it’s what’s for dinner, again
flash: Southern New Hampshire invaded by purveyors of red meat
John “jaQ” Andrews
Red meat. There may be
nothing so primally satisfying, so joyously primitive. And there is no
more high-class way to enjoy it than a dignified steak.
Whether it’s the rising
tide of affluence in the southern Granite State or just the next hip
trend, steakhouses are becoming more prevalent around here. Chains like
Outback and Texas Roadhouse have cropped up in recent years, adding to
the small gaggle of locally owned ones already here.
If you’re not quite
hungry yet, but think you might be in a couple months, there are two new
steakhouses opening in November: Buckley’s Great Steaks, 438 Daniel
Webster Hwy., Merrimack, and Hanover Street Chop House, 149 Hanover St.,
Manchester (coincidentally, Hippo’s old office location).
“It’s something we’ve
been thinking about for years,” said Steven Clutter, currently executive
chef at CR Sparks in Bedford. Hanover Street Chop House is a new venture
by the owner of CR Sparks, and Clutter will be cooking there as well.
They couldn’t find the perfect location until recently, when the
building opened up. (From all of us in our new office here, guys, you’re
Clutter called the
steakhouse the “classic American eatery.”
“They like a great
pizza and they like a great steak,” he elaborated. Clutter said he uses
prime cuts of beef from the top two to five percent of all cattle and
looks for a tender texture and a good marble, or slender lines of fat
running through the meat.
From there, he keeps it
simple. The meat has its own flavor to express, so he keeps seasonings
to a minimum, sticking with salt, pepper and “a couple other things.” He
might dab on some roasted garlic or prepare a garlic shallot rub, but on
the whole, a good hot grill is all that’s needed to make an
Chef Yash Pal of The
Tenderloin Room at the Chateau, 201 Hanover St., Manchester, has some
very strong ideas of his own about what makes a steak great. (And, as a
bonus, his restaurant is open now.) He’s particularly critical of chains
that marinate the heck out of beef; he says that robs the meat of its
The alternative is
time-consuming, but well worth it. First, the meat must age in a
refrigerator for four to six weeks. During this time, it’s still in the
shrink wrap from the butcher. Then it’s exposed to the air and dry aged
for another eight to ten days, so that the blood can start settling and
drying. The meat will lose 12-15 percent of its water in this period, so
the true flavor can come out.
“When you eat steak
like that,” Pal said, “even if it’s rare it won’t bleed on the plate.”
This dried beef is
darker than the bright red you might see on meat that’s turned around
and cooked as soon as it’s off the truck. Dried beef also cooks faster,
so a rare cut might take as little as two minutes on each side to cook.
Silo’s Steakhouse, 641
Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, brushes each of its steaks with garlic
butter. Other than that, it’s the same simple philosophy shared by the
other steakhouses: cook and enjoy. They serve five beef steaks straight
up, and even offer a buffalo steak when it’s available. The prime rib is
available in three different sizes — 10, 14 or 18 ounces — or your own
But they don’t stop
with simple cuts. Their steak tips come in Bourbon Street, Tuscany and
Maple-Mesquite flavors. Portsmouth Tenderloin is served with asparagus,
shrimp and bearnaise sauce. Big Bleu sits atop bordelaise, wild
mushrooms, roasted shallots and Vermont bacon; it’s topped with
gorgonzola cheese stuffing.
For a different twist,
visit a Brazilian steak house. They actually serve more than just beef,
but serve it in a different way. After you’ve finished your salad and/or
appetizers, waiters bring you skewers of meat to devour. They keep
bringing it until you tell them to stop.
Of course, man does not
live on steak alone. What goes well with that reddest of red meats?
Clutter revealed that
the wine list of the Hanover Street Chop House will include a large
selection of cabernets and merlots, as well as any other wine you can
imagine. As for side dishes, how about a nice homemade lobster macaroni
and cheese? Yeah, thought you’d like that. Silo’s gives you a choice of
a classic baked potato, fries, rice or homemade stuffing with each steak
The Atkins diet may be
fading from vogue just a smidge, but hey, when was the last time you
heard the phrase “mad cow?” Sounds like a good time for steak.
Steak Sense Steak Sauce
has a great website (www.steaksense.com) plugging its product and
providing loads of information about steak in general. Ever wonder what
all those differently named steaks are? The site has the answers, as
well as a cheery diagram of a hapless cow, deconstructed into its
component edible parts.
• Chuck: Cut from the
shoulder, most of this meat becomes ground beef. One notable cut is the
blade steak, which is very tender, flavorful and inexpensive.
• Rib: Here you’ll get
Prime Rib and its boneless counterpart, Rib Eye. The latter is also
known as a Spencer or Delmonico steak. Both are marbled generously for a
lot of flavor.
• Loin: The most famous
and expensive steaks burst from here. Tenderloin is very, well, tender,
though not the most flavorful of cuts. Its thickest portion is called
Chateaubriand. Filet mignon begins life as a Tenderloin cut. The Top
Loin goes by many names, including strip, New York Strip, Kansas City
Strip, strip loin, shell steak, Delmonico (yes, again), boneless loin,
boneless club and sirloin strip; it’s very juicy and flavorful. The
T-Bone has a tenderloin on one side of the bone and a longer top loin on
the other. A Porterhouse is pretty much a T-Bone with more meat.
• Sirloin: Top Sirloin
cuts have a long, flat pin bone and are very tender. A smaller version,
called the Cap Steak, is good for grilling or pan frying and might also
be referred to as a culotte steak. The Triangle Tip comes from the very
bottom of the sirloin section and is best cooked at least ¾ of an inch
• Round: These are cut
from the hind legs, and are generally used with marinades rather than as
steaks on their own.
• Flank: Flank Steak,
also known as London Broil, has good flavor but is very tough. If you
cook it past medium rare, you risk a very chewy, difficult meal.
• Plate: Here you’ll
find the skirt steak, or fajita steak. Do the math.
• Brisket & Fore Shank:
No steaks here. These front leg muscles have worked too hard their whole
life. You know, holding up a cow. Them suckers are big.
Where to dine
Though many area
eateries have steaks on the menu, here are a few that make meat their
• Buckley’s Great
Steaks (coming in November), 438 Daniel Webster Hwy.,
• Chateau Restaurant,
201 Hanover St., Manchester, 627-2677
• Gauchos Brazilian
Steakhouse, 62 Lowell St., Manchester
• Hanover Street Chop
House (coming in November), 149 Hanover St., Manchester
• Sabor Brasil, 42
Canal St., Nashua, 886-5959
• Silo’s Steakhouse,
641 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 429-3118
• Shogun Japanese Steak
House, 545 Daniel Webster Hwy., Manchester, 669-8122
• Tokyo Japanese Steak
House & Sushi Bar, 166 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, 888-8200