For the past year and a half, I have maintained an incessant loyalty to Trader Joe’s 80/20 ground beef chuck. From tacos and tamales to burgers and bolognese, we’ve stayed together through countless affordable meals. Our relationship even managed to survive a $.19 price hike that sent thousands running in the other direction. Until last night, that is, when everything I ever thought I knew about beef was chucked out the window at 90 miles per hour.
It all came courtesy of The Breslin Butcher’s Ball, a collaboration between Underground Eats and Meatopia that sought to bring together some of the greatest minds in meat for the rarest of events (we ask that you appreciate each and every beef pun you’ll discover during our time together). The evening was spearheaded by chef April Bloomfield (The Breslin, The Spotted Pig, John Dory) and celebrity meat man Pat LaFrieda of LaFrieda Purveyors.
The real story of the night, however, was the prime beef itself. LaFrieda, well known for dealing some of the top cuts of cow in the country, flipped the beef industry on its head last night with the introduction of LaFrieda Reserve. Though Pat already selects the top beef in the country for his dry aging rooms, he found there were typically one or two cuts out of thousands that ranked “in a category of their own.” This beef, the most prime of the prime, the 1% of the 1%, makes up LaFrieda Reserve, and was introduced at Breslin last night in stunning fashion. Underground Eats’ manifesto mentions the desire to offer a select group of diners a chance to try something normally reserved for the well-connected elite, and that’s exactly what The Butcher’s Ball did. (To get an idea of how choice this stuff is, LaFrieda mentioned that it can go for $90/lb).
First, diners enjoyed a cocktail hour sponsored by Tuthilltown Distillers, producers of the first aged whiskey in New York since prohibition, and the city’s first ever bourbon. With everyone liquored up, April and Pat took the stage to demonstrate the preparation of a huge chunk of LaFrieda Reserve rib meat. Then it was on to a three course meal, all of them centered around beef. Each course was paired perfectly with choice red wine from Michel Torino, Nino Negri, and Beckman Vineyards. The result was, quite simply, the most mind-blowing meal I’ve ever experienced. From chargrilled beef ribs to deckle three ways, every course was flawlessly prepared, and each managed to outdo its predecessor.
I won’t say much more, as the photo set you’re about to see would require adjectives that do not yet exist in our language, or any I know of. Though I don’t feel qualified to label anything food porn, I’d be willing to bet this is the most premium stuff on the internet right now. Before you begin, you may want to take a moment and reinstall that privacy screen on your monitor. Enjoy!