We haven’t had a meat-related national food holiday in quite a while; if you don’t count oysters as meat (and hardcore carnivores wouldn’t!) we haven’t celebrated meat since last month for National Hot Dog Month, and even then, the level of “meat” in a hot dog is suspect 😉 But no one can argue that there’s enough high-quality meat in a filet mignon–especially not on National Filet Mignon Day! The term “filet mignon is directly translated from the French to mean “dainty fillet,” named as such for the small amount of this special cut of meat that you can find on one cow at a time. The filet mignon is the small, tender forward end of the tenderloin, or the meat found along the spine of the animal. Because of the rarity and tenderness of this meat, it’s considered the most expensive cut on the entire cow. So if you’re eating a genuine filet mignon today, both your mouth and your wallet know it!
It’s tough to find the “best” cut of meat at a steakhouse in New York City, considering the sheer number of steakhouses in the boroughs, most of which are better than any restaurant you’ll find in the country. And when it comes to food items like a good steak, the restaurant isn’t so responsible for the finished product as the cattle farmer is, or the individual cow itself. So judging a good restaurant based on their steak comes down to the details, like how they cook and serve the steak, and if they use any spices or seasonings (or decide to let the cut of beef stand on its own flavor). When you look at those guidelines, you’ll find that Smith & Wollensky really excels at their filet mignon. Hand-cut in-house, their filet mignon is ordered exactly to your liking, and I don’t mean just the doneness of the steak: you can get it accomanied by crumbly Roquefort cheese, cajun dry rub spices, or their homemade steak sauce, which brings out smoky and sweet flavors of the meat. Or, you can just order your filet mignon plain and enjoy the tender juiciness of this perfectly cooked cut of meat. Like I said before, filet mignon is one of the most expensive cuts of meat from a cow, so plan to drop a few bills on a dinner here, especially if you add on creamed spinach, a baked potato, and a bottle of red–all required accessories to a decent steak. But the quality of the meat’s tenderness and flavor will make it all worth it.
Smith & Wollensky
797 3rd Ave (between 49th St & 50th St)
“Perfectly cooked to medium rare, the steak succumbed easily to the knife, and the flavors from the extra weeks of special aging in the Smith & Wollensky cellars filled the mouth. There are other meat dishes, too: The prime rib usually causes gasps as it arrives hanging off the edge of the plate, and the filet mignon is so thick and tall that you wonder what sized mammoth was slaughtered for you.”–Cigar Aficionado
“The dark green-and-white building on Third Ave is an NYC boys-club landmark and always a packed midtown lunch destination. There’s a formal white-table cloth dining room and a less-expensive grill room in front. Steaks are hand-cut and dry-aged in-house and filet Mignon comes in classic variations like au poivre and with Roquefort cheese.”–CBS New York
“-all of us ordered filet mignon as entree, to different done-ness. the steaks were brought to us in a huge platter and distributed table-side by Lin. i ordered mine to be cooked medium and it was perfectly cooked. (on a side note, my coworker, Liz ordered hers medium as well, but hers looked more medium rare than medium). the steak had a gorgeous sear on the outside and every bite was oh-so-tender. though filet mignon is a very lean cut, mine was juicy and delicious. a big hunk of quality steak and a dab of S&W’s house made steak sauce (sweet, smoky, and had bits of caramelized onions or shallots), it doesn’t get any better or carnivorous than this.”–Writing Is My Therapy
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“For the main entree, all of us ordered the filet mignon. Oh. My. Gosh. We were all quite enraptured with our entrees! The mean was so tender that it melted in your mouth, and the cut was absolutely perfect! To top it off, we were given potato dish on the house.”–Christie H.
“For entree I ordered a Filet Mignon. Many on my table of 8 did too, with various au poivre and other toppings. I ordered mine plain and ate it plain. I enjoyed it. It was tender and cut like butter.”–Katheryn M.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!