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Nick Solares

Nick Solares

Nick Solares lives in NYC and eats for a living.

Steakcraft: Uncle Jack's Kicks It Old School

Uncle Jack's Steakhouse has three bustling locations in New York—two in Manhattan and the original location in Bayside, Queens. As is befitting of a true New York steakhouse, each location dry ages its own beef, and in that tradition Uncle Jack's has a purchaser that still heads down to the Meatpacking District at an ungodly hour to personally select the restaurants' beef. More

Steakcraft: Ristorante Morini's Fiorentina for Two

To further prove my point that there is no single right way to cook a steak, the newly minted Ristorante Morini serves one up that is marinated in an herb, garlic, and oil mix under vacuum before being seared on the grill and finished in the oven. This comes from a group that already employs three different methods of preparing their steaks at their restaurants and an entirely distinct method at Costata, the steakhouse jewel in Morini's crown. More

Mee Noodle Shop is Back, But Has New York Moved On?

Since Mee Noodle Shop closed in 2006, New York's Chinese food has evolved. Diners now know that "Chinese food" isn't a single category; they look for Sichuan or Cantonese food in restaurants specializing in those cuisines. And a rush of new options for quality Chinese—Han Dynasty, Hot Kitchen, Xi'an Famous Foods, and even Grand Sichuan—make Mee's reopening far less relevant, except for the gentle price. More

Steakcraft: Hung Huynh's Steaks at The General and Catch

Chef Hung Huynh helms two rather different restaurants: Catch and The General. The former is a contemporary American seafood restaurant; the latter a pan-Asian affair serving upmarket versions of popular dishes from across the continent. The steaks he serves at each are reflective of the inspirations and styles of the different restaurants with only USDA Prime beef to go with the rest of the upmarket offerings. More

Steakcraft: The Ultra-Premium Steaks of Le Cirque

Le Cirque's chef Christian Fischhuber showed us how he prepares both a New York strip for one and the ribeye for two. The latter is cooked in a steakhouse-quality broiler and sliced tableside. The strip can also be served this way, which is of course the purist approach, or in the classic au poivre style, which includes tableside flambéing and is reflective of the grand dining tradition of Le Cirque. More

Ichibantei Nails Japanese Snack Food, Slips on Ramen

Ichibantei might lack the glitz and gleam of the ramen houses and sushi joints that proliferate in the East Village. And there are certainly places that do ramen and steak with more proficiency. But almost anything that is deep fried or that you eat with your fingers at Ichibantei is worth your time, and the general vibe—with the dim lights and pulsing reggae beat—makes the joint a great place to hang, snack, and knock back a few drinks. More

Steakcraft: The Meaty Details of The Breslin's Rib Steak

April Bloomfield and The Breslin's head chef Christina Lecki are a lot alike. They're on the short side with soft voices, friendly faces, and wry smiles. And they both command the kitchen with the authority of a Brigadier. Bloomfield and Lecki cook whole animals and baste giant slabs of meat in their own fat. But they're clear and precise in their techniques, which shows in the restaurant's rib steak. More

Robyn Lee Is Leaving Serious Eats a Mere 7 1/2 Years After She Got Here

Best of luck Roboppy!!!!

How Katz's Deli Makes Their Perfect Pastrami

That sandwich looks a little on the small side, did someone forget to tip the carver?!?

Damon Gambuto's 14 Most Memorable Burgers in Los Angeles and Beyond

Welcome home Damon! A wonderful body of work.

Steakcraft: Watch Alex Guarnaschelli Cook a 40-Ounce Rib Steak at Butter Midtown

@waterburyguy Canola oil, sorry for not mentioning it.

@Hedonovore Untrimmed aged portion was delicious - I do the same thing when I cook steaks at home. It is tougher to chew but not that disconcerting. Do you set the rind of cheese as I do, it is sort of similar. It is safe enough to eat because it is so intensely seared.

Steakcraft: Watch Alex Guarnaschelli Cook a 40-Ounce Rib Steak at Butter Midtown

@Zakelwe There are indeed plenty of producers apart from Creekstone and butchers other than LaFrieda, but Steakcraft is specifically an NYC based column and the reality is that LaFrieda have taken the city by storm in the last few years. My understanding is that they have an exclusive deal where they get all of Creekstones prime beef. We have featured steaks from other purveyors - Masters, 7X, Green Tree, Wayne et al.and will continue to do so. But in fairness I seek out interesting preparations and restaurants rather than purveyors.

