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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

Maloney & Porcelli

We dined shorthanded this month as two of our “dogs” had last minute emergencies come up. Quick fact about SC7, we’ve been to dozens of New York City Steakhouses, but we’ve never dined at Smith & Wollensky’s as an official outing. I thought this would be the month we caved in, but decided otherwise. While on the S&W site, I decided we’d visit one more of their offshoot restaurants. We’ve had good luck at The Post House & Quality Meats (also Fourth Wall Restaurants), thus the decision to visit Midtown’s Maloney and Porcelli.

Loved the location of our table on this night. We were in the back left corner of the restaurant in a quiet area. Was perfect for us to talk and also enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant.

We started things off with salads and a shrimp cocktail. The wedge was good, having crumbled Bacon always gets a thumbs up! The shrimp cocktail was just ok. As a restaurant, Maloney and Porcelli offers more than just steak and on this night, two of our guys strayed from red meat, one went home happy, one was less than satisfied.

Box ordered the Crackling Pork Shank and loved it, the Firecracker Applesauce was a solid complement. The Rev ordered the Venison and was less than satisfied.. Joe and I ordered the smaller Dry-Aged Prime Rib Eye and it was fantastic! Cooked perfectly and for a rib-eye wasn’t too fatty. Rich ordered the thicker cut and was also very satisfied.

The sides were really solid as well. If you go to Maloney and Porcelli, you must order “Our Signature Balls” as a side dish! We also shared creamed spinach, mushrooms and hash browns, but the big winner was the Signature Balls, which is a potoatoes, bacon, chives all fried together!

Overall, a great night leading into the Thanksgiving break – Always great to have a big meal, before “the” big meal! Service was attentive to our needs.

3 and a half knives
-Jon

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

Ristorante del Fagiloi – Solo Mission

Ristorante del Fagiloi
Corso Tintori, 47/r
50122 Firenze, Italy

Florence, Italy the gateway to Tuscany, is widely known as the home to some of the most important work’s of art, like Michaelangelo’s David and the entire Uffizi Gallery but it’s not the only reason to visit this geographically small town with a world-wide presence. Firenze, as it is known by its natives, is a town that offers sightseeing, history, shopping and my favorite reason to visit, amazing cuisine. Firenze, translated into English means “foodie” and although I just made that up, if you had the trip I just did with my wife, you would be willing to believe it.

Whether you spent the day looking at art, shopping in the streets or taking in the amazing view from the Piazelle Michaelangelo, you’ll have probably done this while walking on to each on your two feet. It’s that kind of activity that builds up a massive hunger and no one feeds the need like Florentines. Italians like to eat slow, long meals that are doused in much conversation and in the sharing of many plates. At base it’s a simple cuisine made up of meats, mellow cheeses and produce but no one over does food like they do. You’ll find many a well-known and hidden foodie gems in this town but none of them can compare to Il Fagioli.

This little restaurant is hidden down one of the very few streets of Florence that ISN’T heavy with foot traffic. Surprising considering its proximity to both the Basilica Santa Croce and the Ponte Vecchio. Reservations are a good idea but not always needed. Prepare to share a table with some strangers and also, don’t come unless you’re hungry, really hungry. While a working knowledge of Italian cuisine would be helpful, the staff is more than happy and almost insistent that they design a perfect meal for you. While the menu itself is small, it’s also completely in Italian and while you’re trying to figure out what to get, be sure to have a few sips of the delicious house Chianti which is almost buttery in its rich presentation of flavors.

It’s a very small dining room doused with warm light that will make you feel like you’re in someone’s house not a restaurant. Start off with a the very traditional Ribollita, a vegetable and bread soup. It’s made with day old bread, a selection of local greens and olive oil. It is to Florence what hamburgers are to America. When you hear a loud banging from the kitchen, get up for your table and take a look into the kitchen. That is the sound of a chef taking a cleaver to a side of beef right in front of you. What you’re witnessing is steak that isn’t sliced from the cut until order it. No measurements, everything is eyeballed. Talk about some serious wow factor points!!Watching the cooks and severs do final prep is like watching fine art being created right in front of your eyes; scoops of stewed beans, pours of olive oil, various citrus squeezes and fresh herbs are all added right before the delectable dishes are brought to your table.

Without asking you will be served the most succulent tasting medium rare steak you’ll ever eat. Be in the know, use the spoon, not a fork to serve yourself. Don’t be taken in by the way steak is serves in the US; beef has fat. It’s what makes the steak taste great. Accept that and then dig into one of the most delicious and perfectly cooked steaks you’ll ever have. Do NOT and I mean don’t, skip out on the white beans. They will be the best god damn beans you ever eat in your life…especially if you let them go for a swim in the steak juices.

I’m not much of a dessert person but after watching piece after piece of home-made after dinner treats go from table to table, you’ll do what we did and pick something to split. It’s OK, everyone does.

As this amazing meal made of local goodies came to a close, I knew I had to report back to my fellow members of the “world’s #1 Steak Club” and you, our readers. So, in proper fashion, I sent out the SC7 glove changing signal; an upright t-bone. You gottta eat here but sure to show some respect to a local favorite, try to act like you live here and it’s just a regular night out to eat.

4.5 out of 5 knives
-Rev

Nebraska Steakhouse and Lounge

Nebraska Steakhouse and Lounge

Cool, cool.  So, I kind of feel that I’m the guy who drags the crew to new and different places that may be considered “off the beaten path” in search of an alternate steak house experience.  Once I convinced everyone to get on a ferry and travel over a body of water to an old school Italian steak house along the lovely shores of New Jersey.  I insisted everyone get on the Q train in the dead of winter and travel all the way out to Astoria Queens (yes, close to the shooting location of SC7’s favorite film Coming to America) where we experience a Greek interpretation of our group’s savory steak mission.  The trek I planned to find a slightly different take this moth however, took me just a few blocks from my permanent place of residence, in the FiDi (Financial District) of Lower Manhattan.  Despite the short, boring walk…the outcome was equally as exotic.

