How do you think a competitive butchering show would do?
We’ve thought about competitive butchering shows. But what’s going to come into play is safety. Like we kept saying, ‘Okay, this would be a great show if we had these two butchers and could see who cut the fastest.’ But the problem is, they’d probably cut and hurt themselves. Then what? So, it could be a good idea but it would have to be regulated in some way for safety.
The famous special blend you made for Minetta Tavern’s black label burger; have you done that with a lot of other spots?
Sure. I made the lamb burger for The Breslin. I made the short rib burger for The Spotted Pig. I made Schnipper’s burger. I created the Shake Shack burger. I think if we add up all of the man-hours that people wait in line for Shake Shack, that’s the biggest waste of time that I’ve ever created in my life. The amount of people that wait on line at Shake Shack…I think more people have missed more Mets innings because they’ve been waiting on that line than in any other baseball league.
Who are chefs and restaurateurs that do meat your favorite way?
PL: Mike Toscano at Perla. The lamb head braised and roasted; nobody does that anymore – and it’s so good. Mike Lomonaco at Porter House New York makes the best porterhouse I’ve ever had. One of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten in my life is at Raoul’s. I started eating at Raoul’s in the mid nineties. It’s a small French restaurant on Prince Street [in New York City]. It’s an amazing place; it’s iconic.
Are there any restaurants that don’t source from you that you want to work with?
I think yes, but not in New York. I think I’m very happy with my New York clientele. But I have to crack the code on Michelle Bernstein. I love her food. I’ve been to Miami a few times to meet with her, but not on a regular basis. I’m working on Michelle; I need to conquer Michelle next.
What are your favorite cities for food and where do you go to there?
I think it’s sad what I see through most of the country. To go to Washington D.C. and see an Applebee’s on every corner is depressing. To go to Chicago and see the same thing; it’s depressing. So when I go to D.C. let’s say, I go to a New York City concept, which is usually BLT, which is the best steak ever.
Down in Miami: Andrew Carmellini at The Dutch – I ate almost every meal there. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I was just in Asbury, New Jersey, which is a part of the Jersey Shore that didn’t get destroyed. I ate in Brando’s and could not believe how amazing everything that came out was. There are those pockets in every city where you can find food. The hardest time [I had] finding good food was in Chicago. We went to Butcher & the Boar in Minnesota, and it was outrageous.