Once dismissed as a throwaway cut, the flat iron steak makes the grade with Valley chefs.

Flat Out Delicious

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Three Bites Issue: March 2017
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Nico’s Heirloom Kitchen
366 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert
480-584-4760, nicoaz.com

Steak lovers tend to swoon over a favorite cut. Often it’s the filet, known for its buttery texture, or the fat-marbled ribeye. But another, less heralded cut – the flat iron steak – is converting devotees from Gilbert to Glendale. Butchered from the shoulder of a cow, the steak – also known as a top blade – is packed with meaty, mineral-forward flavor, making it a favorite of Nico’s Heirloom Kitchen chef/owner Gio Osso. He hits his flat iron steak ($25, pictured) with an espresso dry rub and grills it to infuse a whisper of smoke. Perched on a bed of smashed red potatoes saturated with butter and mascarpone cheese, the tender beef is sliced and finished with a veal demi glace studded with cherries. Tart but sweet, it hits every flavor receptor. One caveat: Don’t set your heart on the cherry sauce, because Osso changes the menu frequently.

Alma WxSW Cuisine
8989 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
480-621-5254, almascottsdale.com

The flat iron steak was developed by researchers at the University of Nebraska who were tasked with figuring out what to do with a “waste cut” from a cow’s shoulder. Though tender, the cut had an indomitably tough piece of connective tissue running through it. The solution: Cut it out and divide the remainder into two steaks. At Alma WxSW, the flat iron is anything but tough. Chef/owner Sheila Bryson presents it as steak frites ($21), fanning an 8-ounce sliced flat iron over a nest of crisp and salty french fries. To give the steak a little zest, Bryson spoons out a fresh, tangy chimichurri sauce that’s laden with herbs and garlic to liven up the meat’s charred exterior.

Joe’s Midnight Run
6101 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
480-459-4467, joesmidnightrun.com

At Joe’s Midnight Run, executive chef Michael Goldsmith rustles up a flat iron steak ($24) that’s been grilled over a charcoal wood fire of almond and oak to add a “bit of smoke and a lot of flavor.” Goldsmith serves the thick, rectangular flat iron as a true steak instead of slicing it into morsels and plates it with plump roasted Brussels sprouts, earthy oyster mushrooms and sweet cipollini onions. To finish, he glazes the steak with truffle butter and a touch of rosemary salt. Goldsmith says the flat iron has gained in popularity with diners because the price point is lower than a ribeye or filet – and the end result is just as rewarding. “Also, the flat iron has a much better mouthfeel than a filet.  It has a little bit of chew to it, but it’s still really tender.” 

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