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July 12, 2001

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Charlie Palmer's Steak




I tried, I really tried to concentrate solely on inexpensive and locally-owned places for the rest of this year, and true to my word the next few weeks will feature reviews on some mighty fine local joints that serve up some serious bang for the buck. But there is an extraordinary experience to be had at the Four Seasons these days, and it would be a disservice to all you winos, foodies and chowhounds not to mention it.

Now I’ve always been a big fan of the Four Seasons…I mean what’s not to like? The place smells better than any hotel I’ve ever been in, has great valley parking and the service is so good that at least five people welcome you before you hit the front door. Best of all—it may have the best steakhouse, and the best steak, in town right now. Charlie Palmer’s STEAK is the name of this subterranean joint, but the name doesn’t tell half the story.

What I mean is—this is a beef emporium that even seafooders can love. How they get such plump and flavorful shellfish in July is anyone’s guess, but no one in town comes close to the sparkling briny freshness of the shrimp, lobsters, oysters and clams that are artfully brought to table atop a giant platter of shaved ice…it’s the best summertime meal I know…and even at sixty bucks for two is a bargain for quality this high…

But these wonders of the deep were only a prelude to a cut of meat that carnivores crave…what I’m referring to is the hangar steak…called the onglet by the French…a rough diaphragm muscle resembling a flank steak, that is so full of flavor that one bite and you’ll swear off that tried and trite bone-in rib-eye forever. Combine these standouts with a creative menu, wonderful side dishes, good bread, and a great wine list, and meat eaters (and their fish loving dates) never had it so good. For now anyway, I’m dissin’ you Delmonico, and pre-empting you Prime, ‘cuz there’s no better beef in town right now than hangin’ with a hangar steak at my homeboy Charlie’s.

See discussion rules.


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