Category Archives: Restaurant Week

Bar Boulud

Here’s another restaurant week review for your asses.

For $42, my wife had a three course meal. The first course? A fucking salmon rillette.

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This was pretty good. I apologize in advance, though. My pictures don’t look too good this time around. I had competing light color values from outside along the windows (blue) and inside from the overhead lighting (yellow/orange/red, with dark shadows). As a result, my photos look like dog diarrhea smeared onto a piss and blood-ridden diaper/maxi pad, but only the kind of diaper/maxi pad you see in commercials that use blue colored liquid to simulate blood and piss for some ridiculous reason.

But anyway that salmon rillette had a nice base of hard rye, topped with minced salmon and pickle, and some frisee and sliced beets. It had a good flavor and texture.

The main course was a bavette steak. If you don’t know what the fuck a bavette is, click the link I just provided and read up on it, asshole. It’s a cut of beef.

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This was roasted to a nice medium rare, but I was somewhat disappointed with the lack of char on the outside. It was buttery and garlicky, which was good for flavor. However, the slices that I had were slightly under seasoned. I think it still gets 8/10, so there’s some room for improvement. It was served on a bed of potato puree with a side of green beans.

For dessert, there was this blackberry financier with brown butter ice cream.

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The cake itself was a bit dry, but all the toppings served well to moisten it the hell up. Corn? And popcorn? Interesting! But the brown butter ice cream blob way the fuck on the right was the real star of the dish. I would have preferred a bowl of that instead.

Overall this is a pretty good deal for restaurant week. Lunch is always the better buy ($29), but you aren’t getting raped here for a $42 three-course dinner.

The couple we were with let us try a bit of their dessert as well, a chocolate ganache pie of sorts:

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This was very rich and tasty. If chocolate is your vice, then this dessert is nice. That was a rhyme.

For my meal, I went with the “Frenchie” burger. If you’re in the area for a burger, you can go with PJ Clarke’s for a standard style American burger, or pop in here for something unique and different… and French.

This mother fucker is topped with raclette cheese and a thick goddamn slab of soft, confit pork belly! Bitches know what’s up! I think. I don’t know, actually… Do they know what’s up?

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That’s arugula underneath, incase you were wondering. The patty was perfectly seasoned, and the bun was soft yet pliable and strong. Toppings, as you can imagine, were on point. The confit pork was like having a fast food burger patty made of belly (in terms of size) right on top of your already-delicious burger. Good move. This burger was pretty damn good, but it doesn’t quite make it into my top 10.

For $23, the burger also came with fries, which were some crispy-ass, natural cut, shoestring mother fuckers. I liked them.

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Honorable mention: bread selection. We had three styles of table bread. First were small cheese bread things that reminded me of pop-overs in muffin form. They were warm too, like the pair of underwear that you just peeled off your sweaty, NYC-in-the-summer ass cheeks and tossed into the laundry pile. The other bread basket had slices of a sunflower seed sourdough bread of some kind, and a few slices of standard French baguette. All good quality, just like the writing in this review.

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That’s it. Now go fuck off.

BAR BOULUD
1900 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

American Cut (midtown)

American Cut (midtown) overall score: 89

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.

Flavor: 5 (updated to 7)
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.

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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 (updated to 10)
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.

Price: 7 (updated to 9)
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.

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Bar: 8 (updated to 9)
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: 9
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: 9
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.

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Ambiance: 9
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.

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UPDATE: 2/2/18

My wife picked up a flash deal from Blackboard Eats, which scored us 20% off our bill as well as two free cocktails. We started off at the bar for their $10 smoked old fashioned cocktails for happy hour.

Then, when we sat, we got our two free cocktails.

And of course those incredible everything biscuits with veggie and herb butter.

We shared the foie for our app. It was nice and soft. Not too rich, which I like. Just right.

We shared a porterhouse next, and I noticed that they revamped their menu with a lot more interesting and widely varying beef cut selections. Dry-aged, wet-aged, domestic wagyu and Miyazaki wagyu all grace the menu here. I was impressed.

This was their wet-aged for 28-days and then flambéed table side with marrow butter and some other deliciousness prior to slicing. 8/10.

We cleaned it off.

On the side we had their sun choke spinach, which I really loved. This might be my favorite version of creamed spinach.

For dessert we had the banana and Jameson donuts with chocolate chip ice cream. Very nice.

All in, we saved about $75 with the Blackboards Eats deal.

BURGERS

The “Big Mark” and the standard burger here are good, but as far as steakhouse burgers go, you can do better elsewhere for the same price point.

But that famous Pastrami Rib Eye is always good:

And so is the chili lobster.

