Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where the secrets are buried.

by contributor Donna Shor
Photo credit: Neshan H. Naltchayan

The Secret in the Steaks...

Carnivores dining at Dupont Circle’s Front Page Restaurant last night shared a special treat and added to their food lore. 

Launching a dining event that is to be a regular Monday night feature, the chef demonstrated and explained in two words why the grill’s New York Strip steaks are as good as it gets. The secret: dry aging.

Here the method of aging a steak to perfection has been raised to a fine art.  Along with owner Craig Merrills, Monday nights will be co-hosted by Chef Jim Weisgerber of sister restaurant Bethany Blues, in explaining the special aging process. 

Dry aging involves several weeks, and begins with the selection of only the highest quality beef cuts, those which will merit the effort. The actual dry aging itself is usually seven to ten days, but going still farther.  At The Front Page the meat is dry aged for twenty-one days, increasing the benefits.

Only properly “marbled” cuts are used, with the visible streaks of fat evenly distributed throughout the meat, insuring that it will be tender. Cuts are hung in a cooler and allowed to age naturally. Dry-aged steaks are never bloody because the excess moisture evaporates from the meat, concentrating the flavor and increasing the tenderness.

This special aging also shrinks the meat, with an average loss of 25 to 30 percent of the original weight gone, sacrificed to flavor. (One reason why dry-aged steaks are not easy to find at a butcher shop or in an average restaurant.)  
At The Front Page, customers choose their own cut of meat, at $2.75 per ounce. Partnering with it are a twice-baked potato and vegetables of the season.  


The proof is in the taste, and the happy diners agreed that in these melt-in-your-mouth treats,  they discovered a unique flavor lost from traditional wet-aged steaks.