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New Morton's

k
Karl Nov 12, 2007 09:51 AM

Anyone been to the new Morton's in the Seaport Hotel? Any recommendations on what to order?

  1. ScubaSteve Nov 12, 2007 09:55 AM

    try the steak.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ScubaSteve
      hiddenboston Nov 12, 2007 10:15 AM

      I don't think they have it there. ;-b

    2. MC Slim JB Nov 12, 2007 10:19 AM

      I haven't seen the new Seaport outlet, but I'm not a huge fan of that basement-level Morton's in Copley, and I loathe their menu gimmick (they roll out a trolley loaded with each meat entree in its raw form in Saran wrap), which they do everywhere. At luxury-steakhouse prices, I also prefer dry-aged steaks, and Morton's wet-ages its beef.

      But you could do worse than their Porterhouse, bone-in ribeye, or bone-in prime rib (bone-in cuts always seem tastier and juicier to me), all of which I believe are prime grade. Many local competitors (including the ironically-named KO Prime) actually use choice grade beef.

      31 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB
        t
        tamerlanenj Nov 12, 2007 11:00 AM

        KO Prime is using USDA choice? That's fairly scandalous, as far as I'm concerned. Actually, it's kind of an outrage. How did you hear this?

        1. re: tamerlanenj
          ScubaSteve Nov 12, 2007 12:11 PM

          was in the Globe a few weeks back. or maybe The Improper Bostonian, my memory is shite lately.

          1. re: tamerlanenj
            v
            vinovino Nov 13, 2007 06:35 AM

            Things like Black Angus "Platinum" are only rated choice, but better eating than a lot of prime. And most Wagyu and/or Kobe aren't submitted for ranking for that very reason.

            1. re: vinovino
              almansa Nov 13, 2007 06:49 AM

              How do you come to this decision? The USDA only requires that for an animal to be marketed as Angus, it need only have a 51% black fur cover. It has become a marketing sham. Whose program is Black Angus Platinum - I am familiar with Premium Gold Angus' platinum designation, which is actually their Prime beef. Nevermind that PGA is owned by Tyson, anyway. American "kobe" beef is not graded because it is generally fed for 550 days post weening, which is to say that the animals are maturity grade B and thus not eligible for Prime grading. I would agree that certain breed-specific programs' choice cattle are better eating than big beef's prime - Niman Ranch, for example, but I would avoid slick marketing programs that are purely that. 96% of the beef in this country is the same - only separated by a grade.

              1. re: almansa
                9
                9lives Nov 13, 2007 09:09 AM

                USDA Grading is voluntary..and paid for by the producers..so Waygu may not get a grade. River Rock and Stillman(and many small local producers) may choose to not get a USDA grade.

                USDA inspection is required.

                http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/...

                1. re: almansa
                  v
                  vinovino Nov 13, 2007 09:59 AM

                  I come to this decision by eating a lot of meat. USDA graders have one set of standards, while proprietary marketers have theirs. Each has different factors they consider most important. My only point was that meat graded 'prime' can still suck compared to dry aged beef with a proprietary name that may only rank choice, or not rated at all.

                  1. re: vinovino
                    c
                    CambridgeFoodie Nov 13, 2007 10:10 AM

                    I still maintain that the King of Steaks is the NY Strip.

                    1. re: CambridgeFoodie
                      t
                      tamerlanenj Nov 14, 2007 05:49 AM

                      That's a cut. The discussion is about grade. And, anyway it's the ribeye, of course. And how can a NY strip be better than a porterhouse, which is just a NY Strip steak on the bone with a free bonus filet mignon attached! :-)

                      1. re: tamerlanenj
                        c
                        CambridgeFoodie Nov 14, 2007 06:14 AM

                        I understand....I was trying to expand the discussion to cut.

                        As you mention, marbling is key. Prime has more fat within the meat than choice. Kobe beef is laden with fat - Lobel's (arguably the best butcher in the U.S.) describes its Wagyu beef (American version of Kobe, considered better than prime) as "densely marbled."

