Striploin, Tenderloin, Ribeye And Friends


“Ivan, the Wagyu Ribeyes have been delivered, when are you coming for dinner?”

This blog was asleep in another country when Marlena – Mrs. Lam to you – of Cafe de Amigo called at 3am to ask. Truly, there is no place like home.

The last time we had Argentinian beef at Cafe de Amigo, they only served tenderloins. While it was great tasting, by now you would have realized that this blog and most members of the Dead Cow Society prefers, in general, a ribeye for their beef steaks. Why is that?

Well, for me, it has to do with a little bit of history and prudence. Long time ago, around the time where there was a Beefeater’s Restaurant in Holland Village and there was a two-children per family social policy, ribeyes were not considered premium cuts, because it was not the tenderest and at that time reports were coming out that too much fat, apparently, was not good for you. Therefore, it was cheaper because of lowered demand.

The tenderloin at that time (and still is) was a cut above the rest.


The Tenderloin is the tenderest part (the name gives a clue) of the cow. This is because the tenderloin is near the central spine of the cow, so this muscle gets to do very little work and hence it is soft and tender. Very much like the cheeks, after all, cows don’t smile.

At least not when we’re looking.

Of course, those were the days when politicians were good and honest folk like us and the Internet had not been invented yet, or at least not many were on it and Spam came out of a can and not your email inbox. The point here is that tastes changed, thanks to Dr. Atkins, and people started to wise up on the Virtues of the Ribeye (the link comes with a graphical graph so you know it’s the Truth).

So that’s the historical perspective (a.k.a. “Old Habits Die Hard”) for choosing the Ribeye, what about the “Prudence” part, you ask. Well, the Ribeye is also more marbled with fat then the rest so it is juicier and more flavourful. It is really really very very hard to get a “bad” ribeye steak unless you or the restaurant strives to go out of the way to overcook it.

Every time I go to a new steakhouse where the quality is unknown, I seek comfort and familarity in the ribeyes.


Of course, at a comfortably familiar restaurant, I always enjoy their ribeyes and where possible, usually at a premium steakhouse, ribeye with bone-in because it’s just sweeter and the bone is simply delicious to gnaw on, extracting the marrow and such. However, with the restrictions in place, ribeyes with bone-in cannot be from the US or any country suspected of BSE.

And our friend from New York would not let us forget about the New York Strip or Striploin. This, according to him, has a nice straight-forward beefy flavour. I wholeheartedly agree, but somehow the warm butteriness and depth of flavour from the ribeye successfully seduces me each time I look at the menu.


And then there is the difference in types of beef. Recently we cleaned Cafe de Amigo out of their Wagyu Ribeyes, I had about 600g of Wagyu Ribeye while the rest had 250g-300g.

Any steak below 250g is really not tasting anything at all and yes, this blog (and the Dead Cow Society) feels that any steakhouse that does not offer larger cuts of meat is really not taking steaks seriously at all.

Anyway, we preferred the Argentinian Beef over the Wagyu Beef simply because of the richer, stronger and beefier taste. Not that the Wagyu Ribeye was a push-over, in fact, it was tender, buttery with a delicate flavour that lasts and lasts and lasts.


History side-track while I go wipe my mouth: You should try the Lobster Bisque at Cafe de Amigo for a sense of history. This same Lobster Bisque was selling for $20+++ (at that time) a bowl at the Marco Polo Hotel during the 70’s and 80’s. This is as authentic and old-school Hainanese Western Food as you’re gonna get.


One of the most important ingredient to a great and successful dinner is the people. W.S. Gilbert said “when planning a dinner, what’s more important than what’s on the table is what’s on the chairs.” A group of friends sharing food and wine is the best sauce one can have.

Mind you like-minded people can make for boring dinner conversation, and highly opinionated people have a one-tracked mind.

Like evolution, sooner or later the group with the optimal mix of tempers, interests and humor emerges and stays together for a long long time. I tend to cringe at contrived efforts at forced cheeriness to get a group going and the use of table games (“So, who’s read my blog entry about steaks today?”) bore me. Then again, this blog’s barrel of small talk scrapes bottom fairly quickly; 5 minutes of traffic, 2 minutes of weather, 15 minutes of shoes and other sartorial accompaniments and I’m out.

I listen good though; a good listener is hard to find, twice.


A group of friends or a friend that you’re comfortable with – there need not be many – is a very precious thing indeed. And as this blog loves good friends, I take planning dinner for friends seriously. Sloppy planning reflects on how much care and concern you have for people.

Trust me, good planning is worth every effort; after all, Virginia Woolf once remarked “one cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.”


Posted on 30th Aug 2007 in Dead Cow Society, Hainanese, Meat, Western


There Are 7 Comments


carrie commented on August 31, 2007 at 9:31 pm

Good tutorial on different cuts of cow and the photos are very tantalising. Now, I can eat a whole cow.


shunman commented on September 2, 2007 at 9:07 am

hey! nice meeting u last night. im the girl from hk! (: yarps. realised i ve been readin ur blog all along! continue in bringing what u love to readers. interesting notes on cows!


Ivan commented on September 3, 2007 at 10:10 am

@shunman: Hi hi! It was great meeting you too! We are planning lunches and dinners, so stay tuned!


Weylin commented on September 3, 2007 at 10:50 am

Haha. Thanks Ivan. And I wanna be invited to your next dinner/lunch. It was awesome to meet you.


Ivan commented on September 3, 2007 at 2:56 pm

@Weylin: The pleasure was all mine. It was great to put faces to blog no? Hopefully I did not disappoint much. ;-}


Mich commented on September 4, 2007 at 2:08 am

So just how many rabid female fans do you actually have Ivan? 🙂
It was great meeting you last Sat. You should have stayed behind longer!


Ivan commented on September 4, 2007 at 10:45 am

@Mich: No lah, they’re friends, not rabid fans. Likewise, it was great to put a face to the name. I had to leave because I was really tired after a long week. Next time ok?

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