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dagordon

Union Trust

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I ate at Union Trust recently; sat at the bar. Very impressive food. I had the "six spoons", an assortment of 6 oysters with varying embellishments. Excellent quality oysters. The bartender was pushing the "ribeye filet mignon": the name is quite annoying, but it's apparently the eye of the ribeye, i.e. the ribeye sans fat cap (spinalis dorsi). Of course, I'm one of those people who orders a ribeye primarily for the cap, so I opted for the Prime Bone-In Ribeye. (Yes, still more annoyance with "bone-in" and "ribeye" -- this should be called a "bone in rib steak", but this seems to be a losing battle.)

The rib steak was fantastic. Perfect char, great beefy flavor, nice marbling, and the steak definitely had some age on it. This was a serious steakhouse steak, up there with the Gachot & Gachot rib steak at Barclay Prime as the best in Philly.

Mashed potatoes on the side were perfect, and stayed hot as they were served in a hot crock.

For dessert I had what I think was called the "chocolate ending", a three-layer chocolate pastry that was unexpectedly light yet delicious. I was told that the pastry chef was the former head pastry instructor at the Cordon Bleu; regardless of whether this is so, however, the dessert program seems to be serious.

The restaurant, at least at the bar, is a bit of a scene. But more power to you if you're able to produce this level of food and still have your restaurant be a bit of a scene. In conclusion: serious steakhouse.

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So, if they're serving ribeyes without the fat caps, does that mean we could just order a plate full of fat caps? They've got to go somewhere, right?


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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So, if they're serving ribeyes without the fat caps, does that mean we could just order a plate full of fat caps?  They've got to go somewhere, right?

I was thinking the same thing. :) Maybe they keep them for staff meal -- isn't there a story that Thomas Keller once had some ribeye cap that was being served for staff meal at Per Se, and he quickly added it to the menu...

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So, if they're serving ribeyes without the fat caps, does that mean we could just order a plate full of fat caps? They've got to go somewhere, right?
I was thinking the same thing. :) Maybe they keep them for staff meal -- isn't there a story that Thomas Keller once had some ribeye cap that was being served for staff meal at Per Se, and he quickly added it to the menu...

Jeff, David.

I believe you are talking about the "Deckle" ?

At the volume they deal with, they probably just have the Ribeyes butchered without the fat cap.

Most good steakhouses have custom butchering wholesale deals to reduce waste.

This would make sense since they buy the meat from Allen Brothers.

Allen Bros does sell the Deckle on it's own since they figured out they can make a bunch of money from it.

It is amazing csv.

Lets meet up and do a tasting next week.

Here it is....

Deckle Steak

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David agreed, UTrust is the best steakhouse in Philly, nothing comes close except perhaps Barclay Prime.

Best meat,Best sides.

The NY strip and Ribeyes are definitely the best of those cuts in the city.

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It's interesting how different experiences can be. The missus had a pretty bad lunch at Union Trust last week. She wasn't impressed with the service: in particular, her food was cold, which will spoil a meal like nothing else...

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is that 4 8 ounce steaks for $140? $70/lb?

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Jeff, David.

I believe you are talking about the "Deckle" ?

You learn something new every day -- I thought that "deckle" was (only) part of the brisket. But it refers to both. There's a thread about it here.

Um, yeah, I suppose I could be convinced to do a tasting. :smile:

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My wife and I went two weeks ago, we were freezing and just could not get comfortable. I have to admit, all my other remarks have to be taken in light of this, we might have had a different impression had we been warm enough. We complained at least three times about this to the bartenders (we ate at the upstairs bar), without result.

We thought our steak undercooked. That said, it was a fine piece of meat and it was prepared (“Cajun style”) exactly how I requested it, and the preparation was tasty.

The service was warm but clumsy. And the bar was a scene, and not the good kind.

I have to admit, my curiosity was piqued by the spectacular seafood offerings (which I did not try).

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is that 4 8 ounce steaks for $140? $70/lb?

So Allen"s serves all these famous restaurants, what do they pay for steaks...certainly not $80@.

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So Allen"s serves all these famous restaurants, what do they pay for steaks...certainly not $80@.

Retail mail order is always a rip off.

Restaurants buy wholesale but you are right, it's kind of absurd to pay more than it is to have it cooked at the restaurant to cook it yourself.

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Never understood why one wouldn't get a whole meal cooked by a pro for what one would pay mail-order for just the raw frozen meat. I wonder how much business they do.

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i think those costs for retail orders must be to protect the retail business's that buy from them.

d'artagnan is the same deal. i can get whole pekin ducks at jannssen's in wilmington (which is an insanely expensive grocer) for less than ordering from d'artagnan's site.

