21 Main overall score: 85
UPDATE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED
21 Main is located on Long Island in the Sayville/West Sayville area on Montauk highway. In addition to being a steakhouse restaurant, they also sell various cuts of 28-day dry-aged steaks to take home and cook, retail, at reasonable prices.
I’ve been to 21 Main twice. The first time I ordered the 32oz ribeye, and the second time I ordered a strip, which was a special menu item. I enjoyed the meals, but, while both steaks were very good, they weren’t the best prepared meats that I ever had.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
21 Main offers three of the four main four cuts in a few forms; some are 28-day dry aged prime, and some are 28-day dry aged certified black angus. These are top quality, and there are various portion sizes to fit each appetite. The back angus sirloin is similar to a strip steak, and they also offer a boneless ribeye (delmonico). Occasionally they have additional cuts on special, and they also offer a skirt steak and other chops like pork.
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portion sizes at 21 Main are average to above average. The bone-in ribeye is a whopping 32oz; an extremely generous hunk of fantastic meat that clings to the end of a nearly full 12+ inch rib bone. When someone orders this, everyone in the restaurant turns their head and stares, appreciating the fact that they are graced with the presence of such manliness. Even the boneless ribeye is still at the 20oz mark! The other cuts are average/normal sizes, and plating is elegant but not obnoxious.
Out on Long Island, you tend to see some more reasonable pricing. At $45 for a prime, 28-day aged 32oz ribeye, you are getting a massive amount of majorly good meat for your moolah. Everything else on the menu is anywhere from $3 to $8 cheaper than comparable NYC steak joints.
21 Main has a great and socially active bar that attracts locals even when they are not gorging on steer corpse. The room with the bar has a piano for live music as well. The bartenders make a good martini, and they offer several specialty drinks on their cocktail menu.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
I ordered a special steak cut off the daily specials menu on my second trip to 21 Main. They also offer chicken, a pork porterhouse, and lamb on the regular menu for losers who are afraid to man-the-fuck-up and order a real meal.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
It has been a while since I was first at 21 Main, but I do recall the oysters being fresh, cold, and delicious. They even allowed us to add a wasabi foam to them despite the foam being listed as part of a different sashimi dish. The creamed spinach with crispy pancetta was delicious. The smoke and saltiness of the pancetta is cut nicely by the cream and makes for a nice balance. The calamari was nicely cooked in a very light, crispy, and firm batter. By far, though, my favorite side was the blue cheese potato croquette. If I wasn’t there for steak, I would have had a few of those bad boys. For dessert I had the creme brulee the first time, which was good, and a Baily’s shake the second time, which I sucked down faster than the oysters at the beginning of the meal; it was really incredible. My wife had the 21 Main Split, which was really yummy, but looked like a cock. Yes – a dick.
Seafood Selection: 9
21 Main offers lobster, salmon, tuna steak, and a variety of items from the raw bar menu as far as “steak from the sea” is concerned. If I recall correctly, there was also a fish item among the daily specials. Every manner of shellfish I can think of is represented, with perhaps the exception of the mussel (who cares), in some way shape or form, whether it is an appetizer or an entree. The only seafood item I tried were the oysters, however, and they were delicious.
The wait staff knows their meat well. They will press you for your preferences if you ask them what they recommend, which tells me they are looking out for the diner and not the amount of the bill. Without hesitation they allowed me to swap a mignonette sauce for a wasabi foam on my oysters appetizer, and they are very attentive to things like drinks. Table breads were warm and unique, and the butter was soft.
21 Main is a classy joint. It is not a traditionally decorated steakhouse; it looks more like a fine dining type of restaurant. It essentially is a large, old home on a hill, with carpeting throughout, sheer white drapery, valet parking, and a view from the window that overlooks a small peaceful pond just north of Montauk Highway. There is additional seating upstairs. The crowd is mostly adults, although they do offer a children’s menu.