Here's the abridged report on great steaks -- a petite filet. Pick up the print edition today for the real deal meal.
Today's Four Stars column is a lesson in meat.
You need to know what makes a memorable cut of well-trimmed strip loin before we can even begin to talk about cooking and serving a great New York strip steak. And for that, we're going to the meat room at Michaels Restaurant in Rochester, where they cut and trim a steak like Michelangelo carved marble, with art and gusto.
"I'm a great strip eater," says Jim Pappas, manager of the 60-year-old downtown institution. Jim has worked in the various Michaels-related restaurants around the region since he has a kid. He has plenty of other work to do now but he spends some time each week cutting meat...
How does Jim like his New York strip? "With a real nice sear. That's the difference." It gets a brutal 700-degree searing in the broiler to char the surface slightly and lock in the flavor, he says, which sets it apart from a restaurant that might cook a thinner cut more gently.
And how do I like it? Just like Jim: A thick slab of great beef, 14-16 ounces to make sure you're getting the best of the loin and that it'll be cooked properly, richly marbled to give it more flavor than a filet, not at all chewy — and if all that's true, you really don't want seasoning or glaze. You can just let the steak speak for itself, with a loud, long moo-o-o!
Four places that do it well are listed on Page D3: Michaels of course, as well as its neighbors, Chester's Kitchen & Bar and Pescara restaurant, and the Port restaurant at the St. James Hotel in Red Wing.
What's next for the Four Stars scholar? I promised a vegetarian option for August, so in that devein, I'll find four great places for shrimp — appetizer or entree, or if you know of a shrimp dessert, I'll try that too. Tell me where to taste it and I'm in.
That column runs Aug. 30.