Why NYC’s Newest Steakhouse Will Only Serve One Cut of Beef
Chef Laurent Tourondel’s menu will only feature American Wagyu skirt steaks
A native of France, who received his first post in the kitchen cooking for the Admiral of the French Navy, chef Laurent Tourondel already has a number of successful restaurants in locations like Miami, Sag Harbor and London.
Already operating L’Amico and The Vine in New York City, Tourondel just added another restaurant to his portfolio, and its entire menu is build around a cut of steak that doesn’t usually make the cut at most high-end steakhouses.
A walk-in-only establishment (though they’ll take reservations for large groups), Skirt Steak will only serve customers American Wagyu cuts of its namesake skirt steaks in the restaurant’s signature sauce (a spin on black peppercorn) alongside market greens, hand-cut French fries and a chef-selected seasonal vegetable. (For secret menu items, ask Tourondel.)
Though the restaurant is new, the concept behind Skirt Steak and its limited menu actually dates back more than 75 years, according to Tourondel.
“The concept of a single-item restaurant started in Europe after World War II when food was scarce,” he tells InsideHook. “People would open restaurants that focused on one singular item done exceptionally well. I thought it was a cool concept. I’ve traveled a lot and seen some similar concepts in different parts of the world. They always intrigued me. I decided this type of concept would also work in New York City, and I think now, with the impact COVID-19 has had on the industry, it’s the right time to launch this. It’s a casual and quick dining experience that still delivers on quality. We aren’t trying to be super innovative, we’re just trying to give people a really great French fry, salad and steak.”
And for the last part of that trifecta, Tourondel went with American Wagyu skirt steak for a pair of reasons.
“First, I chose American Wagyu skirt steak because it’s a very flavorful cut of meat and something everyone can enjoy. Second, skirt is a classic American cut that matches the focus of my concept. Most consumers know of it because it tends to be a quality cut of meat that remains affordable. Skirt is an extremely thin cut that can only be prepared correctly in a few ways. It can be grilled, pan-seared on the stovetop or stir-fried. The texture is juicy and it’s one of the tastiest cuts of meat, despite being a bit thinner and tougher than other cuts. When it’s done right, it’s incredibly delicious and one of the best bites of steak you can get.”
One of the reasons Tourondel is feeling particularly stoked about the sizzle in his steak is that he’s sourcing his American Wagyu from the well known independent network of U.S. family farmers and ranchers known as Niman Ranch.
“Niman Ranch’s farmers and ranchers raise livestock humanely and sustainably to deliver the finest-tasting meat in the world,” Tourondel tells InsideHook. “All the animals are raised outdoors or in deeply bedded pens, and they lead the industry in sustainable and humane agricultural practices. Their raising protocols were developed with the help of animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin and are among the strictest in the industry. Their animals are also never given antibiotics or added hormones — ever — and are only fed a high-quality, 100 percent vegetarian diet.”
It’s a simple approach focused on delivering the highest quality experience. “When you eliminate the need to pore over a menu,” he says, “you create more time for quality time with family and friends. Skirt Steak minimizes the debate about ‘What should we eat and share?’ and places the focus on being present with your fellow diners.”
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