Roy Choi

If you don’t know who this guy is then you’re probably the only one.  We thought long and hard about who we should profile as our first Meatineer.  Just the fact that the hand of Roy Choi literally delivered the meat to the people when he was the father of the modern food truck movement gets him into our top ten.   Since the story goes way beyond that to four prominent restaurants all part of a growing food empire constantly reevaluating meataphysics, he’s our man.  Chef Roy’s history and current thoughts on the world of meat are well documented and don’t need to be repeated here.  You can catch the most recent stuff from the LA Weekly or Huffington Post.  Our goal is to bring you as close to the first hand experience as you can get.  And along the way see how we become part of the stories.  Uncle Bob and the Meat Chef went down to flag ship restaurant A-Frame to check it out for themselves.  Here’s their story.

Steak Out
A-Frame Restaurant
Los Angeles, California

Egalitarian fusion. Eclectic. Creative. We got the inside scoop. This is the food they would have been noshing on in Blade Runner. A-Frame is one of the hottest new tables from Kogi food truck pioneer Roy Choi.  The future is housed in a converted A-Frame formerly home to IHOP with festival seating and Mammoth ski lodge vibe filled with young hipsters and loud music. Don’t let the coolness factor fool you.  A-Frame knows how to bring the meat to the people.

The most quoted line in reviews of the restaurant come directly from Chef Roy, and it’s true:
“A-Frame is home. It’s how I’d cook for you if this was a house party.  No ridiculous pretentiousness, no hors d’oeuvres. Straight macking, lip-smacking and big belly laughs.”  Papi Chulo (Roy’s alter ego)

The Meat Chef (“TMC”) and I were seated outside around back. TMC does not get many hall passes. Desperately in need of debriefing and some heavy bevies, TMC let ‘er rip. While I listened carefully, Vanessa (young, hot, smart) delivered antidote to modern chaotic angst – THE TRICK – aptly named concoction of tequila cucumber ginger lemon grass and chili salt. In case you haven’t noticed, these guys took the rule book and torched it.

Light appetizers of Double Cheeseburger and Wagyu Beef Tataki (carpaccio) arrived quickly followed by Cracklin Beer Can Chicken (brined bbq’d impaled with half full beer can steamed and flash fried) accompanied by salsas. The chicken came with a hard boiled “century” egg tasting of hoisin sauce. It was a worthy companion.

The smack down came from Chef Chris Houlihan who welcomed us into the small hectic hot box kitchen to share the secret process of the Special – Bone-In Ribeye. TMC snapped photos wildly like Herb Ritts on Cindy Crawford (sorry I am old). With a built in lie detector honed through decades of sales south of the border, I asked where the rib-eye was sourced. Right answer. Harvey Guss 28 day dry aged 32oz bone-in ribeye.

Here is the recipe for those who cannot make the trek:

Canola oil sear ribeye in cast iron skillet both sides. Add smashed garlic – mound of butter – fresh thyme. Throw skillet into 400 degree oven for 8 minutes, flip ribeye for another 8 minutes. Pull it and rest on top of warm oven, flip after 10 minutes for 20 minutes total resting in thyme butter. Cut off bone. Serve with toasted butter from skillet and Vietnamese fish sauce & lime juice with tarragon. Serve on plate with fresh butter lettuce, mint, and sesame leaves to roll up like a tortilla feast on beast taco. Don’t think just do it. Probably missed some steps here but this will get you close.

TMC asked for internal temperature to pull the ribeye. Houlihan says he blew through 3 ribeyes getting formula just right. Ours came out a little too close to medium but the gaminess of the dry age come through closer to the bone. TMC would use a meat thermometer just to make sure that DADDY IS HOME.

We created this site for meat lovers to enjoy a judgment fee zone where they could indulge in their passion.  It’s our belief that a meatamorphosis is at foot.  Not unlike the organic produce movement.  More and more, people want to know where their meat is coming from, and quality counts.  But today our eyes were opened up to something else.  Papi Chulo. We get it.  We honor the animal.  Meat is a treat. We are on borrowed time here.  Meat is not sustainable as a protein source for a planet bent on over population.  Soylent Green, Charleton Heston, end of world, Omega Man, Edward G. Robinson……It’s so beautiful!!!!  Get ready for soy products and lots of them.  Savor your ribeye now.  Our discovery is  “beefed up” menus at A-Frame and Chego with recent changes in the right direction.   We left a special thank you present: heirloom trucker hat with famous slogun: Kill – Grill – Eat – Repeat.  Hats off to Papi Chulo.  Hope to see him wearing ours. 

Uncle Bob
Photos by TMC