AMERICAN CUT
109 E 56th St
New York, NY 10022

Michael Jordan’s

Michael Jordan’s overall score: 84

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

My wife and I grabbed a quick lunch here for NYC restaurant week, summer 2016. The menu was pretty good for three courses at $29. Here were the selections:

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Flavor: 7 (now 8)
I went with the strip steak for $10 additional.

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It had a nice peppery crust, but was missing something in the flavor department. I’d guess this was likely a prime cut, or at the very least high choice, but definitely not aged. It was cooked nicely to medium rare from end to end, and it was juicy as well.

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The corn salsa that came with it was a bit too heavily dressed with red wine vinegar or something. I wasn’t a fan.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
They offer all four main cuts here. They also offer several selections with a bone, and without a bone. It would be good to see some aged selections, but they at least have some large format items. All of the beef is either prime or high choice, as far as I can tell.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions are good here. My steak was probably around the 14oz mark, boneless. So this is a good amount of food for the money. Plating is basic, with a touch of elegance. Not too much, though, as the tables are all covered in white paper. It’s not overboard.

Price: 8
We did the restaurant week lunch special, which I thought was a good deal. However, the regular prices here are pretty fair as well. If the cuts served on the standard menu are superior, this might have a better score, as everything is under $50 per person, per cut.

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Bar: 8
The bar seemed to be split away from the dining area. As this joint is situated in Grand Central, they are constrained by where they can set up and what they can do. But since this spot is across from Cipriani Dolci, it is definitely a nice place to drink.

Specials and Other Meats: 7
Chicken and veal are your only non-beef, non-fish options here, as far as I can tell. Our waiter didn’t read any special cuts for us.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7 (now 8)
We were limited here for what we could try on the restaurant week menu, but here’s a breakdown of what we had:

Caesar Salad: Nothing too amazing, and nothing bad. There was a generous amount of shredded cheese on this, which I liked.

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Tomato & Mozzarella Salad: A bit skimpy on the mozzarella, but the balsamic on the tomatoes was excellent. I liked the addition of cucumbers to this salad, and the onions weren’t too potent in their raw form.

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Cheesecake: Unfortunately, the strawberry shortcake listed on the menu above was replaced with cheesecake. However, the cheesecake wasn’t bad at all. It was creamy, without being overly sweet. It had a pop of lemon brightness to it as well.

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Raspberry Sorbet: This was tasty and tart. I actually enjoyed it better when combined with a sliver of the cheesecake.

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Seafood Selection: 7 (now 9)
There’s branzino, lobster, tuna, salmon and swordfish here. That’s a good showing. My wife picked the salmon from the restaurant week menu. She ordered it medium, but it came back more like medium well. It had a nice char-grilled flavor to it, but it was otherwise a bit dry. The flavor was nice, it just needed some moisture.

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Service: 8 (now 10)
Our waiter spoke pretty fast and it was tough to hear him at times, but luckily it was formality kind of speak that we were missing out on. Waters were filled up often, and service wasn’t slow or poor in any way. The table breads were nice little miniature loaves that were warm, and went nicely with the flake salt and butter.

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Ambiance: 10
Dining while overlooking the hustle and bustle of Grand Central is definitely an amazing experience. You’d be hard-pressed to find a place in NYC with a better view that is so readily accessible to people of all means, whether you’re out for a nice steak meal for a special occasion, or power-lunching with the bankers of midtown.

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UPDATE 6/26/17

I had the porterhouse on my second visit. Very nice, and one of their only cuts that is actually dry-aged as opposed to wet-aged (the other is their prime rib). 8/10; this was good enough to move the flavor score up a point from the earlier review.

Good to the last bite.

Service was much better this time around as well. Full points, moving up to a 10/10. And I love the basket of fried onions that comes with every steak.

The apps, sides and desserts score has improved by a point as well (8/10). In that lunch review I was pretty limited. This visit, I had the seafood tower, which is jammed with great quality stuff for $85. A whole lobster, a few king crab legs, six oysters, four shrimp, lump crab meat, and tuna tartare were on this baby. This also ended up bumping the seafood score to a 9/10 as well.

The bacon was okay. I’ve had better, but I thought it was cool that it came out with grilled Romaine, grape tomatoes and dressing. Essentially this is a salad.

Truffle cream spinach? Really flavorful. A bit heavy on the cream but I don’t mind.

Mac and cheese was delicious. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch in an hour.

Desserts were on point too. The chocolate fudge brownie with ice cream was slightly more cake-textured than brownie-textured, but the baked Alaska was awesome with the pecan and chocolate ice cream inside, with pistachios as garnish.

