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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Chef John Tesar of Orlando's Knife & Spoon is selling some of the finest steaks you will ever taste

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge Chef John Tesar - JOHNTESAR.COM (STEVEN VISNEAU)
  • (Steven Visneau)
  • Chef John Tesar
Celebrity chefs might be in a slightly better position to ride out the pandemic, but that doesn't mean they're not struggling to survive.

John Tesar, Top Chef contestant and four-time James Beard Award semifinalist for "Best Chef: Southwest," runs one of the most lauded steakhouses in the country, if not the planet. But as his Dallas restaurant Knife remains shuttered, and the opening of his Orlando restaurant Knife & Spoon is pushed back to mid-July, Tesar has resorted to selling steaks to make ends meet.

"Selling these steaks has saved my life and my family," he says. "I have two young boys and I'll continue to sell steaks until the shutdown is over."

Not just any steaks, though. I'm talking some of the finest steaks you will ever have the pleasure of carnivorizing. Tesar procures the highly marbled USDA Prime cuts from 44 Farms, where America's tastiest cows are made, then lets them sit for 21 days before dry-aging them himself at Knife.
click to enlarge 70-day dry-aged, bone-in ribeyes - FAIYAZ KARA
  • Faiyaz Kara
  • 70-day dry-aged, bone-in ribeyes
For the true beef connoisseur, Tesar's 32-ounce, 60- and 70-day dry-aged, bone-in ribeyes and NY strips are tempting buys for just $60, while the 32-ounce, 240-day dry-aged ribeye (that's right, it's dry-aged for 240 days) is a real treat for $150.

BTW: The prices above don't include overnight shipping from FedEx, which can get pricey. Tesar suggests group or community orders to make shipping more affordable and economical.

I know that sounds like a lot of money, but consider these steaks come out to $30 per pound; will easily feed two people; are USDA Prime grade beef; come from the best ranches in the country; are dry-aged in a $60,000 meat humidor by one of the best chefs in the business; and would otherwise cost double the price at the restaurant itself.
The steaks have only been available for pick-up to customers in Dallas, but Tesar is offering them up to Orlandoans as a preview of what to expect when Knife & Spoon opens in the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes this summer.

Should a group of your beef-loving friends, family or neighbors decide to purchase 70-day dry-aged ribeyes, message Tesar on Instagram or call 214-909-9109 to place your order.

And when you get it (like I did last week), here's how Tesar suggests you cook it:

1) Salt and pepper the meat liberally at room temperature and let it sit for 30 minutes.
click to enlarge FAIYAZ KARA
  • Faiyaz Kara
2) Reverse-sear the steak by putting it in the oven and cooking it at 250°F for an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 115°F; alternatively, you can sous vide the steak at 130°F for 3 hours.
click to enlarge FAIYAZ KARA
  • Faiyaz Kara
3) When done, pat the steak down with a paper towel then sear it in a smoking-hot, canola-oiled cast-iron skillet for about a minute on each side or until a nice brown crust, aka the Maillard reaction, forms. [Note: Avoid butter basting as this will take away from the natural flavor of the meat.]
click to enlarge FAIYAZ KARA
  • Faiyaz Kara
4) Tent the steak for about 10 minutes.
click to enlarge FAIYAZ KARA
  • Faiyaz Kara
5) Carve the ribeye along the bone then slice it into half-inch slices and enjoy, because enjoy you will.
click to enlarge FAIYAZ KARA
  • Faiyaz Kara

The end result: A steak unlike any steak I've tasted before with a gloriously rich, funky, sweet and nutty profile akin to jamon Iberico de bellota. It's an altered state of steak. If you haven't experienced the umami of beef, this bovine psychedelic will take you on a trip.

BTW: Knife & Spoon will have an aging room very much like the one at Knife in Dallas, though it'll be "a tad bigger," capable of holding 250 pieces of beef. Cost for the aging room is about $70,000.

Knife & Spoon will source 44 Farms as well as HeartBrand Ranch (for Akaushi wagyu) and Creekstone Farms (for halal options).

So, yeah, Knife & Spoon will be the place for serious steakers to indulge in Orlando but, Tesar adds, "The seafood will be awesome too!"

I don't doubt it.

— Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

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