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Florence Meat Market & Newport Steak


Fat Guy
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I stopped in at Florence Prime Meats (5 Jones Street, 212-242-6531) the other day. This is the place that used to be owned by Jack Ubaldi, who wrote what I consider to be the best meat guide out there (it's out of print but you can pick up a copy at Kitchen Arts & Letters). Now it's owned by his disciple Benny Pizzuco. It's a great old-world meat market and the prices are incredible. I say that without having tasted the steaks in recent memory, but I'll remedy that eventually.

Anyway, what really stuck in my craw was this Newport steak thing. It's a cut of beef that's only sold at Florence. And apparently it's a secret, proprietary cut. Now here's my question: How can a cut of beef be a secret? I mean, I have to assume that if I bothered to learn how to butcher a whole damn cow I'd be able to look at any piece of beef and say, yeah, that's the whatever-it's-called. Kind of like, if you go to medical school and don't flunk out, or even if you do flunk out, and somebody hands you a leg, you're supposed to be able to say, yeah, that's a leg. What am I missing?

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steven, the only thing you are missing is the perspective of a marketing rep. I used to get the Newport steak quite a bit, and while I could be wrong, I think the rest of NY calls it a Delmonico or shell steak.

From what I can gather, you have down the loin, the porterhouse, the t-bone, the bone in shell, and the shell. The Newport is the last cut on the loin -- or so my tastebuds have come to conclude.

Any further guidance would be appreciated.

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Nina: About Florence Meat Market and the Newport steak? Really? Can you summarize?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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For you, FG, even better:

"...of the 6 New York-area butchers we called, only three knew what we were talking about, and none sold the cut. Invented in the 1940s by mater butcher Jack Ubaldi, Newport steaks are available at only one place: Florence Prime Meat Market in Manhattan, in the shop Ubaldi founded in 1936.

Ubaldi never intended to create a new type of steak, but one day while breaking down a bottom butt, he followed his instincts and sliced the piece that is shaped like a triangle (and often sold as triangle roast or tri-tip, especially in California) into steaks about an inch thick, then folded the two ends together to make a neat little package. (Straightforward triangle steaks are common, but Ubaldi cut these a little differently: his exact method remains a secret). They were an immediate hit with his customers, who liked the taste, the size, and the price. Ubaldi, who passed away last year at 90, sold Florence in 1976, but the steak remains one of the shop's signature items. It sells over a thousand a week to locals and mail-order customers. And how did Newport steaks get their name? Ubaldi thought the steaks resembled the quarter moon featured in a Newport cigarettes ad."

Note: there is also a recipe in the issue for Newport Steaks with Tarragon Mustard Butter, and some photographs of the dish and of the raw, cut steaks.

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I've never tried the Florence version, but Citarella's West often carries a cut they call "Newport" which sounds like the same thing. I usually buy it when I see it and have yet to be disappointed.

Andrew

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This thread reminds me that about a year ago, I first found out about the tri-tip steak cut, that is popular in parts of California. It was from a show on the Food Network. Tri-tip seems to be a simplified version of the Newport Steak.

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I think you have to fold it to get it to a uniform thickness for cooking purposes. If you leave it spread out you'll have inconsistent heating. I guess at some point I'll buy some in order to figure out what's up.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Years ago, in the late Fifties, I had a purveyor from Boston, Bolton Smart, through him I got to know a cut called "Honeymoon Cut". Come to find out it was the same cut which is listed in "The Meat Buyers Guide", the official publication of the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP), as ID#185A, Beef Loin, Buttom Sirloin Butt, Flap, Bonless; it is the tensor fasciae latae muscle, and looks a little bit like a boomerang.

Steven Shaw is right, the point to point fold-over allows even broiling.

"The Gunnery" and also "The Cheshire Cheese" Restaurant at the Sheraton Kimball Hotel in Springfield Mass. served this cut as London Broil, after sprinkling a mixture of crushed real charcoal, black pepper and Kosher salt on it.

Peter
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You can get a good version of Newport steak from Pinos' Butcher,on Sullivan St.He used to work with J. Ubaldi.I haven't done a side by side cook-off with the Florence Mkt. version,but they are both inexpensive,easy to cook,and delicious.

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"The Gunnery" and also "The Cheshire Cheese" Restaurant at the Sheraton Kimball Hotel in Springfield Mass. served this cut as London Broil, after sprinkling a mixture of crushed real charcoal, black pepper and Kosher salt on it.

