Three Bites: Tip o’ the Cap

Marilyn HawkesMarch 27, 2020
Share This
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
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.


218 E. Portland St., Phoenix
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
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.”


For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.