I have been incredibly slack in writing up my posts of late. As a result of laziness and eating out too much, I have far too many posts in draft, each slowly going stale and if I leave them much longer, they will probably go off.
Which is one of the reasons why I feel compelled to write this post and ensure that it too does not go "stale". And what makes this so special? Pure and simply, good meat.
A recent trip to New York made me open eyes to how seriously some people take meat. Burgers and steak are two of the lifeblood which seem to keep the New Yorkers moving. I was so spoilt for choice that I struggled to choose locations for both in my short time there. In London, until recently, I had to settle on the Hawksmoor for my dose of steak. More recently, steak restaurants such as Palm and more noticeably, Goodman, have opened.
So on a dark November's night, myself and the Tweatup crew congregated upon Goodman, a Russian owned steakhouse, specialising in beef of weird and wonderful origin. Most importantly, it is the home of USDA, 100% grain fed cow from the heart of America (Nebraska to be precise).
The nights focus was clearly all about the meat, but we all politely decided to dine like civilised people and ordered a starter each. Whilst others opted for lobster bisque and oysters off the seafood heavy starter list, I opted for some Frank Hederman salmon. I was pleasantly surprised to find it on the menu. My introduction to salmon after a long self imposed abstinence (owing to me detesting the stuff) came about from a visit to @eatlikeagirl's Covent Garden market stall. My first taste of the Frank Hederman smoked salmon that she had brought over from Ireland was delightful and I was converted. The salmon was just as tasty at Goodman and a nice light start to the meal.
So, the main event, prepare for a meat overload. The management at Goodman had kindly prepared a mystery steak tasting for us. 3 different meats of differing cuts, the challenge was to spot what was from where, all with separate coloured flags so we could spot which was which. The first to arrive on my plate was the chateaubriand, easily recognisable but woefully overcooked. Nice flavour but bad grilling had let it down. Thankfully, it was the only steak which wasn't a perfect medium. The "green" was slightly one dimensional but tender and juicy, with the "white" similar in flavour. The "none" had a fair amount of fat running through it which provided the meat with an intense and extremely satisfying flavour.
The stand out for me, however, was the "red". Incredibly succulent with nuggets of fat, this was an amazing steak, with only the "none" coming close in terms of flavour. So where did they all come from? Here are the results:
White - English, from the Lake District
Chateaubriand - Scottish
Green - Scottish, grass fed rib-eye
Red - USDA, grain fed rib-eye
None - USDA, grain fed porterhouse
Yup, I am an American beef lover. There, I have said it. Suffice to say, at the unveiling, past semi identifying what the cuts were, we were totally wrong as to the origins. I know I secretly wanted to love the British beef but when it came to flavour, the USDA won hands down for me. I should also add that we devoured every single side too, as well as a multitude of sauces (a red wine and stilton jus, mushroom, a fiery peppercorn and a smooth béarnaise), all of a high quality.
After all that, all I could face for dessert was some homemade ice cream. A simple end to a quite gargantuan meal. We must have been brought out about 5kg of meat between the nine of us, and not a morsel was left, so good was the meat that we were gnawing at the bones as the waitress tried to wrestle them away from us.
Goodman is a great steakhouse. The food was excellent, as was the service, and that USDA beef really was their trump card. A quick chat with David, the manager, revealed that next on the cards, 2 whole ribs of Australian and New Zealand Wagyu! It will of course come at a cost but the mark up is surprisingly shallow, one of the benefits of having crazy rich Russian owners, I suppose.
I felt slightly guilty that I had enjoyed myself so much, almost like I was cheating on the Hawksmoor. But when I heard that David and the management of the Hawksmoor were "buddies", it made me happy. The gentle one upmanship can only lead to better steak in London, so amen to that.
Goodman (website) - 26 Maddox Street, W1S 1QH
I think over-cooking a steak is a cardinal sin - especially in a steak restaurant.
I remember feeling pretty ripped off at Goodman. The prices were very high, which would have been fine if the my NY strip hadn't been so disappointing.
I'm glad that Goodman served you a good meal, but I think any restaurant can turn out good food if they focus (i.e., they knew you were a group of food bloggers, no?). And how much did you end up paying for dinner?
@lizzie - Agreed. But the rest was absolutely perfect.
@aAiL - I think they spotted an email address when we reserved but wouldn't have know most of us were bloggers. They may well have given the kitchen a heads up but will make a more covert operation soon and will report back.
The whole meal came to just under £50 a head, so not cheap but we did eat a lot and they did give us a good deal on the platter.
Hey, glad you guys had such a good time.
Just an FYI...USDA doesn't actually mean all that much in the US for steakhouses as most of them should be serving USDA grade meat.
There are actually 8 different grades of USDA, with USDA Prime being the best (it is usually between 2-3% of the cow, the best bits so to speak) and this is what most of the really serious steakhouses in the US use. I wonder which ones they have at Goodmans - do you know if is it Prime?
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef#USDA_beef_grades
I need to get over to Goodmans and try it for myself already! :)
Have a great weekend,
yeh, my home cooked M&S steak last night just did not compare...
Good Gods man, those are the thickest slices of smoked salmon I've ever seen. Doubt I'll have space for the steak after that.
Ultimately though, does Goodman > Hawksmoor in terms of steak?
I think eating all that food for £50 is def a good deal, but why did the resto cut you slack on the price of the meat platter?
To answer Laissez Faire's Q - yes, Goodman serves USDA Prime. I think that fact has become a big part of their marketing shtick.
And to echo what Laissez Faire said, the acronym USDA means only that the meat has been inspected in accordance with Federal (US Dept of Agriculture) regulations, but on its own, the acronym doesn't tell you what the quality of your steak is. Hence the importance of the "Prime" bit of the label. For the regulatory law junkies, here's a "public friendly" page on the USDA site:
Can't believe they overcooked it! There's great quality steak here in the UK too - just that no-one knows how to cook it like they can in the States.
Aaagh - they overcooked it?? Travesty! Still, the rest looks (and sounds) more than ok, and it certainly seems that you all did it justice... ;)
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