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Lobel's USDA Prime, dry-aged, bone-in strip steaks

Lobel's USDA Prime, dry-aged, bone-in strip steaks
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  • Lobel's USDA Prime, dry-aged, bone-in strip steaks

    Post #1 - May 7th, 2007, 2:17 am
    Post #1 - May 7th, 2007, 2:17 am Post #1 - May 7th, 2007, 2:17 am
    Well, I haven't been looking forward to making this follow-up post but here goes...

    Just about as soon as I'd figured out that I'd be able to make a quick trip to the States over Easter, I started looking at making an order with Lobel's meats. I found Lobels.compretty early on in my Internet food explorations and have been waiting years to try them. Heck, I know the site inside out and have even been instrumental in a few gifts been ordered through them so I was pretty excited with this opportunity.

    After a little negotiating with my father and brother, we settled on 3 20 oz. bone-in, dry-aged strip steaks. The price? Well, we're talkin' Lobel's beef, here... It's not without a little embarrassment that I type: 190.00 bucks (including shipping). But, heck, we had reason to celebrate, we all love good steaks and we decided to bite the bullet. We made the order a few weeks in advance, arranged for a Good Friday delivery and started anticipating.

    Sure enough, around 10:00 a.m. on Good Friday, 2007 a beautiful box appeared on my father's doorstep. We opened it expecting to see three examples of the finest dry-aged beef available in the United States.

    Here's what we saw:

    Image

    Now, this picture's got a little unfortunate glare but perhaps you get the overall impression. I was underwhelmed. They didn't have the knock-out effect I was expecting. One of the steaks (on the right) looked a little anemic, there was a decent amount of fat that hadn't been trimmed (that's suet priced at just under 60 bucks a pound, mind you...), the marbling was kind-of, well, chunky and meat itself even looked a little strange - sort of grainy and with small pockets or holes in it.

    And this was the state they were in after a few days loosely covered with butcher's paper in the refridgerator. I won't even start on how they looked coming out of their vacuum-sealed packaging...

    But, I still wanted to give them a chance.

    Come Saturday, it was time to show the wares to my brother and think about putting them on the grill. His initial reaction was probably about the same as mine. On a whim and as I was working on the rest of our dinner, I got out my father's digital scale and set each of the steaks on it.

    How Lobel's 20 oz., dry-aged, bone-in strip weighs in:

    (edited to include: Please read the subsequent posts in this thread for clarification regarding the correct reading of this scale.)

    Image

    Assuming that this was an unfortunate fluke, we weighed no. 2:

    Image

    And no. 3:

    Image

    Not good.

    I will give Lobel's this: they've got decent customer service. One call (with one follow-up a few days later) and we'd gotten a no-questions-asked 50 dollar refund. We actually took the scale pictures in anticipation of hassles. However, some (more) damage was unfortunately done.

    We did our best treatment nonetheless:

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Served with asparagus, green beans, roasted potatoes and homemade bearnaise and bordelaise sauces:

    Image

    It's difficult for me to objectively judge these steaks. They had quite a few strikes going against them by this time. The price alone nearly makes ones expectations impossible to meet. When this is compounded by being shipped and charged for a steak that is two sizes smaller than what we'd ordered* and the overall so-so appearance, well, I suppose you could say that I didn't want to like these steaks.

    And I didn't. Not really, at least. The thing that really got me was the texture. I found these steaks to be grainy and/or mealy. I wasn't blown away by any dry-aged flavor, either. I frankly saw nor tasted any difference between these steaks and the dry-aged steaks I've purchased from Whole Foods and Fox & Obel several times and for about one third of the cost. Good, even great steaks but 60.00 bucks/pound steaks? Not in my book.

    So, please take the for what it is: one guy's experience with purchasing this beef one time. I'm convinced that Lobel's can do better but honestly won't be giving their mail-order business another chance. I'll save my money until I get the opportunity to visit their actual Manhatten store (where a combination of personal customer service and my own eye when choosing steaks would hopefully alleviate many of these problems).
    Last edited by Bridgestone on May 9th, 2007, 1:54 am, edited 4 times in total.
  • Post #2 - May 7th, 2007, 3:48 am
    Post #2 - May 7th, 2007, 3:48 am Post #2 - May 7th, 2007, 3:48 am
    Did this meat arrive frozen? It's long been my belief that frozen meat can often have the sort of mealy texture you describe. I won't have it in my house.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - May 7th, 2007, 4:38 am
    Post #3 - May 7th, 2007, 4:38 am Post #3 - May 7th, 2007, 4:38 am
    They didn't arrive frozen, stevez and certainly aren't marketed as such. They came shipped in plenty of styrofoam and with some frozen-gel type packs.

