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The Palm – Justifiably Costly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The other steaks…

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

Christo’s – So Far, So Good.

chistos steak club 7 ticket

We’re a large bunch of guys and pretty busy too, so when JoeC chose a Christo’s in Astoria, Queens, NY, I thought for sure there would be upheaval from the rest of the SC7. Of course when Jon offered to drive, that kept people quiet. I myself hopped the N train and rode out to the Ditmars Boulevard stop, the last one on the line. After an easy 30 minute ride later, I arrived in what is a very Greek section of Queens and walked the 10 blocks to Christo’s.

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I was the first to arrive and could not have been more excited when I was greeted by a porch side view of what was in side. A Steak window display!!

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Then you cross into the restaurant and are immediately met with a cold locker of the cuts.

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Oh man! I knew we were in for something good. You have to have some balls to display the meats. Its like boasting about yourself. So bold, I love it. After a quick cocktail at the bar, we were sat a corner table and were immediately served grilled bread. Not just fresh, but actually grilled white and whole grain bread. What a move! It came with a delicious olive tapenade, which normally I would avoid but it was delicious. We also asked for some of the house made steak sauce which was really good due to a heavy hand on the horse radish.

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After our very attentive and friendly server ran down a list of specials, we posted our well crafted attack of an order. All the standards plus some specialized Greek dishes and a request for the not-included-on-the-menu-bacon. Shrimp Cocktail, Boston Leaf Salad with Pears and walnuts, Sliced Tomato and Sweet Onion salad, Alaskan Jumbo Scallops, Loukaniko (Grilled Greek Sausage) Fried Calamari and some sort of bizarre lamb filled egg roll. I thought it was an overtly large salads and starters menu but the SC7 is a hungry bunch!

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The sausage was fantastic. It wasn’t too spicy nor was it too mild but it was filled with taste. My Boston leaf salad was fresh and fantastic and lamb rockets were delicious. I thought the Meat God was going to make out with one of the shrimp the way he was smacking his lips while eating them. A brief pause in the meal and the main and side courses arrived. That’s when I realized just how much food we had ordered.

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The hand cut fries were OK but honestly in the wake of all the other tasty sides, something had to finish in last place. In first place tie, the Au Gratin Potatoes and the Parmesan Risotto were hard to beat. The rice was cooked perfectly in the creamy sauce of the risotto was damn near magical. The Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic was really good as was the Rigatoni Al A Vodka. I didn’t have the Creamed Spinach or the Lobster Mash but they both looked great.

The evening was on a role, setting up what could be a big victory. Many of our recent visits to Steak Houses have ended in a fail due to a poor steak. Could Christo’s set themselves apart? The look and the smell alone shortly confirmed, yes, yes this was a good one. The Big PA, Meat God and I went in a on a medium rare Porterhouse for 3.

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I dug into the strip side first. It was cooked to perfection and it tasted pretty good. Not too much salt, no overbearing spices, just a nice flavor filled piece of steak. With no hesitation and a lot of anticipation, I bit into the fillet side. Oh my god! It was so good. The taste, the texture, the temperature…it was all right on the money. The bite melted in my mouth and I ripped through the rest of the piece. Christo’s had done it. They held it together and made an all round delicious and tasty meal.

As we sat licking our lips, loosening our pants and sipping through a few after dinner coffees and cocktails, the waiter asked if we wanted anything from the dessert menu. That is the moment when I realized how much we ate. Not because I felt full but more so, the Meat God did NOT order his usual ice cream sundae. As we reveled in the afterglow of our meal, the waiter showed p with 3 dessert plates, compliments of the house! Wow. What are you going to do? Say no!?? Of course not! We dug right into the Filo Dough Tiramisu, Chocolate Bottomed Vanilla Creme Brulee and the Sheep’s Milk Yogurt.

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The Tiramisu was the clear winner. Not that the other 2 were bad but the Tiramisu was phenomenal. The Filo was so light and crispy and the cream was decadent. I highly recommend it to anyone planning to dine at Christo’s.

