There’s owning a steakhouse, and then there’s perfecting steak.There’s choosing cuts of meat, and then there’s innovating meat with new cuts no one has ever had before.
New York’s Old Homestead Steakhouse specialises in perfection and innovation.
Owners Greg and Marc Sherry have gone farther than just keeping a classic steakhouse feel in their restaurant, they’re basically American steak ambassadors. Thanks to their efforts, Wagyu (more commonly known as Kobe beef) was brought to America from Japan in the early 1990s.
Now the restaurant serves the most expensive cut of steak in the city. A $350 piece of Wagyu beef carefully sliced and imported from Kobe.
“It’s become a cult [thing] to come here and get a steak for $350 and a great bottle of wine,” Greg Sherry told Business Insider.
Just ask the guy who once had two cuts prepared and taken to his private plane. Or any of the parade of celebrities who have come in to the restaurant to try the cut of meat that Sherry describes as “the 4th of July in your mouth.”
The brothers found Wagyu when they went to Japan in the 1990s, tried the meat and immediately fell in love. Wagyu beef is fed on barley and bathed with beer. The cows are not allowed to graze so they don’t develop muscles. Instead, their meat is full of fat (as you can see from all the white marbling on the left).
Photo: Old Homestead
Sherry told Business Insider that to get American food regulators to allow Wagyu into the country, he and his brother had to work with Japanese farmers to bring their facilities up to American health code.And so Old Homestead was first to bring the beef to America.
But back to the place. Old Homestead has been around since 1868, when it was called the Tidewater Trading Post because the Hudson River crept right along the restaurant’s West 14th and 9th Avenue location.
The river has since receded, and what was once a neighbourhood of meat purveyors and dock workers is now home to some of the most glamorous hotels and nightclubs in the world. Google’s New York office is right around the corner.
The Sherry family has owned the restaurant since the 1940s, when Harry Sherry, who started out there as a dishwasher, bought it from its former owner.
“This was my favourite,” Greg, Harry’s grandson, told Business Insider. “I was groomed here, I was weened here.”
The relationships Harry established, and that his grandsons maintained, secured that Old Homestead gets the best, freshest cuts regardless of what’s going on in the meat market. The restaurant has expanded too, with locations at Caesars in Las Vegas and The Borgata in Atlantic City.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years, you can’t fake me out… I’m obsessed with quality control,” Greg Sherry said, adding “We specialize in the four food groups, beef, beef, beef, and beef.”
When you walk into Old Homestead, you see simplicity. The Sherry brothers have kept the decor warm and traditional through three renovations.
There's also a stunning 15-person private room called the Julian Schnabel room, after the artist and film maker.
Schnabel did some work for Old Homestead's Atlantic City location (in the Borgata) and became friends with the Sherry brothers.
When they found more space at their flagship location in NYC, they decided to fill it with Schnabel's work and name it in his honour.
Of course, it all takes a back seat to Old Homestead's generous cuts of beef — like this filet mignon.
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