Steakcraft: A Special Deal on Steak au Poivre at Restaurant Row's Le Rivage
Steak Fact SheetCut: Two New York Strips
Grade: USDA Prime
Breed: Black Angus
Dry Aged? 35 Days
Pre-Cooked Weight: 18oz. each
Price: $99, comes with choice of appetizer, fries, grilled asparagus, au poivre sauce, and choice of dessert.
Note: Special on Monday nights, available for pre-order the rest of the week. Requires two days' notice; email firstname.lastname@example.org
"I don't know why you would cover meat like this in pepper and scorch it," exclaims Le Rivage's chef and owner Paul Denamiel as he prepares too take us through his version of steak au poivre, which conspicuously omits covering the steak in crushed peppercorns. Before him lie two marbled slabs of USDA Prime bone-in strip steak dry aged for 35 days by Pat LaFrieda. "Three generations of my family have been buying meat from three generations of his family," says the chef of the butcher. Le Rivage has been around since the 1940's (they moved to the "new" current location in 1983) and the LaFriedas have been selling meat longer even than that—-dating back to the 1920's.
"When you have been in business together that long you get certain benefits," Denamiel explains. Benefits like extremely competitive pricing—"even my regular prix fixe menu features USDA prime steaks, which is unheard of at my price point," says the chef. Although those steaks are wet aged, Denamiel offers a dry aged steak special for two on Monday nights for a very attractive price: $99 for two 18 oz. steaks including fries, asparagus, au poivre sauce, and the choice of two appetizers and two desserts.
"I see my steak as a taking the best of the old and new worlds" he says. "They don't have beef like this in Europe," which is why his approach to cooking the meat is decidedly New World—it's seared in a screaming-hot broiler that would be the envy of any steakhouse.
While the chef demurs the notion of covering the steak in crushed peppercorns, his sauce is about as classic as it gets. It starts off as a veal bone stock that simmers for hours in the back of Le Rivage's kitchen. The stock is the basis for a classic Burgundy red wine sauce that the chef then adds to a peppercorn and vinegar reduction before amping it up with cream and cognac to finish his au poivre sauce.
About the author: Nick Solares is a NYC-based food writer and photographer. 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 and feature articles for Serious Eats since 2008 and is a special features writer for the AM New York newspaper. You can follow him on Instagram (@nicksolares) and Twitter (@beefaficionado).