Surveying the Madness at Empire Biscuit, the East Village's 24-Hour Biscuit Restaurant

@jeff They were moist on both occasions I ate there. They have sacrificed some lightness for richness in the recipe they have adopted which make the biscuits quite squat and dense but they are still moist.

Steakcraft: The Ultra-Premium Steaks of Le Cirque

@rodalpho Steakcraft is not a review column so I don't usually talk about the taste nor my opinion of the steaks. But fair enough. Comparing the steaks from Circo and Le Cirque directly I prefer the taste of dry aged beef. That said this particular breed is exceptional either way. And of course eating at Le Cirque is a much grander experience and involves French food where as Circo is far more casual (no jackets required) and Italian.

@PommeDG The cast iron was not as searingly hot as you imagine - the canola oil barely hit its smoke point and the steak was really not in there for more than five minutes. Same with the oven (the caption states 375° for five minutes) The table side flambé doesn't effect temperature significantly - the whole procedure take under a minute. So yes, 10 minutes cooking seems about right for a rare steak. The chef did note that because of the intense marbling that the steak cooks quicker.

Steakcraft: The Ultra-Premium Steaks of Le Cirque

@rodalpho These actually are not dry aged, due to a miscommunication with the restaurant I understood them to be the same as Circo's steaks featured last week. It is the same 7X beef but Circo dry ages theirs, while Le Cirque is experimenting with wet vs dry aged beef (they only recently started using the purveyor) The price is reflective of the fact that we are taking about Le Cirque, one of the most lavish restaurants in NYC and also a very rare breed of cattle. 7X won't name the breed or refer to it as either "Kobe" or "Wagyu" but those are the terms that most restaurant menus would use to describe the beef.

Steakcraft: Watch Marc Forgione Make a Porterhouse and Steak Tartare at American Cut

@Emmdubbs We can go around and aground on this if you wish but I have already addressed the issue that you raised. Restaurants typically operate on a 30% food cost. Steakhouses operate on a much higher food cost - typically - 50% for the beef. Yes, restaurants make up the difference with expensive sides and wine.

I think you are the one who has no understanding on how steakhouses operate. My figures come from steakhouse chefs, restauranteurs and butchers.


Scenes From Meatopia 2013, San Antonio, TX

@joydreamz Unfortunately the events ran concurrently. But since pretty much everyday in Texas is a bbq festival anyway I was in the right place.

Steakcraft: Watch Marc Forgione Make a Porterhouse and Steak Tartare at American Cut

@Jedd63 "All of those overhead items you listed apply to any entree in any high end restaurant" Of course they do and those restaurants operate on a 30% food cost, steakhouses operate on a $50 food cost for their beef. "Sorry, I don't think spending nearly half the price of a tasting menu at Per Se on a steak is a good value. Especially when the thing is so huge that 75% of it would go to waste." the tasting menu at Per Se is $295 per person. The steak at Forgione is $104 for two people. 75% wasted? Only if you don't eat it all and throw it away. left over steak is delicious.

@Tuppercooks As @epizzaz rightly point out you can probably eat well at Forgione for $125-150 per head, less if you don't drink.

@Emmdubbs I have no idea what Forgione pays for his beef specifically but I am intimate with the steakhouse business and I know the margins on which they generally operate, especially if they age in house. You seem to have a deeply cynical view of both the sommelier and the chef. If you truly believe that they are only there to rip you off on wine and steak then you shouldn't dine at steakhouses or other expensive restaurants.

Is it labor intensive to render beef fat? Well you need to trim the ribs and short loins. If you look back on this series you will see that that is a process that is both labor intensive and requires skill. Then you need to grind it down. Not much skill required there but it does take a bit of time and counter space. Same with the rendering, purification, storage and cooling.

Steakcraft: Watch Marc Forgione Make a Porterhouse and Steak Tartare at American Cut

@jedd63 I am sorry but you are absolutely wrong about steakhouse mark ups. Steakhouses actually barely break even on the cost of the beef. The profits come from the expensive sides ($10 for potatoes for example) and most importantly the wine.

And the extra $50 you talk about covers a lot more than just the cooking (which in the case of Forgione is quite labor intensive when you factor in the aged fat reduction and the basting) - you are paying for effusive service, for the selection of fine wines that no local shop can match (and a sommelier to go with them), for someone else doing the dishes, for the an evening spend dining grandly.

