In an effort to continue to provide their loyal patrons with the ultimate in carnivorous dining, O’NEILL’S of Maspeth recently brought on a new chef, Jose Dominguez, to properly supervise the aging of their beef and to ensure that steak at O’NEILL’S remains among the very best the city has to offer.
As Dominguez explains it, the process is akin to an underground science experiment, sequestered deep beneath this Maspeth restaurant, which covers virtually all of the block from 53rd Drive to 65th Place. “What I’m looking for,” notes Dominguez, “is the marble-ization on the sides of the beef.” (Marble-ization is a process through which, as the steak gradually ages over several days, the specks and streaks of white fat become increasingly evident, an indicator of enhanced flavor.)
The basement container wherein said “science experiment” occurs is maintained at a temperature between 38-42 degrees Fahrenheit, climate-controlled with a humidifier, and is constantly monitored. “I turn them every three days,” says Dominguez. And since each steak has been carefully labeled upon arrival, Dominguez is always able to ensure considerable accuracy in a process that takes anywhere from 21 to 28 days.
Aside from the understandably lame jokes one might conjure about “beefing up” his resume, or how “rare” it is to find a chef with so much skill in the world of beef, it should be pointed out that Dominguez’s steak pedigree is a pretty impressive one, and includes some of the best venues in the city, such as the PALM ONE and MICHAEL JORDAN’S STEAKHOUSE.
Of course, even the best chef is nothing without the finest of ingredients, but rest assured, O’NEILL’S gets their beef from the very same distributor as Brooklyn’s PETER LUGER (the much-renowned champion of steakhouses), an outfit in Hunts Point called Master Purveyors.
To his credit, Dominguez, in preparing the dishes themselves, tends to let the steaks stand on their own. “I don’t really use that much seasoning, I like to let the process speak for itself.”
A Prime Aged Porterhouse for two at O’NEILL’S, among the best in the city, would probably run you about $70, but readers looking to get their feet wet a little bit, should also know that O’NEILL’S serves up free Ship Roast every Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. If you’ve never been, you’re definitely missing out.