The evening or our reservation, I received a text message from The Rev who arrived about an hour early (for pre-game cocktails) stating “um, how the hell did you find this place?!?!?!”  I, still in my office, responded in a panic “why???  Is it terrible???”  His reply was simply “YOU’LL SEE!”

I rushed down to the site: Nebraska Steak House.  My intention?  Scope the place out and if necessary, call an audible.  The beauty of Wall St is that there is legitimate steak joints on almost every block.  The Capital Grille, The Palm, Harry’s, Delmonicos, and literally across the street is one of our all time favorites, Bobby Van’s.  I could have easily rallied the troops and head elsewhere to an Ol’ Faithful.

Here’s the first concern we had:

These are two of the first pictures you see on the Nebraska website…and it’s what this place is like upon arrival.

Luckily, the group was enamored by the dark lighting, the pulsating dance music, and the former Czech female body-builder BOMBSHELLS stationed behind the bar.  To my surprise, everyone agreed: “we aint leavin’, we’re here for an experience, WE’RE EATIN NEBRASKA!”

The actual restaurant setting was kinda old school and very comfortable.  Rich leather and oak décor.  I think we all agreed upon seating, we probably made the correct call.  Now on to the food!

First, a wonderful surprise:  Red and green vinegar peppers in a bath of extra virgin olive oil with decent quality bread…and in HUGE quantities for the table.  This went over really well with the crew.  The peppers were very, very good, similar to what my mother who hails from Ariano Irpino in Italia would serve. I was very impressed.

Next up…Kobe Burger split up for the table as an appetizer…delicious!

Tomato and Mozzarella salad:

And an absolutely delicious Seafood Linguine entrée that was easy to share as an app for the table.  Shrimp, clams, muscles, and a very large split Maine lobster tail in a tangy marinara sauce:

Now…steak time!

Mine was a very healthy cut of New York Strip cooked to perfection.  Pink and juicy in the middle with a very nice char on the outer shell.  I was impressed with the technique and presentation, however I did not find the flavor of the actual steak at a level that I have come to expect when paying $50 for a single piece of meat.  All in all I enjoyed.  Here’s a look at the other cuts ordered:

I felt all the sides were exceptional and the peas and onions were really and unexpected surprise…that dish is a MUST ORDER!

Desert time called for the standard espresso and black sambucca for me and The Rev:

Ok, this place was pretty solid all-in-all.  I would say to not let the ambiance up entering fool you, this is first and foremost a steakhouse.  Our service was very good and our food was also.  Be prepared to pay Wall Street prices though, the menu is not scared of putting up big numbers in bold text!

3.5 our of 5 Knives

-joeC

Old Homestead – Old Favorite

There’s always pressure when it’s “your month”. Do you pick a new hip place, should we re-visit one of the many places we’ve had a mediocre meal at, or do you pick an Old favorite to be guaranteed a great meal. Since last month’s outing to Strip House was less than stellar, I had to go Old’ reliable for my pick. Thus, I went with the familiar friend, The Old Homestead.

This wasn’t a “Solo Mission” and wasn’t a full Steak Club 7 gathering. To borrow a golf-term, we dined as a foursome (No Rerun, No Rev, No PA). We had an 8pm tee-time and sat promptly. After much deliberation over the wine list, we settled on an Italian wine and we were ready to eat! (NOTE: The wine list at Old Homestead is VERY pricey. Maybe it’s just been a while, but you should be able to get a $45 bottle of wine at a NYC steakhouse. The average price was much closer to $75/bottle).

We started with the famed Jenna style garlic bread – Always a thumbs up!

Next up was the Kobe Bacon Appetizer. We ordered 2 pieces each to which our waiter thought we were crazy. He eventually let us order it and the bacon was amazing. Probably the best steak house bacon in quite some time. BACON!

We also ordered Shrimp for the table. They were huge. Reminded us of a former NY Yankees First Baseman (Hint: Jason Giambi). Definitely performance enhanced just like we like them. Tasted really good!

As for the steaks, a couple of us strayed from our usual menu favorites. I ordered the Filet (usually orders Strip), Rich ordered the Strip (usually gets Porterhouse), Joe ordered Rib Eye (usually orders Strip) and Matt went with his signature Filet Au Poivre . I believe we went 2 for 4 on our steaks. Mine was perfect and I was completely satisfied. Matt’s was well under-cooked, ordered Medium-Rare plus, but arrived very rare. Joe’s was ok, but he took most of it home and Rich never leaves anything on his plate.

I realize that most great steaks don’t need steak sauce, but Old Homesteads sweet sauce is just too good to avoid. I can’t recommend it enough (even on a steak).

The sides were good, not great. We went simple with Broccoli, Hash Brown and Truffle Mac & Cheese. The Hash Brown is amazing, Broccoli is healthy and Mac & Cheese may have been too much.

Even though it was a familiar steakhouse for us, the renovation that made the restaurant smaller gave it more cozy atmosphere, but not sure if that’s a good thing. Often felt cramped in the main dining space and our waiter was standing over our table most of the evening (mostly b/c he had no one else to stand).

We got the bill and realized we did some major damage. We didn’t go too crazy with drinks or desert and it was quite an expensive evening! Overall, we had a great night. The food was good, not amazing. We’re always going to enjoy going to Old Homestead, but the mighty could be falling some.

3.5 Knives
-Jon