JohnnyPrime's Recent Reviews
Cut overall score: 80
Wolfgang Puck just opened up a new location of his steakhouse "Cut" in downtown Manhattan. Of course I had to check it out. A buddy and I came here with our ladies to get down on some steak.
We were able to sample three different cuts: rib eye, sirloin and tenderloin. All three hailed from Creekstone Farms, and all three were bone-in.
The rib eye here is a solid 8/10. It felt a bit small for 20oz, but as you can see it had a great outer crust.
Inside was perfectly cooked. Check out the cut:
Where it fell short, for me, was the cap. There wasn't much to it, unfortunately. The eye was delicious though, and I think it was the most flavorful cut of the night. I didn't get pics of the other two.
I'm giving the tenderloin a 9/10. It had that same great sear and same great cook temp. The flavor was excellent for a tenderloin, too.
The sirloin was not marketed as a NY strip or strip loin, so I am considering it to be an "other cut" for categorization purposes. In all likelihood, it was probably a strip, but one can never be certain without actually doing the butchering oneself. This was an 8/10. Again, same great crisp and cook, and the flavor was nice for a lean cut, though I did prefer the rib eye and tenderloin over the sirloin.
As for the sauces, well, each steak comes with a free sauce on the side. There are about six to eight to choose from. We tried a bunch: house steak sauce, bernaise, creamy horseradish, and yuzu. While I prefer my steak naked, the best of the lot was the horseradish. Their house steak sauce was a bit aggressive on the tarragon (I think that's what it was in there - not rosemary).
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
This place is truly amazing in terms of available cuts and quality. A quick scan of their menu reveals that they not only offer all of the main steakhouse cuts in various sizes, but you can also choose by farm. They offer stuff from Kansas (Creekstone), Illinois (corn-finished), Ithaca New York (grass-finished), and Snake River (American Wagyu). On top of that, they feature legit Miyazaki beef from Japan as well. You can even order a tasting that will give you 4oz from various farms, that way you can actually taste the difference between them. Currently, they only do this with the sirloin - not the rib eye. Honestly I don't think any other steakhouse has this extensive of a selection.
As if the cuts of beef for steaks aren't enough variety, they also feature wagyu beef short rib and wagyu beef sashimi. Amazing.
Oh, and they bring the shit out to show you, too.
Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portions could be a bit larger here for the pricing. I understand the cost of high-end beef, but at $88 for 9oz of American wagyu rib eye, you are getting ripped off. If that's what I am going for, I will happily just head the fuck over to Del Frisco's to get 23oz more wagyu beef for an additional $7 (32oz, $95). And that fucker is a clear 10/10 score on flavor - one of the best steaks I've ever eaten.
See my rant on portion size above for some weight here as well. But in addition to that issue, I felt that some of the items were way overpriced for what we were getting. In particular, the marrow app, the tortolloni, and the mac and cheese.
The bar is pretty cool, and there are some great cocktails and booze selections available. However the prices are a bit too high (a non-alcoholic "mocktail" was fucking $14), and I was hoping for a more street side experience. The bar is just off the lobby of the apartment building / hotel with no view of the downtown streets, so the vibe is slightly off a bit.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
There are no off-menu specials, with the exception of an addition that was not yet printed - another offering of steak. But there's chicken, pork and lamb for alternative meat selections, if for some reason you are avoiding all the tasty beef on the menu. The app selections also feature veal tongue, suckling pig, and bone marrow flan. Really interesting.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried a bunch of stuff. Let's get right down to business.
The mac and cheese was really tasty, but insanely overpriced at $16. Apologies for not getting a photo of it.
The suckling pig and pork belly was excellent. Not as salty as I was expecting, but really nicely plated. Also overpriced at $25 for six cubes that were the size of large Las Vegas gambling dice.
Bone marrow flan was very nice, but overpriced and small in size. It was similar to the creme brûlée from Beatrice Inn, only savory.
Broccolini was fantastic. I highly recommend this item. Topped with shaved cheese and adorned with roasted tomatoes, one cannot possibly go wrong.
Tortolloni was overpriced for seven small dumplings. They were nice and mild though, which is exactly what my wife wanted.
Doughnuts dessert came with about six doughnut holes, all the same flavor (granulated sugar coated). Some of the purees that came with it weren't that good (sweet potato), but the ice cream was nice.
Seafood Selection: 8
There's lobster, "loup de mer" (branzino), cod and sole on the seafood menu here. Scallop preparations, hamachi, a crab and lobster cocktail and a tuna tartare can be found on the app menu. Not too shabby, though I didn't notice any oysters or clams.
One thing worth noting here is that you can add a variety of nice items to your order (for a fee, of course). But you can add a fried egg, white truffles, blue cheese, mushrooms, garlic, bone marrow, etc. to the steaks you order.
