AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda

 

Steak (R)evolution

CURRENTLY PLAYING THIS WEEK (until Thurs 7/23) AT THE IFC CENTER IN NEW YORK 

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW BY NEIL GENZLINGER

In his documentary Steak Revolution Franck Ribière goes in search of the world’s best steak. But this informative foodie film is more than just footage of assorted chefs cooking delicious-looking cuts of meat. The tour encompasses breeders, butchers, grazing practices and genetics. Mr. Ribière uses a Top 10 countdown structure familiar from other searching-for-the-best documentaries, but the rankings are beside the point. This film is all about the meat and the animals it comes from.

The search takes Mr. Ribière to Japan, Italy, South America, Britain, Brooklyn (where the Peter Luger Steak House makes his list) and more. We meet assorted breeds, each with advocates among chefs.

The film has a farm-to-table sensibility, proclaiming the culinary superiority of beef that isn’t raised agribusiness-style and shipped halfway around the world. But within that mind-set is a range of philosophies about what to feed the animals, when to slaughter them, how to age the meat, how to cook it. Selecting the animals can go beyond breed to — yes — personality.

“We look for docile animals with a noble character,” says José Gordon, a breeder and chef in Spain. “This kind of character facilitates a specific marbling.”

Backyard barbecuers may never eat at any of the restaurants seen here, but they’ll come away enlightened about things like what “Angus” really means on their grocery-store cut and whether, when it comes to steaks, bigger is really better.



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