                        So in fact...many believe that filet is a poor cut of meat. It's lean (no marbling) and has little flavor (that's why many put a sauce on it).

                        1. re: CambridgeFoodie
                          t
                          tamerlanenj Nov 14, 2007 06:19 AM

                          Right, but it is prized for its tenderness. I was just saying that why not choose a ny strip that comes with a free filet?

                          1. re: tamerlanenj
                            ScubaSteve Nov 14, 2007 06:23 AM

                            free filet?
                            in which Boston steakhouse is a porterhouse the same price as the new york strip?

                            1. re: ScubaSteve
                              t
                              tamerlanenj Nov 14, 2007 08:43 AM

                              Most places don't offer a porterhouse for one, but a porterhouse for two is usually about $40 a person, same as the strip. No?

                              1. re: tamerlanenj
                                ScubaSteve Nov 14, 2007 08:48 AM

                                sure, but then your getting half a strip and half a filet. my point was that the filet is not 'free.'

                                1. re: ScubaSteve
                                  t
                                  tamerlanenj Nov 14, 2007 08:52 AM

                                  Well, I was being more tongue-in-cheek than literal. I just meant that, all things considered, why not take the strip with the filet attached. Two different mouth feels, two different experiences. Yeah, it's a bit more expensive. I wasn't really thinking of it that way.

                            2. re: tamerlanenj
                              c
                              CambridgeFoodie Nov 14, 2007 06:25 AM

                              I'd choose a NY strip simply because I value dining on a flavorful steak, not a tender yet tasteless steak.

                              On another note, a friend of mine recently ate the Kobe beef at Cut in Los Angeles ($20+ an ounce) - he claimed it was so rich (full of fat) that people could only eat a few ounces each.

                              1. re: CambridgeFoodie
                                t
                                tamerlanenj Nov 14, 2007 08:44 AM

                                CambridgeFoodie,
                                I don't think you're getting my point: a porterhouse is filet mignon on one side, and ny strip on the other.

                                And, anyway, a Ribeye has way more flavor than a strip.

                                1. re: tamerlanenj
                                  c
                                  CambridgeFoodie Nov 14, 2007 09:01 AM

                                  Thanks, I'm aware that a porterhouse is half strip and half filet (T-Bone is similar - but has a smaller filet). My point is that I'd rather have all flavorful strip and not have the tender (and arguably less flavorful) filet.

                                  We can agree to disagree on this point tamerlanenj, you think Ribeye is more flavorful and I think NY Strips take the prize. That said, if you google the topic, you'll find that many meat eaters prefer the NY Strip.

                            3. re: CambridgeFoodie
                              9
                              9lives Nov 14, 2007 06:21 AM

                              If you go to Savenor's and look at the meat case, you can easily see that non USDA graded Waygu is much more marbled than the USDA prime that they sell.

                              I buy both..really different flavor/texture...prime skirt (steak..:)) last night.

                              1. re: 9lives
                                o
                                omnivoyeur Nov 14, 2007 06:45 AM

                                i just called savenors and asked about their kobe. its imported from australia. they are not to fond of the domestic kobe and dont have offer it in store or wholesale. apparantly there are ten grades of kobe beef. us domestic does not rank great and the austrailian ranks better. hmmmmmm
                                more grading to talk about !!!

                                1. re: omnivoyeur
                                  9
                                  9lives Nov 14, 2007 07:15 AM

                                  The higher grades of Japanese Kobe (true Kobe)..I thought it was 12; are extremely rich..and pricey.

                                  It recently became available in the US. As CF mentioned, Cut sells it for $20/oz..and a few oz's is enough for most people.

                                  Oya also offers the Japanese beef.

                                  1. re: 9lives
                                    almansa Nov 14, 2007 09:09 AM

                                    Here's the skinny: there are a number of producers of wagyu and wagyu hybrid cattle in the US. The largest is Snake River Farms with offices based in Idaho. Snake River also produces in Australia. Most US programs have the cattle on two separate feeding regimens. On one the cattle are grain fed 350 days after 6 months of pasture and 6 months of milk. These cattle grade out (on the Japanese scale) at about a 5 or 6 out of 12. The second regimen has the cattle on feed for 550 days after weening and pasture. These cattle usually grade out at around 7 to 9. Occasionally a steer will contract severe diabetes. This condition will account for about a 3 point raise in marbling. (By contrast, all commodity Prime graded cattle are diabetic.)

