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In search of the perfect steak

Ribeye from Cleaver & Co.

Ribeye from Cleaver & Co.

I was in search of meat; steak, to be exact.

I have not cooked a steak since moving to New Orleans last year. Avoiding red meat was not my intention, but being in a new city with a busy schedule and no knowledge of any local butchers resulted in a steak hiatus. It was time to hear the sizzle of beef on my stove. It was long overdue and my girlfriend has consistently said that steak is her favorite food; I finally got the hint.

Armed with the greatest source of peer reviews at my disposal, I turned to Facebook to solicit feedback from fellow New Orleanians. I posed the question, “Who is the best butcher in New Orleans?”

Within minutes I had comments and text messages from friends eager to send my business to their butcher of choice. My friend and fellow “at-home chef” sent a message saying nothing more than, “Cleaver & Co. organic butcher go there.” I had heard of Clever & Co. previously and thus concluded my search.

We pulled up to Cleaver & Co. around 6 PM, an hour before closing. Greeted by a friendly staff willing to assist in my quest for the perfect slab of beef, I began discussing the nuances of the local, farm-raised cattle with the butcher. Coming around the counter, he carried a rack of beautiful red meat. He explained to me the pros and cons of the various thicknesses of a ribeye. I settled on two slices, each 1 ¼ inches thick, and headed home anxious to get this meat on some heat.

Arriving home from the Uptown butcher, I immediately headed to the kitchen. After taking care of some serious prep work -- pouring two glasses of wine -- I seasoned the steaks with only salt and pepper. I wanted this organic beef hailing from New Iberia to speak for itself, without any camouflage of seasoning. The flame beneath my cast-iron skillet was cranked high and the searing of the meat was like music to my ears. Flipping the ribeyes only once, I felt confident that my girlfriend would surely be pleased by these medium-rare beauties.

I plated the steaks with sides of baked sweet potato and asparagus, then placed one in front of her. As my girlfriend’s knife sliced the ribeye, the inside revealed a delectable, juicy red that any carnivore would happily devour. By the time we had cleaned our plates, I knew that my journey for the perfect steak would now begin and end on Baronne Street.

If you are interested in the perfect steak, check out Cleaver & Co. on Facebook, their website, or at 3917 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70115.

This article was submitted to NolaVie by Zach Wallace. Check out his love for cooking and writing in his painfully slow, work in progress Dash: Good Food Fast.