UPDATE 8/10/17 – PRIME RIB

I came back again once I learned that this joint serves roasted, dry-aged prime rib every Wednesday and Thursday. It’s limited quantity, so you really need to get there early and order quickly. I ate at 6pm, and by 7pm they were out.

Although it’s not quite on par with Burger & Barrel or Keens, it is a delicious meal. Bone in versions are thicker, for $52, while boneless versions are a little more slim, at $42.

Clearly I went with the big boy. 7/10.

MICHAEL JORDAN’S “THE STEAK HOUSE” NYC
Grand Central Terminal
23 Vanderbilt Ave
New York, NY 10017

Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime overall score: 90

I rolled through Ocean Prime for a quick NYC Restaurant Week meal one night after work with a friend of mine. They were booked solid, so we grabbed a seat in the lounge area near the bar to eat. While the menu was limited to a small filet for restaurant week (in terms of beef), I figured it was a good opportunity to test-drive the steakhouse before going balls-deep with a big rib eye. Here’s what I thought:

Flavor: 9
The filet was delicious, and was cooked to an absolutely perfect medium rare. It had a good seasoned outside, and the inside was juicy and flavorful. While the outside wasn’t super crisp, it still managed to hold in all the juices.

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I’m looking forward to heading back for a proper rib eye. I have to say… for a place to score an 88 on a test run with a severely limited restaurant week menu… I’m impressed.

Second trip: perfectly cooked rib eye. Similar notes regarding the sear, as the rib eye had a slight wetness on top. Otherwise absolutely delicious. With a bit more crisp on the edges, this would deb full points for flavor.

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Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
Three filets, two strips and a rib eye are offered here. There is no beef porterhouse. I have to take a few points for that. The menu indicates that all steaks are prime quality, but nothing is noted about aging. Perhaps a few more bone-in options would also beef up the selection here as well. But with consistent, top notch quality, it might not matter too much. Second trip: upgraded to 8/10.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions are slightly smaller than most places for the price range of midtown steak joints. The plating is elegant and clean, nothing too fancy.

Price: 8
This is an expensive joint, with a small 8oz filet coming in at almost $50, however their most expensive steak is $57, a 12oz “bone-in filet,” so the range isn’t too wide. In any case, they do participate in NYC Restaurant Week, where they offer a three-course meal for $38 that includes an app, an entree, two sides and a dessert.

Bar: 10
This is a great bar for hanging out after work. The crowd is all suits from Bankville, USA, but the space is beautifully apportioned and you can watch the street from the well-lit seating arrangement.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
There’s lamb, chicken, and a pork porterhouse in terms of other meats. That’s a nice showing, especially considering that this place is a bit lighter on the beef selections and a bit heavier on the seafood selections. Also, on a second trip there were lots of specials read to us from all menu categories, including steak.

Second trip: 14oz strip steak with brie special. Upgraded to 9/10.

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Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
I had the Point Judith calamari, which was perfectly breaded and fried to a golden crisp, and drizzled with just the right amount of sweet chili sauce. It also comes with roasted cashews, which nails home the distinct Asian dimension to the dish.

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My steak came with mashed potatoes and green beans for the restaurant week menu, so I got to taste a few items. Both were good, but nothing incredible.

The desserts, however, were a different story. I tried both the peanut butter mousse with chocolate ganache, and the carrot cake, which Ocean Prime is famous for at this point. Del Frisco’s has the lemon cake. Strip House has the chocolate cake. Ocean Prime has the carrot cake, which i shy far my favorite, and I DO love the lemon cake at Del’s. Typically, the cake is 10 layers high and a massive wedge. This restaurant week portion was just right for me, as I was already kind of full. The frosting had a great fall-spice to it, and the cake was moist without being too dense.

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The full carrot cake slice from the dinner menu:

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The peanut butter and chocolate pie was good too, but too sweet for my liking. It was light due to the mousse element, though, which is nice. It was also beautiful to look at.

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Second trip: surf and turf appetizer of braised short rib and scallop was incredible. Perfectly executed.

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Second trip: 99% meat in this crab cake. Lots of good crab flavor, nicely accented with a corn salad. This rivals Del Frisco’s.

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Second trip: chop house corn. Very tasty, but I was expecting something more to it. Maybe the addition of some pancetta would do the trick.

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Seafood Selection: 10
There’s a shitload of great looking seafood here. The menu is too extensive to list them all. I was able to try some of the scallops that my buddy ordered, and so far I’m impressed.

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When I return, I’ll definitely be trying more seafood. I like the idea of a steak joint that really raises the bar on the seafood. A lot of places just do lobster and salmon, shrimp and oysters. They don’t go outside the box. Here it is a totally different seafood experience. And it is perfect place for dates: the men can eat their red meat, and the women can watch their figure with some seafood, because sexism rules.