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Just to be clear: the $70/lb from Allen Brothers is for the ribeye cap, the very best part of one of the most expensive cuts of beef... they have significantly cheaper steaks for sale. God knows what the ribeye cap would cost at a place like Union Trust.

It seems that it actually is cheaper to buy the meat yourself from Allen Bros: here's Allen Bros' bone-in rib steaks. The 18oz rib steak at Union Trust is $62. Theses steaks from Allen Bros work out to $39.36 for 18oz. (Though this doesn't include shipping.)

Actually, when it comes to steak I usually have a hard time justifying going to restaurants to pay for it vs. buying the meat yourself and cooking it at home. I sometimes have a steak craving and will want to go out for a steak, but it's almost always possible to buy meat of substantially higher quality than what would be available at a local restaurant for a comparable cost.

For example, the Cali Prime Reserve from Bryan Flannery mail-order is $18.99/lb and as good as Allen Bros' products are, the Cali Prime Reserve from Flannery is frankly in a different league.

The only exception might be if you happen to live next door to Peter Luger in Brooklyn.

Wagyu is a clearer case: it's absolutely insane to buy Wagyu at a restaurant these days, as you almost never know what the quality is and it's 5x more expensive than sourcing it yourself.

There are many reasons to go to a steakhouse, and I'll be going back to Union Trust, but it often makes a lot of sense to DIY.

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Went back to Union Trust last night. We'd heard that the chef had left shortly after I was there the first time, and we'd also heard a rumor that they'd changed meat suppliers, so were were a bit hesitant to go. But: it was every bit as good as the first time. We were 3 people, and we skipped apps entirely and just split the long bone rib-eye for 2, the Colorado lamb chops, and a bunch of sides.

Everything was fantastic. We'd ordered the steak and lamb "rare plus", and both came out perfectly cooked. They both were perfectly seasoned (not heavy-handed at all), tender, and quite flavorful. Very high quality meat. The sides were also delicious -- the onion rings in particular are perhaps the best I've ever had, with an uncanny ability to retain their crispiness over time.

We had the "chocolate ending" dessert again, which was excellent, and they brought out an extra dessert w/ a personalized message written on the plate b/c I'd mentioned when making the reservation that it was a bit of a special occasion. Very classy.

And for the three of us, around $200, including several drinks. I daresay this is very, very reasonable for the amount and quality of food we had.

And I normally don't care a whole lot about this sort of thing, but the room is pretty amazing.

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I had a similar experience to dagordon, which I wrote about in my "steakhouse plus" thread. I think Union Trust has really surprised us to become a lovely addition to the dining scene, rather than just one more expense account hell.

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My wife and I returned to Union Trust and ate at the bar. There were a few drawbacks, for example the bar gets really crowded after 9 so standers are crowding sitters, limiting how comfortable a meal one can have there. After one initial unfavorable impression close to Union Trust's opening, I have come to believe that UT is a welcome supper club-type restaurant that adds a bit of glamour to the Philadelphia scene.

As usual, we enjoyed most everything we had. However, I had raw oysters and I did not like them that much, though they were fine quality and well-shucked. I have a few questions: I did not like their iodine-y flavor. What causes that? How do I avoid it? There have been several orders of oysters at various restos I have eaten that had the same problem.

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Oysters, like wine, have "terroir", and certain varieties have a more <ahem> assertive flavor or aftertaste. In some cases it's pleasant, like melon or cucumber, and in some cases it isn't, like iodine or algae. But again, it's likely to be specific to the types of oysters and where they're harvested. And remember. There's just as likely to be someone that finds that taste pleasant. Speaking of iodine, Caol Ila single malt scotch smells and tastes like Betadine to me, but others swear by it. No accounting for tastes.


Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Re: Caol Ila. Funny, a lot of folks regard this as a "gateway" malt to the Islays. Not nearly as pronounced in the flavors that distinguish Islays as say, Lagavulin or Laphroaig. But, as you suggested about oysters, De gustibus non est disputandum. Caol Ila is, fwiw, a constituent in Johnny Walker Green and, I believe, other JW blends.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I regard it as a gentleman's Islay. I have nothing against Lagavulin and Laphroaig but Caol Isla is more balanced. When it comes to oysters though I have to say I have not yet met one that I didn't like. I'll love the briniest and most mineraly ones that can be found.

Edit: I recently was in Seattle for work and sampled about 12 different types of west coast oysters. Is it me or are they all smaller and milder?


Edited by mattohara (log)

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matt o'hara

finding philly

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Smaller, plumper, deeper cup on the shell, and generally a more minerally taste and more pronounced "finish". But there are exceptions, and of course everyone's palate is different. The Hog Island Sweetwaters that we currently have are awesome. The texture of a West Coast oyster with the brininess of an East Coast one. Kind of the best of both worlds. I LOVE them!


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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