Want to hear a chef at his most profane? Order your steak well-done.
Chefs are a fickle bunch: They vacillate between adding bacon to every dish and proclaiming the superiority of vegetables. They position themselves as policy gurus, then decree that culinary artists shouldn't concern themselves with saving the world. (And those are just last week's turnabouts.) But they never, ever waver on steak cooking temps.
"A well done steak is not a matter of choice. It's not a sweet affectation. It is a violation," Top Chef Masters judge Jay Rayner famously wrote in The Guardian.
So it's fairly remarkable that The Metropolitan Grillsuggests patrons order its 36-ounce long bone rib eye "medium to well done." Food snobs won't heed the advice, but The Met maintains the cut is so thoroughly marbled that the fat won't render if it's whisked off the grill too soon. Plus, as the swanky restaurant's web site explains, "the steak's rib bones and extra length give it a primal look." And would a caveman really worry about whether he was -- in Rayner's words -- willing to "face up to what (the steak) once was: a living creature that bled if it was pricked and can bleed still"? Nope. He'd do his Neanderthal duty and throw the meat on the fire.
Even if you don't do likewise, the rib eye delivers. There's a misconception that mid-20th century eaters -- our contemporary cavemen, with their cigarettes and vodka gimlets -- were content with food that was frozen or canned. That certainly wasn't true in the nation's great steakhouses, where beef sourcing mattered a great deal. The Met upholds that tradition, serving excellent dry-aged prime beef from Nebraska. In a city ruled by surf, it's a spectacular example of turf - whether or not you choose to burn it.