Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Felonius

  1. I'm usually cooking a tenderloin, and make a glaze using apricot or fig jam, and some lemon zest. If I get more ambitious I'll stuff the tenderloin with a bit of dried or fresh (depending on if they're in season) figs or apricots, along with some finely chopped walnuts. With the fig mixture, a little gorgonzola goes well in the stuffing too.
  2. Interesting. I've never heard of that, but it reminds me of a similar out of the box and bottle party snack from my youth growing up in the South - a block of cream cheese with pepper jelly on top (with Ritz cracers of course). This was always popular too. As for myself, I am guilty of serving "pigs in blankets" with mustard as an hors d'oeuvre. And yes they are the frozen kind from a box at the supermarket. People have made fun of them, but I've noticed those same people sneaking seconds and thirds. I've never had any left over.
  3. Very interesting, thanks for posting all that! A few questions for you. What kind of immersion circulator is that? I'm guessing they are super expensive, but curious anyway. What exactly was the mixture you used to promote the Maillard reaction? Where did you come up with this? I really like the idea of being able to do something like this, as I sometimes want to serve more than six people out of my tiny NYC kitchen, but don't have the burner and oven space to do enough steaks and get them out simultaneously.
  4. I tried the original method from the Ducasse article last night on two strips. One was a nearly 2.5" thick cut from Ottomanellis on Bleecker St. and the other a 1.5" cut from Florence butchers on Jones St. The thinner steak cooked quite quickly, after only about 6-7 minutes a side it was slightly overdone to medium. One thing I'm finding is that the internal temp of the steaks can really shoot up quickly after about 110 degrees, and overcooking them can be a matter of a minute or less. I think from now on, I'm going to take them off at 120 degrees. I'm cooking at a setting of 4 on my Gaggenau ceramic range, but maybe this is still too hot. The 2.5" steak took much longer to cook. After browning the edges for 8 minutes, it took about 12 minutes a side to get the steak to medium rare. At that point, the outside had begun to develop a bit of unpleasant char, despite replacing the butter in the pan twice. I suspect that if I had left the steak out of the fridge for longer (it was out for maybe 30 minutes), I would have had better results. So far, I've had the best outcome using this method with ribeyes cut 2" thick. That to me seems the optimal cut for both flavor and ease of preparation using this method. I was also interested in a quality comparison between Ottomanellis and Florence butchers. The strip from Florence Butchers looked like it had been aged slightly longer (the butcher said they age a minimum of 21 days), but was not quite as nicely marbled as the strip from Ottomanellis. I and my friend who ate the steaks agreed that the Florence cut had a slightly more mineral "dry aged" flavor, but overall preferred the Ottomanellis steak. Ottomanellis also charges $1 or $2 less per pound, so I'm going to continue using them as my regular butcher.
  5. I'll throw in a vote for the newer outpost of Szechuan Gourmet on 56th St and 8th Ave. Same menu as 39th but consistently better food and service, plus a nicer atmosphere.
  6. How thick are those? And if you have one, please post a picture of them when cooked!
  7. I never know what to tip sushi chefs either. I often give my usual sushi guy a $5 (in addition to a regular tip on the bill)and he seems happy. He also hooks me up with special tastings and the best fish of the day, so I think it helps. Either that or it's just because I always sit at the bar and ask for the same chef. I guess tipping the butcher is unusual, or maybe it's a NYC thing.
  8. I tried this method again last night on similar 2" thick Ribeyes. I set my stove lower to begin, at "4" on the dial of my Gaggenau ceramic coil range. I was using two pans, a small cast iron skillet for one steak and a Demeyere stainless for the other two. After browning the edges for 8 minutes, I did 8 minutes the first side and 7 on the second side, then checked temp. The cast iron skillet steak was definitely cooking faster, and I could feel that the pan just got hotter at the same setting than the Demeyere pan. At my first temp check with my new thermometer (a CDN instant read digital)the steaks in the Demeyer pan were only at about 105 so I left them on for the full ten minutes on the second side. When I took them off and checked the temp again they were already cruising past 135F. They still tasted good, but again were closer to medium than medium rare. Clearly the timing is absolutely crucial, as it seems the difference between medium rare and medium is only maybe a minute. I may indeed have my pans too hot, it's just hard for me to believe that I need to use a setting of "3" on my stove. The pans just don't seem very hot at that setting and I was worried I would get enough browning. Next time I'll try it at 3 or 3.5 and see what happens.
