Steakcraft: Michael White's Signature Rib Steak at Costata


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.

The dry aged rib steak at Michael White's Costata. [Photographs: Nick Solares]

Steak Fact Sheet

Cuts: Rib Steak
Grade:USDA Prime
Breed: Black Angus
Dry Aged? Yes, 40 Days
Pre-Cooked Weight: 44 oz.
Price: $118
Price per Ounce: $2.68

Walk into a butcher shop in Italy and request a costata and you will be presented with a familiar-looking cut, even if you don't speak Italian. Costata translates into rib steak—one of the most popular prime cuts available. An Italian ordering the costata at Costata, on the other hand, will probably be a little shocked by what descends upon the table. In fact, even local steak aficionados might be a little surprised by the sheer size of the signature dish at Michael White's downtown Italian-inspired steakhouse. I say "inspired" because the steakhouse such as it exists in America, and in New York in particular, has no direct analog in Italy—the Italians simply haven't engaged in this type of wanton gluttony since they were Roman and ruled by Caesars.

Chef Michael White and Executive Chef PJ Calapa with their signature steak.

The cut in question is a massive 44 oz. "tomahawk" rib steak, which comes from Creekstone Farms and is dry aged for 40 days by butcher Pat LaFrieda. It is majestic enough to name your restaurant after it, and it's a worthy showcase for the skills of both the butcher and chef/owner Michel White and Costata's executive chef P.J. Calapa.

Costata takes in whole rib sections from LaFrieda and fabricates the steaks in house. The bones on the trimmed steak, which curve gracefully like a gladiator's sica, are much longer than most tomahawk cuts, and contains a significant portion of short rib meat, adding a different, but no less compelling texture and flavor to an already abundantly flavorful cut.

The steaks are then seasoned liberally with freshly ground pepper and, in true Italian fashion, rosemary salt before being seared on a flat top and finished in a broiler. Take a look through the slideshow to see how the steak goes from aging box to table, and tune in next week when we look at the other steaks on the Costata menu.