And just when we thought we were having a night with no downers, Jon announced he would not be driving back into the city and the rest of us had to find our own way home. As the rest of the 5 of us live no where near each other, it was the N train back into the city. I would love to tell you we had a rousing conversation on the ride back in but I would be lying…

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It’s too bad Christo’s is so far out because it was damn good and I would easily return. If they were on the island, or even closer in Queens, I would not hesitate to return whatsoever. The service, atmosphere, staff and food were all great. To prove my point, I got a call the next evening that JoeC had left his credit card behind. His response “too far out to get it.

4 out of 5 Knives
-Rev

The Strip House

striphouse022709ticketThere’s been a few months of disappointments for the boys of Steak Club 7.  Craftsteak was laughingly bad and Peter Luger’s (Freddie Kruger’s) just uninspiring and bland.

What a shame then, that a stunning return to good steak had to happen when we were light Salty Moore and The Rev.

So it was the SC5 that convened for February’s trip to the promised  land and Captain of the month Matty Winks took a slightly easy and surefire pick and went for the Strip House.   Glance to the top left hand corner of the page and you’ll see that the fellas rate this one highly and sitting there on that cold February night it was clear to see why.

It’s a cool looking joint is the Strip House, deep reds and old style photo’s on the wall bring a time long since passed to mind which would be better suited to some Sinatra and Dean Martin, maybe a little Tom Waits moreso than the dreadful dance music that they insist on playing.  I remember that from the last time I visited this spot, still as soon as the food starts coming you forget such shortfalls.

We all like a bit of bacon, as regular readers will attest so we ordered two helpings of their bacon served with a side of lettuce.  There was enough bacon to go around and while the taste was good, it was a little fatty for my tastes, in fact a lot fatty for my tastes, not that it stopped me tucking in though which it clearly didn’t.  As tradition would dictate, we also ordered some of the jumbo shrimp which we all had a go at.  I was a little so-so on the shrimp although I seemed to be the only one so perhaps it was just my excitement for the main course.

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As is usual, I opted for the porterhouse for two, which I shared with the Meat God.  In New York steak houses the porterhouse is usually delivered to the table cut into somewhat thin slices.  At the Strip House though the whole plate was delivered to the table uncut for us to approve before being taken away again to cut.  Whilst this was a nice touch, it did contribute to the steak finally being served a little colder than I’d have liked, something the Meat God commented on too.

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We also felt that the whole porterhouse looked a little small, but I must admit, by the end of the meal I no longer thought we’d been shortchanged on the size.  The meat was cooked perfectly to our medium-rare specification and the taste was simply wonderful, actually, I’d go as far as to say it was spectacular.   I don’t know what they do to the meat before cooking but there is a crust which is out of this world taste-wise.  You simply must go and try it for yourself.

Enjoyed with the steak were goose fat crisp potatoes which were about as close to the traditional has browns you’ll get at this place.  Very tasty indeed and I’m a big fan of using goose fat to crisp up yer spuds as my folks have been doing that for years.  We also went for Potatoes Romanoff  whcih were quite delicious.  On the green side we went for superbly prepared broccoli and the ‘black truffle’ creamed spinach which all felt was a little too heavy on the truffle oil.  Added to that we also went for some creamed corn which I really enjoyed.

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Did I manage to convey how good the steak was?  Good, then I’ll move onto the deserts.

Another win on this score I’m happy to say.  I had the caramelized banana tart which I though was lovely but for some reason none of the others fancied trying.  There was also a couple of orders of their brownie which again was better than your average.

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The service was certainly up to scratch but as the place is small and a little noisy I never felt like the service was that personal.  Don’t get me wrong, very efficient and friendly but I don’t this this place is going for the same kind of waiter that a place like Bobby Vans has.  There’s not enough room between the tables for that to be any different really.

All in all, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Strip House and I’d say it’s a worthy inclusion on the Steak Club 7’s NYC top five.

9 out of 10 knives, could have been higer save for the dodgy shrimp and fatty bacon.
– The Big P.A.

Peter Luger – The King of Steak Wears a Hollow Crown

steak club 7 peter luger ticket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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