray’s Cheese
Best flavor condiment round-up south of the border: Andrew Gottlieb

Judges’ 1st Place – John Brown Smokehouse
Judges’ 2nd Place – Duck’s Eatery/Chef Will Horowitz
Judges’ 3rd Place – Robbie Richter
Everything we had, from the Brisket, to the liquors, beers & cocktails was fantastic. Not a lack of flavor or quality in the whole room. The event itself was a blast and even though it was quite packed, there was never more than a 5 minute wait for food & drinks. Kudos to everyone involved for throwing a tasting & fun event. The world’s #1 Steak Club approves!

 -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

Empire Steak House – NY Steak of Mind

We love Steak. We love Steak so much that we get together once, every month in NYC to eat it together. There is no one out there who does what we do at our level of appreciation. Thankfully after years and years of eating delicious Steak, we still have yet to exhaust the supply of great Steak locations around town. With all kinds of new restaurants popping up all over town with all kinds of crazy themes and menus, the classic New York Steakhouse will always hold it’s appeal.

This month’s Steak Club 7 outing brought us to the Empire Steak House. Located in Rockefeller Center, it was built on the former grounds of the Greek Restaurant Anthos. It’s a family effort from Jeff Sinanaj and his brothers, who spent years as waiters at Peter Lugers and now own Ben and Jacks Steakhouse. The concept is to bring a classic New York City fine dining experience centered around a Porterhouse Steak. Each cut of beef is hand selected and then aged 21 to 28 days at Empire.

With mouths watering and good laughs all around, we dove into what I think is the real reason the Big P.A. joined SteakClub7, we sunk our collective teeth into  an extra thick slice of sizzling Canadian Bacon.

As per norm, the other fellas ordered up some fresh Jumbo Shrimp.

While not on the menu, we were all hounding for a Wedge Salad and the restaurant was more than happy to accommodate. Seeing as how they were so willing to fill our stomachs, the Big P.A. asked if we could have more of the bacon cut up to put on the salads. I love the Big P.A.

Then it was time for the magic. At Empire they cook your Steak slightly under temperature so when it arrives on the table on a VERY hot plate, they can cook it up to the temperature desired just by running it along the dish itself. It makes for a great presentation and truly gets your tastes buds amped up.

On the docket for sides, we actually went a little heavy on the greens with Sautéed Broccoli, Creamed Spinach and Peas & Onions. All of the selections were fresh and well prepared. The latter of which was especially fantastic and I wish more restaurants offered it.

We also ordered German Potato & Cottage Fries. The Cottage Fries, while good are really just fresh made potato chips. The German Potatoes on the other hand are perfect for sopping up extra Steak juice! They are crispy on the outside and still soft on inside and when covered in a little cracked pepper and salt are just awesome.

Assembled all together on one plate and you have a PERFECT Steak dinner. The Porterhouse at Empire is EVERYTHING they play it up to be. Juicy, succulent, tasty, savory and flavorful, high quality USDA PRIME.

The Empire Steakhouse is perfect example of what makes a classic New York City Steakhouse with great service & fantastic food.

4.5 knives out of 5
-Rev

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