Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Beef Aficionado's Top Ten Bone In Ribeye Steaks

Beef Aficionado reader Jay L. recently wrote in asking me to list my top ten bone in ribeyes steaks. I thought this would make for a good post so with out further ado, and in no particular order (all these steaks are outstanding and it would be hard to rank them) here they are:

Smith and Wollensky

One of my all time favorite steakhouses Smith and Wollensky serves up a massive hunk of dry aged steer called the Colorado ribeye. For many years it was not even listed on the menu but was always available. S&W excel at offering true black and blue steaks, the outside perfectly charred and the inside wonderfully cool and tender. They also offer, although I don't for the life of me understand why, a "Cajun" ribeye which apparently has a spicy, fiery seasoning. There is no reason for this, the USDA prime steer here has such amazing flavor that all that it requires is salt.

Smith and Wollensky
797 Third Ave.
Manhattan, NY |

Post House

A close cousin to the S&W rib eye, the Post House is owned, or at least was owned by the same restaurant group as Smith and Wollensky. And the steak is every bit as good.

Post House
28 E. 63rd St.
Manhattan, NY

Bobby VansAnother quintessential NYC chophouse Bobby Van's offers outstanding steaks that are quite similar to S&W and the Post House. Full review here.

Bobby Van's
Multiple Locations

Beef Aficionado visited:

230 Park Ave.
(46th St.)
Manhattan, NY

131 E. 54th St.
(bet. Lexington & Park Aves.)
Manhattan, NY


Former Peter Luger head waiter Wolfgang Zweiner opened Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Manhattan a few years back as a virtual clone of his former employer. The menu was almost exactly the same as Luger's except that they offered a bone in ribeye (which Luger's now offers) And what a ribeye it is, the musky dry age flavor is evident throughout the cut and the exterior char that they achieve is second to done.

4 Park Ave.
(33rd St.)
Manhattan, NY

BLT Prime

While I find the domestic steer offering at BLT Prime less than impressive the American and Japan Wagyu is outstanding. (Beef Aficionado reviews found here and here). The bone in American Wagyu ribeye pictured above had amazing flavor and unlike a lot of Kobe style beef this one was dry aged.

BLT Prime
111 E. 22nd St.
Manhattan, NY

Old Homestead

I have to be honest regarding the Old Homestead, for many years I found it to be a dismal steakhouse, offering lackluster food. However, a recent revamping and a renewed focus on the menu has resulted in a much improved enterprise. The "Gotham" ribeye steak is a massive hunk of USDA prime that literally dwarfs all the other steaks in this survey. But while one might expect that this would result in the old quantity/quality trade off the steak here is excellent, despite its size.

Old Homestead Steakhouse

56 Ninth Ave.
Manhattan, NY

Pacific Dining Car

While the other steakhouses in this survey all hale from NYC I assure you that this is more reflective of my limited travel than some geographical prejudice. While I am sure that we have more steakhouses, per capita, that serve dry aged USDA Prime steer than the rest of the country here in NYC I am not willing to discount the fact that there are lots of great steaks out there. Indeed Pacific Dining Car in Los Angeles, CA offers top notch USDA dry aged Prime steak that are every bit as good as what you will find at NYC. Uniquely the steaks at PDC are grilled over mesquite. Full reviews here and here

Pacific Dining Car
1310 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 483-6000

Peter Luger

The venerable Peter Luger traditionally only served porterhouse and strip steaks. Last year however in the midst of the prime beef shortage they started serving a delicious bone in ribeye steak. It is every bit as good as their world renowned porterhouse, with a hearty beef flavor and a wonderful dry age. The only objection I have is that they slice it and drown it in butter, the same technique they apply to the porterhouse. Frankly I have never understood the need to do this to steak, especially dry aged prime. Never the less Peter Luger offers some of the best beef on the planet.

Peter Luger Steakhouse
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY

Primehouse NY

Relative and welcome newcomer to the NYC steakhouse scene Primehouse NY offers top steer that is sourced directly from the restaurants own bull named Prime. The beef is then hung in Primehouse's custom-built Himalayan rock salt-tiled aging room. While I found that the standard 28 day dry aged ribeye here fell short of the other offering in this survey Primehouse also offers a 40 and 65 day dry aged ribeyes , both of which are spectacular. Featured in Beef Aficionado here and here.