Service: 10
Even in the busy and crowded bar area, we had excellent service. The first course came out fast, and the waitress, Jenny, was really nice and attentive. The fun part about sitting in the bar area is that they give you a free bowl of popcorn, which is wonderfully seasoned. The bread, by the way, is delicious. You get piping hot pretzel bread logs and bread with a soft, whipped butter. Excellent.

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Ambiance: 9
While the main dining room is big and industrial looking, it still has a nice feel to it. It’s spacious, which is good, but it just lacks a little bit of character. One thing that’s cool is that you can view how the kitchen operates by peeking though the long glass window that is visible from the dining room. Upstairs there are some private dining areas, and the bathrooms are beautifully appointed. Second trip: I took more of the ambiance in and I am sold on it being a solid 9/10.

UPDATE 7/17/19

I recently returned to try some more stuff.

Steak Tartare

This was awesome. Up there with some of the best I’ve had. If tartare is your thing, then get this shit.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

This was incredible. I actually ate more of this than anything else the night we came back. Addictive!

Lobster Tails

These twin beauties tasted as great as they looked. You can’t go wrong on the seafood here.

Surf & Turf

Seared scallops with braised short rib? Yup. I loved this appetizer. Solid way to start a meal.

Mixed Sushi Rolls

Everything served on this platter was delicious but I kept hitting that thinly sliced wagyu beef roll. Amazing.

Crab Cake

If that sauce was spicy it would be on par with Del Frisco’s.

Assorted Sides

All great (especially the jalapeño au gratin), except they skimped on the cauliflower & broccoli.

Pork Porterhouse

This was nice. When comparing to Belcampo, this one fell a bit short. But it was by no means bad. Still probably a 7 or 8 out of 10.

Dry Aged Kansas City Strip

This bone in beauty brought a lot of earthy flavor to the table. Of the steaks we tried, this was the winner for sure. 9/10.

Dry Aged Rib Eye

This was less seasoned and had less aged flavor than the strip, but was still a great steak. 8/10.

Dessert Platter

As you may already know, the 10-layer carrot cake here is one of my favorite steakhouse desserts. They also served us a butter cake, which is also one of my favorite steakhouse desserts (but from Del Frisco’s).

OCEAN PRIME
123 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019

The Back Room at One57

NOTE: THIS JOINT IS NOW CLOSED

NYC restaurant week now includes this joint at the One57 building on Billionaire’s Row, “The Back Room.” They offer a really great menu. The decor is beautiful and vast. It’s a huge place. Tables are wide and spacious. Very different from the usual situation in NYC.

The onion bread with garlic and herb cream cheese is a delicious way to start the meal here:

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We also sipped on some really excellent cocktails.

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The charcuterie board had five different styles of cured meat with some pickled items. I thought this was really generous. The quality of these meats was top notch, too. Coppa, cacciatorini, fennel sausage, soppressata, spicy nduja, lardon. The fat content was so soft and sticky that it was clinging to the bottom of my tongue like peanut butter. So good.

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We also had the reginetti pasta, which are like little squiggly brain shapes that hold the sauce nicely in the convolutions.

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For our main courses we went with the beef cheek and the quail. The beef cheek was braised in red wine to a perfect tenderness that still retained a nice juicy inside. It was served on a parsnip and rutabaga puree, and topped with crispy onions and a red onion jam.

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My wife’s quail dish was nicely cooked and had good flavor, but it was slightly gamey. The quail was in no way bad. It just didn’t hit the same high mark as the beef.

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Dessert was pretty great. Maybe restaurants in NYC are finally understanding that people want to see something different than tiramisu, creme brûlée, chocolate cake and fucking flan. First up was this cocoa toffee pudding with brulee’d bananas, salty cocoa nibs and malted coconut ice cream. Excellent.

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We also had the meyer lemon zabaglione with whipped tea, lemon confit and earl grey ice cream. Very inventive and unique, and a nice bright way to end a meal.

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The waiter, Ivan, was great. He even brought over a candle and complimentary glass of honeyed dessert wine for my wife since they knew it was her birthday (was mentioned on the Open Table reservation).

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On a second visit I tried their two-course lunch for $32, along with a taste of a few other things that the rest of the table had.

First was this delicious grilled octopus.

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The texture was perfect. While the chimichurri-esque green sauce was a bit bland, I did like it a lot with the octopus, and even with the table bread as well.

I went with the skirt steak for my main course.

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The dollop of garlic butter on top really added a great flavor and creaminess to the cut. It was perfectly cooked to medium rare.