  9. For those of you who go to an old school butcher who cuts everything to order, do you tip them? If so how? Would you do it by total price of the purchase, the number of steaks cut, or just some regular amount like a $5 bill? My butcher often takes a good 15-25 minutes carefully cutting and trimming my steaks. I generally tip him $5 or maybe $10 if it's a larger batch of steaks (say over $100).
  10. So before I go out and buy an IR thermometer, is there any way I can I use a regular meat or cooking thermometer to check the pan temperature? Maybe just touch the end of it to the pan, or is this futile? I'd really like to know my pan temperature and then experiment with the time it takes to cook the steak to different levels of doneness. If I can get this down and know the exact setting/time on my cooktop to get my usual pan to the desired temp, and if I get the same steak cut at the butcher, in the future it should be easy to cook by time and not have to deal with thermometers at all.
  11. Maillard reactions actually start much lower that that. From Modernist Cuisine (3-90): To give a quick recap of the Ducasse/Shaw method: Starting with the fatty edge, sear the steak on all sides, taking about ten minutes total. This usually means two minutes per surface, more or less. Reduce the heat of the pan and add a big chunk of butter. Return the steak to the pan and baste frequently. Cook ten minutes per side, turning just once. Rest the steak for 15 minutes. Combining all of that with McGee's observation that frequent flipping mitigates overcooking (something I've tested and found to be true), and I'm tempted to alter the Ducasse/Shaw method by monitoring the pan temperature more closely, trying to keep it around 300°F, and flipping every minute to allow the meat surface to cool a bit before dousing it in butter again. Interesting, I had no idea the Maillard reaction started that low. So I wonder if a pan temp of around 300F would be ideal. It might take a bit longer but cook the interior of the steak more evenly? As for your recap of the Ducasse/Shaw method, I'm now confused on step 1. I thought step 1 merely meant searing/reducing the fat on the narrow sides or edges of a thick steak, and that this was done at the same temp as the later steps. I didn't see anything about searing all sides of the steak on a higher temp and then reducing heat for the butter cooking/basting. I'm going to have to get some more steaks and experiment a bit. I think I'm going to try this method with only 7-8 minutes a side to see if I can get a true medium rare.
  12. Felonius

    Best Steak

    I've eaten at all the places you mentioned except for Minetta and BLT Steak. My current favorite NYC steakhouses: Luger' and Wolfgangs - overall best quality/most flavorful steak on any given night (assuming you like their style, which is Porterhouse cooked with butter) Strip House - steaks close to or as good as Luger's, but with much better side dishes, service and atmosphere. It has a sort of darker/sexier decor, and would be my first choice if I were taking a date or female companion. Keen's - The steaks may not be quite as good as the previous places mentioned, but they are still excellent and consistent (get the Porterhouse for 2 or 3 people). I also really like the historic atmosphere of the place which dates back to the late 1800's. The service is very polite and professional, so much better than the usual NYC steakhouse bad attitude. The best part of all is that they allow BYOB with only a $20 corkage fee. They are also very friendly about it and will decant your wine at the table. Since I like to drink great red wine with my steaks, but hate paying 3-4x markup, Keen's is my new favorite. Their house wine list isn't that interesting or extensive, so bring your own. You might call ahead to make sure what you're bringing isn't on their list, as that's the one supposed house rule (though I'm not sure they'd enforce it). And don't bother ordering the hash browns here, they're not very good. Ask for a plate of extra crispy fries which are much better. Smith and Wollensky - I still like the back bar for a more casual steak night, and it's raucus local bar scene. IMHOP the only steak to get is the double sirloin for two. It's far and away the best steak they serve. I never bother with the front/main part of the restaurant, if I want something more formal like that I'd go to Keen's. Sparks - This was my favorite Manhattan steak house years ago. I've been twice recently after a long hiatus and was disappointed. My steak was overcooked both times, and not as good as the ones I remembered having here 7-8 years ago. For the purposes you described I'd choose Strip House or Keen's. In my experience, celebrity spotting (other than the occasional sports star) isn't very usual at steak houses. That's more of a trendy or super-high end restaurant thing. Go for Strip House if you want a more "clubby" atmosphere where you might actually see a few attractive women (who will unfortunately be on dates with other men). Go to Keen's if you want to be able to bring some special birthday wines and not break the bank.
