A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 17, 2009
Delmonico Steak

Entry in progress—B.P.


Wikipedia: Delmonico’s Restaurant
Delmonico’s Restaurant was one of the first continuously run restaurants in the United States and is considered to be one of the first American fine dining establishments It opened in New York City in 1827, originally in a rented pastry shop at 23 William Street. It was first listed as a restaurant in 1830. Unlike the inns that existed at the time, a restaurant like Delmonico’s would permit patrons to order from a menu (à la carte, as opposed to table d’hôte), rather than requiring its patrons to eat fixed meals. Later, Delmonico’s was also the first in the United States to use a separate wine list.

The restaurant was opened by the brothers John and Peter Delmonico from Ticino, Switzerland. In 1831, they were joined by their nephew, Lorenzo Delmonico, who eventually became responsible for the restaurant’s wine list and menu. In 1862, the restaurant hired Charles Ranhofer, considered one of the greatest chefs of his day. Beginning in the 1850s, the restaurant hosted the annual gathering of the New England Society of New York which featured many important speakers of the day. In 1860, Delmonico’s provided the supper at the “Grand Ball” welcoming the Prince of Wales at the Academy of Music on 14th Street; supper was set out in a specially constructed room: the menu was French, and the pièces montées represented Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the Great Eastern and Flora’s Vase. The New York Times reported, “We may frankly say that we have never seen a public supper served in a more inapproachable fashion, with greater discretion, or upon a more luxurious scale.”

The business was so successful that from 1865 to 1888 it expanded to four restaurants of the same name. At various times, there were nine different locations. When the William Street building was opened on a grand scale in August 1837, after the Great Fire of New York, New Yorkers were told that the columns by the entrance had been imported from the ruins of Pompeii.

Delmonico’s vacated the six-storey Delmonico Building at Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Sixth Street in 1895. The edifice was sold to John B. Martin, owner of the Martin Hotel, in May 1901.

In 1919, Delmonico’s was sold away from the family to Edward L.C. Robins. Its grand location, “The Citadel,” at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street ultimately closed in 1923 as a result of changing dining habits due to Prohibition.

Chicken à la King, Lobster Newberg, and Delmonico Potatoes were invented at Delmonico’s restaurant, but it was most famous for Delmonico steak. Eggs Benedict were also said to have originated at Delmonico’s; although, others claim that dish as well.

Wikipedia: Delmonico steak
Delmonico steak (alternately steak Delmonico) refers to both a cut of beef and a presentation of steak dinner prepared from it, made world-famous by Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City during the mid 1800s.

There is controversy as to exactly which cut of steak was originally used by Delmonico’s Restaurant.. There are at least eight different cuts which are claimed to be the original for the Delmonico Steak. According to some sources, the original Delmonico steak was a boneless top sirloin, almost two inches thick with delicate marbling and cooked to the preference of the diner.
Delmonico’s steak may now, in the 21st century, refer to other cuts, prepared differently in different parts of the USA. This wider variety of beef cuts may be broiled, fried, or grilled. Some of the steak cuts now commonly referred to as Delmonico steak include:

bone-in top loin steak
(a triangular-shaped, short loin cut, some suggesting the first cut of the top loin next to the rib end) also known as a club steak, country club steak, shell steak, and strip loin steak;

A boneless rib-eye steak
A Delmonico cut rib-eye consists of two heart cuts of ribeye tied together with butcher’s twine. It resembles a filet mignon in appearance, but because of the more marbled nature of a ribeye, is more moist. The modern rarity of the Delmonico cut of rib-eye may be due to fact that it renders the remaining pieces of ribeye unsaleable as anything but stewmeat, and the profit to be made from a pair of choice ribeyes is almost always more than that of a single Delmonico. A few sources describe the Delmonico cut of rib-eye differently as a bone-in cut.

A boneless top loin strip steak
(also known as a New York strip steak, Kansas City steak, strip loin, ambassador, boneless club, hotel or veiny steak)

In addition to the steak, the original meal also included a potato dish, known as Delmonico’s potatoes, prepared by making a baked mashed potatoes-like dish topped with grated cheese and buttered breadcrumbs. The dish was then baked until golden brown and served steaming.

Epicurious.com - Food Dictionary
Delmonico steak
Another specialty made famous at Delmonico’s (see DELMONICO POTATOES), this tender, flavorful steak is a boneless beef cut from the SHORT LOIN. Depending on the region, butcher and so on. It’s also referred to as a NEW YORK STEAK. The Delmonico steak can be broiled, grilled or fried. See also BEEF.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: Del·mon·i·co steak
Pronunciation: \del-ˈmä-ni-(ˌ)kō-\
Function: noun
Etymology: from the Delmonico restaurants, New York City, after Lorenzo Delmonico †1881 American restaurateur
Date: 1925
: club steak —called also Delmonico

27 September 1900, New York (NY) Times, “Heard About Town,” pg. 14:
Porterhouse steaks have gone out of fashion, according to one of the up-town butchers who supplies meat to a lot of the families in the fashionable districts on Riverside Drive and West End Avenue. For years and years the porterhouse steak has been considered the best cut of beef and has fetched the highest price. Now the demand is for the Delmonico steak, which is the porterhouse with the bit of the tenderloin cut out of it. A dislike for the tasteless bit of tenderloin seems to have developed unless the tenderloin is served separately, either as a roast or fixed up as one of the fancy steaks that the accomplished chef know hos to prepare. There is more flavor to the sirloin, and so the demand is for either the bone sirloin, as it is called, or the Delmonico steak, which follows it in the carving of a “critter.” This fancy has generally put put the butchers, who have now to find a new way to carve their meats to advantage. Even when the tenderloin is cut away from the bone, it is said by the dealers to be the hardest piece of the beef to now dispose of to advantage.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, February 17, 2009 • Permalink