I once became a vegetarian. It was a childhood pact with a school friend that lasted until 12.30pm when shepherd’s pie was served for lunch. I realised then, that my life would be served as a staunch carnivore. I do feel guilty sometimes when I look at those little fluffy lambs in the Spring fields, but this soon passes when I imagine how good they will taste covered in mint sauce.
The king of all meat surely is the steak. Simple, but when done well, you can’t beat it. This is the tale of my favourite steak.
We all make decisions we live to regret. I wish to god, I hadn’t worn heels on the day I was catching a train with arms full of college books. Perhaps if I had worn sensible flat shoes on that fateful day, I wouldn’t have fallen over on a man, throwing my heavy books on his lap and straddling him like a public transport stripper. I still rue the day I got my poodle perm, and cringe when I remember wearing All Saints glasses nearly every day for a month.
Another ill thought notion was when I decided it was a wonderful idea to make a dinner reservation after a monster tasting menu lunch at Per Se in New York. With 9 hours between reservations, I was absolutely positively certain, that our bellies would be crying out for further nutrition. I was also pretty sure that this had to come in the form of a steak.
There are probably hundreds of steak restaurants in New York. Ones with Michelin stars, others are family run favourites. I went for the one with the coolest decor and the snappiest name. Ok, the name thing might not be true, Quality Meats does sound a bit like a budget supermarket, but Americans like to keep things simple, and this does what it says on the tin.
So there we were, on a freezing cold December evening. We had waited for the hunger to come, hell; we longed for the fullness to abate. Neither happened. I wanted to cry and the hubby was a bit sick. But we’d left it too late to cancel. Cinderella had to go to the ball and there would be no running off to a pumpkin until her plate was empty (I’m Cinderella, just for clarification.)
Once through the gigantic daunting wooden door (this seemed to represent our impending doom) Quality Meats is so much cooler than the name suggests. Hanging lights cascade from the ceiling, only just lighting the bare brick; giving the cow head that protrudes from the wall a sinister and warning glow.
With minimal room in either of our digestive systems, we skipped starters and simply ordered steak.
The waiter must have heard my inner wail and sensed the dryness in the air as my mouth shrivelled into a moisture-less dessert zone as he placed a tin of freshly baked bread in front of us. The smell was too much to resist. Still warm and gooey, packed full of salt and rosemary. The Romans had a good thing going with those vomitoriums, we should bring those back.
I ordered the bone in rib-eye. This was so huge it almost filled the entire plate.
We were both taken aback when our waiter rolled over a little trolley and started to freshly prepare a steak sauce. A secret recipe, but it contained orange and rosemary and when paired with the chargrilled, juicy hunk of steak, it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted.
The idea of eating potatoes brought me out in a sweat, so we ordered the corn crème brulee as an accompaniment, which was sweet and buttery and far too unhealthy to be classed as a vegetable.
The steak was so good that our full stomachs disappeared like the memory of a bad dream. We scoffed it all down. We even ordered pudding.
The orange sorbet was zingy and fresh and wonderfully light, caressing our overworked stomachs like a mother’s kind hand.
So it turned out my reservation at Quality Meats was not a mistake after all. It was my one of my finest decisions yet as it lead me to the perfect steak. Steak, perfect, steak.