The One Steak Order That Will Impress Any Butcher

And no, it's not the wallet-breaking tenderloin.

Under the tradition of German butchers, there are 16 different cuts of beef. According to the Italians, there's 19. The French? A whopping 29. But wherever you're ordering your meat—and in whatever language—which type of beef is the one that stands a cut above the rest? What do you order if you want to make your butcher raise his eyebrows and acknowledge that, yes, you know your stuff?

To find out, we tracked down butcher Sal Cinquemani from Pino's Prime Meat Market, the revered chop shop in New York City's Greenwich Village. (You may recognize the place from appearances in The Godfather: Part II or The Pope of Greenwich Village.) Without hesitation, Cinquemani has an answer: "It's called a coulotte steak."

Coulotte steak is a Brazilian cut taken from the cap of the top sirloin—itself the most tender and flavorful section of the cattle. "The way the fibers are laid out is really nice," explains Cinquemani. "It's not as chewy." Essentially, he says, "it's like having a New York strip and a hangar steak mixed together."

In other words, you get the best of both worlds—the meaty manliness of a strip and the lean tenderness of a hangar—without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. As an added bonus, too, it retails far cheaper than some other "exotic" cuts; around the country, coulotte steak sells, on average, for about six bucks per eight-ounce steak.

Plus, Cinquemani says—and this is far and away the most important part—"It's got a cool name."

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Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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