Airing of Grievances: Cafe Cello! Where’s the Beef?

I try my best not to be too negative on this site, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to vent. Every once in awhile I’ll share some of the more angry useful emails I get in a post called “Airing of Grievances”. (If the Eater Complaints Dept. would like royalties, I’ll be happy to pay up…)

Steak & Onions @ Cafe Cello, NYC Midtown

This amazing email came into the old ML Inbox the other day about Cafe Cello, my favorite place for roast pork in Midtown (on 46th btw. 5+6th):

“I would never want to hurt a restaurant’s business by accusing them of something I’m not sure of, so I am alerting you rather than posting a comment. I love Café Cello‘s food-I work across the street and have eaten there many times-but I wonder about the meat that is not pork or chicken. All beef dishes I have had there have tasted very peculiar. The pieces are cut strangely, and the texture is weird for beef. In short, I don’t think their beef is from a cow.”

“I love their pork, and their fried chicken is acceptable (I grew up in the South and will forever be spoiled) but after three attempts to eat the beef I had to to stay off the restaurant altogether because I doubted the beefiness of their beef. I wonder if it even came from a mammal.

P.s. I’m not squeamish. I’ve eaten things on skewers in tokyo that I still can’t identify. Corn fungus? Bring it on. Chicken knees from a cart in a Bangkok soi? Yes, please. But this beef is WRONG. And for some reason this really bothered me.”

This email was too funny not to post!  Especially the part about not wanting to hurt a restaurant’s business (which I can totally sympathize with.)   But how could I not.  So the beef tastes weird.  Big deal.  I’m sure it’s from a cow… but here’s the easy solution: stick to the roast pork and fried chicken!  Both are great (IMHO), especially the roast pork where you actually get a piece of the crispy skin.

I looked back at some old photos, and I have tried the steak and onions before (there is photo evidence).  I don’t really remember it very well, but I’m guessing if it didn’t taste like beef that is something I would be able to recall.  Has anybody else tried the beef?  What did you think?


  • Can we get a DNA test on the “beef?”

  • “I wonder if it even came from a mammal.”


    we need a warm-blooded hair-having live-birthing check on the meat in tray 2, stat!

  • not a mammal? what? they passing off reptile meat as beef these days? ;P

    maybe it’s the seasoning they use. it looks like a nice pepper steak but taste is what matters too.

  • bloated with fluids and meat tenderizers and then coated in corn starch to tip the scales in their favor? scale tipping is figurative, of course.

  • last time i had the pepper steak i think it was steak-umm meat

  • That you New Yorkers have such a cavalier attitude about eating random animal matter is something that fascinates and repulses me at the same time.

    For the record, there are portable DNA testing devices available.

    I suggest all Midtown Lunchers carry one in their handbag or murse.

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