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Bite of the Week: Tartare et Boeuf (Beef Tartar) at Black Rooster

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$14. 201 Meeting St. blackroostersc.com.

If you’re like me, you’ve done more cooking at home over the past few months than you ever did before, as restaurants closed during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These new culinary skills are great to have. But there are some dishes that only make sense in a restaurant setting. The time it takes to prepare, the cost involved to make it for a small family instead of a whole restaurant, or just simply lacking the skill required to cook it make some dishes impossible for most home chefs.

That’s why I was very excited to try the Tartare et Boeuf at Black Rooster when the “French-ish” restaurant re-opened a couple weeks ago. Cooking my steaks medium rare at home is something I can handle, but in order to make delicious and, most importantly, safe tartar at home would require a really good relationship with a trusted local butcher (not grocery store) to get the freshest and best cuts of beef as well as the ability to discern what parts of the tissue to keep and what to cut away.

Luckily, executive chef Frank Bradley at Black Rooster and his team take care of all that when you order the dish. The Certified Grade A Angus beef tenderloin in this dish is impeccable, mixed with roasted garlic aioli and egg yolk for consistency and capers and house-made relish for just the right amount of tang to balance the dish while still letting the toothsome flavor of the beef shine through.

There’s also grated duck egg yolk sprinkled on top that I wish I could get a whole little bowl of to dust over just about anything. The true goal of a great beef tartar is to make you forget you’re eating raw meat at all, and this dish definitely delivers on that. Top it on some of the provided local Freshly Grown Farms Bibb lettuce for a low-carb delicacy or add some delightful crunch with the house russet chips, which also make for great dippers for any leftover egg yolk on the plate.

I paired the dish with the Normandy Grove ($10), which provided contrast with sweetness and bubbles and ginger, awakening my tongue to keep picking up different elements of the tartar.

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