A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Red Red Meat

The dinner Monday night at Ray's the Steaks was fantastic in more ways than one. First, special kudos to Chef Michael Landrum, who not only served every single person in the room, but cooked all the meals with just two other helping hands. How many total tops do you think he had? Guess.

If you guessed anywhere near forty, you're an absolute lunatic. The answer is 52.

The meal started with a dense and tasty bread, served piping hot. It was a no-frills starter, with no fancy grains or flavorings. That was soon followed by Devilishly Good Eggs, deviled eggs stuffed with steak tartare. It was tempting to savor each bite, but eating one whole like a real deviled egg seemed the right thing to do at the time. The tartare was like butter.

Next out were two more amuses, a scallop dusted with what tasted like a chili-based rub and two different kinds of shrimp scampi. They were all very tasty, with the spicier shrimp my personal favorite. All the shellfish were cooked to perfection. How does someone get such consistency with 104 shrimp? It boggles the mind.

After the amuses, we had what was my favorite dish of the night, a crab bisque that definitely made my knees slightly buckle. At this point the weather outside was frightful, and the bisque was quite delightful. The chunks of crab were immense and the soup was just salty enough to balance the sweetness of the meat. I wanted a piece of that bread for dipping. Would that be an insult? Who cares! With this crowd I'm sure it wouldn't matter.

After a small, light palate cleansing Caesar salad, it was time for the main course: steak. We both had the hanger steak, described by the chef as "the way beef is supposed to taste," cooked medium rare. The grill marks on the steak were, well, beautiful. The kind of marks you see on the faux meats in Outback commercials. The taste seemed almost earthy to me, in a good way -- like I was eating meat fresh from the farm, more fibrous than the tasteless supermarket dreck we're subjected too but fifteen times as flavorful. The creamed spinach and mashed potato sides were awesome accompaniments, though I must admit after a few bites I realized how full of cream my body was (after the bisque...) and gave my stomach a break. By the last bites of steak I was sweating a little... but when that key lime pie came out, I had to hit it. Though I may not usually enjoy sweets, I'll make an exception for key lime -- especially if it as good as this one was.

I'll spare you some cheesey concluding paragraph and just leave you with the following statistics. Ponder them as you complain about the next dinner party you have to cook for.

3 amuses, including 2 different kinds of shrimp.

1 salad.

1 soup.

1 main (two types, salmon and steak).

2 sides.

1 dessert.

52 tops.

1 chef, 2 sous.

1 server (also the chef).

1 dropped plate.

52 satisfied customers.