Almost all the buzz about Nusr-et, set in the former China Grill space in prime Midtown Manhattan, has been negative. The labeled its review “Public Rip-Off No. 1” and noted that after a $521.45 dinner for three, critic Steve Cuozzo still wanted a snack. referenced mundane, rather tough steak, terrible cocktails, and $9 bottles of water because the restaurant declines requests for tap.
The restaurant is home to Turkish butcher sensation Nusret Gökçe, known as Salt Bae. He has close to 11 million Instagram followers, famous friends such as DJ Khaled (Khaled Mohamed Khaled), and a panoramic way of seasoning steaks that is the most notable culinary meme since Emeril Lagasse said “Bam!” One re-posted YouTube video of his signature move—a crane pose-like sprinkle of salt on a finished steak—has racked up over 4 million views.
Although it’s my job as food editor at Bloomberg Pursuits to seek out good food, I can’t resist a train wreck of a restaurant.
In advance of my visit to Nusr-et, the signs for that kind of meal were auspicious. Hours before my dinner came news that the restaurant was under investigation by New York’s Health Department: Salt Bae would now have to wear gloves when salting meat. My dinner guest was Robert Sietsema, senior critic for Eater.com and one of the early visitors to Salt Bae. (His less-harsh-than-most review took the position that a meal there is performance art as much as a steakhouse spread. Spoiler alert: I agree.)
The first thing you see when you walk into the restaurant is a circular bar surrounded by red velvet ropes and staffed by bartenders in leather aprons; you could be at a nightclub. Above is a monster cartoon image of the chef sprinkling salt into the air. On the cocktail list is a #Saltbae Old Fashioned, made with ginger syrup and Scotch, instead of bourbon—quite good, if pricey at $21. Yet its actual cost is $26.64: The restaurant adds an 18 percent service charge, but you wouldn’t know that without asking since it doesn’t deliver itemized bills, and what you’re asked to sign has a very visible gratuity line.
Almost immediately upon sitting down, expect to make the acquaintance of the guy wheeling the “meat sushi” cart. Unless you’re good at saying no, you will find yourself watching a meat sushi performance that comprises wrapping thinly sliced raw tenderloin around some undercooked, under-seasoned rice, brushing the top with teriyaki glaze, and incinerating it with a blow torch for a good 30 seconds. It’s an early occasion for guests to whip out cell phone cameras (and maybe a warning to tie back any long hair.)
That’s nothing compared to the effect when the chef makes an appearance in his signature look: fitted, v-necked, white T-shirt with slicked coiff. It’s as if Rihanna strolled in. Initially, there’s no salt sprinkling. Salt Bae simply works the room, shaking hands. Robert and I begin to worry: Would the Health Department threat end the seasoning show? Could a high-styled handshake be Salt Bae’s new meme?
It turns out that a lot has changed in the week since Robert first visited. Tap water was initially not available. Now it is, though you have to ask, and it’s poured from a Voss water bottle so other tables don’t get the wrong idea. Burgers were initially served naked, with no accompaniments; now a pile of cold, shoestring fries snuggles next to the halved burger.
Most important, the chefs have stopped overcooking the meat. Initial reports were that, no matter what you asked for, the beef arrived brown and medium. Now a medium-rare rib-eye is actually rare in the middle, as is the burger.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the upsell.
Once it becomes apparent that fries would be served with our burger, we cancel our $15 order for them. The server recommends mashed potatoes instead (also $15). Then our salmon arrives on a bed of mashed potatoes. We end up with spinach—actually quite good, just out of the pan and nicely creamy—and asparagus, which is raw, unpeeled and not good at all. The salmon disappoints, unless you’re fond of the thin, fishy strips that are optional add-ons for a Caesar salad at a mall. (FYI, it’s one of the only non-beef options; the menu features no chicken.)
Like everyone else, we’re there for the meat and the show that comes with it. The majority of the beef is wagyu, on display at a wrap-around butcher case in the middle of the dining room. The waiters will tell you about the quality of the New Zealand beef, how it ranks 8!—9!—on the Wagyu scale; no two servers pitch the same story.
Still, our $100 rib-eye, though a little puny looking, had a great chew and caramelized char. (You can’t choose the weight of any of the steaks, but some cuts have options for the number of people they’re supposed to serve.) The $30 burger actually seems like a deal; the two-inch patty is very coarsely ground, so it’s part steak and supremely meaty. These are among the cheaper items on the menu. There’s also saslik (Turkish spice-marinated tenderloin cubes) for $70, a rack of lamb for $250, and most significant, the Saltbae tomahawk marinated in mustard, all yours for $275.
You want to hate the place, to dismiss it. There are better, less-expensive, steaks just a few blocks away, dry-aged and funkier than what you’ll find at Nusr-et.
Yet, when Salt Bae shows up to slice and season our steak, it’s embarrassingly thrilling, like watching your favorite cheesy movie. He poses for infinite pictures. Apart from a few short exchanges, he’s a silent presence. He doesn’t seem like a guy who owns the place; he’s more like a performer who expertly works the room, giving nothing of himself away. There’s not a moment that the crowd—a 50/50 mix of business men and women in jackets and tourists in branded sports apparel—isn’t hoisting a camera phone in his direction.
As we’re settling our $286.74 check, a family of four with a teenage son sits down next to us; they all get burgers. , we think, Then a tomahawk arrives at their table. Time passes, with no sign of Salt Bae. The family waits, phones in hand.
“They need a Salt Bae double,” murmurs Robert. Then, he appears, a last-minute Santa Claus of steak, pulling on a fresh pair of black gloves. Salt Bae squats and begins slicing dramatically, running his knife through the meat to cut out the bone, all positioned so the kid can take a video selfie. The meat gets an additional flourish of salt. The cameras don’t stop flashing.
If you like our content help us with a share… or two …
Also - I have some free stuff for you .......
Nr 1. In This FREE Report you can Discover:
Secrets to acquiring the freshest, hottest leads via YouTube In-Stream ads quickly and easily! Best secret tips for the most effective targeting for your ads! Totally legal, but little-known method for literally stealing traffic from your competitors! Get more traffic to your videos and landing pages without spending a fortune! And much more - all within this special FREE report!
Nr 2. Did you know you can Absolutely EXPLODE YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR FREE with UNTOUCHED offline sources?
Nr 3. The #1 secret to becoming an affiliate superstar - Earn your first $100 online – without a dime to invest.
If you’re still looking to “make it online – I have just the thing for you. It’s a video series that shows how to make your first $100 online – even if you don’t have a dime to invest. Yes – nothing. Free. Nada. Is this possible? You bet. It’s the most powerful system used by those “in the know”. Good things don’t have to be difficult. And they don’t only come to those who wait. Have A Look
Nr 4. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?
Nr 5. You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...
Nr 6. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong. How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.
Nr 7. Special free report . It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...
The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!
Nr 8. Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.
Nr 9. When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !
Nr 10. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!
Nr 11. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!
Nr 12. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!
Nr 13. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.
Nr 14. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.
Nr 15. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.
Nr 16. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)
Nr 17. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.
Nr 18. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?
Nr 19. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"
This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.
Nr 20. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!
Nr 21. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.
Nr 23. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...
Nr 24. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!Use them .... and have fun !