Say the words- Dry- aged Prime Beef and New York restaurants, and all I can think about is the Cotes du Boeuf Steak at Balthazar in New York. What is it about this steak that makes me hungry? Is it the crust of charred fat rubbed with salt and pepper? Or is it the crown of crispy, never sodden onion rings? Some may say it's the way the steak is paraded through the dining room, always when the room is packed. You can see it coming across the room because suddenly all eyes are on the prize. This steak is above all others. They bring it out to the table- whole for your perusal then it is whisked into the kitchen to be sliced off the bone and reassembled on a platter.
This cut of beef is unique in its aging and the quality of the steak to begin with. Pat LaFrieda is the master behind the dry aging at Balthazar. I've never had less than a delicious cut of mineral tasting steak while dining here.
Sure you can get some amazing steaks in New York, the city is just full of great steakhouses. I just love this one that's served at Balthazar.
The wine list at Balthazar is chock full of wonderful selections. Those with the pocket to spend may find themselves in rarified territory. The list is thick with small producer wines too. Some are unknown- better for me- I seek a specific terroir. Wines with stuff in them turn me on.
You will never see me ordering the heavy hitters, nor will I spend my earnings on big name wines. I seek the wines that truly speak of the place- and since working around wine gives a window into the pricing structure, I can tell you that Balthazar doesn't overly markup their wines.
This is a real plus.
The noise level in the restaurantant never is below a quiet storm, the wait staff always professional- breakfast, lunch, dinner- it's always packed here.
Start with a few dozen oysters and Muscadet- you can get the wine by the 1/2 bottle. It's quite refreshing with the glistening fresh oysters. Have them open your red wine for the steak when you order. It's going to need time to release the aromatics. We drank a bottle from 2001.
Don't be afraid to ask them to put it into a decanter to speed up the airation.
I always ask them to dump the whole bottle in the decanter. No filtration for me. I like to see the sediment in my glass.
To prepare a steak similar to the ones served at Balthazar, I suggest going to a real butcher's shop. What is that you might ask? Well, if you live anywhere in a major city- finding aged beef is pretty easy. Get out into the smaller towns and the pickings are pretty slim. If you live in Morristown, NJ, you can go to Hoeffner's Prime Meats. If you live further away, I would suggest going to DeBragga Meats. They sell fabulous meat to the public and you can order it anyplace in the country because of the magic of the internet.
Heat a grill (preferably a charcoal grill) to smoking hot. It's going to take about an hour to get it up to the correct temperature.
Rub your steak with Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Place it down over the coals and close the lid. It's going to smoke. Don't worry, with the lid down it will not burn. You are searing the steak to make a crust.
Carefully open the lid, don't stand over the fire though, the addition of air to the cooking surface may make the flames burst up. With a pair of tongs move the steak off the direct heat, close the lid and just open the vents a bit to let some air rush in. When the blood rises to the top of the steak, turn it over and cook it 1/2 as long.
It's very important to let your steak rest before slicing it. This is why your steak at Balthazar is whisked out to the table. The muscle needs to relax, the beef must rest before slicing. By the time it comes back to the kitchen, the steak is ready to slice and serve. Don't rush it!
I would say that DeBragga is well versed in the art of aging beef!
Aged Prime Beef is as close as your computer.
You can absolutely make a quality steak at home with ingredients as fine as these.
(My results are pretty good!)