Sunday, February 19, 2012

RedRarm Ribsteak

This might be a first but I am actually going to recommend a steak that costs almost $40 and is not dry aged. The steak in question comes from RedFarm, the latest hit from Dim Sum master Joe Ng and inventor of the wok Ed Schoenfeld (OK maybe he didn't actually invent the wok...)

The dish starts off as a Black Angus steer reared by the fine folks at Creekstone farms. RedFarm uses only USDA grade Prime beef which is subjected to treatment that most any Western chef would consider torture - according to my pal Josh Ozersky (who knows a thing or two about torture) it is apparently run under water for a protracted period of time. Such an unorthodox technique makes the ensuing marination in papaya and soy seem almost normal. The steak is then seared, sliced, sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with bok choy.

The result is an surprisingly beefy tasting steak. While the expected, respective notes of sweetness and salt from the papaya and soy are present the fact that one is eating a quality piece of beef is not lost. Texturally the cut is firm but tender, never veering into the mushy as a lesser piece of beef might. The outside has a pleasing char, aided and abetted by the caramelized sugars from the marinade. The steak may be wet aged and wet bathed but it I can't argue with the result -Highly recommended

529 Hudson Street  New York, NY 10014

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Empellon Cocina

Prime beef rib eye cap with menudo and puffed tendon
Opening night at Empellon Cocina. Smoky margaritas and smoked ricotta. A chunky guacamole laced with pistachios on masa crisps. Pork rib meat with white bean puree, masa balls and a salsa verde. Highlight is a beef rib eye cap (the spinalis dorsi muscle) with a dense menudo and crunchy puffed tendons. More cocktails in lieu of dessert. A most agreeable meal. Not cheap but worth it.  Clean, vibrant and familiar flavors presented in a modern way - evocation and innovation. A very good start.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pan Roasted Ribsteak from the Momofuku Cook Book

32oz dry aged ribsteak from Creekstone Farms
One of my favorite steaks is the dry aged ribsteak at Momofuku Ssam bar. I have had it on numerous occasions in the restaurant and so decided to try cooking one at home using the Momofuku cook book by David Chang and Peter Meehan. The recipe calls for, and strongly encourages, one to use dry aged beef, and with good reason. Dry aged beef is more tender, more flavorful, and juicier than the wet aged variety. Momofuku sources theirs, to very good effect, from Niman Ranch. But having worked with Pat LaFrieda on his Big App for Meat, I was lucky to procure from him what I believe to be an even more impressive steak - a wickedly aged and marbled USDA Prime 32oz ribsteak from Creekstone Farms. Not that I am the most impartial judge!
"Salt like you'd salt a sidewalk in New York in the winter"
The recipe is perfectly and humorously written, follow it to the letter and you are in for a real treat and a chuckle on the way. I am not going to recount it here (I have intentionally left a crucial step undocumented) - you should buy the book as it is superb work and will teach you far more than just how to cook a steak. Also note that some of the recipes that are knocking about the internet are not accurate.

I will give you this advice: get the best steak you can find and don't trim the fat! I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger the The Food Doc over cocktails at Booker and Dax the other night, and he mentioned that people find the steak at Ssam rather fatty. There is a good reason for this - the recipe calls for cooking a steak a little longer and at a slightly lower temperature than other methods and the fat protects the inner flesh allowing it be cooked edge to edge to the desired doneness.