    The individual steaks were vacuum-packed though and they looked truly miserable immediately upon opening. Luckily, I took them out and then left them loosely wrapped in butcher's paper in the refridgerator for a night or two...
  • Post #4 - May 7th, 2007, 6:13 am
    Post #4 - May 7th, 2007, 6:13 am Post #4 - May 7th, 2007, 6:13 am
    I"ve never bought steaks from Lobel's. I buy most of mine from Allen Brother's and have always been satisfied. Even with the ones that are frozen. I do thaw them slowly in the refrigerator.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #5 - May 7th, 2007, 8:40 am
    Post #5 - May 7th, 2007, 8:40 am Post #5 - May 7th, 2007, 8:40 am
    I have only purchased Wagyu beef from Lobel's was always impressed with the quality. At that time it was fresh from Australia. Lobel's since sources thier Wagyu in the US. Since this is an agricultural product, any supplier will not be consistant as one would like from order to order. I would email Lobel's with pics and your feelings. I'm sure they would like to know.
    BTW, the best dry aged beef I know of available in the US comes from Zier's in Wilmette.-Dick
  • Post #6 - May 7th, 2007, 3:47 pm
    Post #6 - May 7th, 2007, 3:47 pm Post #6 - May 7th, 2007, 3:47 pm
    budrichard wrote:BTW, the best dry aged beef I know of available in the US comes from Zier's in Wilmette.-Dick


    I'll second that---Zier's is my current fave for "special event" Prime beef. We had some outstanding dry-aged boneless ribeyes from them last week. At $ 22 per pound it is a real deal compared to Allen Brothers / Lobel's / Peter Luger.

    It also feels good to give the small local guy some business--
  • Post #7 - May 7th, 2007, 4:11 pm
    Post #7 - May 7th, 2007, 4:11 pm Post #7 - May 7th, 2007, 4:11 pm
    cito wrote:
    budrichard wrote:BTW, the best dry aged beef I know of available in the US comes from Zier's in Wilmette.-Dick


    I'll second that---Zier's is my current fave for "special event" Prime beef. We had some outstanding dry-aged boneless ribeyes from them last week. At $ 22 per pound it is a real deal compared to Allen Brothers / Lobel's / Peter Luger.

    It also feels good to give the small local guy some business--


    Address please?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #8 - May 7th, 2007, 4:28 pm
    Post #8 - May 7th, 2007, 4:28 pm Post #8 - May 7th, 2007, 4:28 pm
    stevez wrote:
    cito wrote:
    budrichard wrote:BTW, the best dry aged beef I know of available in the US comes from Zier's in Wilmette.-Dick


    I'll second that---Zier's is my current fave for "special event" Prime beef. We had some outstanding dry-aged boneless ribeyes from them last week. At $ 22 per pound it is a real deal compared to Allen Brothers / Lobel's / Peter Luger.

    It also feels good to give the small local guy some business--


    Address please?





    Zier's Prime Meats & Poultry

    (847) 251-4000

    813 Ridge Rd
    Wilmette, IL 60091
  • Post #9 - May 8th, 2007, 10:26 am
    Post #9 - May 8th, 2007, 10:26 am Post #9 - May 8th, 2007, 10:26 am
    I definitely agree 100% on Zier's. Dave's got the most consistent supply of high-quality, Prime, aged beef that I've found. It's aged in-house for 21 days and is normally exceedingly well-marbled.

    I've posted quite a bit about it here.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #10 - May 8th, 2007, 12:01 pm
    Post #10 - May 8th, 2007, 12:01 pm Post #10 - May 8th, 2007, 12:01 pm
    I agree that the steaks dont look great, but what is the problem with the weight? Isnt 1 pound and 4 1/2 oz the same as 20 1/2 oz? They are all marginally overweight.

