Friday, December 31, 2010

Medium-Rare, That's How It's Done

I joined, the restaurant and general review site, back in the day, probably in 2007, and I really took off in 2008 reviewing restaurants like crazy while living in Chicago. When I moved to Connecticut and became kosher, my reviews became some of the first on kosher restaurants in Connecticut, Monsey (NY), New Jersey and elsewhere. Now, I'm blessed with a bevy of restaurants to review on a weekly basis, and believe me, I do. I review Starbucks locales, local coffee shops, and, of course, as this blog's title post suggests ... Steak Houses.

Lucky for me (and you), I've got a stellar review right here for you, on ETC Steakhouse (that's E, T, C steakhouse, not etcetera), and a very sweet deal, too. I know what you're thinking ... I'm hocking lots of stuff lately, but 'tis the season for tightening purse strings. Thus, for places like steakhouses and fancy pasta joints and sushi digs, you want to save a little change, right?

Then, I insist that you all go to and sign up for a card. The card works at butchers and restaurants around New Jersey and New York, but also places online and in locations like California and Florida and Baltimore and, yes, Canada. I have no doubt in my mind that the Kosher Advantage card is going to spread its wings and fly across the country in all cities with a substantial kosher consumer population, but for now, simply go to the website and check out the many places that do take Kosher Advantage.


And? You can get THREE FREE MONTHS of membership by using the code "kvetching" at checkout on (There will be a little box that asks if someone suggested it to you, and that's where you enter "kvetching.") If you decide to give them a call, just mention "kvetching," too. Three months free is worth a try, eh? Yes. Yes it is. And now? My review of ETC Steakhouse in Teaneck, New Jersey. Prepare to salivate.


Note: ETC Steakhouse did not pay me to post this. In fact, they didn't even pay me to eat there. I paid for the meal. Except the cake, because that was Tuvia's birthday cake. This is all me here. And really, it was that good. 

Five, blazing red Yelp stars on this one.  I would have taken a photo of my food, but, well, I sort of ate it really fast. 

If you scout out my reviews, you'll notice that I wasn't always kosher. In fact, I went kosher strictly in mid-2009. Before that? I indulged in all the non-kosher food out there, including a bounty of steakhouses while living in Chicago. In fact, if you check out my reviews, you'll notice some particularly drool-worthy ones where I go on and on about the masterful filets at some of Chicago's best joints.

But then, I went kosher. Technically, filet mignon isn't kosher. Steakhouses, all the good ones, weren't kosher. I was left on an oasis of meatlessness.

I've had plenty of kosher steaks since then. Plenty of "filets" at kosher joints, with the requested cooking style of "medium rare" (it's the only way to eat beef, people). And all of them have been less than impressive. Doable, but simply impressive.

Enter ETC. Steakhouse. Yes, it was my husband's birthday. Yes, he should have been the one having the ethereal experience (which, by the way, he did, but this is about me here), but it was I who ordered the Peppercorn Encrusted Filet with frittes, marrow, and some kind of greens. I got mine sans marrow, because I'm a gluten-free eater, and ordered it medium rare. I also ordered the Potato-Leek Soup as a starter.

Evan's delicious gluten-free "happy birthday" cake!
The soup was good, but nothing I'd write home about. I make my own potato-leek soup at home and it's thick and creamy (not to mention vegan). This soup was a little on the oily side. But I came here for the meat. So when the main course arrived, I was elated. The steak was huge, thick, and was oozing juice. The filet was cooked perfectly. I mean, absolutely perfectly. It had the perfect crust with a juicy, pink center. And the taste? You'd need taste-o-vision or smell-o-vision to really get the full impact of just how good this was.

When I say this is the BEST steak I've ever had, I mean it. I really, really mean it. I've had a million steaks in my life, and this was, hands down, the most delicious, perfectly cooked filet I have ever had. And I take meat seriously. Very, very seriously.

The frittes were good, and I didn't eat the greens (it seemed kind of like sprouts, but was more for decoration). We got the Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Orange Mousse for dessert because, as I mentioned, it was my husband's birthday. If you ever though gluten-free cake couldn't be delicious, you were lied to or mistake or insane. It was moist, rich, and absolutely to die for.

I've decided that my last meal on earth will be a steak cooked by the chef here, who, by the way, came in to say "hello" to us and the other tables and see how the meal was. If you don't fine-dine much, this is a sign of a really high-class joint. To have the chef come out? You see the face behind the plate, and that's important.

Take-away: Go here. Order the filet. Order it medium-rare. And be prepared to want that steak for every meal for the rest of your life. And if you think I'm wrong? Let me know. I'd love to hear you kvetch. 

(Also: A nod to our amazing waitress, Lily, who made the entire experience excellent. The cozy little joint is perfectly coifed in that red-black steakhouse feel, but without being cheesy. The wait staff is all in black, making it a classy, classy joint.)