In the meat business, sourcing is the ultimate boast: It’s not enough to claim your meat is “prime,” when any meathead worth his cholesterol knows how promiscuously that once-proud term is thrown around. No, today’s steakhouse has to have boutique sources or, even better, their own prize bull, as at Primehouse NY. But no meat man has a more obsessive take on quality than Adam Perry Lang. The Robert's and Daisy May chef tells us that he’s currently in the process of researching what will be his own beef program in Montana. “It’s so important to understand it, to be able to control what’s happening. I want to say that I’m doing everything I can to get it where I want it. I want to raise beef the right way. I want to know I’m doing the right thing.”
Since being named Rolling Stone’s “hot stand-up,” Aziz Ansari has risen to still more prominence as — quite memorably — the racist fruit vendor on Flight of the Conchords and a star of MTV’s Human Giant (now filming its second season). One of the latter show’s memorable skits has Aziz taking a blood oath with his co-stars Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel to visit the fictional BBQ joint KC Rib Tickler’s (having grown up in South Carolina, Aziz is indeed a barbecue fan). Though they have yet to actually shed blood over it in reality, Aziz and his co-stars are passionate about checking out newly opened spots (using Adam Platt’s reviews as a pointer, we’re happy to hear!). We asked him where he’s been this week.
As the go-to party spinner for the likes of Jay-Z, Diddy, and Russell Simmons, DJ Cassidy, who recently cut tracks with J-Lo and Jessica Simpson, has seen some lavish food spreads in his 25 years. For instance, the time he was flown to Naomi Campbell’s birthday bash in Dubai. “It was in the middle of the Arabian dessert,” he remembers. “It was a never-ending buffet with the most amazing stations — every kind of meat being carved for you, every dessert you could think of, every kind of seafood at the raw bar. I don’t like to work with a heavy stomach, but I couldn’t resist. I stuffed my face.” We asked him what he caved into this week.
Is the great Calvin Trillin rubbing his eyes in wonderment? Has New York become, after years of bitterness and complaint, a kind of glittering Kansas City by the sea? Or is New York actually a better barbecue town, these days, than K.C. or Memphis or any of the other fabled smoke pits around the country? With the success of Kansas City facsimiles like RUB, Danny Meyer’s annual BBQ festival, and the recent arrival of Hill Country, some respected barbecue hounds actually think so. And what does the Gobbler think? The Gobbler thinks barbecue is a lot better and more ubiquitous in the big city than it used to be. Here’s his guide to the new barbecue revolution.
Ex-Marine Josh Adam Garcia, one of the standout contestants on The Next Food Network Star, is accused of lying about both his military service and graduating from cooking school. [Marine Corps Times]
Scott Conant has Miami and New York projects on the horizon. And his go-to restaurants in New York are Daniel, Café Boulud, Daisy May’s, Blue Smoke, and Tsushima. [RG]
Some food-world heavy hitters recollect their greatest meat moments, as a follow-up to yesterday’s Times story about the fatty times we live in. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Jay-Z now has 100 problems: He’s being sued by the staff of the 40/40 Club for withholding tips and paying less than the minimum wage. [NYP]
Beef prices are getting higher, and the supply of the best stuff getting shorter. Guess what that means for your next steakhouse bill. [NYT]
There is a slew of new restaurants opening in the Hamptons, although none are what you would call world-shaking. [Newsday]
There was a sort of joy in the air at the Proenza Schouler after-party at Beatrice Inn. (And a lot of smoke — even the dubious Romanians who've been everywhere this Fashion Week had to take their cat and go home.) The designers had all shown and were drinking merrily. Upstairs, the dance party went on under disco lights till the wee hours of the morning.
Reading about the launch of Blue Smoke in Danny Meyer's new book Setting the Table, we had an epiphany. It's somehow happened that, in the midst of the greatest barbecue boom New York has ever seen, nearly all of the cuisine's major restaurants are either owned or operated by Jews. Given the wide berth our people have historically given pork, this seems worth commenting on. Meyers's launching of Blue Smoke was just the beginning. Josh Cohen has just reopened Biscuit in Park Slope; Adam Perry Lang has become a major star in competition BBQ, in addition to launching his Daisy May's empire; Andrew Fischel's RUB was anointed by Adam Platt as the city's best barbecue; and the field will only become further Semiticized this spring, when Mark Glosserman and Robert Richter launch Hill Country BBQ in the Flatiron district. Don't get us wrong. There are some very fine Gentile barbecuers in New York: John Wheeler at Rack & Soul and John Stage at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que are both expert practitioners. Still, we're surprised someone didn't coined the phrase sooner: Bar-B-Jew.
It's been rough for Queens barbecue enthusiasts. Since "English Bob" Pearson's last outpost went under last year, there haven't been any smoked meats worth eating there. But that changed this week, thanks to "Big Lou" Elrose, a six-foot-four former police officer who made his bones assisting Daisy May's chef Adam Perry Lang in barbecue competition. Elrose has just launched Big Lou's Breakfast and BBQ, a lunch wagon in Ozone Park open weekdays from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. On the circuit, Big Lou is known for prepping egg-and-bacon breakfasts for everyone. But his barbecue is the real draw here: pulled pork, chopped brisket, and pulled chicken, all slow-smoked over mild fruitwoods like apple and cherry, and served, with his original sauce, on soft but substantial Portuguese rolls from nearby Rosa Bakery. Add in a dollop of his homemade coleslaw and you have a sandwich worth driving to Ozone Park for.
Big Lou's Breakfast and BBQ, Rockaway Blvd. at 105th St.
Nobody wants to walk more than three blocks for lunch during the workday. In this series, we'll comb the city's micro-micro-neighborhoods in search of affordable spots for dining with co-workers, eating solo, or just getting takeout.
Today: The area around the intersection of 48th Street and Sixth Avenue.