    -Will
  • Post #11 - May 8th, 2007, 12:13 pm
    Post #11 - May 8th, 2007, 12:13 pm Post #11 - May 8th, 2007, 12:13 pm
    WillG wrote:I agree that the steaks dont look great, but what is the problem with the weight? Isnt 1 pound and 4 1/2 oz the same as 20 1/2 oz? They are all marginally overweight.

    -Will


    That'd be a pound and 5/100ths of a pound... or 16 and 8/10ths of an ounce... just under 17 ounces.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #12 - May 8th, 2007, 1:32 pm
    Post #12 - May 8th, 2007, 1:32 pm Post #12 - May 8th, 2007, 1:32 pm
    Looking at that scale, and at the owner's manual for the scale here, I wonder if by any chance it might be pounds and ounces. I do notice, for example, that that's what it appears to say on the front of the scale. It would explain a lot. Do you have something else you can weigh on the scale for a cross-check?
  • Post #13 - May 8th, 2007, 1:37 pm
    Post #13 - May 8th, 2007, 1:37 pm Post #13 - May 8th, 2007, 1:37 pm
    Except that the scale appears to measure in pounds and ounces, with fractional ounces shown off on the side. It doesn't seem to be hundredths of ounces, unless there's some sort of special switch that allows a change.

    So it appears the steaks were the correct weight.
  • Post #14 - May 8th, 2007, 1:40 pm
    Post #14 - May 8th, 2007, 1:40 pm Post #14 - May 8th, 2007, 1:40 pm
    First of all, I don't think those steaks look great...and with Lobel's, or anywhere at that price, you should get something that looks and is a much more high quality piece of meat. Lobel's has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best, but this was not indicative of what I have had from them.

    That being said, as WillG indicated above, I don't think there is a problem with the weight. It would be my best guess that the scale you are using is not reading pounds and hundreths of a pound, but rather as labeled on the scale pound and ounces. so your 3 steaks are 21, 20 and 20 ounces.
    Bob in RSM, CA...yes, I know, it's a long way from Chicago
  • Post #15 - May 8th, 2007, 1:44 pm
    Post #15 - May 8th, 2007, 1:44 pm Post #15 - May 8th, 2007, 1:44 pm
    RSMBob wrote:First of all, I don't think those steaks look great . . .

    I agree that the marbelling could be better but just assumed that the camera may not have captured it completely.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #16 - May 8th, 2007, 5:33 pm
    Post #16 - May 8th, 2007, 5:33 pm Post #16 - May 8th, 2007, 5:33 pm
    WillG wrote:I agree that the steaks dont look great, but what is the problem with the weight? Isnt 1 pound and 4 1/2 oz the same as 20 1/2 oz? They are all marginally overweight.

    Will,

    If you look close the scale says pounds / ounces. The top steak weighted in at 1-lb and .05-oz, that's 16-1/2oz, not 20-oz. Even if the Lobel steaks were at weight, which they were not, they did not appear to be $60 (each) steaks marbling and trim wise.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - May 8th, 2007, 5:52 pm
    Post #17 - May 8th, 2007, 5:52 pm Post #17 - May 8th, 2007, 5:52 pm
    Actually, I think it's not really clear at all whether they were 1.04 pounds or 1 pounds, 4 oz.

    Two of the pictures show 1.04, but one shows "1.04 1/4" and one shows "1.04 1/2".

    Is the scale really telling us 1.0425 and 1.045 lbs?

    That said, it's really impossible to know, and I have faith Bridgestone and his family know how to use and read their own scale.

    Regardless, given the advertised quality of the meat and the quality of what Bridgestone received, I think $50 is the least Lobel's could offer as compensation.

    What they advertised:

    Image
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #18 - May 8th, 2007, 6:13 pm
    Post #18 - May 8th, 2007, 6:13 pm Post #18 - May 8th, 2007, 6:13 pm
    gleam wrote:Actually, I think it's not really clear at all whether they were 1.04 pounds or 1 pounds, 4 oz.

    Seems clear to me

    Image

    gleam wrote:That said, it's really impossible to know, and I have faith Bridgestone and his family know how to use and read their own scale.