  13. Yes the UES Wu Liang Ye has closed. I tried to go for lunch a few months ago.
  14. Steven, I too miss the Grand Sichuan from Hell's Kitchen. I've never found the one in Chelsea to be quite as good. My current favorite is the new branch of Szechuan Gourmet on 56th st between Broadway and 8th. After eating at both this one and the original Manhattan location on 39th street dozens of times, I prefer the uptown location. I usually go for lunch as the prices are so much cheaper than dinner. I suspect part of the problem with the 39th st location is that it's been so busy after a bunch of rave reviews in the NY Times, etc. I think their cooking sometimes suffers and can be inconsistent. The uptown location puts out more consistent food in my opinion, has a nicer atmosphere, is never too busy at lunch, and if I remember correctly the lunch special prices on some items are cheaper by a dollar or two. Some of my favorites items are shrimp in garlic sauce, shrimp with asparagus and minced pork, tripe in sesame sauce, and wontons in chili oil. The Kung Bao Chicken is fine, but for some reason I don't like it as much as the version at the defunct Grand Sichuan on 50th st. I've been waiting for the Grand Sichuan to open on Amsterdam, and now I need to go try it. Thanks for the heads up. And has anyone ever figured out the relationship between the various Grand Sichuan locations? I can't believe the one on 2nd Ave in the 50's is related to the one in Chelsea, as the food and menus are so different. I think the one in Chelsea is much better. However, the orange flavored chicken at the 2nd Ave location is the one exception - it's my favorite version of this in the city.
  15. Thanks for the tip. I've never seen an infra red thermometer but will have to try one. Assuming I can now measure my pan temperature, this begs the question of what would be the ideal temp for the Ducasse/Shaw cooking method? I think I remember reading somewhere that the Maillard reaction in beef starts at or above 310F, so I'm guessing this would be the low limit for the slow cook in the pan method. Someone earlier in the thread did some sort of calculation to come up with an estimated temp of 170C (or 340F) in Fat Guy's pan. Has anyone using this method actually checked their pan temp?
  16. Chinese Thai Mexican I love all of these cuisines, but living in NYC there are too many places where I can have great versions of them for $10 or so. Especially at places that serve a discount lunch, as many of the Indian and Chinese restaurants do. On the other hand, I tend to cook Italian/pastas and prime steaks at home, because I can do them better and cheaper than most dining out options for these in NYC. Plus I avoid the markup on wine that comes with eating out, and I like to have a good bottle of red when eating steak or Italian food. I figure that in 30 minutes with little to no prep, I can cook a prime dry aged steak and potatoes dinner for myself for under $20 at home. A similar meal at Sparks or Lugers is going to cost me $70 and that's without even factoring wine in the equation, which could easily add another $100. However, I'm not going to spend all day trying to make chicken mole, when I can go out and have a credible plate of it and a Tecate for $15-20.
  17. I have always favored dual zone charcoal grilling for thick steaks. Now that I live in NYC without a grill, I've tried various methods with pan and oven with mixed results. I came across this thread and decided to try the Ducasse/Shaw method. I used prime dry aged porterhouse and shell steaks from Ottomanelli's on Bleecker Street. I have tried a number of the top butchers in the city, but for a combination of quality, selection, value and service I dont think you can beat Ottomanelli's. If I am going to cook a steak, I make the trip to Bleecker. The steaks were 2" thick and I followed the Ducasse method outlined in the NY times using the butter and garlic at the end of the cooking process. The crust and flavor were just amazing! I'd say these steaks were as good if not better than anything I've had at Lugers, Sparks, Keens, etc. However, I found that using the 10 minute per side suggestion they were a bit overcooked for my taste - really more medium than medium rare. One problem may be that I am cooking with electric (one of those Gaggenau ceramic top jobbies) and not the gas range I grew up cooking on. I have had problems overcooking on this electric range. I used two pans, one copper and one cast iron and set the burners to 4.5 (the setting range is 1-9). The cast iron skillet got too hot even at that setting and I had to back it off to about 3.5 The copper pan seemed to hold a more even heat, and was easier to control. The other factor that may have affected my results was the fact I had let the meat sit out for well over an hour, so it was probably pretty close to true room temperature. So here's my question, what's the best way to control temperature in a pan on an electric range like this? Other than feel, is there a thermometer than can be used to set the perfect pan temperature? I don't always have great luck using a meat thermometer on steaks and I don't like to have to pierce the steak anyway. When grilling or using the oven I find that just using the old fashioned touch "thumb" method gives me my temp. However, steaks this thick and with the sort of crust produced with the Ducasse method aren't so easy for me to judge by touch. I suppose if I just experiment enough I'll get this down, but these experiments can be expensive on dry aged prime steak! Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  18. Actually, I usually marinate steaks myself. I just thought it would be interesting as a comparison to try each butcher's version of marinade. I have cooked hanger steaks plain, but it's one of the only cuts that I prefer to marinate. If I cook a NY Strip, all it ever gets is kosher salt and some pepper.
