Is This NYC's Best Steak? And How To Cook It
Peddling up Elizabeth Street from Chinatown this weekend, FiTR spotted the façade of an ancient butcher shop we'd passed many times before, but never patronized. Albanese Meats & Poultry is a throwback to the day way every downtown New York neighborhood had its own butcher shop. In the days before refrigeration, these places provided fresh meat and poultry that would be cooked for that day's supper. Now only a few remain, many selling prime meat to connoisseurs.
Inside the antique premises - outfitted with a well-worn freestanding butcher block and old-fashioned white enamel scale that said "Thank You" in one window, and "Call Again" in another - I found 89-year-old Moe Albanese. His wire spectacles gave him a quizzical air, and he fixed me with his clear blue eyes as I approached the butcher block behind which he stood.
On that butcher block was a giant rack of beef ribs, covered with scaly beef fat, its exposed face as pink as the cheeks of a marathon runner. Traceries of white tallow ran across the meat's surface. We asked for a steak that would feed three people, and with deliberation he reached first for his boning knife, then for his meat saw, and finally for his cleaver as he sundered our thick steak from the rest of the rack. Then he spent an additional 10 minutes with the boning knife, deftly - especially, given his age - trimming bits of fat and gristle so that only the right amount of fat remained. The steak produced, he told us, was a "porterhouse ribeye." It looked like a regular ribeye, only had an extra layer of meat wrapped around the steak on the end away from the bone. It looked to us much like the steak served at Peter Luger.
Next: How to cook it