Angus Club overall score: 93
Tonight I had a crazy press dinner at the newly opened Angus Club Steakhouse in midtown, on 55th and Lex. Despite it being a free press meal, I’ve popped this write-up into my traditional steakhouse review format, complete with 100 point scoring system and everything. I’m committed.
We had what was probably one of the best porterhouse steaks I have ever eaten. I am usually a rib eye man, but this was good enough to make me reconsider my religion. The 35-day aging process really adds a ton of flavor to the meat, without getting overly gamey and barn-yardish.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
Everything here is prime, aged 30-35 days in house, certified black angus quality meat. Eddie, the chef, hand picks the cuts from the meat supplier (Masters) in Hunts Point. You can rest assured that you are in good hands here. One “bone” to pick: some outlier meat cuts would be a great addition, perhaps as daily specials, such as flank, skirt, or perhaps a hanger.
Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portion sizes are great, and the decorative plating is nice without going overboard. You have a 14oz filet, which is beefy, and 22oz rib eyes and/or strips (bone-in). This is a great size, especially considering that the meat is well-aged (aging reduces the weight, as meat fat fibers break down and subsume into the muscle tissue, causing increased tenderness and flavor). The porterhouse for two, if I had to render a guess, would be about 42oz, bone-in. Not too bad, and every ounce edible, fat and all.
I was given the wonderful opportunity to eat for free this night, as part of a press dinner, so I can’t take any points here. At $48 for a 22oz rib eye in the heart of Manhattan’s prime real estate area, and with a restaurant this size (tremendous), I’d say that this is a bargain.
There was a nice happy hour crowd here despite the bar being off-street and somewhat small. There is a larger bar downstairs, but it kinda gets lost in the shuffle. A featured bar, in my opinion, should be along the window on the main floor, to attract passers-by and entice them in for a meal. The bar did have incredible homemade potato chips though; crisp, salty, and textured. They mixed a great, crisp, smooth martini as well. Nicely done.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
We weren’t offered any particular specials for the press dinner, but the menu does offer other meats such as veal and lamb. These are solid additions to a traditional steakhouse menu.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We had some crab cakes to start. They were crispy on the outside, and meaty/juicy on the inside. A fairly generous portion size too: two little pucks of goodness, which nearly doubles the great and famous Del Frisco’s portion size.
Next we had a nice, classic iceberg wedge salad, with mighty chunks of bacon and a hearty blue cheese dressing. Delicious and refreshing.
On the side we had “creamless” creamed spinach, which was miraculously creamy despite not using cream. It was a perfect cut to the savory meat. Slather that shit on your meat and chomp away!
We also indulged in some truffle oil mushrooms as well. Nice and earthy.
Last, we had the angus home fries. These were crispy on the outside, and soft/fluffy on the inside. Lots of flavor and nuance in these little morsels. I had lots of fun eating them, and you will too.
For dessert we tried two items. First was the coconut tiramisu. This was really light, airy, delicate, and packed with flavor. Wonderful.
Then we had the key lime pie. This was the star for me. I love a nice tart dessert. This was creamy and sour without being overwhelming. Just to my liking.
Seafood Selection: 8
There’s lots to choose from here by way of the sea. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try anything aside from the crab cakes, so I can only give it my baseline score of 8. Based on how well prepared the other items are, though, I would wager that these guys know what they’re doing when it comes to seafood as well. Don’t be shy – go ahead and try something. And I might add that the steak sauce here is absolutely perfect for seafood. It has a nice acidic horseradish tang that is reminiscent of very good cocktail sauce.
Outstanding is the word that best describes the service here. If you have the good fortune to come here on a day when all four owners/partners are around (usually most days), then you will be treated with the utmost respect. Pure class.
They all met years ago while working together at Benjamin Steakhouse. In time it was only natural for them to strike out on their own venture. This place just opened in February and they seem to be off to a great start. I got to meet them all, but the two partners of note were Eddie, the executive chef, and Margent, the wine director and front of the house, with whom I spoke at length. Our waiter and bus boy, if I recall, was named Ray. He too was magnificent, always ready with a fresh glass of wine or a new pour of water.
Also, the bread came quick and was good. Here’s a shot of it:
This place is really nicely decorated. The walls are elegantly and artfully done up with weathered, reclaimed barn wood, to create a warm and inviting vibe. They used a well-known decorator who is famous for setting up the private homes of millionaires around the city, so nothing is stale or out of fashion. It is contemporary and sophisticated, yet also art deco-inspired. The restaurant seats 40 people upstairs, and 76 downstairs, where there are a host of private rooms that give a nod back to the old school traditional steakhouse culture.
There’s even a cool rendition of a bull or steer made from scraps of wood on the stairs as you go down to the large dining room.
Once downstairs, there’s the chef room:
The cork room (walls make of cork decor):
The leather room (walls padded with elegant deep red-brown leather):
And the oak room, which abuts the main lower dining area and can be closed off from the main downstairs dining room to form a separate party area:
There’s also a great temperature controlled wine cellar, complete with an old, non-functional decorative wooden wine press, just like the kind my grandfather used to squeeze every last drop of juice from the stems and skins of grapes. They feature lots of California wines, though the selection is very international.
One last thing I noticed was that the bathroom smells really great. Just thought I’d mention that. I was once told that sometimes you can judge the cleanliness of a kitchen by the cleanliness of the patrons’ bathroom. Not sure if there’s any truth to that, but this shitter was spotless.
On a second visit, the management hooked me and my wife up with a free meal. I couldn’t believe it! We tried some new stuff, so I have some things to write about.
First was the steak tartare. This was really different from other tartare dishes I’ve had. It was substantial. I hate to say meaty, since it is made of meat, but that’s what it was. It’s made from prime aged beef, and not just the typical filet cut.
My wife had the bacon app. It was a big slab of delicious:
For dinner, my wife had the seafood platter. It was good, but it felt like it may have needed a few extra pieces; perhaps two more of each: shrimp, oysters, clams.
For me, I had the mother fucker of all rib eyes. This was one of the most perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, juicy, tasty, and absolutely insane cuts of meat I have ever eaten. Let the pictures do the talking. Amazing.
I popped another three points onto the score. I think after a third visit, when I try a strip or a filet, this place could go sky high. What an amazing dinner.
135 E. 55th St.
New York, NY 10022