Steakcraft: The Meaty Details of The Breslin's Rib Steak

@splishsplash You are always welcome at my table.

Steakcraft: The Meaty Details of The Breslin's Rib Steak

@Kenji The dry pan technique is awesome and new to me. I speculate that by cooing the fat cap first you are actually priming the face for a better sear because the residual heat will dry the meat out and allow for better and quicker browning - we should test this out when I get back.

Steakcraft: The Meaty Details of The Breslin's Rib Steak

@Noah Arenstein Certainly not all of the meat is dry aged there but the best is. I have had some sensational Bistecca alla fiorentina that where dry aged for 50+ days. Now these are 100% grass fed cattle (as opposed to the grass fed/grain finished cattle that we enjoy here) so there are some soapy, herbaceous notes that the lemon serves to tame. The acid is also intended "cut" the fat, in the same way that a chimichurri, with its vinegar base does. But I can't argue that dry aged meat needs nothing other than intense, violent heat and salt!

Steakcraft: The Meaty Details of The Breslin's Rib Steak

@ Noah Arenstein I guess you don't like lemon on your steak! Adding lemon and olive oil is very much an Italian thing (every steak I have ever eaten in Italy has had lemon on it) While The Breslin is predominately a British restaurant Bloomfield and Lecki add Mediterranean flourishes. Costata also serve their steaks this way.

@HappyHighwayman. The steak was delivered exactly as it was ordered. I don't doubt that they will deliver you a pitch perfect medium rare if you order a steak there.

Let's Expand Amanda Cohen's List of Kick-Ass Female Chefs in NYC

Also, if anyone knows of a female chef cooking dry aged steaks I would very much like to know about her for Steakcraft. FYI I have recently shot at The Breslin (should run this week)

Steakcraft: A Visit to Florence Prime Meats, Home of the Newport Steak

@Chico Powers The ribs end at the rib section (!) which is just before the short loin from which the porter house is cut. The porterhouse tail is actually the Tensor fasciae latae muscle. The reason you don't see tails or indeed a lot of kidney fat is that both are removed during the boxing process. When you do see them they are an indication that the butcher is getting primal cuts, not boxed meat. As for cooking the steak in kidney fat you would essentially be frying it if you left it all on.

Trawling NYC for UK-Style Fish and Chips

@PrimalPinoy and @cg_ups I can't argue whether you like A Salt &Bat. or not, but I can certainly make the case that they serve the closest thing to UK style fish n chips. In Britain there is an expectation that the fish and chips will be doused in lashings of vinegar and an avalanche of salt - do you see the salt "shaker" in the picture of the A Salt and Battery picture at top? That is a small shaker by fish n chip shop standards. Adding salt and vinegar is part of the ritual. The UK's reputation for bland food is not entirely undeserved.

Steakcraft: A Special Deal on Steak au Poivre at Restaurant Row's Le Rivage

Sorry!!! Correct address is info@lerivagenyc.com

Steakcraft: Harold Moore's Sous Vide Porterhouse at Commerce

Sorry about the confusion: According to my notes the steaks are cooked at "around 136-140° or so" The picture of the sous vide regulater was not cooking anything at the time of the photo and was probably set for pork or chicken. The steaks that I watched being cooked where indeed set to 136.4°. Let's not forget that restaurants must adhere to certain DOH requirements concerning cooking and holding temperatures.

It is also important to not a few things about judging temperature purely by color - beef will "bloom" when exposed to air, even when it is cooked - the dark hue you see on the freshly cut steak will become lighter and redder. Also remember that color temperature also effect the way something will look. A rare steak in direct sunlight looks grey.

@rodalpho Hate to burger your bubble but there was quite a bit of black on the steak.

Steakcraft: The Orange Squirrel's New York-Quality Steak in Bloomfield, NJ

@ilione An excellent analogy. And we have plenty of places that do the same thing here in NYC - it is especially prevalent amongst the more upscale steakhouse chains (Smith and Wollensky being a notable exception - they dry age their own meat at each location) If a steak says "aged" on the menu rather than "dry aged" then watch out. All meat is aged, not all of it (actually hardly any of it) is dry aged.

@Adam I didn't write the headline. And sorry to hear about your experience! I think I know the place and I wasn't impressed either.

Steakcraft: The Orange Squirrel's New York-Quality Steak in Bloomfield, NJ

It's not that there is a lack of quality elsewhere per se (although the lions share of prime beef and indeed the highest grade within that designation goes to NYC) its that there is not a wide spread culture (no pun intended) of dry aging that is as prolific as ours here in the city. We have more restaurants serving prime dry aged beef that anywhere else on earth.