Primehouse New York
381 Park Ave. S.
Manhattan, NY

Dylan Prime

Dylan Prime falls into the category that I have dubbed the "Nouveau steakhouse." While the traditional steakhouse menu is present and accounted for at this institution it is used as a starting point. Dylan Prime offers some inventive and delicious interpretations of traditional steakhouse fare. To quote my original review:

"The ribeye from the boutique steer of Brandt farms was wonderful. Tender and flavorful with the mineral rich flavor that only dry aging can impart. The sliced steak is served with a delicious smoky barbequed vegetable salad, warm brown butter and fresh herb vinaigrette. This is exactly the sort of inventive reinterpretation of steakhouse fare that I have been clamoring for."

For the record although the steak is sliced it is served with the bone. Full review here.

Dylan Prime
62 Laight St.
(Greenwich St.)
212 334 4783


sickchangeup said...

Man, you're good. The two darkhorse candidates that I keep in my pocket are the "revamped" Old Homestead House Cut (a MASSIVE MASSIVE steak, easy to share for 2 making it an amazing value, and quite tasty), and the complete opposite (in every way) which is the much smaller, I almost want to say feminine, yet excellent tasting Dylan Prime Ribeye. Although I see you reviewed the larger brandt one, not the small 14oz Ribeye - which is quite good. I'll have to try the brandt next time.

I also admit to having "cajuned" my Colorado ribeye at S&W, mostly due to a very cajoling waiter - and I must say at the very least I didn't regret it. They do know it's all about the beef, so the seasoning was not overpowering in any way.

Nick said...

The 14oz ribeye at Dylan is truly outstanding in terms of tenderness and flavor, but it is boneless so it didn't make it in to the survey.

I once got into a heated argument with a waiter at S&W who was hard selling the Cajun rib eye, he tried telling me that the regular rib eye lacked flavor. Perhaps they needed to move a few of them that night.I am glad to hear that it was well handled and not over powering, although I will stick with the regular cut.

DocChuck said...

WOW! That was a real "Rogues Gallery" of BI Ribeyes!

But, the most beautiful "Rogues" I have seen in many a day.

Great post, carefully copied and added to my collection of "The Ten Most Wanted".


MrsDocChuck said...

I've had enough of Peter Lugar's affectation of cutting up my steak!! I simply can't stand that. Plus the meat itself hasn't been that great the last few times we've been there.

Stopped going to Smith and Wollensky when they chained the place out, but that steak looks so great that we plan to fast for a few days and then eat some serious cow with all the trimmings.

If it's even half as good as you describe (and it looks) S and W will be back in our regular rotation.

Howard said...

the smith and wollensky group was sold to another restaurant group recently, but part of the deal was that the flagship location at 49th and 3rd was not sold and is still under the management of founder alan stillman. so even though it has been chained out and corporatized (i don't generally eat at s&w's outside of manhattan) the original location is still the real deal. i love how this place is not ranked very high in the zagat steakhouse list, since it makes it easier to go on a whim. when a person tells me they consider s&w among their favorite steakhouses in nyc, which is a rare thing to hear these days, they get instant credibility as a beef connoiseur.

Nick said...

Thanks Howard. I am actually working on a fairly in depth review of S&W that I think you will enjoy reading. I really do think that it underrated among steakhouses and it is always heartening to know that others agree.

Daniel said...

i don't want to sound rude but as a beef newbie, what does a char do as evident on the SandW ribeye and the wolfgang ribeye compared to the deep dark brown crust as on the post house and old homestead ribeyes flavor and texture wise.

Nick said...

@Daniel It is to a large degree and aesthetic choice and there are some who don't like char. But for a lover of black and blue steaks it is of paramount importance that the outside be seared black. I like the contrast of the acrid char and sweet inner flesh and the textural contrast of a nice thick crust and the buttery interior.

sickchangeup said...

I'd also add that a good deep brown thick crust probably takes a good 20-30 minutes to achieve and also requires a good deal of butter, and handholding/basting meaning very few restaurants bother, or can afford, to do it properly. So you just wind up with an ok brown crust instead of a deep delicious one. By comparison, a great char requires just equipment and not time or even much active supervision, so you are far more likely to have it be a good option at a good steakhouse (most by default have the equipment necessary)

Daniel said...

thank you for both of your responses =)

Anonymous said...

I think Del Frisco's offers my favorite dry aged, bone-in ribeye (on their specials menu). It's juicy and flavorful with some nice salt and pepper seasoning. I suppose many of you would think the seasoning would cover up the taste of the meat, but I think it enhances it.

My favorite porterhouse would be from Peter Lugers, with Wolfgangs coming in second... and my favorite NY strip steak would be the one offered by Sparks, with the Strip House's a close second. I'm not really into filet mignon, but I enjoyed the one offered at the Post House.