Steakcraft: Smith and Wollensky's Dry Aged Short Loin Steaks


Behind the scenes of New York's premium dry-aged steaks. An in-depth look at the aging, cooking, and presentation of New York's premium dry-aged steaks from beef expert Nick Solares.

[Photographs: Nick Solares]


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While Smith and Wollensky's most popular dry aged steak remains the restaurant's signature item—the 32 oz. rib steak—the steaks they fabricate from the short loin are not far behind in sales. Smith and Wollensky dry ages short loin primals of USDA Prime corn-fed beef for 28 days, then breaks them down into single serving bone-in and boneless strip loin steaks and porterhouse steaks for two.

The preparation is classic steakhouse: the beef is tempered, salted only moments before being seared in an 800° Southbend broiler. The steaks are allowed to rest after cooking; the strip steaks (20 oz. bone-in or 16 oz. boneless, ) are served whole, while the 40 oz. porterhouse for two is served sliced. All the steaks are anointed with a generous ladling of clarified butter (which the kitchen affectionately calls love sauce).

Chef Victor Chavez

Chef Victor Chavez.

The essential character of the beef is constant throughout the steaks as the one would expect, yet there are subtle differences. The porterhouse, which contains a portion of the tenderloin as well as the strip loin, has the most range of texture and flavor. The tenderloin is lean and supple and mild in flavor. Yet at the edges near where the crust has been cut away, the meat has the pungent flavor of blue cheese, thanks to the dry aging. The strip loin has a bolder, steely flavor: meaty, not as tender, but with more bite.

In terms of differences between the bone-in and boneless strip loins, it really comes down to whether you value the taste of dry aging: those tangy, blue cheese flavors that develop with time. The bone-in strip, by virtue of the bone being exposed directly to the air in the dry aging room, has far more "funk" than the boneless version, which has been whittled down significantly. Whichever you choose, Chef Victor Chavez recommends sides of creamed spinach and hash brown potatoes as the perfect accompaniment to your choice of steak.

See the steaks from start to finish in the slideshow »

Smith and Wollensky

797 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022 (map) 212-753-1530