Prime steaks are expensive. A 16oz NY strip or rib eye typically cost over $50 and the larger porterhouses and rib steaks for two can top $150.
At a butcher's shop you can expect to pay around $25 per pound for the same steak, but then again you have to cook them. But what if you want all the hallmarks of the steak experience -- a succulent and tender cut with a charred crust the color of mahogany and a correspondingly salty and supremely beefy flavor -- without paying through the nose?
The answer is to look at cuts from the chuck and round primal sections. These cuts can be just as tender and toothsome. And some of the city's top chefs and butchers sell them.
Michael Lomonaco, Porter House NY
10 Columbus Circle, porterhousenewyork.com, 212-823-9500
Lomonaco's Porter House NY is one of the city's best steakhouses -- not a place you expect to necessarily find bargains. But, amazingly, he offers a skirt steak for $31 on his menu. A skirt is far more economical than prime steaks, but the chef says they can be just a delicious.
"Skirts have a real beefy flavor," he says.
The chef recommends shopping for a cut graded Choice or higher.
"Look for the outside, rather than the inside skirt if you can find it, it is a better cut," he says.
Preston Clark, Resto
111 E. 29th St., restonyc.com, 212-685-5585
Clark's meat-centric eatery Resto serves a $29 hanger steak alongside large steaks for two that top $100.
"I love hanger steak," he states unequivocally. "It has a great flavor and can be really tender if cooked properly."
Benny Pizzuco, Florence Prime Meat Market
5 Jones St., 212-242-6531
This shop dates back to 1936 and is the place where the Newport steak was created. Cut from the bottom butt section of the sirloin, it can be just as tender as NY strip because of the abundant marbling but it costs less than half the prime steak sold there -- $8.99 per pound, vs. over $24 for NY strips and rib eyes.
Marc Forgione, American Cut
563 Greenwich St., americancutsteakhouse.com
This Iron Chef's steakhouse serves a 10 oz. hanger steak for $32 that is basted in rendered dry-aged beef fat, giving it the flavor profile of his much more expensive steaks, but at a lower price.