Back in October last year I shared with you my excitement at finding a new butchers in the neighbourhood. My lamb craving suitably sated, I then broadened my meat search to include good steak. And no, my life doesn’t revolve around food – honestly – but one thing I miss about living in America is the availability of prime rib.
Beef is hard to buy in Hungary – in all the years I’ve been shopping here, only once did I buy something that came even close to what I’d get in a restaurant. And I rarely order steak in restaurants here because a) it’s so pricey and b) it’s a gamble.
I like to see my meat before I buy it and am well capable of rhapsodising over a loin of pork or a shoulder of lamb. So I have to be admit to being a little dubious when ordering steak from Prime Cuts, a relatively new enterprise in Budapest, with Canadian Rob Longworth at the helm. I’m not sure why I feel the need to mention that he’s Canadian – perhaps because I suspect that North Americans have an innate respect for beef that some other cultures lack. Anyway, my uncertainty was due to the fact that I would be ordering blind – I wouldn’t get to see the meat first. Mind you, as Rob so rightly points out on his website, even seeing what Hungary’s meat counters have to offer is no guarantee of quality.
While I could dissect a lamb in my sleep, I’m pretty clueless when it comes to beef. I simply don’t know my cuts at all. So I turned to another North American for advice and armed with this expertise, emailed Rob my order:
- Some Australian rib eye (bone in)
- Some Irish rib eye (bone out)
- Some US Black Angus rib eye (bone out)
- Some Kansas Black Angus (bone in)
The process was painless. I had a confirmation delivery note back the same day with the cost/weight of each item listed individually. (I like to see where my money is going.) It was more or less what I’d expect to pay for steaks in Ireland so I was happy enough. I know Rob. I know he knows his food (he’s been in the restaurant business for eons). And I know where he lives. So, all things considered, I was confident enough that the meat would be okay at least.
When it arrived (delivered to my kitchen, no less) I did get to rhapsodise at the marbling. And having grown used to boneless meat here in Budapest, I was already salivating at the thoughts of chewing those bones clean. So far, so good. I’d also ordered a couple of t-bones (just for the hell of it, to be saved for another occasion) and got a short lesson in the different steak cuts. I can now tell my porterhouse from my t-bone (every day’s a school day!)
To alleviate any possibility of bias, I invited people over who profess to know their meat but don’t know Rob. And we (I use the Royal ‘we’ here) BBQ’d. We had a taste test. And everyone was impressed. It’s amazing how expert people become when challenged to give an opinion. Individual preferences aside, all the rib eyes rated at least 8/10 with the Australian fare coming out on top. Everyone there wanted Rob’s number. Not a bad result.
Personally, I like a man who delivers on his promise. I’ve put Rob’s number on speed dial and am already fantasising about the prime rib I hope he can source for me…