Beef Tartare is becoming more and more available. However, it always seems to come pre-mixed. I usually find it way too spicy - I am ordering Tartare because I want the taste of fresh beef, not Worcestershire sauce!
I need to build up some frequent flyer miles, and I want to find the best Tartare I can. Ideally it will someplace that serves it to you unmixed where you can add what you want in whatever proportions you want, but at a minimum mixed at the table.
Two requirements - can be anywhere in the continental US (Canada and Hawaii/Alaska are too expensive to fly to), and has to be comfortable for a single person.
So what are my best bets?
The '21' Club will prepare it any way you like.
I'm enjoying Alan Barnes' recipe. I buy 10-12 oz. of tenderloin and have it ground. At home I add 1 egg yolk, teaspoon dijon, 2 crushed anchovies, baby capers, 1 minced shallot, S&P. No Worcestershire. Cornishons and toasted cocktail rye rounds it out.
If you ask about the preparation and ask to have the condiments on the side I'm certain you can be accommodated in most places that would serve tartare.
What do you require to be comfortable eating by yourself? I like to eat at the bar if there is no smoking, but I am equally happy at a table.
I suppose I never really thought about having it unmixed.
Sometimes I eat at the bar, sometimes a table. What I find really uncomfortable are those where you are stuck in the middle of the room, or are having a hard time deciding between being a restaurant and a nightclub. I also find the super formal restaurants tend to be a bit uncomfortable as well.
I know Les Halles in New York does the preperation tableside. When I was last there the server came out to our able with all the different ingredients and asked which ones we would like and what quantities. This way you could omit whatever you wanted or limit them (i.e. hot sauce, cornichons, onions, etc.). I found the flavor of the meat to come through very well and the dish to be very good. I hope this helps.
I'll second Les Halles, though it's been a while since I've been there. They have locations beyond NYC if that's of interest:
Another great place for tartare (and I don't think you'd care that it was mixed, the taste of fresh beef here is quite prominent) is Brasserie Pip in Centerbrook, CT. Photo here:
From the photo, you should be able to link back to full reviews of our dinners, if you're interested. I liked the tartare so much as an app, I ordered it as an entree the next time we went. And though we sat outside on the porch, I'm sure you could sit inside as a solo diner quite comfortably.