Steakcraft: BLT Steak's Strip and American Wagyu Top Cap


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]

When I asked BLT Steak's chef de cusine Braden Reardon to pick out his two favorite steaks, he chose the bone-in New York strip and the American Wagyu top cap. The strip is available on virtually every steakhouse menu, but BLT Steak serves a USDA Prime 28-day dry-aged Black Angus strip from Creekstone Farms in a 20 oz. portion for $57. Reardon likes the flavor of the cut, and he serves it bone-in, as he feels it picks up extra "funk" from the bone.

The American Wagyu "top cap" is a lot more rare; I don't know of another steakhouse in the city that has it as a permanent menu item. It comes from Snakeriver Farms and is served in a 10 oz. portion for $81.

It's worth mentioning that "American Wagyu" is somewhat of a controversial term, because the there is no standard for the breed. The cattle are not pure Wagyu, which would not do well in America's harsher climate; rather they're a cross between Wagyu and Angus or Longhorn cattle. The result is not the same as pure Japanese Wagyu beef (and one cannot discount the elaborate feeding process employed in Japan), but the beef is still delicious.

The top cap is technically called the spinalis dorsi, the muscle that "caps" the eye of the rib steakā€”it is my favorite thing to eat on a steer. The muscle is fibrous, tender and incredibly flavorful. While I would prefer the cut to be dry-aged, doing so would add to its expense considerably, and Snakeriver farms meat has a unique flavor all its own.

In both cases, the steaks are first seared on a grill to add hatch marks and smoky flavor. Then the meat is finished in a Southbend broiler. Take a look through the slideshow to see chef Reardon prepares them.

BLT Steak

106 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022 (map) 212-752-7470