Is This NYC's Best Steak? And How To Cook It

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Moe Albanese's "porterhouse ribeye" at Albanese Meats & Poultry


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.


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Tthe same steak cooked and cut up, just before being sluiced with garlic-laced butter and drippings. About half the steak shown here.


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.


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Our three-person steak was hewn from this rack.

Next: How to cook it

Location Info

Albanese Meats & Poultry

238 Elizabeth St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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6 comments
jprezz
jprezz

Thanks for writing this up about my grandfather! I usually find out about any articles written up some time after they're done (like randomly finding him on The Sartorialist in 06!) I'm so glad you enjoyed the steak. And I might also know that where he gets his steak are one of the markets Peter Lugers goes to! For more info about Moe and the history of the store (did you notice the building's facade across the street?) go to www.moethebutcher.com

@prezwithaz 

neorealist
neorealist

Can one cook a rib eye the same way?  How long do you sautee the edges?  If you sautee both sides till they nearly blacken, can you still keep the steak medium rare?

sietsema
sietsema

@neorealist Yes to everything -- searing it on the edge doesn't affect the rareness of 95% of the meat, but crisps and renders the fat into the pan. And yes you can almost blacken both sides, and the interior will remain cool and pink. By cooking it a little more slowly in butter/garlic, you can even bring the inside up to medium rare if you prefer.

misteak
misteak

cooool but how much was that steak!

sietsema
sietsema

@misteak $60, but then it easily fed three, with enough for three sandwiches left over.

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