    As do I.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #19 - May 8th, 2007, 9:12 pm
    Post #19 - May 8th, 2007, 9:12 pm Post #19 - May 8th, 2007, 9:12 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    gleam wrote:Actually, I think it's not really clear at all whether they were 1.04 pounds or 1 pounds, 4 oz.

    Seems clear to me



    I used to have a scale similar to that one, although not exactly that model. It's a real stupid design. If the Terraillon is like my old scale (and my guess is that it is), the measurement pictured is 1 lb 4 1/2 ounces, not 1 lb .04 oz. The decimal is used as a separator--otherwise, you'd get the LCD displaying ridiculous numbers like 115 for 1 lb 15 oz. One can quickly check if this scale operates the same way. If you can't get more than a "15" on the right side of the decimal, then it's pounds on left, ounces on right, and the decimal is just there to separate the two numbers.

    Also raising my suspicions is the fact that I can't think of a kitchen scale with a precision down to a .005 oz (or about a seventh of a gram.)

    edit: didn't notice it goes down to a 1/4 measurement. That would mean it has a precision down to .0025 oz, or about 1/14 of a gram. The Terraillon website itself specifies a precision down to 1 gram. I'm positive the reading means 1 lb 4 1/2 oz.
    Last edited by Binko on May 8th, 2007, 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #20 - May 8th, 2007, 9:28 pm
    Post #20 - May 8th, 2007, 9:28 pm Post #20 - May 8th, 2007, 9:28 pm
    For once, the following isn't geeky but, in fact, useful: I'm an electrical engineer presently working for a major scale distributor and service facility serving greater Chicago.

    While I don't have any direct knowledge of that particular scale, quarter ounce graduations is probably about right for a scale of that class. Thousandths or five-ten thousanths grads with an eleven pound capacity is quite unlikely. I've never seen a scale that mixed decimal pounds and fractional ounces.

    The test would be to gently apply pressure to the platter and see if the decimals roll over at 15 & 3/4.

    **On preview, Binko's firsthand knowledge trumps my conjecture. Legal for trade scales are taken pretty seriously, especially for mail order items.
  • Post #21 - May 9th, 2007, 1:49 am
    Post #21 - May 9th, 2007, 1:49 am Post #21 - May 9th, 2007, 1:49 am
    Wow! A guy goes to sleep for one night and see what happens!

    I'm willing to accept that Terrailon has a phenomenally flawed, non-layman-friendly scale design and that Lobel's has much better than "decent" customer service (in that they gave me a 50 dollar refund for a nonexistent problem). It was my first and only time using the scale, I've got a genetic disposition to ignore instruction manuals and I suppose it wasn't as idiot-proof as it looked (and my scale at home is).

    In the wondeful nature of LTHForum, some scale-reading experts have stepped forward and offered guidance. I can't test the scale as I'm currently about 4,300 miles away from it. Let's say that the steaks were, in fact, 20 (plus) ounces.

    I apologize to Lobel's and the Board. Lobel's has incredible customer service.

    However and in my book, these steaks still didn't hold their own.

    Based on my single experience with the quality of Lobel's USDA Prime, dry-aged beef, I'll be following the recommendations for other purveyors of this type of product that have been mentioned in this thread. My single experience says that, for me, the quality of Lobel's product does not justify their extra cost.