This sounds fascinating, Peter.

Do you know if they applied the charcoal as part of a dry rub, or did they moisturize the surface before sprinking?

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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"The Gunnery" and also "The Cheshire Cheese" Restaurant at the Sheraton Kimball Hotel in Springfield Mass. served this cut as London Broil, after sprinkling a mixture of crushed real charcoal, black pepper and Kosher salt on it.

This sounds fascinating, Peter.

Do you know if they applied the charcoal as part of a dry rub, or did they moisturize the surface before sprinking?

The charcoal was applied as a dry rub, directly onto the meat with it's own moisture. And the "they" was and is "I". Everyone thought it was funky (no one knew the word then), but consumer comments were great. I might want to mention, that we always placed the piece of meat (the rub was on for about 30 minutes only) into a handled frypan and placed it directly UNDER!! the broiler (Salamander type). Pieces of butter were constantly added, and the meat got turned in the pan quite frequent. So, always top heat only, and never more done then Medium Rare, then resting for at least 10 Minutes in a warm place, sliced thin against the grain and on the bias. "Succulent"! .. is a nice word, plus it reminds me of my Baby years (that's how good it was) :biggrin:

Peter
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  • 3 months later...

On our way downtown to look at the World Trade Center site a few weeks ago, my friend (visiting from San Francisco) and I happened to walk into Pino's butcher shop on Sullivan Street. Newport steaks were displayed and I remembered reading this thread, so we bought two steaks. When we got home, I did a search on egullet for this thread, which directed me to the Saveur article. We followed the recipe for cooking the steaks, minus the tarragon mustard butter. Two minutes per side on a cast iron grille pan over medium-high heat, and then 4-1/2 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees. The steaks were perfect; a beautiful deep pink color, very tender and flavorful. We ate them with smashed la ratte potatoes, and zucchini that had been boiled along with chopped shallots and butter, then sliced and dressed with a little balsamic vinegar. It was very gratifying to be able to find this thread and get the information I needed, so thanks to all, especially Nina.

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I read the article in Saveur some time back and found myself near Florence Meat Market one Saturday morning. A great old time butcher shop. I stopped in picked up some homemade Italian Sausages and a Newport Steak. It cost 3.50 and I pan seared the sides and the front and back. then added some butter , salt and pepper. It was the best steak I've made in long while...Can't wait to go back and stock up on some more...

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Made the trek down to Florence Market today to try the heralded Newport Steak. Well somebody should send this shtick fleish back to Rhode Island as it was resolutely disappointing and unsatisfying. It was both chewy and didn't have much of a beefy flavor to it. In fact I doubt anyone would ever write anything about it if it wasn't a good story that is topped off by it being sold at one of Greenwich Villages food throwbacks to yesteryear. For someone who is a steak lover and who makes restaurant quality steaks at home all the time, this didn't even come close to being acceptable and my wife and I didn't even finish our steaks.

Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)
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That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of a balloon deflating. Or is it just a great big raspberry from Steve P.? Have to admit, I was hyped up to try this wacky steak being a newcomer sucker for authentic and unique New York (5 times fast) experiences. Back to Rhode Island...I like that one. Based on Toby and LESider's positive reviews, I'll probably give it a shot anyway if I'm in the nabe. What's the worst that can happen? A disappointing steak? Cry me a river. Not sure I'll make a special trip downtown for it, though, when Lobel's is ever so much closer to home.

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Not sure of the steak... but my dear friend Ed Schoenfeld took me there once long ago, and since, they have been my butchers of choice. I have fed many a foodie and not so food obsessive friends and only heard rave reviews.. even from the toughest of them.

What is best about them is that for one as meat phobic as me (about cleaning and cutting), they do all my work for me.. and with a smile.

The Keema (minced meat) I get there is amazing and makes my Keema recipes as special as people make them out to be.

Not sure how good the Newport Steak is... But they could not be more polite and deliver better product at least in my book. :smile:

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Maybe I'm just spoiled by Lobel's strips and the aged prime rib they now have at Eli's Market. But Suvir is correct, they were very nice and gracious at Florence. Including the butcher explaining to me that they invented the Newport Steak. And I don't mean this to be a blight on the rest of their meat. It's just that I'm picky about my steak.

Actually butchers are only as good as their suppliers. And Florence is either getting meat from the top tier wholesalers or as they say, they isn't. Hard to tell from this cut because it was so unsual.

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