Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Quality Eats

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Quality Eats

Article excerpt

TABLES FOR TWO

QUALITY EATS

19 Greenwich Ave. (212-337-9988)

Open weekdays for dinner and weekends for brunch and dinner. Entrees $17-$29.

The menu at this svelte new West Village restaurant reads like a glutton's day in Heaven, if such a thing were allowed: grilled bucheron cheese, Nueske's bacon with peanut butter and jalapeno jelly, creamed-spinach hush puppies, butternut brioche bread pudding. Then there are the steaks--bavette, coulotte, Don Ameche, each less than thirty dollars. They sound so exotic, and yet they are so cheap! What's going on here? The owners--partners at midtown's fine-dining mini-empire of Quality Meats, Quality Italian, and Park Avenue Winter (Spring, Summer, Autumn)--have decided to offer a true public service, by opening a relatively affordable steak house. When scrutinized, the economics of it are rather ingenious, and, paradoxically, somewhat compliant with the current edict to eat less meat. The heroic catch is that here, with the glamorous low-lit banquettes and the tasteful invitation to debauchery, you don't even notice.

Upon hearing the term "flap meat," you will understand why someone might want to sex it up with a name like bavette. At nineteen dollars, it's the cheapest steak on the menu; to eat it, you must chew, and chew. (This cut is a muscle toward the rear near the belly--the bottom sirloin butt, if only Letterman were still around to ask.) Chewiness is a common characteristic of the steaks, which also include the coulotte (denser than the bavette), a hangar, and a skirt. …

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