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Jan 3, 2008 01:15 PM

Cumbrae's Steak - the best?

Hosting a dinner party on Saturday and looking to buy the best steak (NY strip) that I can get my hands on. Have heard a lot about Cumbrae's but have never tried it before. Is it the best you can get in the city? Any advice on how to season/bbq it?

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  1. It's the best. Had a 30-day+ aged NY strip from there this weekend. Cost me $22 with tax but I would have easily paid twice that in a restaurant, and I would have had trouble finding such a great steak anyway.

    A little olive oil and a bunch of freshly ground pepper and sea salt, into a smoking hot cast-iron pan for 5 minutes a side, let it rest under foil for 5 minutes. Perfect medium-rare red meat bliss. I'm sure the BBQ will be great, though, esp. with warmer weather on the way.

    1 Reply
    1. re: childofthestorm

      Ditto. Cumbrae's for sure. Almost just as good would be Summerhill Market. My hubby does it pretty much the same way on the BBQ. It turns out perfect every time. Enjoy!

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Interesting no one mentioned Bruno's!!?!!. Their US Prime is dry aged for over 30 days and much more 'marbled' than Cumbrae's. Found it more flavourful and tender than Cumbrae's. I also know for a fact that Mark McEwan uses Bruno's steak for N44, One and Bymark.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Charles Yu

          I also love a Bruno's steak. I believe they own their own farms.

          Cooking Tips for Medium-Rare
          1. ask the butcher for striploins cut to 1" thick
          2. take out of the fridge 30-45 minutes before cooking
          3. coat lightly with olive oil, and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper
          4. open BBQ and cook steak on high for 3 minutes covered
          5. open BBQ and turn steak by a quarter of a turn for another 2 minutes covered
          6. open BBQ and flip steak over for 4 more minutes covered
          7. remove steak from BBQ and let it rest on a cooling rack for 6 minutes
          8. serve immediately
          - 3 minutes/2 minutes/3 minutes for rare
          - 3 minutes/3 minutes/4 minutes for medium
          - I'm not even going to tell you how to kill it well!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Bruno's website gives us no indication of the source, quality, or aging of the steaks.

            1. re: Charles Yu

              You need luck and a good eye to get really good beef.
              My 90 day aged steaks from Thuet, as I have mentioned were very chewy.
              I really like Cumbrae, but the last steaks I bought there were just O.K.
              This is unusual for Cumbrae, but it happens
              I was having 8 adults and a bunch of kids for dinner on January 1st.
              Was at Costco on Woodbine to pick up some chocolate gifts a couple of days before Christmas, and noticed a counter filled with boneless rib roasts.
              Picked up a huge one, and it was a perfect purplish colour, and very nicely, and evenly marbled.
              Put it in my cart, and remembering that the only time that I bought beef from
              Costco , several years ago,, the roast was almost inedible.
              Put it back.
              Reached the checkout, and returned to retreive the roast.
              It was fantastic, as good as it gets, and when my guests asked how I cook my roast to make it so tender, I told them that it is not the cook, but the meat.
              The cost was far less than it would have been from Cumbrae.
              BTW,Embee, I use Lesters Montreal Steak spice as well.

              1. re: erly

                I am of the opinion that 90 days is simply too long. Anything over 70, perhaps 80 days, is a waste of time and will only harm the quality of the beef. Anything less than 24 days is not enough. Anything more than 70 to 80 days is too much.

                1. re: erly

                  I'm with you on that: I've had good luck with well-marbled rib steaks or roasts from the counter at a Dominion (White's Road). A small roast will yield two or three 1.5" steaks. Sometimes the beef looks good at Costco but the trays are too large. The key seems to be marbling more than aging.
                  Ed. to add, I do age these rib steaks in the fridge for about a week or ten days. But this is not for everyone, as some minor discoloration will occur.

                  1. re: erly

                    I really love Costco steak. The beef at my local Costco in London had always been very good quality in my experience. I regularly buy their rib steaks and have consistently enjoyed them.

                    A place like Cumbrae's is going to have some of the best steak, no question, but if you know what qualities to look for in beef, and the meat has been aged reasonably well, a decent steak can be found at much more humble places. For the cost of one decent steak at Cumbraes you could get a couple at Costco, and still get decent results. For a special occasion though, I would probably spend the extra cash though..

                2. I'm not a New York strip person, and I'd say buy a rib. But I agree that Cumbrae's is most consistently at the top. If you go to Bayview and talk to Stephen (the owner) or the head butcher, you can specify exactly what you want: the marbling, the age, etc. I've also found Cumbrae's to be somewhat less expensive than their high end competition.

