I had a customer recently ask me about a menu item called the Beef Duo, which pairs short ribs off the bone with another cut of beef, and on this particular evening we were featuring a 3-ounce portion of New York Strip Steak. The wording goes like this: Braised local short ribs and chef select cut topped with a blue cheese-cherry pepper-whiskey sauce and demi-glaze. Paired with horseradish mashed potatoes and seared local greens. (It is delicious!) What the customer wanted to know was, “Is the New York Strip Steak local? Or is it from New York? Because the menu says it is local beef. “ I thought maybe he was confusing Manhattan, Montana, with Manhattan, New York, that is, I thought he was joking. Yes, we do feature local beef. We actually get in entire sides of grass-fed, local steers that we process at the restaurant. I looked at his two friends, both regulars, to see if they were in on the joke. They weren’t laughing. I wondered if this man was born yesterday, or maybe he was a vegetarian, because I don’t know anyone that associates New York with cattle country. So my epi-curious mind began to wonder–why is it called New York Strip Steak?
Here are the facts:
New York strip steak is a cut of beef that goes by many different names. It is also known as a Kansas City steak, a Delmonico steak and a strip loin. The steak known as New York strip comes from the cow’s short loin, which is located on the upper back of the animal. The muscles here do little work and thus yield a tender cut of meat.
In 1837, Delmonico’s Restaurant opened in Manhattan. Self proclaimed as “America’s first fine dining restaurant,” one of its signature dishes was a cut from the short loin that was called a Delmonico steak. Due to its association with the city, it has since been referred to as a New York strip.
Americans residing in the Midwestern part of the country are likely to refer to the New York strip steak as a Kansas City strip steak, owing to that city’s historical significance as a meat-packing town. You can avoid accusation of regional bias by referring to the steak simply as a strip loin.
T-bone and porterhouse steaks contain a portion of the tenderloin in addition to the strip loin. Porterhouses usually have a larger piece of tenderloin. A shell steak is a strip loin with the bone still attached.