Steakcraft: The Lambs Club's Delmonico Steak
Steak Fact SheetCut: Delmonico (aka Ribeye)
Grade: USDA Prime
Breed: Black Angus
Dry Aged? 28 Days
Pre-Cooked Weight: 16oz.
Price per Ounce: $3.88
"Buy the best product and treat it well" is the simple mantra that Eric Haugen, executive chef of Geoffrey Zakarian's The Lambs Club at The Chatwal Hotel, adheres to. In the case of the Delmonico steak on The Lambs Club menu, he chose USDA Prime Angus beef that's been dry aged for 28 days by butcher Pat LaFrieda. "The cut from this particular vendor will still be juicy even when cooked medium well," states Haugen admiringly of the steak. Not that he is recommending that you order it that way.
The Lambs Club takes in either whole "109" beef ribs or a "109D"—a boneless and trimmed version (the numbers are assigned to the cut by the North American Meat Processors Association). "It depends if we are making stocks and sauces," says Haugen on his requirements for the bones. The Delmonico is a boneless cut, but nothing goes to waste in his kitchen, so if the kitchen needs stock, bone-in it is.
Another example of smart thrift: the dry aged fat that is left over after the steaks are cut is diced and blended with butter and herbs, then used to baste the steak during cooking. The steaks are fabricated into 16 oz. portions and trussed to insure even cooking.
The Delmonico is simply seasoned with fresh ground pepper and smoked sea salt (the chef likes the way the flavor mirrors that of the grill) It is then seared on the grill before being transferred to a cast iron skillet. A heavy pot is placed atop the cut during the cooking in the skillet to maximize contact with the coking surface resulting in a wonderful golden crust. Finally the steak is basted in the aforementioned butter/dry aged fat blend along with fresh thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic and shallots.After resting the steak is brushed with Solera vinegar that has been aged in Bourbon barrels. It is an inspired flourish - the vinegar adds a sweetness to the proceedings but the acidity also helps to cut the richness of the steak. A simple garnish of watercress and confit shallots and the dish is complete.
The steak is exceedingly popular—The Lambs Club sells around thirty a night which is an impressive number for a non steakhouse with only 80 seats and a fine ding menu.
About the author: Nick Solares is a NYC-based food writer, photographer and the Serious Eats Meat Bureau Chief. He has published Beef Aficionado since 2007, with the stated purpose of exploring American exceptionalism through the consumption of hamburgers and steak. He has written over 400 restaurant reviews for Serious Eats since 2008 and served as the creative director for the award-winning iPad app Pat LaFrieda's Big App for Meat. You can follow him on Instagram (@nicksolares) and Twitter (@beefaficionado).