                  I've also had some great steaks (mainly ribs on the bone) from Oliffe, Whole Foods, Royal Beef, Pusateri's, Grace Meats, and even the Certified Angus counter at Loblaws. Healthy Butcher's steaks have too little marbling to be really great.

                  Many would say that a top of the line steak needs only salt and pepper. Beyond that, two seasoning products stand out for me:

                  - Lester's Montreal steak spice is magic. You'll find it in Jewish-oriented stores and some high end places. I don't recommend any other brand of "Montreal steak spice". I wish Lester's smoked meat was as good.

                  - A product line called Char Crust really works. There are many flavours, some of them irrational, but hickory and Southwest flavours can be good on a steak.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: embee

                    Which Lester's establishment makes the Lester's Montreal steak spice? They're two Lester's companies in Montreal(one the commercial smoked meat supplier, the other smoked meat deli that also makes their own smoked meat).

                    1. re: BLM

                      I need to try this Lester's stuff, who carries it?

                      1. re: millygirl

                        It is very widely, but selectively, available. Virtually any food store with a significant Jewish clientele will have it. Nortown, Pusateri's, and Nunzio's (Leaside) all carry it.

                        1. re: embee

                          Thanks for the tip, I've been missing this stuff, and resisted buying some generic brand at Costco just the other day. I'll use it on all but the very best steaks.

                          1. re: embee

                            just saw some at Bruno's (Yonge & Heath), $2.99 for 80g, on the meat counter.

                        2. re: BLM

                          It's from the big meat processor, not from the deli in Outremont.

                          I haven't been to Lester's Deli in many years. I didn't like the food there way back in the sixties. I find it hard to imagine that they make their own smoked meat but, whatever the source, some of the photos on their website look like plastic.

                        3. re: embee

                          embee, I like a light rub of the Roasted Garlic Peppercorn Char Crust on my steak. Have you tried it?

                            1. re: embee

                              So if I'm gonna buy one to try, which should it be Char Crust or Lester's?

                              1. re: millygirl

                                They are quite different and can even be mixed judiciously if you have a good palate. This isn't a big bucks purchase. If you must try just one, I'd go with Lester's. Be sure to tap the jar on a hard surface and shake it before every use. Don't use extra salt.

                                1. re: embee

                                  Thanks embee, I'll pick some up. BTW, it's not the money, it's just that my pantry is filled with sauces, marinades, jellies, mustards, etc. My new year's resolution is to scale down.

                                2. re: millygirl

                                  I concur with embee. Get the Lester's. I typically make my own rubs using Char Crust only as an uber quickie dinner solution. I find Montreal steak spice a bit more complex so I don't even attempt to recreate. Have never thought of blending the two. That said, yes, anyone who can afford steak can afford to have both choices in their cupboard.

                            2. re: embee

                              It's funny, I was over at a friend's last night and we were doing up a Cumbrae's ribeye, and I had briefly tried (unsuccessfully) to revive your original post (from a year ago?) about grilling with the Lester's/CC for a tip on preparing the steak, as I had been using the Lester's for awhile, but always thought to add the char crust as well to see the effect.

                              Anyway, it was a pretty great meal (hadn't tried much of Cumbrae's wares in the past)...made some decadent mashed potatoes and picked up a fantastic hazelnut/raisin/honey Premiere Moisson loaf along with some salad (topped with Kraft's Asian Sesame, a recent fun favourite) and a nice cab. What sweet value (my friend had just hit up Hy's to much comparative disappointment a few days before).

                            3. I was just surfing this webpage, and thought immediately of this thread. I'm definitely trying this preparation for my next steak. Mango ravioli for dessert anyone? :)


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: dlw88

                                Another Joanne Kates opinion - in today's Globe and Mail she describes ordering a wagyu steak, and thinks it was not even remotely worth the money.

                                Having never had one, I'll keep my mind open until I do. Are they really that good, or didn't the emperor get dressed today?

                                1. re: ekammin

                                  Many experts claim (just google) that wagu should never be put on a BBQ
                                  The texture changes and the fat content breaks down.
                                  I have eaten wagyu only a few times, but the best that I have ever tasted was at an Australian restaurant in Bangkok.
                                  They flew it in from Australia, and seared it.
                                  You could almost cut it with a butter knife, and it was the texture of fois gras.

                                  1. re: ekammin

                                    The richest steak I want is the Rib Steak at H60. I like a hunk of meat so major marbeled is over the top for me....very personal thing.