Steakcraft: The Secrets of Porter House NY
During the course of Steakcraft features, I always come across insider information which on occasion the Chef is willing to let me reveal. Here are some of those secrets from Porter House NY.
The Secret T-Bone
On the last edition of Steakcraft, we looked at the rib and loin steaks at Michael Lomonaco's Porter House NY. Observant readers may have noticed that despite mention of New York strip and porterhouse steaks fabricated from aged short loin, we made no mention of a T-Bone. Porter House NY's short loins typically yield four 36 oz. porterhouses and five 20 oz. New York strips, leaving 44 oz. of T-bone right in the middle of the short loin. Many steakhouses will simply lop off the filet section of these and fabricate two additional NY strips. The filet section is either used for tartare, ground into hamburger or, if the butcher is crafty, used for his lunch.
But the T-bone is a lovely piece of beef, superior in my opinion to the porterhouse because the latter also contains a portion of the Gluteus Medius—a tougher, more fibrous muscle—in addition to the tenderloin and Longissimus (New York strip) Granted, the filet section on a T-bone is smaller than a porterhouse, but I prefer the strip side anyway.
Since a short loin only yields two 22 oz. T-bones, not enough to offer as a regular menu item, Lomonaco stores them up and offers them as specials a few nights of the week. In a nod to his Italian heritage, he cooks them differently from the other steaks on the menu. They are marinated in olive oil, thyme, rosemary, and garlic and then grilled rather than broiled. A spritz of lemon juice completes the dish.
The Secret Burger
Okay, the hamburger is not really a secret, as it's listed on the lunch menu at both the bar and dining room for $18 and on the bar menu during dinner service for $26. But what the menu doesn't reveal is that it is a custom dry aged blend from burger maestro Pat LaFrieda. I discovered this while poking around the meat locker and found a box with the above label affixed to it. According to Lomonaco, the blend contains short rib, brisket, chuck, and dry aged rib. Formed into 8 oz. patties, the burger is grilled and served on a sesame-studded bun from Pain D'Avion along with fries at lunch and fries and onion rings at dinner.
The Secret Sauce
"I don't think we have ever charged anyone for a sauce," Lomonaco reveals. The four sauces on his menu—Bourbon peppercorn, classic Béarnaise, Cabernet and caramelized shallots, and BBQ steak sauce—are each priced at $2. I don't think his dry aged steaks require them, but they are all housemade and showcase Lomonaco's classic technique and skill. I am not suggesting that you won't be billed if you order all four, but don't let the $2 price be the determining factor in your decision—you most likely won't see it on your check.