Brasserie 8.5 is part of the Patina group of restaurants. If you’re loyal to them, they’re loyal to you. What I mean by that is simply this: go to one of their restaurants, and at the end of the meal they provide you with a contact and comment card. When you supply them with an email address and date of birth, they send you a free $50 credit for your birthday, which can be used within two months of the date. My wife and I have been to many of their establishments, and we haven’t been disappointed yet. The $50 credit makes it all a bit sweeter too.
So we came here with the $50 credit this time because it was within two months of my wife’s birthday. But, to be honest, we’ve been meaning to come here for quite some time. This joint offers an amazing happy hour deal with $5 quality draft beers, $1 oysters, and a bunch of other fairly priced items. In addition to that, they have a regular $29 three-course price fix lunch, a regular $39 three-course price fix dinner, no corkage fees on Sundays and Mondays, and on Sundays they have an awesome $32 bottomless mimosa brunch buffet that takes over the whole lounge area. Amazing, and you are truly dining in elegance with impeccable service at this massive midtown restaurant. The bar area is really nice, too, and the cocktail menu has some very nice concoctions.
So let’s get down to business. My wife did the price fix menu. Her appetizer was octopus with bean puree. The octopus was soft and tender, but it had a bit of skin slime going on. Perhaps a quick char on the grill would have knocked that back a bit before plating it on the bean puree.
Her entree was branzino with kale and calamari. These were nicely cooked and the skin was crisp. However the fish taste was a bit stronger than we are usually accustomed to for branzino. Not bad in any way, just a bit more powerful than expected.
Her dessert was a pear tart with vanilla ice cream. This was a beautiful dish, and the tart was perfectly executed.
I started with this nice cylinder of tuna tartare. The tuna was fresh and the cucumbers were crisp. The dressing was minimal so as to allow the simplicity and quality of the tuna stand on its own.
My entree was, as you might have expected, their dry-aged cote de boeuf, which was topped with sauteed mushrooms.
This nice bone-in rib eye was cooked to perfection on the inside. An even medium rare through and through.
I’m giving it 8/10 for flavor. I’d say it came in at about 20oz., if I had to guess. While the meat was perfectly cooked, there was a lot of bleed out due to the fact that the outside did not have a great deal of sear or char to it. That char tends to lock in all of the meat juices, that way, when you let it rest after cooking, none of the juices pour out of the meat. I wondered if it was cooked sous vide style… but the fact that the mushrooms were plated on top of the steak didn’t help much either, as that heat and moisture would work to remove any trace of searing that was done during the cooking process.
On the side I had an order of fries and sauteed spinach. The spinach was a bit watery, but it had a good buttery-garlic flavor.
The fries were perfectly crisp, though a little light on the seasoning.
I skipped dessert and shared some of my wife’s tart. All in, this was a pretty good meal. And we did well with that $50 birthday credit. Check out the William:
9 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019