    I initally wrote that I was reluctant to post this and I'm starting to realize why. It looks like I/my family made a dumb mistake and I'm generally uncomfortable penning this type of negative post. I normally like to keep my posts nerdy, postive, Swedish and informative. Once again, please take this post for what it was: one person's (somewhat flawed) single experience with Lobel's products. If you've ordered Lobel's and enjoyed it, please don't let this one guy's experience change that!
  • Post #22 - May 9th, 2007, 10:57 am
    Post #22 - May 9th, 2007, 10:57 am Post #22 - May 9th, 2007, 10:57 am
    I don't think anyone has to feel stupid, here. The problem is our idiotic refusal to switch to the metric system. If the scale were weighing in kilograms and grams (as I suspect your scale at home is), the decimal wouldn't be confusing at all.
  • Post #23 - May 9th, 2007, 11:25 am
    Post #23 - May 9th, 2007, 11:25 am Post #23 - May 9th, 2007, 11:25 am
    Not to mention, the weight issue was of much less import to me than the fact that the steaks just didn't taste good enough to justify the price.
  • Post #24 - May 9th, 2007, 11:41 am
    Post #24 - May 9th, 2007, 11:41 am Post #24 - May 9th, 2007, 11:41 am
    Yes, exactly, the weight issue is secondary to the fact that Lobel's didn't deliver to Bridgestone what they promised: well-trimmed, well-marbled meat. He deserved at least the refund he got, if not more.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #25 - May 11th, 2007, 8:58 am
    Post #25 - May 11th, 2007, 8:58 am Post #25 - May 11th, 2007, 8:58 am
    Just got off the the phone with Terraillon. Terraillon left the US market in 2003, (wonder why?) and is just back in the market a few months ago, so no information on the scale used.
    It does seem clear that the scale reads unconventionally and the steaks are 20 oz.
    My Ohaus CS5000 is a 5KG scale with English conversion and reads out in #'s and oz's or grams and KG's with no decimal seperator.
    In any event, if not satisfied with the quality contact Lobels which you did.
    -Dick
  • Post #26 - May 11th, 2007, 9:31 am
    Post #26 - May 11th, 2007, 9:31 am Post #26 - May 11th, 2007, 9:31 am
    So far, I've kept quiet on this one. We go through a lot of prime dry aged strip steaks at the club. These steaks in question are not picture perfect, but definately qualify as lower end of acceptability of prime beef, IMO.

    Not the best ever, but still looking mighty fine. As far as the trimming goes, you will not find a more closely trimmed steak at any major Chicago steak house. I actually enjoy that fatty part off to the side, known as the "lip".

    :twisted:
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #27 - May 11th, 2007, 9:49 am
    Post #27 - May 11th, 2007, 9:49 am Post #27 - May 11th, 2007, 9:49 am
    budrichard wrote:It does seem clear that the scale reads unconventionally and the steaks are 20 oz.

    Not to be a nudge, but, no it does not seem clear, at least not to me.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #28 - May 11th, 2007, 1:22 pm
    Post #28 - May 11th, 2007, 1:22 pm Post #28 - May 11th, 2007, 1:22 pm
    I need to ask, Is it really worth $50-$60.00/lb. for prime, dry-aged beef?
    I wouldn't say I'm a professional chef...only at home :wink: , but I'm a pretty good judge when it comes to beef.
    For about $8.00/lb. I can get choice, dry-aged NY Strip from Whittingham's in Alsip! I have had only one issue with a whole strip loin and they quickly gave me another whole strip loin hand picked at no charge! That's what keeps me going there.

    Whittingham's
    708-388-1650
  • Post #29 - May 12th, 2007, 8:12 am
    Post #29 - May 12th, 2007, 8:12 am Post #29 - May 12th, 2007, 8:12 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    budrichard wrote:It does seem clear that the scale reads unconventionally and the steaks are 20 oz.

    Not to be a nudge, but, no it does not seem clear, at least not to me.


    If you look closely at the display you will clearly see that the readout is first in pounds in decimal format i.e 1.0, then comes ounces given as the number of ounces and a fraction. The displays shown clearly show 1/2oz in one picture and in another case 1/4oz or maybe 3/4oz, it just is not clear enough. Looking at the readout, on the left is lb and on the right is oz, indicating the split readout. The scale readout cannot work any other way because there would be no provision for an oz readout other than a fraction. Considering the other interpretation, one would have the scale measuring 1.04 lb and 1/2oz. Doesn't make sense. I also believe that Lobel's would not supply items grossely underweight i.e 16oz versas the 20oz quoted on the website.
    The total scale capacity is shown as 11 pound which is just a 5KG scale converted to English units. The conversion is quite convoluted and not what we are used to seeing but that's the way the scale reads.-Dick
  • Post #30 - May 18th, 2007, 10:34 am
    Post #30 - May 18th, 2007, 10:34 am Post #30 - May 18th, 2007, 10:34 am
    As I mentioned above, Zier's Prime Meats in Wilmette offers great, dry-aged product at a fraction of Lobel's price. Rather than dilute this thread, I've started a new thread about it -- with some images -- here.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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