Kids, I know I talk a big game every once in a while, but I’m here to let you in on a little not-so-secret secret.
There’s a lot I don’t know about food. Like, a WHOLE lot.
I know, I know – how could I possibly be so humble? I’m such a smart cookie, aren’t I? But it’s true – there are a lot of words on menus nowadays that have me reaching for my iPhone and googling things like, “WTF is nasturtium” or “casaracce”.
But I know about steak tartare. I know it because I love it. BIG love. At first, I balked at the notion of eating raw meat, but think of all the other things we eat that are raw and fresh and taste delicious. Fish. Scallops. Vegetables. There’s no reason a high grade steak should be any different. These finely diced cubes of meat have such a deliciously fresh taste, kicked up when seasoned with spices, raw onions and capers. Top it off with a gorgeous and bright egg yolk, serve it with some toast and this girl is in heaven. And it’s healthy!
It is healthy, right?
When I went to Landmarc in TriBeCa a few weeks back, I was a bit indecisive about what to order. And by indecisive, I mean I told the waitress I need just another minute…four times. Oh, she loved me. I wasn’t in the mood for a burger, or a tuna steak, or pasta… and so I went with the steak tartare, appetizer portion.
And thankfully so, because this –
is what came out.
I’ve had steak tartare in Montreal, Paris, and on the Bowery and I have NEVER seen it look like this. This looks like dog food! Like something that was destined to be a burger, but then I ordered the steak tartare, so they just handed it off to me in the name of efficiency. I called our waitress over and she explained that this is how Landmarc has been serving their tartare for years, it’s the only way she’s ever seen it, and that Le Cercle Rouge a few blocks up serves their tartare in the same manner. Paula and I eyed each other skeptically. Our waitress assured us that the meat was of course fresh and had been minced and prepared in house. I agreed to try it, and if I was still a bit uncomfortable, she would gladly exchange it for something else.
To her credit, the meat was very, very fresh. I could taste that much, even in its masticated form. It was, however, in dire need of seasoning, a kick of life, and maybe even an egg yolk would have been nice. I got about halfway through when I decided I couldn’t eat anymore. I really did feel like I was spreading a dog’s high class dinner on my bread and I just couldn’t shake it.
Let me reiterate – I don’t claim to know everything, but I do know what I like. I accept there are two forms of steak tartare and I declare that, until the day comes when I would rather impersonate a pooch at the dinner table, I will take mine in fine-dice fashion.
Have a happy Friday. Drink some wine.