Bread is on point. The table receives a basket of mini pop-overs (we got a second basket) and five different style dinner rolls/breads to choose from with a nice whipped butter. All are delicious. My advice is to fill up on bread and share a really good, high end steak.
This place suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. There are two huge panels on one wall that show a kind of cheese-bag conversation between a chef and a woman. We surmised that this had something to do with how Wolfgang Puck met his wife, and it turned out we were right (our waitress overheard us talking and confirmed it when we asked).
The dining room was vast and dark; a bit too sexy for my liking. And the random neon lighting at the bar felt a bit too "Miami Vice."
The Union Square Hospitality Group is hosting a pop-up French restaurant called "Bistro du Nord" in the North End Grill space throughout January. This is the group of restaurants headed up by chef Danny Meyer, who recently went "no tip" and "service included" in the menu pricing of all his joints. Even the coat check is included! But the prices... for a tip-included place, they were amazing. I was expecting some inflated numbers, but to me, they all looked like what you'd see at any other restaurant.
I was invited in by the group to sample some of the delicious items that chef Eric Korsh is featuring on this limited run menu (though some items may still be available after the pop-up is finished). He's the chef there at North End Grill, even when there is no pop-up going on, so you can expect the same level of execution and awesomeness if you happen to miss the pop-up.
So let me get down to it, because we tried a lot of good stuff.
Duck egg en meurette.
If you're like me, and have no idea what some French culinary terms mean, then I will explain. "En meurette" basically means that the duck egg is served in a red wine reduction, like a bourguignon or meat gravy type sauce. The egg here was nicely poached and served with mushrooms and black truffles.
Roasted oysters with spinach and bacon.
I believe some cheese was involved as well. These were beautiful and fantastic.
Escargot with garlic and parsley butter.
Really nice in the little skillet, and already plucked from the shell, so no work is involved.
This was essentially a nice, light, airy flatbread - almost like zaatar, but less aggressive with the spice.
French onion soup with bone marrow.
Beautiful. This one was topped with a piece of toast and melty gruyere, but that bone marrow in the middle was just absolutely awesome.
Now for the entrees.
I was a little skeptical of a steamed fish item, but this was so tasty. I even remarked that it reminded me of something Scandinavian, perhaps because of the presence of dill and a thickened broth sauce.
Crispy skate wing.
This fish was so light yet flavorful that it threw me off guard. The crisp on the outside of the fish was so awesome.
Super crispy outside skin and perfect tenderness within. The cabbage wrap was filled with more succulent, tender meat as well as some fois gras and parsley root. Very elegant.
What a refreshing improvement from the last cassoulet my wife and I had at The House. This one had the meat on full display: pork belly and a duck leg. With trotter and white beans in the dish, this was a nice and hearty dish, but it didn't seem heavy at all.
NY strip steak au poivre.
I had the kitchen slice this for us so it was easier to share. This was perfectly cooked to medium rare, and the peppery sauce really complimented the prime beef. The chef trimmed off any gristle from the sides, and the quality of the cut was top notch. It was lean but very flavorful, and the texture was incredibly tender. 9/10.
On the side we had some wood grilled fennel, which was really nice and helped us digest. We also had some fries, as they came with the steak. They had a perfect crisp and were nicely seasoned.
There's always room for dessert.
Apple and huckleberry galette.
This was right up my alley. Sweetness with a little bit of tartness, and then warm mixed with cold ice cream. Perfection.
Perfect execution on this, and the chocolate was rich and decadent without being overpowering or overly sweet.
I loved this. The one here was apple and hazelnut cream flavored. It was light and airy, soft yet crisp. I could easily inhale a few of these.
I think that about does it. Get your asses down here and try some of this delicious French fare while the pop-up lasts!
My friend Jean invited me to Bedford & Co. for an Instagram infleuncer dinner, since she and a few others were going to be digging into a nice large format rib eye for two (along with other tasty items) and tasting a variety of wines for the restaurant's "Wine Wednesday" pairings with their somm, Sarah.
This 28-day dry-aged 40oz bone in rib eye from Master Purveyors is a "for two" steak, which comes with lardo, watercress and roasted garlic for $125. We were five, so we pigged out on other shit too.
The prices of beef have certainly gone way up lately. I remember when I was chomping on 36-40oz steaks for one at half the price just a few years back. But hey, this one was free! Not gonna complain.
We were able to sneak into the kitchen to watch Chef Justin Neubeck and his team flame this baby up for us.
But while we were waiting for that to finish cooking and then properly rest, we sparked up some scallops with pumpkin puree, kafir lime and roasted pumpkin seeds.
This was a really interesting flavor combo, and I really liked it. The round sweetness of the pumpkin contrasted nicely with the acidic pop from the lime.
