Tag Archives: excellent steaks

Flatiron Steak (Oola, SF)

Flatiron Steak

Flatiron Steak at Oola, SF
Flatiron Steak at Oola, SF

A flatiron steak is usually compared to skirt or flank steak, but it’s actually a better cut that tends to be much more tender than either. When it’s properly done, it can be great. It’s a cut with nice marbling from the beef shoulder (chuck), and sometimes called “top blade,” a reference to its blade-like shape. The shape resembles a flatiron.  (For more about this cut, visit Certified Angus Beef and click on the “chuck” portion of the diagram halfway down the screen.) 

At $28, Oola’s flatiron steak is priced on par with more expensive steak cuts, but it is definitely the best flatiron steak I’ve eaten in 2009. Baring its flesh like a fashionable summer sunburn, the grilled slices skate up from a pond of peppercorn gravy: simply sumptuous morsels. The peppercorn sauce is wonderful, both rich and surprisingly light. The potato gratin is also great, and well-balanced with cheese that’s mild and doesn’t show up the beef. Again, Chef Ola Fendert takes something that is often traditionally heavy and lightens it without sacrificing any flavor. Some grilled asparagus spears add a jolt of crunch and color. 

The waitress kindly shared that Oola’s medium rare is a bit more rare than usual, which I’ve found to be how French and French-trained chefs interpret medium rare. I recommend the flatiron medium rare (as shown).

The Grade: Excellent

The Damage: $28

The Inside Tip: 

Don’t order a flatiron steak past medium or you will lose the juicy flavors; go for rare to medium-rare.

The Skinny: Oola Restaurant & Bar

860 Folsom Street (between 4th St & 5th St)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 995-2061
Website: http://www.oola-sf.com/

Make reservations at Oola directly via OpenTable.com

Steak Frites (Monk’s Kettle, SF)

Steak Frites

Steak Frites - Monk's Kettle, SF
Steak Frites - Monk's Kettle, SF

A good steak frites is the French man’s answer to hungry lunching. It’s a simple dish, the French bistro take on meat-and-potatoes, get-the-job-done. Monk’s Kettle serves up a very tempting steak frites, with a giant leafy forest of greens.

This skirt steak’s a juicy little Angus (Nature Well), cooked to order (medium-well or bust), and nicely portioned. But red wine shallot butter and demi-glace give the beef quite a pronounced pounce. This steak frites has a bit more attitude than most; it’s an excellent version. The fries are thin and crisp, nicely done, reminiscent of the addictive, McDonald’s variety.

Steak Frites (thick detail) - Monk's Kettle, SF
Steak Frites (thick detail) - Monk's Kettle, SF

The Spot: Monk’s Kettle

Aside from a lovely steak frites, Monk’s Kettle is one of the best places in San Francisco Bay Area to sample an astounding array of beers. Their 24 draught taps change 3 to 5 times weekly. The beer menu itself is 6 legal-sized pages listing (and explaining) a worldwide variety of familiars and odds, with prices that range from your low-budge suds (PBR and such) to party-like-a-rock-star froth (including champenoise-style beers that set you back between $45 and $60 for 12 oz.). The staff is authentically friendly, very knowledgeable about the beers they have, and enjoy helping folks match their flavor palette or dare into new territory. If you’re no pork chopper, just go by for a beer sometime.

Get your Belgian beer on: Monk's Kettle
Get your Belgian beer on: Monk's Kettle

The Grade: Excellent

The Damage: $21.50

The Skinny: Monk’s Kettle

3141 – 16th Street, San Francisco (between Valencia & Guerrero Streets)
Phone: (415) 865-9523
Website: http://www.monkskettle.com