                                    Australian wagyu is not so different except that in some shadier programs, the primal cuts are injected with beef tallow before going to market to artificially boost the marbling.

                                    Japanese Kobe and similar beef (Mishima, etc) are the product of severe confinement. They are not allowed to move in their cells and are fed a diet so rich in carbohydrates and low in iron that they develop diabetes and anemia as young calves. They would not be able to survive on their own. These animals consistently top the marbling charts, but raising cattle in this manner is against even against our own lax laws.

                                    Wagyu, itself, refers to any number of 5 Japanese breeds/hybrids. These cattle achieve a speckled marbling similar to freisans, holsteins and other dairy breeds (which all, despite a flood of marketing to the contrary, produce much better beef than their well known counterparts: anhus and hereford.) If you see thick streaks of fat in the steaks, instead of many small specks, then the wagyu has been cross-bred - most likely with angus.

                                    Sorry to be so boring.

                                    1. re: almansa
                                      ScubaSteve Nov 14, 2007 09:25 AM

                                      ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZZZzzzzzzz

                                      j/k!

                                      1. re: almansa
                                        9
                                        9lives Nov 14, 2007 10:18 AM

                                        Not boring at all. I love this kind of stuff..:)

                                        I think I remember reading that Cut was selling 8 or 9 grade. I'd guess Sav's carries a slightly lower grade..based on the price..though some of their strips or ribeyes are very heavily marbled.

                                        1. re: almansa
                                          aadesmd Nov 14, 2007 04:08 PM

                                          I just purchased a 13 lb sirloin from Snake River, and cut it into steaks. I would call it a very well marbled variety of Prime, and not the nearly white diabetic mutation from Japan. It was also fairly priced at about 22.00 a lb. I took some of the leftovers from the cutting and cooked them on a beach stone that I heated in coals. Cooked about 15 sec a side, it was mighty good.

                    2. re: MC Slim JB
                      almansa Nov 13, 2007 06:57 AM

                      Morton's - Prime
                      Ruth's Chris - Prime
                      The Palm - Prime
                      Abe & Louie's - Prime
                      Fleming's - Prime
                      Capital Grille - mostly Choice, some Prime, some Dry-Aged
                      Smith & Wollensky - Prime & Dry Aged
                      Grill 23 - non-commodity Prime & Dry Aged
                      KO Prime - Choice, some Dry Aged
                      Mooo.... - Prime
                      Boston Public - Choice
                      Davios - non-commodity Prime
                      Oak Room - Prime
                      Prime 128 - non-commodity Choice
                      The Met Club - Prime, Dry Aged

                      by non-commodity I mean independent producer, breed specific, boutique programs. The other beef is all the same, produced indiscriminantly by 5 corporations. Apart from the marbling content of the Prime, it's the beef you get at the supermarket.

                      who did I forget?

                      1. re: almansa
                        t
                        tamerlanenj Nov 14, 2007 05:50 AM

                        But that marbling is key...

                        1. re: almansa
                          southernitalian Nov 14, 2007 06:29 AM

                          Holy cow.

                          1. re: almansa
                            MC Slim JB Nov 14, 2007 06:47 AM

                            Great info, almansa! How about the following (including some admittedly less-than-luxurious options): Prezza, Bonfire, the Stockyard, Frank's, the Hilltop, Plaza III, Jimmy's, Metropolitan Club, Scarlet Oak, Vintage (West Roxbury)?

                          2. re: MC Slim JB
                            r
                            Roons Nov 14, 2007 07:49 AM

                            The first time I went to Morton's that menu gimmick reminded me of the the beef trolley at The Hungry Heifer on "Cheers".

