There's a new, skinny chef and a new, skinny GM at Seattle's venerable Metropolitan Grill. Not really new, but newly trim. Eric Hellner, the executive chef, has gone from Chicago-style beefy to Men's Health fit; ditto for the head man, Josh Anderson. Hellner told me he'd lost 85 pounds, but that was a month ago. More like 100 now. Time to get fitted for a new chef's coat, I'd say.
But hey, the headline promised meat, so meat it is. First, the Iberico di Bellota pork. It's a smaller animal than the more familiar kubota, but the Met doesn't skimp on product, so the pork chop is a sizable chunk, with nutty, herbal flavors. If you didn't know, you'd swear it was beef. Except that it's only $48.
Sticker shock? Well, the restaurant has just launched a new program, Metropolitan Grill Prime, that uses cattle from the 60,000-acre Double R Ranch in Okanogan County. The filet mignon is $73, the New York strip loin is $65. I'd opt for the New York (which is more flavorful) over the filet (which is more tender). But steak knives aren't needed for either cut. And, because it's locally produced, the price is no different from what it was when the beef came from Idaho or Nebraska.
Steaks are hot these days, and getting the best meat isn't easy. In addition to rising prices for beef, there's also the increased pressure on ranchers from folks like Temple Grandin to design more humane slaughtering facilities, which Double-R's parent company, AgriBeef, fully supports.
Hellner's happy to have AgriBeef's first-ever "branded" program for his prime beef, though he'll still get Wagyu from Snake River Farms, and the Iberico from western Spain. What about some meat on his own bones, though?