American Cut (midtown) overall score: 82
My wife and I came here for a $29 restaurant week lunch. It happens to be one of the better deals for restaurant week, so we had to give it a try.
Unfortunately we were not that happy with the skirt steak on the price fix menu. While it was cooked to a perfect medium rare, it had an odd, rubbery texture and was under-seasoned (needed salt). I don’t mean rubbery like chewy. It was definitely tender, but it was an odd sort of tender that reminded me of some of the fake-tasting cuts my wife and I have had in Mexico while on vacation, which kind of grossed us out. Perhaps it was over tenderized? I’m not sure. I honestly don’t know what it is, but we know it when we taste it. On top of that, the chimichurri sauce added almost no flavor to the dish. It just tasted like “green” from the parsley. I didn’t get any salt content or even any garlic flavor from it. I was bummed. I didn’t even really want to finish it or continue eating, both because of the lack of flavor and the odd texture.
I recommend sticking to the standard cuts and regular menu for steak here. If they are anything like the downtown American Cut location, then you’re in VERY good hands.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
I took a point off here because the steak that I did try was sub-par, but I do know that the other cuts here should be okay, in theory. I hope to get back again soon and try a proper cut to get a better sense of both this category and the flavor category.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions vary here. For the steak, they are pretty good. All are large sized cuts for a fair price, and even though we didn’t like the skirt, there certainly was a lot of it. I thought the beef tartare was a bit small in terms of the amount of actual beef on the plate, but the salad that came with it, and the marrow as well, make up for that (see below). The tots and shrimp cocktail items we got with the restaurant week menu were a bit skimpy (three medium-sized shrimp and about 15 tots). There’s a strong possibility, however, that these items are cut back a bit in size simply because they are included with a discounted lunch promo like restaurant week. American Cut also runs a regular $28 lunch price fix menu. I’m not sure how that differs from the restaurant week menu that we tried for $29.
Our bill came to about $75 after tax and tip for one $29 restaurant week lunch with a glass of wine and an order of beef tartare. Not bad, but not awesome considering we weren’t too happy with the skirt steak. Even though the place is pricey, the best value you get is when you order steaks from the full dinner menu and stick to that. My sense is that this score will increase after a second trip with a better steak-eating experience.
The bar here is great. It’s spacious, nicely art-deco in style, and seems like a really great place to hang out after work. I’m guessing that this isn’t the greatest place to be on weekends, but that doesn’t mean the bar isn’t gorgeous. The only down side is that the space is ground floor level, so no windows or natural light.
Specials and Other Meats: 10
Short rib, lamb, veal, chicken, and wagyu beef selections grace the menu here. I didn’t notice any pork, unfortunately. Perhaps the pig face from Marc Forgione could pop on as a special every so often, or a slab of pork belly served like a steak. That would be something worth adding to the menu. At the very least, I think an Italian style pork chop with cherry peppers and onions would work.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
Shrimp Cocktail: This was a bit small (three medium-sized shrimp), and there was something slightly bitter about the taste of the shrimp. They were nicely cooked, however, and I liked the fact that they were pre-dressed with a horseradish-based cocktail sauce. Presentation was interesting too.
Steak Tartare: This was great. While I think the plate could have had some more actual meat on it, the addition of marrow and a salad beneath was very good, and made up for the smaller portion. The salad was dressed just right, and included celery leaf, which added a great freshness to the dish. The grilled bread was soft inside yet crunchy on the outer edges.
Tots: These were pretty good, and had a good spice level to them, but they were lacking a touch of salt. The inside was soft like a mashed potato, and the outside was perfectly golden crisp.
Cookies To Go: These were tasty, and had a little bit of flake salt on top to make the chocolate flavors pop. They were soft and delicious.
Seafood Selection: 9
Similar to the downtown spot, there’s a lot of nice seafood to choose from here. Sole, halibut, tuna and salmon are on the entree menu, along with surf and turf lobster-based shit as well. And you can always hit the appetizer section for your cold shellfish, or the crabcakes, octopus, etc.
Service here is great, just like downtown. We did feel a bit rushed, however, which was odd because the restaurant had plenty of room for other diners to come in. It’s not like they needed the table to clear out. In any event, the people are friendly, and the table bread, as usual, is the delicious everything biscuit with herb butter.
This place is gorgeous, large and spacious despite being a ground floor level joint. The only negative is that there are no windows, so it can feel a bit cavernous despite being grand and airy inside. The decor is awesome and it is similar in style to the downtown spot, very art deco.
109 E 56th St
New York, NY 10022