Handsome Coffee co-founder Tyler Wells with the dry-aged beef for his steak… (Courtesy of Tyler Wells )
In a new occasional series, Betty Hallock explores all things meaty and fatty.
Did you know that Tyler Wells, the co-founder of Handsome Coffee Roasters, is also a swell cook? He'll be serving a pop-up dinner (hosted by This Is Not a Pop-Up) at Square One in Hollywood this week and on the menu is 35-day dry-aged steak frites. So let's talk about this steak.
THE CUT: Wells collaborated with Alex Jermasek, who worked at Lindy & Grundy and is now in charge of meat fabrication at Short Order. Jermasek has been dry-aging ("for a whole month and half a week," he says) organic grass-fed beef from Stemple Creek Ranch in Tomales, Calif. The meat "develops this crust and as it ages it concentrates the flavor -- really nutty, oaky, full-flavored, grassy, buttery beef." Two cuts are used from the hindquarter of the cow, splitting the sirloin strip and top sirloin.
HOW IT'S COOKED: With beef tallow, the fat that comes from the same section of the cow as the steaks. The tallow is ground and simmered in a rondeau for 45 minutes until "it renders out into this beautiful golden fat you can cook in," Wells says. "I'll be doing some combination of sous vide/poaching them in beef tallow and searing them on a flat top, just under medium rare. These steaks really shine on the rare side." The French fries, cut from Kennebec potatoes, will be triple fried in tallow.
THE FUNNY THING IS: "When I went to culinary school in Pittsburgh, I was a vegetarian," Wells says. "I would always get these fries from down the street and then found out they were fried in beef tallow." The first post-vegetarian thing he intentionally ate? A 14-ounce New York strip "from start to finish." Cooked in truffle butter.
WHAT IT WILL COST YOU: The steak frites is part of a five-course dinner that costs $50 per person.
Tyler Wells @ This Is Not a Pop-Up, this week only, Thursday to Sunday. On the menu: winter soup with Japanese sweet potato, Granny Smith apple, fried bread and cheddar; citrus salad with spicy winter greens, salty marcona almond butter and crottin mousse; Stemple Creek short rib with charred romanesco; steak frites with tallow fries and carrot-top butter; and ricotta croissant bread pudding. Make reservations online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (323) 451-1767.
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