I was in search of meat; steak, to be exact.
I have not cooked a steak since moving to New Orleans last year. Avoiding red meat was not my intention, but being in a new city with a busy schedule and no knowledge of any local butchers resulted in a steak hiatus. It was time to hear the sizzle of beef on my stove. It was long overdue and my girlfriend has consistently said that steak is her favorite food; I finally got the hint.
Armed with the greatest source of peer reviews at my disposal, I turned to Facebook to solicit feedback from fellow New Orleanians. I posed the question, “Who is the best butcher in New Orleans?”
Within minutes I had comments and text messages from friends eager to send my business to their butcher of choice. My friend and fellow “at-home chef” sent a message saying nothing more than, “Cleaver & Co. organic butcher go there.” I had heard of Clever & Co. previously and thus concluded my search.
We pulled up to Cleaver & Co. around 6 PM, an hour before closing. Greeted by a friendly staff willing to assist in my quest for the perfect slab of beef, I began discussing the nuances of the local, farm-raised cattle with the butcher. Coming around the counter, he carried a rack of beautiful red meat. He explained to me the pros and cons of the various thicknesses of a ribeye. I settled on two slices, each 1 ¼ inches thick, and headed home anxious to get this meat on some heat.
Arriving home from the Uptown butcher, I immediately headed to the kitchen. After taking care of some serious prep work — pouring two glasses of wine — I seasoned the steaks with only salt and pepper. I wanted this organic beef hailing from New Iberia to speak for itself, without any camouflage of seasoning. The flame beneath my cast-iron skillet was cranked high and the searing of the meat was like music to my ears. Flipping the ribeyes only once, I felt confident that my girlfriend would surely be pleased by these medium-rare beauties.
I plated the steaks with sides of baked sweet potato and asparagus, then placed one in front of her. As my girlfriend’s knife sliced the ribeye, the inside revealed a delectable, juicy red that any carnivore would happily devour. By the time we had cleaned our plates, I knew that my journey for the perfect steak would now begin and end on Baronne Street.