BLT Steak – 4/10/10

BLT Steak
8720 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

At last year’s American Wine & Food Festival, my dad bid on a number of items in the silent auction. One of the items he won was a gift certificate to BLT Steak, which he gifted to me for Christmas.

BLT Steak is a trendy spot on the Sunset Strip of West Hollywood. Opened by fame chef Laurent Tourondel, it’s known mostly for  its steaks (of course) as well as the complimentary bread (a popover). See menu here: BLT-dinner-menu

The server had recommended a number of dishes; surprisingly, a number of them were fish. There was no way we were ordering fish. Instead we went with some big meat options, the 40-ounce porterhouse for two and the 22-ounce bone-in ribeye. Pretty sizable for two people, but I was pretty sure we could do it.

One of the complimentary dishes is a chicken pate. Interesting. It’s served with a toasted ciabatta.

The pate was just a little warm, and was delicious. There was definitely a very present liver flavor in the pate.

The bread, which is a signature of BLT’s, is the popover. These are pretty large, though hollow on the inside. A nice crust is on the outside, with a subtle cheesy, moist interior. The flavor of the interior was not unlike CUT or French Laundry‘s cheese puffs. Unique and very good.

Next came the steaks. Here, the 40-ounce porterhouse.

And below, the 22-ounce bone-in ribeye. I thought it was a great idea to have roasted bone marrow come alongside. Both steaks came with a whole roasted garlic bulb as well.

The meat, here the strip portion of the porterhouse, was cooked pretty well for the most part. The ribeye was cooked flawlessly, and the strip portion of the porterhouse was great too. A nice pink interior with minimal browning from the sear. However, the filet portion of the porterhouse was uneven, lending to about one third of it being well-done (the thinner side).

To accompany the steaks, we had smashed fingerling potatoes and grilled asparagus. The smashed fingerlings were a little disappointing. There needed to be more “smash,” more salt, and maybe some herbs. The grilled asparagus, however, was perfect.

We passed on dessert, as the food was a bit more filling than expected. My overall impression was very positive. The only major misstep was the cooking of the filet portion of the porterhouse, and maybe the fingerlings (though they weren’t bad, just unspectacular). The quality of the beef was clearly very good, and the popover was very memorable.

Steak – 3/14/2010

To me, there aren’t many things better than a good steak. A couple of months ago, a new butcher shop opened up in the Los Feliz area called McCall’s Meat and Fish Co. Owned by a husband-and-wife team with experience at restaurants such as Sona in LA and Daniel in NYC, it appeared to be a very promising place to get some gourmet meat and fish. I finally went, and was not disappointed. They offer a pretty good selection of meats (dry aged steaks and roasts, quail, kurobuta pork cuts, and anything else they find that’s good) and a vast selection of  fish. I came away with a 21-ounce dry-aged Angus ribeye. The whole roast is shown in the display, and it’s cut and trimmed for you upon order.

As usual for a steak, I kept the seasoning simple, with salt, pepper, garlic powder, a little rosemary, and olive oil.

I got my cast iron pan as hot as possible, and seared the meat.

On both sides, in order to develop a nice crust.

I finished the steak in the oven to an internal temperature of 130 and let it rest. Beautifully browned, the steak really developed a nice crust.

While it rested, I blanched some broccoli and finished it in the cast iron pan in the meat drippings. As the pan was still really hot, I was able to get some good caramelization quickly.

Time to eat! I was happy to see I got a very nice juicy pink with the steak, and a crusty, seared exterior.

The steak was very tender, as I expected. Even better, it had a nice beefy flavor, no doubt enhanced by the dry-aging process, which draws moisture out, and condenses the flavor of the beef.  This process had the effect of a noticeably more-developed flavor to the steak. At $27 per pound (bone-in), it wasn’t cheap – but I do think I got what I paid for. The quality of the meat, including the dry-aged process, really separated this steak apart from the common supermarket variety, and was also better than what many steakhouses serve.

In all, I was very pleased with my buy. Likely the best steak I’ve ever cooked, I can’t wait to get back to McCall’s to try out more of what they have to offer!


Steak – 12/7/09

Lately I’ve been trying to find the butcher shop with the best steaks in LA. Steaks are something I cook on a somewhat regular basis, and I feel I can now cook a good one consistently. A while ago, I told myself what I would only cook USDA Choice steaks until I knew I could cook consistently – it would be tragic to overcook a Prime piece of beef. So, now has come the time.

I had read LA Mag’s food lover’s issue where they had a segment on butcher shops in LA. Last weekend, I checked out one of them, Alexander’s Prime Meats, in San Gabriel, which had USDA Prime beef from Harris Ranch. Taking a look at the meats, I was a little disappointed as the marbling on them looked akin to what I would expect for a Choice grade piece of meat. I decided to try out a rib-eye anyway and found it good, but not too tender and not outstanding – basically, I couldn’t distinguish it from a good Choice steak.

This past weekend I checked out Marconda’s Meats in the Farmer’s Market on 3rd and Fairfax. They primarily serve certified Piedmontese beef from a ranch in Montana. Piedmontese cattle, originating in Italy, are known for its tenderness and lower fat content. Taking a look at the steaks, the New York really caught my eye.

A picture of the steak I purchased is below.

Immediately, I noticed the steaks’ marbling. It looked like what I thought looked like USDA Prime, much more marbled than the ones at Alexander’s.  So, I had to try one out.

My preferred cook-at-home steak method is to get a cast iron skillet as hot as possible, sear both sides, and then to put it on a rack and finish in the oven. This creates a nice crust on the steak, while maximizing the pink meat in the middle of the steak. One of the ways I judge how well a steak is cooked, aside from doneness, is how much brown area there is on each side of the steak. Ideally, this will be minimized, and leaving juicy medium rare meet in the center.

I seasoned the steak with garlic salt, pepper, and a little olive oil.

Then, it was placed in the superhot cast iron skillet to sear.

After being finished in the oven, I took the steak out with an internal temperature of 125 degrees.  I let it rest to let the juices redistribute, and it settled at about 133 degrees after resting.

I decided to cut up the steak on a cutting board first to really get a look at the meat. This was the moment of truth!

I got a pretty good sear on the crust; however I think I seared it a little too long on each side. The brown around the outside of the meat was thin but noticeable.  The meat was definitely more tender and had a nice flavor. It wasn’t as juicy as other steaks I’ve had though. Unlike the steak from Alexander’s, I could tell a bit of a difference from a Choice grade steak. Was it the best steak I’ve cooked? Hard to say. Maybe…but I’ll have to keep searching.