The entrees rolled out at once, and the five of us Instagrammers went bonkers taking photos of everything.
The first thing I tried was the Long Island duck breast.
Garnished with a scallion ginger oil, glazed with honey, and accompanied by a cranberry purée, this was easily one of the better duck breast dishes I've had in quite a while.
Berkshire pork chop was next.
I'm hard to please when it comes to pork chops. My mom used to cook them in a glass covered electric skillet so that they were somehow juicy on the inside but crisp on the outside, and with onions, potatoes and cherry peppers. Very Italian, as I later discovered. With all that said, this was a pretty good version. This had a sour orange glaze, pink winter squash and marinated radicchio to go with it.
The main event was that steak, though.
A cut this thick is difficult to cook properly. Lots of times you get some spots that are too rare, while the outside is too overcooked. I have to hand it to these guys; they did a pretty solid job with this monster.
As you might have noticed from the raw shot above, there wasn't much of a fat cap on this baby, but what scraps were there after trimming was used to flavor the lardo, which was really nice. Also I feel like the 28-day dry aging was done masterfully (by Master Purveyors, no less), and really packed a ton of funk and earthiness for the minimal end of the aging process. 8/10.
Since this was essentially a carnivore party, we had to try the burger at this place, since it has been getting a fair amount of attention on social media lately.
This beauty is topped with bloomsday cheddar, caramelized onion, thick cut braised pork belly and house made pickles. So juicy and good. Get it when you come here, even if you have to split it with a group of people, like we did.
And of course the fries are excellent as well, which are cooked with herbs right in the fry oil.
We did a pair of sides as well. Brussels with bacon and apple cider, and roasted wild mushrooms. These were dynamite! The roast on those sprouts was fantastic. Great texture and crisp. And the mushrooms were the perfect pairing with the earthy steak.
Just when you thought we were full, the desserts came out. Chef Canty makes all the stuff in house. We got to try the carrot cake (my favorite of the three - so rich and delicious), cheesecake in a jar, and apple crostada.
Definitely one of the best carrot cake renditions I've had in the city, right up there with Bob's Steak & Chop House and Ocean Prime.
I definitely recommend this place to anyone who generally likes any of the shit that I got to try. All high quality and executed nicely.
Caliente Cab has been around since I first moved to the city in 2000. In fact, I think it opened up about 30 years ago. It's become a regular spot for people on the prowl for warm-weather drinks and reasonably priced Mexican eats. I was invited in to take pics of some menu items for Instagram fodder. Take a look below:
Frozen "Miami Vice" (strawberry daiquiri mixed with pina colada):
Fresh corn tortillas for the table, nicely wrapped:
Guacamole (my favorite part of the meal, along with a trio of salsas):
Sampler combo platter, consisting of a short rib taco, a chicken burrito, a steak enchilada, rice and beans:
And a burger topped with pepper jack cheese and chipotle aioli:
The burger was dry due to being overcooked (well done instead of medium), with a semi-hard bun - let the jokes commence... But the guacamole was nice, as was the salsa trio (not pictured). The sampler combo platter was actually decent and nicely priced, though I did develop some heartburn afterwards. But the drinks are really where this place shines. They serve up some really nice flavored margaritas (salted watermelon, in particular, sounded very good). I'd definitely go back for those, along with a nice big bowl of guac and chips.
My friend Nina from The Food Joy set up an event here at The Bedford as a way to gather up all the crazy Instagram influencers in one place for a post-holiday holiday party, and to provide some well-deserved promotion for this awesome Williamsburg gastro-pub.
I only sampled a few of the many items that came out, but everything I tasted was excellent.
Let me get right down to business:
The Bedford Plank Burger is a grass-fed, custom blend patty, topped with grilled onions, garlic aioli, chili-ketchup and American cheese.
Very simple construction with top level execution.
This baby was so tasty. I will definitely be back for another one of these. It comes with an amazing side of crispy battered fries as well. This is an excellent buy at just $14.
I also tried this open faced kielbasa sausage and egg sandwich.
The sausage is split and grilled, then set on a bed of wilted spinach atop a slice of sourdough, with a smear of grain beer mustard on the plate for dipping. Great for breakfast!
I also tried the ricotta gnocchi with roasted cherry tomatoes and chorizo. The sauce was creamy and tangy - very nice.
Last but not least, beer braised pork shank!
This was super tender, as you might expect. The outside had a good crisp as well. Great quality meat from the Niman ranch.
I also tried the mint julep creme brulee, which was very creamy and interesting (I didn't shoot it). However I did shoot these two items, which I did not try: flatbread and dandelion salad.
I definitely recommend this place. Not only is the food good, but the cocktail and beer menu is very nice too.