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The only steak carved tableside at Carne Mare, chef Andrew Carmellini’s new chophouse in New York’s revitalized South Street Seaport, is made not of beef but of beet — a regular red one, on the larger side, which evokes the pageantry, texture and taste of the old-school menu’s meatier options (albeit with a bit of “cheekiness,” as Carmellini, 50, notes) thanks to its clever preparation. Kept whole, each beet is brined, then dry-rubbed with a mixture of spices, charred onion and dehydrated vegetables — which lends umami and mimics a steak’s seared crust — before being smoked, slow-roasted, then basted in a pan with butter, garlic, thyme and rosemary. After that, it’s brought out to diners on a small grill, where it’s served alongside a reduced beet-juice jus and a traditional pat of maître d’hotel butter, this one made with goat milk in homage to that time-honored flavor pairing. Innovative yet classic, rich yet light, vegetal yet meaty, this smoke-roasted beet steak, as the menu describes it, conjures something akin to the uncanny valley, as your mind squares the delightful experience of enjoying a root that doesn’t look or taste like any that have come before. “Vegetarianism is part of modern, urban life,” says Carmellini, who was inspired by his wife, a former vegetarian, to create the dish. “And this allows people to participate in the [chophouse] culture and not have a piece of meat.”

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