Friday, June 29, 2012

The Breslin Butchers Ball

I had the good fortune of attending The Breslin Butchers Ball hosted by Underground Eats and Meatopia and emceed by Josh Ozersky. The event featured the estimable talents of chef April Bloomfield who cooked the feast, Pat LaFrieda who personally selected and aged the beef and Mark Pastore who spent the evening texting (or worse) on his iPhone, his emaciated face permanently cast with a ghostly glow from the screen. Truth be told I spent most of the evening in the back of house marveling at how April and chef de cuisine Peter Cho run their kitchen and snacking on scraps of aged beef in various states of rawness while quaffing whiskey sours (or worse).

For the punters that plunked down cash for a seat I can't imagine a better combination of beef and booze with a little education thrown in for good measure. Guests were treated to a butchering demonstration by Pat and April followed by a three course meal plus dessert and wine pairing. Pat selected a handful of rib primals that exhibited exceptional marbling, the top 1% of his stock,  and aged them specially for the event. The resulting beef looked ethereal - deeply flecked with fat and imbued with a pronounced funk from the dry aging process. April then crafted three courses to highlight the textures and flavors of the individual components of the cut.

The rib bones where cut flanken style, in a fashion more often associated with the short rib and then chargrilled until crispy.

The spinalis dorsi or deckle was stripped away and prepared in three different ways: clockwise from top - tartare on gaufrette, whipped bone marrow and lemon marinated with Balsamic vinegar and Parmesan and carpaccio with horseradish cream.

The main course featured the longissimus muscle, commonly referred to as the "eye", which was roasted, drizzled with a red wine sauce and served with a lumaconi stuffed with English peas, a segment of grilled zucchini and a bone marrow "tater tot".

Dessert was an impossibly airy vanilla panna cotta with berries. While the rib could have been simply portioned into steaks and seared off to wonderful effect the conscientiousness  which April put into each dish elevated the cut in a way that I hadn't imagined possible. The event was a resounding success and an after party filled the mezzanine bar above The Breslin dining room. In a very classy move Underground Eats provided car service for guests. If there is another ball, and there absolutely should be, it is not to be missed.

Full slide show:
Breslin Butcher's Ball - Images by Nick Solares

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