by Steven Doyle
Last evening John Tesar hosted a group of media types from around the DFW area to check out his new digs at Knife located in the Hotel Palomar. We were all plenty excited, and the group was much larger than you might expect for a pre-opening sneak peek. It is always fantastic to chat up the ever charming chef Tesar as he spins his tales in expert mode. He is always excited, and his eyes grow larger when he has something terrific to discuss. Last night it was about beef.
Knife, which will open possibly May 15, 2014, is all about the meat. Just as Tesar’s other highfalutin restaurant Spoon is all about seafood, which he does ever-so-deftly, the chef now gets to play with beef. Not long after arriving, Tesar moved me towards the front of the building, where the entrance is located and the doorway just underneath the newly installed signage for Knife. As you make your way into the front door you will notice a small room with a large view. It was empty last night, but the little apartment will play host to aging beef when the restaurant finally opens for business. Here you will be able to peer in and spot your dinner; in this case we are talking the holy grail of beef: the 240-day dry-aged riserva rib eye. 240 freaking days. That is nearly 200 days longer than your average dry aged steak you will find in Dallas.
In fact, this length of dry aging is quite the phenomenon. As Tesar pointed out, Mario Batali has been doing this steak at his Las Vegas restaurant Carnevo, which has had plenty of attention. Tesar explained that when aging you desire a white mold. This is the same mold found on most of your aged charcuterie. It is a healthy mold, and gives the meat a certain tang reminiscent of a nice bleu cheese. During the aging process Tesar said he will lose about a third of the meat, mostly water weight. As you cut into this steak you will not be bothered with a mess of blood-letting. Instead, you will enjoy a perfectly moist and complex cut of beef, the likes you have never sampled. This all comes at a cost of $100 an inch, just a few dollars shy of what Batali is charging his fans in Vegas.
I probably lost some of you with the mention of the riserva rib eye price tag, but I can assure you that this steak is large enough for several committed carnivores to enjoy. In fact, with the addition of sides and possibly another menu item or two, the steak is extremely sharable. You will want to taste this delicious steak, and if served like Batali it will be sliced tableside with the addition of nothing more than a very good fleur de sel.
If your wallet is thinner than what a $100 steak will allow, do not despair, Tesar has you covered. There will be plenty offered in what the chef called “prime off-cuts”. These are portions of the cow that are not as popular such as he ribeye and filet. These are also the most flavorful cuts of beef, and Tesar has big plans for them. But mostly think that they will cut like their more expensive cousins, but with a very affordable price tag.
In addition, if you just wanted to soak up the atmosphere, you could drop by Knife for a house-made hot dog or brat. I am sure the experience will exceed Tesar standards, but your eyes will be on your neighbor’s riserva.