18 March 2009

Recipes of the Lost City: Ye Olde Chop House's Corned Beef and Cabbage

The is the second edition of a new Lost City feature wherein I rummage through my library of old New York restaurant histories and cookbooks and dig up the prime dishes the denizens of the five boroughs dined on in years gone by.

I'm about one day late for a good recipe of Corned Beef and Cabbage. Sorry. I didn't realize I had it until last night. The formula belongs to Ye Olde Chop House, of which no one talks anymore. It was, for a long time, the oldest restaurant in New York, having been founded in 1800 as Old Tom's Chop House. 118 Cedar Street was its original home and it stayed on that street for most of its existence until it expires in the 1970s.

The name can tell you what kind of place it was. Old and woody. A lot of pewterware and dusty pictures on the walls. The was a tap room and a "pleasantly gloomy" grill room in back. In the grill room, the booths were boxy and separated from each other by shared pieces of wood. Sorta looked like today's office cubicles, only much, much better. It closed down on the weekends, since its clients were virtually all Wall Streeters.

So, Corned Beef and Cabbage. Here's how they did it:

3 1/2 pounds brisket of corned beef
2 onions
3 carrots
celery leaves
1 head cabbage
bacon rind or ham bone
2 teaspoons salt
dash of pepper
4 tablespoons butter

Simmer beef slowly for 3 hours in water to which spices, 1 onion, carrots, and celery leaves have been added. Boil cabbage in fresh water with bacon rind or ham bone. Flavor with an union, salt, and pepper. Cook until soft, about 20 minutes, and drain. Brown butter and pour over cabbage. Serve with corned beef. Makes 4 or 5 portions.

Simple enough. Though they don't say, I imagine they mean the onions, cabbage and carrots to be chopped.

(I'm not sure of the date of the above image. It may be of a later version of the Chop House on Broadway.)

Previous "Recipes of the Lost City"


Adam said...

What a great idea for a feature. It reminds me a little of seeing the various menus for the different classes on the Titanic. There were some very strange dishes on there, and that was only 100 years ago. It's very interesting to see how tastes change so quickly. Mind you, if I were to do the same in Paris I guess I'd find many things more or less the same!

Anonymous said...

My name is Jon Harmon and for 25 years my Dad (Paul) was the General Manager/Vice President of the Ye Olde Chop House, to see this recipe again brings back some of the most amazing memories. Thank you for posting this and long live the memories of the greatest restaurant in NYC!!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Thanks, Jon. Any chance you have any other recipes from the Chop House on hand? This is the only one I could find.

Unknown said...

Ye Old Chop House was started by my grandfather's family, the Hartigans. Any other descendants of Tom Hartigan out there?
Patricia Connelly

pinetree said...

Hi there! I was just looking in my old copy of "Adventures in Good Eating," 1947, by Duncan Hines, and it says, for "Ye Olde Chop House;"
"118 Cedar St. One block west of Broadway. Open all year except Sundays and holidays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., closes 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Air conditioned. Established in 1800, it is one of New York's famous landmarks. Everything, inside and outside, has the same uniqueness, the same appearance as in the days of wigs and silver buckles. A place Wall Street men have frequented for many years. They go there for the steaks, game, mutton chops and terrapin. A la carte service for luncheon and dinner. For reservations telephone Worth 2-8061."
There is also a charming bl. & wh. photo, showing many wooden booths with vertical wood panelling and little condiment racks on the sides of the booth walls, and lots of decorations hanging from the rafters. Looks great!

Greg said...

Ye Old Chop House actually made it to May 1985 before closing. What a shame.