Steakcraft: A Trip to a Pro Dry Aging Room and Preserve24's Massive Steaks

@XXDavidsonXX The olive oil is only used initially, the oil is dumped before being placed in the oven - the T bone caught fire with its own juices.

@ilione Masters uses hooks because the age room is one giant conveyer belt. As a "christmas tree" of loins or ribs are added through one door it pushes out meat at the other end of the room. It takes 28 for the meat to make it through the room.

First Impressions of Han Dynasty, Philly's Sichuan Outpost in New York

@stxer I will do better next time.

@sushijerk I will put up the variety of cuisines and foods that I consume in a week up against anyone - I eat out every meal and I only eat 2-3 steaks a week. I assure you that I eat plenty of spicy foods and what I sampled at HD was fairly high on the Scoville scale. Now I will grant you that on a subsequent visit the once fiery cucumbers where indeed rather sweet and not that spicy at all. Since they make their own Sichuan peppercorn oil and are currently operating under soft opening status it is likely that there will be some variances until all the kinks are worked out. Since the oil is used in every dish you mentioned you may have gotten a mild batch.

That said I ate there again last night and the spice level was pretty high - you want a buzz? Try the beef and tripe in chili oil. You don't have to just take my word, Bob Sietsema over at Eater found that one could get a "a mouth-searing meal" there.

Full English Breakfast Pizza

[Photograph: jerakeen on Flickr] I like the full English breakfast, and I like pizza, but I'm not sure if I'd want to combine the two. Sure, this photo was uploaded to Flickr in 2005, but it's new to me. I just found it on oddee.com's roundup of "the 13 weirdest pizzas." Also in weird-pizza roundup posts, Urlesque does a "Pizza Is Crazy in Asia" video perp walk. But, hey, faithful Slice readers, you already knew that.... More

Meat Master Can Tell Cow's Age, Gender, and Breed After One Bite

[Photograph: Robyn Lee] Lauren Vernet of the University of Bristol is known for having a "perfect palate for tasting meat." In this feature at The Independent, Kate Hilpern does a steak tasting with Vernet to learn about their different flavors (mushroom, malt, sour milk, and more) while getting Vernet's insight on how maturation period, breed, sex, and feed affect the flavor of beef. What's the best kind of beef? Vernet says it's based on individual preference: "Provided it's good-quality well-reared beef, you can't (as some butchers and chefs do) say one type is categorically better than another." He does say that a good steak should give three to four chews per mouthful: "You chew beef at the back of... More

Hot Dog Of The Week: Texas Weiners

Past Weeks' Dogs The Philly ComboTijuana DogsFlo's Hot Dogs, Cape Neddick, Maine The first, possibly most important thing to note about Texas Weiners is that they have absolutely nothing to do with Texas. Originating in Paterson, New Jersey, at Greek-owned hot dog restaurants, a Texas Weiner is deep fried and served with Greek sauce--a smooth, slow cooked meat sauce spiced with cayenne, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and cumin. It's more of a Greek Bolognese or Saltsa Kima than anything resembling Texas Chili. Legend has it the recipe is a closely guarded secret to this day. A Texas Weiner "all the way" includes mustard and diced onions. Texas Weiners also spread to Philadelphia and across Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania, where they... More

Shabu Shabu House in Los Angeles

Yoshinobu Maruyama emigrated from his native Japan to the United States over three decades ago. After many years of work as a restaurant consultant and international trader he decided it was time to introduce shabu shabu to America. In Japanese, "shabu shabu" literally translates to "swish swish" and refers to the technique employed in preparing the dish. You take razor thin slices of beef and submerge them into a pot of boiling water—it cooks almost instantly. The beef is accompanied by an assortment of vegetables, noodles, and tofu that are also cooked in the water and served over rice. While some say the dish originated with Genghis Khan, it appeared in Maruyama's native Osaka in the early 20th century.... More

The Best Steak in NYC Might Not Be in a Steakhouse

A few years ago I would have said that it was not possible but these days there is a paradigm shift occurring in high-end beef in New York City—an extraordinary cut of beef is being offered in three avant-garde but very different restaurants in the city: Tom Collichio’s Craft, David Chang's Momofuku Ssam Bar and Resto (with new chef Bobby Helen) collectively pose a serious challenge to the hegemony of the chophouse. More