Three Bites: Tip o’ the Cap

Marilyn HawkesMarch 27, 2020
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Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon

Enjoy the choicest part of meatdom’s choicest cut with the heavenly rib-eye cap.

Mastro’s City Hall

6991 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale
480-941-4700, mastrosrestaurants.com
Mention the rib-eye cap to any chef and watch their eyes grow wide with excitement. Also known as the spinalis dorsi, the cap is the slender portion of meat that runs atop a rib-eye steak, sharing the mother cut’s heavily marbled lusciousness without the unchewable bits of sinew. It’s a filet with flavor, basically. Unfortunately, a single steer yields just six to eight servings, which is why only high-end steakhouse chefs – like Mastro’s Justin Floerchinger – typically put it on their menus. Seasoned with a house rub, Mastro’s newly unveiled rib-eye cap ($115, pictured) is a 12-ounce monster of prime Midwestern corn-fed beef that’s broiled to caramelized perfection and finished with roasted garlic and herb butter. Served sliced on a sizzling hot copper plate, the slightly charred rib-eye cap is thoroughly beefy, while maintaining a velvety texture. Sit back and savor every butter-soaked, endorphin-inducing bite.

Josephine.

218 E. Portland St., Phoenix
602-675-4069, josephinedtphx.com
Josephine. executive chef Ryan Pitt became enthralled with the quality of American Wagyu beef after tasting it raw: “The texture was perfect, and the ratio of fat to meat was spot on.” Then he tasted a broiled American Wagyu rib-eye cap and “fell in love.” Consecrating the romance, Pitt serves a luscious 5-ounce portion of wet-aged Snake River Farms cap ($59) that can best be described as deeply soul-satisfying. The achingly tender cap is so full of fat-rippled flavor that it almost dissolves on your tongue. He sets the thinly sliced steak on a swell of puréed potatoes loaded with butter and tops the meat with an earthy foie gras au poivre sauce. To offset the fat, Pitt adds a swatch of lemon- and olive oil-dressed arugula littered with pickled black walnut slivers. This dish is intoxicating.

Culinary Dropout

Four Valley locations
culinarydropout.com
Culinary Dropout takes a different approach with its Korean-style cap ($27) by soaking it in a sambal oelek (fermented chile paste) and soy sauce marinade for 24 hours before grilling, according to chef Erik Syhre. Rather than serve the rib-eye cap solo, the kitchen staff marries the flavor-infused beef with sautéed zucchini, onions, beech mushrooms and bean sprouts to create a snappy, Asian-inspired entrée that’s edged with heat. Culinary Dropout pioneered the Korean-style rib-eye cap about seven years ago, Syhre says – long before the rib-eye cap’s current surge in popularity. “We do run out from time to time because there’s not a lot of it to go around. It’s a special cut of meat.”

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