  19. I love hanger steak, and cook it at home often. I thought it would be interesting to compare NYC sources, so I bought four pre-marinaded cuts to compare - Fairway (76th and Broadway), Ottomanelli's (82nd and York), Lobel's (82nd and Madison), and Simchick (54th and 1st Ave). I cooked them using my usual method - pan sear over medium high heat with olive oil in an All-clad skillet until browned (usually about 1 min per side), then cook in convection oven at 425 degrees to rare (usually 4-6 minutes, depending on thickness). I then let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before serving. These steaks were all pre-marinaded from the butcher, and I used the drippings from the pan to sauce. FYI, I always use All-clad or my cast iron skillet as they are safe in the oven, and do a good job at searing/browning the meat. Maybe it's my lack of skill, but I've never been able to get a proper sear in an aluminum/nonstick pan, no matter how high I turn up the heat. The meat just turns out sort of grey and blah. So here we go: Fairway - Not a specialty NYC butcher per se, but it's in my neighborhood and my usual go-to place so I thought I'd use it as a baseline. Their hanger steak is a good value at $7.99lb. I find that hangers here vary in quality/cut so take a look at what you're getting if you don't want a thin one. Their Teriyaki flavored marinade is a bit overpowering ad sweet to my taste, but many of my guests have liked and even preferred over Ottomanelli's. I have generally gotten better meat at the 76th/Broadway location than the 125th/Riverside store. From the taste, I suspect the meat often sits in the case longer at the Harlem location. These hangers were not quite as tender as those from the other places. Be careful not to cook them past rare or medium rare at most or they'll be tough. Simchick's - Better quality than Fairway and a more subtle marinade. At $11.00 lb. well worth the extra if you live in the neighborhood. Not sure I'd make a trip for it though. Can't speak to consistency as this my first trip here. Ottomanelli's – Maybe slightly better quality than Simchick, also better flavor and marinade in my opinion. I've bought here a number of times and consistency has been excellent as is their service. They are very good at cutting to your specifications and friendly no matter what you ask for. I'll travel to buy here over Fairway when I have the time. Lobel's - The best quality of all by a noticeable margin. The hanger was thicker, more uniform, more tender, and the marinade was by far my favorite. Not sure what it was, but it tasted a bit of Worchesteshire. The actual flavor of the meat wasn't necessarily better than Ottomanelli's, but maybe a bit milder. Its tenderness and less gamey flavor almost made it seem like a "filet mignon" of hanger steak if that makes sense. However, it cost 3x more at $30.00lb. Also, I was a bit put out by their service. I walked in and asked for roughly a pound of hanger. Instead of cutting a steak to my specifications as at Ottomanelli's, the guy just walked around the counter to the refrigerated case and handed me a pre-packaged steak. This cost me about $45.00, and I was so shocked I asked him to weigh it. It weighed 1.5 lbs, and I noticed on the Lobel's website that this is advertised as "2x 16-18 oz. hangers" for $40.98. I'm not sure if they are fudging on their pre-packaged steaks or if I just got unlucky. It did tick me off that I ended up overpaying on an underweight steak that was already overpriced to begin with! So the meat here was the winner, but I won't be returning to Lobel's any time soon due to price. For that money I can get dry-aged NY Strips from other NYC butchers. Final Verdict - Ottomanelli's wins my vote for quality, consistency, value and friendly service. I'd welcome any recommendations from other eGullet members for other butchers I could try to add to this comparison.
  20. I highly recommend Locanda Verde. Good food and a lively/cool setting. It's a good date place and the prices are fairly reasonable by NYC standards. Babbo is also hard to beat if you can get in. For a real "old school" Italian experience, the Arthur Avenue area is much better than Little Italy, but it's a bit of a hike to get there.