                            1. re: Roons
                              MC Slim JB Nov 14, 2007 08:49 AM

                              On Cheers, I only remember the Hungry Heifer being referred to in passing by Norm. So there was an episode where they actually visited? I always assumed that the Hungry Heifer was supposed to stand for the Hilltop, which seems more like a Normy kind of place, but maybe it's also meant to evoke Morton's!

                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                r
                                Roons Nov 14, 2007 09:08 AM

                                Yes, in Season 9 there was an episode titled "Grease". Norm finds out that The Hungry Heifer is going to be demolished and he starts a petition to stop it.

                          3. Alcachofa Nov 12, 2007 10:26 AM

                            Recommendation: go elsewhere.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Alcachofa
                              t
                              tamerlanenj Nov 12, 2007 11:01 AM

                              It's not that bad if you're not paying. As MCSlim says, a big hunk of medium rare USDA Prime delmonico is hard to get wrong. I like their creamed spinach more than the other chain competitors.

                            2. t
                              tamerlanenj Nov 12, 2007 11:05 AM

                              BTW, is there something Boston needed LESS than a second Mortons? Isn't there a second Flemings in the Seaport now too?

                              I think we could use a third Capital Grille in the West End!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: tamerlanenj
                                h
                                heWho Nov 12, 2007 02:11 PM

                                I'm trying to put a silver lining on the absurd influx of steak houses to Boston. Here goes:

                                - Maybe they make it easier to get a reservation at a good restaurant?
                                - Due to mass production of creamed spinach, the spinach industry is seeing a boost after last summer's E-coli scare
                                - Fewer cows producing methane gas which has been shown to aid in global warming
                                - Boston's homeless will soon have a fleet of shiny, new "A la cart's" to replace their grocery carts once these restaurants inevitably start to close
                                - Vindication for the guy who came up with the "Beef, It's What's for Dinner" slogan

                                Feel free to add your own!

                                1. re: heWho
                                  c
                                  CambridgeFoodie Nov 12, 2007 02:55 PM

                                  I'll be in the minority and say I like Mortons.

                                  True, its not dry aged...but has excellent porterhouse and outstanding NY Strip (which many aficionados, including myself, think is the best cut of steak). Standard sides...I prefer the hash browns and potatoes lyonaise

                                  Souflee is to die for.

                                  And yes, Morton's does do a somewhat annoying rollout to demonstrate their cuts of beef. But I wouldn't avoid it just because of that! Just tell them to skip the presentation ("we've been here before") and life will be good.

                              2. Sal Monella Nov 13, 2007 07:44 AM

                                We were there on the 11th for a birthday celebration dinner. Nothing different than the basement Morton's other than the views...anything is better than a basement. Prices were off the charts (as expected) and the service was acceptable (other than the server forgetting my glass of wine with dinner). Was also very disappointed with the molten godiva chocolate cake...there was no molten chocolate in it!. I wouldn't recommend going here unless a dinner companion requests it or for a biz dinner. We could have done a lot better for the $$$$.

                                1. Small Plates Nov 14, 2007 12:57 PM

                                  We went to the Friends and Family mock service a few weeks ago - everything was great. The menus were limited and each table had a different sampling of menu choices. The four of us tried everything on our menu between us - for apps the crab cake was stellar - very little (if any) breading; oysters were good - not much choice - but Morton's is not where I go for oysters; onion soup I did not try - but it looked and smelled delicious. I had the steak tartare and it was very, very good. Entrees included my chopped sirloin - which was the least favorite (get a steak instead). The others got the crab cake entree - again very good; the NY Strip - PERFECTLY cooked - rich and delicious bernaise; and I am blanking on the fourth entree. I was VERY impressed with the service given it was their very first day open. The location is better than other Morton's I have frequented (DC/NYC/Puerto Rico/Back Bay). I like the first floor with the full length windows - gives you a sense of place.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Small Plates
                                    MC Slim JB Nov 14, 2007 01:40 PM

                                    The Seaport Morton's has windows? Not that I've been to all that many of them, but that's a first, to me.

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