A few weeks ago I made a roast. I'm afraid I over-researched the roast and found myself Googling, "premium dry-aged beef." Overpriced status food! Have we met? I'm sure the other overpriced status foods have mentioned my name.
Now, I could have gotten a supermarket hunk of meat and used Alton Brown's method to age it in the fridge. Then I would have to explain to Gary for a few weeks why there is a roast covered in bloody towels in the fridge.
Wisely, I decided to see first if I could even tell the difference between dry-aged meat and the supermarket wet-aged meat, in which the meat speed-rots in a plastic bag. Where to find a dry-aged steak in Saint Louis?
Gary and I both work by Dierdorf and Hart's, an expensive steakhouse. How expensive?
Gary feels it's too expensive.
So I said I'd pay, and we made reservations, and tonight was the night to eat dry-aged steak.
What I had for lunch in preparation: cafeteria steak.
This was my control steak. I ate it to get a baseline.
Here is what I ate at Dierdorf and Harts:
From the menu: "Boneless Strip Steak - Often referred to as a New York or Kansas City Strip; this steak which is regarded as the steak connoisseur's cut has tremendous flavor and taste."
And the menu also said, "We are proud to present our selection of hand-cut steaks aged a minimum of 21-days to insure superior flavor, preferred tenderness, & dependable quality."
Gary had the "Tenderloin Filet - Succulent & delicate. The most tender cut of beef enjoyed by those who prefer tenderness over flavor."
"So, Gary, how's you filet?"
"Wholly flavorless, just like the menu said. No, it's really good. How's yours?"
"Well, it's good, but I was expecting something revolutionary. It tastes like a really good steak, though."
Later the manager came by and gave us a $25 gift certificate because they'd be closed in January for a remodel. "New carpet, new walls, whole new menu -"
"What?" I said sharply, "Will the steak still be dry-aged?"
He did a full body hedge, with the wishy-washy comme ci comme ça hand waggle. "Ennnhhhh ... " Then he asked, "Did you enjoy your steak tonight?"
"Yes, it was good."
"That wasn't dry-aged. Sometimes we can get a better cut of steak that isn't dry aged and it's every bit as good."
Outrage! Betrayal! I pointed at him. "The MAN who showed us the RAW MEAT said it was aged 21 days!" This is Science, man! You are messing with Science! I couldn't be too mad. At least he was honest, and he even let us in on what "Angus beef" means. (Top choice or bottom prime. Like the B+ of beef. Angus sounds better.)
Sigh. I let it go, and since I still hadn't had a dry-aged steak, I asked, "So, where could I go to get a real dry-aged steak?" He recommended Annie Gunn's.
So, on the downside, I didn't get dry-aged beef, but on the upside ... the dream still lives on!