  21. Felonius


    On a recommendation from Steven Shaw for a good date place in the neighborhood, I ventured to Redhead for the first time last night. They won me over on the first visit and my date thought it was great. The service was pleasant (which is all too rare these days in NYC restaurants in trendy neighborhoods), the ambience casual and warm, and food was excellent in concept, price point and execution. I must confess I was born in the deep South and can be hard to please when it comes to "Southern" inspired restaurants. We split the bibb salad, she had the pork loin, and I had the fried chicken. The fried chicken was just that, a near perfect execution of a simple classic. Crispy golden skin, cooked enough to reduce the fat layer so there was no sogginess, and meat that was moist and succulent. This might not be such a marvel if it wasn't so difficult to find decent fried chicken South of 110th St. in Manhattan. My date's pork loin was quite good, on a bed of pureed celery root with diced sweet potatoes and some sort of reduction/glaze. It was a more ambitious dish than the fried chicken, well executed, but I preferred the chicken. I thought the salads were particularly tasty, including the one that came as a side with the fried chicken. Some real care and thought had gone into the dressings, and the the thinly sliced apples added a nice contrast. Again, simple stuff but somehow better than any salads I can remember having in a while. Cornbread was also good and moist, but the yeast rolls brought out as bread service were dry, hard and cold. They should be able to do better here, as just about every home cooking hole in the wall in the South can make a decent yeast roll. As for the cocktails, I respectfully disagree with some of the previous posts. We tried two. I can't remember the names, but mine was a take on a "Dark and Stormy" with Goslings rum and my date had something lighter with elderflower. They were both excellent and refreshing. This place isn't trying to be a Pegu or Death & Co., so I didn't expect seriously complicated drinks. What they do seem to have is well thought out and crafted flavor combinations. In my opinion, many places try too hard to make showy drinks that don't actually taste all that good in the end (seriously, does every drink really need Absinthe or stout mixed in - ugghh!). The drinks at Redhead seem to match the food - simple combinations that just taste good. At $10, the price is right too. On our way out the door, our waitress, the bartender, and the manager all made a point of thanking us warmly for our patronage. I can't remember the last time this happened in an inexpensive and busy restaurant in NYC. Overall, I think this place is great. It sort of reminds me of Extra Virgin (West Village) but with a Southern twist and better execution from the kitchen. Or maybe like Little Owl, but with the chance of actually getting a table in this century. Finding food of this quality at this price point in NYC with friendly service and good cocktails isn't all that easy in NYC these days. I only wish my neighborhood had a restaurant like this.
  22. Ah yes, I have fond memories of this! And still the best tarte tatin I've ever had in the USA.
  23. I almost ashamed to admit this because it's so "simple", but Andrew Carmellini's perfectly light and fluffy gnocchi with shaved white truffles of superior quality on top at Cafe Boulud was perhaps the most sublime and memorable thing I've eaten in NYC. But there are many others..... A wild mushroom and boar soup at a game dinner Carmellini did once was up there as well, even more amazing since I'm not a big fan of mushrooms. The foie brulee at Jean Georges is also one of the better things I've tasted in my life. Pretty much anything classic at ADNY was a thing a beauty. In that vein, the bone-in Tournedos Rossini with black truffles and foie gras served in a pan at Benoit made me as happy as anything I've ever had.
  24. I think all guests should be treated with equal professionalism and the best service possible. That's not rocket science, just good business. I do appreciate a few extra "perks" (the best table, a comped course or glass of wine, etc.) and see nothing wrong with this. That is also just good business - letting a regular customer know that you appreciate their loyalty. I used to eat out fairly regularly at Jean-Georges and Le Bernardin. I never had less than professional and efficient service, yet I was also never greeted personally, recognized or given anything extra. I love the food at both, and I am perfectly happy with the service. However, I have never felt the same loyalty to them as I have to other places where they added that personal touch (Cafe Boulud when Andrew Carmellini was chef is a good example, as were all the Alain Ducasse restaurants - ADNY, Mix, and now Benoit). I have frequented those places far more often.
  25. It brings up another intersting topic of discussion. What makes one return to a restaurat often compared to others in the city? ← For me it's simple, SERVICE. I of course do not dine at restaurants where I don't enjoy the food, and I do occasionally visit restaurants with mediocre service solely for the particular food they have on offer. I never return to a restaurant with bad service, unless I think there was a legitimate reason for the bad service. However, since I dine out 4-6 nights a week, I have a number of "regular" places. Some of them are high end, some low end. Some have incredible food, some are just reliable standard fare. The common denominator is their attitude and service. A place that takes time to make me feel welcome, to go that extra mile, will earn my loyalty. There are two small and inexpensive neighborhood Italian places where the owners are always there, and always come out to give me a warm welcome - as if I was a guest in their homes. I'm not a difficult customer, but if I do have an occasional special request (usually craving something they make, but not on the current menu) they accomodate it and appear pleased to do so. There are other higher end places, where they give me my favorite table if possible, and always comp a drink or an extra pour of something. If I am having a hard time deciding between menu items I'll ask the waiter for a recommendation. Many times, to my delight, a tasting portion of the option I didn't choose will arrive gratis. So when I am on the fence about where to eat, I usually jump on the friendly side. I also recommend these places to friends and associates, and try to do what little bit I can to help their business prosper. I still like to try new places and expand my eating universe, but I have a hard time visiting any place if they make me feel as if I'm no more than a revenue source.
  • Create New...