About Meat Loaf!
By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist
Meat loaf never
had so much attention before.
Mike Wallace is to go to court this month because of
his arrest just after he ran in Luke’s Bar & Grill on 3rd Avenue in
New York in August to pick up his order of meat loaf and mashed potatoes.
So, what happens when an 86-year-old famous reporter
for CBS’ 60 Minutes is interfered with while the meat loaf is getting
Wallace’s arrest for interceding when officers
questioned his driver about his double-parking should caution police not to
get between a TV star (with CBS since the 1950s and on 60 Minutes since
1968) and his meat loaf.
The veteran newsman knew how to milk this incident to
the hilt and soon it was all over television, radio and newspapers about
Luke’s Bar & Grill and Wallace’s fondness for their meat loaf that
landed him with a court date for disorderly conduct.
This must be some kind of meat loaf, I decided, so I
called Luke’s to investigate. Luigi Militello, the owner of Luke’s, was
obliging about talking about his meat loaf but no way was he going to share
I wasn’t the first media person to call, of course.
“It’s been a media blitz,” Militello said. “There have been hundreds
Luke’s is a 60-seat restaurant and getting a space
there, Militello says, “is a luxury.” His real specialty is burgers, a
big 10-ounce burger, but meat loaf and mashed potatoes are regularly on his
With the recipe off limits, I tried to coax some meat
loaf tips out of Militello. “We puree all the ingredients,” he said.
Aha, I replied, then that must make a very firm meat loaf. “Well, we try
to keep it airy as well. Don’t grind the meat too much,” he cautioned.
And how is meat loaf served at Luke’s? With gravy.
One of the attractions of meat loaf in the heart of New
York City, says Militello, is that “not so many places serve it up here.
That, in itself, is a plus.”
When your restaurant becomes a news item in all media
and the world learns that a star may land in jail because of your meat loaf,
what happens besides a media blitz? Luke’s is serving about 10 times more
meat loaf daily and an equal amount of mashed potatoes. Militello’s final
tips: “Make meat loaf with care. You have to know how to combine the herbs
and spices, don’t overdo. You want it nice and moist.”
His advice led me on a “meat loaf mission,” but I
didn’t come close to what Luke’s must taste like. “Pureeing,” and I
assume he meant combining all the ingredients in a food processor, certainly
not actually “pureeing,” produced a very firm meat loaf — great for
sandwiches, but obviously, I failed to get his “keep it light” secret.
Included here is a variation of James Beard’s
“Favorite Meat Loaf.” Also, “Middle East Meat Loaf” is a very good
combination that brings a bit more excitement to meat loaf.
Favorite Meat Loaf