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75: New York Strip with Trumpet Royale Mushrooms from Sparks

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Beef. It gives us the opportunity to unleash our inner caveman, to let the animal within have his way and feel the entire force of carnal urges. When one succumbs to the lure of a hunk of red meat, it ought to be big, profound, and serious. Taken only with a Riedel of Cab, this is grown-up eating.

See also: 76: Lobster and Eggs from Eat Street Social

The gentlemen of Sparks are taking full advantage of their access to a wood-fired pizza oven by cooking skillet entrees in that oven, because fire = smoke = meats.

The New York Strip is a tender cut, but not ribeye or tenderloin tender. No, this is more of a workhorse cut, something with a little chew as a reminder of what we've embarked on -- this is refinement meets substance.

Mushrooms and beef are natural bedfellows -- but not like peanut butter and jelly or chocolate and salt. This pairing is not about foil; instead it's about punctuation, like putting on red lipstick with your red sex-me dress.

Black trumpet mushrooms aren't your mama's button 'shrooms either -- these are stand-up-and-look-at-me numbers, long like a stogie. And like a stogie, these mushrooms are smoked, so now you're eating the seasoning of the gods -- elemental, yet complex as nature itself.

A blood-red lacquer of port-wine demi glace offers a sweet touch of harmony, but not too much -- it's still dry and tart. A tangle of kale pops bright on the plate, but it's bitter on the palate, cutting through all the umami like a blade.

This is masculine stuff -- it's the Drakkar Noir, the peaty scotch, the musky leather of meals.

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