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While the steak itself was a bit small, it did pack a ton of flavor. 8/10.

Here’s a look at the lobster roll on the lunch menu. I think it could use a bit more quality, large chunks of claw meat. The bread was solid, but I’ve had better lobster rolls elsewhere.

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The duck leg confit was brilliant. So tender and juicy, and beautifully plated as well.

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And speaking of beautiful plating, this bowl of fried oyster mushrooms with lemon are served with an edible chive blossom.

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For dessert we sampled a trio of eclairs and a chocolate espresso cake, which was super soft, smooth and decadent. The texture was more like soft fudge or a thick custardy pudding.

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Of the three eclairs, I liked the pink and red one the best. All three had great creamy fillings and were beautiful as well as tasty.

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THE BACK ROOM AT ONE57
157 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

Tellers (Long Island)

Tellers overall score: 88

First I’d like to thank Jeff and Elizabeth for the gift card, which totally overcompensated me for the time I spent taking and editing photos of their son Jack. Tellers, formerly a bank, is a unique steakhouse in Islip, Long Island, well known for its quality and ambiance. This marks my second trip to the restaurant. I ate like a ravenous beast this time ’round, and I may fall into a deep food coma at any moment. Must type fast. See below. Third visit remarks in italics.
 
Flavor: 8
Tellers is good. I feel like it can be great, however. Although cooked properly in terms of doneness, I think the meat was slightly under seasoned, and the steak was not allowed to rest long enough before serving; the large pool of juices in the plate ruined some of the crisp textural components you like with a steak. For the size steak I had, I can see, however, that it would be difficult to ensure even flavoring throughout the thickness of the meat. The first time I went, I got the delmonico, which is the smaller, boneless ribeye that was included in the restaurant week prix fix (see price section below).  The second time I went, I got the dry-aged 39oz bone-in ribeye; a much thicker cut (all bow to my manliness). It had some gristle, but the intra-muscular fat was good quality. I’d definitely eat here again, but this is certainly not the best steak in terms of flavor. I’ve seen average places with average quality cuts of beef do more with less. On a third trip I had the strip steak (16oz, boneless). It was still a bit under seasoned, but the crust was MUCH better, and there was pretty much NO bleed out. I ordered medium rare. it came back a bit over and slightly uneven, but still very tasty, so I didn’t mind so much.
NY Strip
NY Strip

 

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Tellers offers several different cuts and several versions of each cut. There are two sized filets, as well as a Wellington preparation, a bacon wrapped filet, and a bone-in filet. They offer a boneless delmonico ribeye, as well as 21 day dry-aged NY strips (boneless), ribeyes (bone-in) and porterhouses for one or two. Additionally, they have skirt steak and other meats like lamb. On special the second time I went was a Wagyu porterhouse for two. This covers the essential four cuts, and then offers some variation and choice. Nicely done, Tellers, although I got a good look at the porterhouse steak for one, and, to be honest, it looked more like a T-bone since the filet side was quite skimpy. CAREFUL! A carnivore connoisseur like me may have sent that shit back.
 
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portion sizes ranged from average to large here. The filets are 8oz (average for smaller cuts), 14oz (larger than average for regular cuts), and 14oz for the bone-in (average, given the weight of the bone included). The delmonico is about 20oz, the strip is about 16oz, and the ribeye… wait for it… is fucking 39oz. Yeah that’s right… And I ate all of that mother fucker. Suck it, you peons.
 
Price: 8
The first time I went to Tellers they were offering a $50 three course prix fix dinner that included wine pairings with each course; AMAZING DEAL. That was during Long Islands’s restaurant week, but Tellers regularly offers a  $45 three course prix fix every Sunday and for early dining during the week (no wine included). These are seriously great deals, since it includes the boneless delmonico (if you choose the steak item). On my second trip, I had a $200 gift card in my pocket thanks to Jeff and Elizabeth. Weighing the option to use it twice on two prix fix dinners versus going all out on the regular menu, I ultimately decided to go all out to get the full experience that Tellers has to offer (since last time I did a prix fix). Our bill came to $185 (scallop app, dozen oysters, creamed spinach, 39oz ribeye, seared tuna, trio of pies, martini, and espresso), so the gift card covered everything, and then we added an additional $15 or so on the table above the $200, for a grand total of $215. As you can see, regular menu prices are a bit steep as compared to the prix fix deals for the increase in quality and portion size (I’d say flavor is about the same between prix fix items and regular menu items). If/when I go back, I will likely stick to the prix fix, since I know now that it offers the most bang for the buck. Take advantage of this expert knowledge, assholes. HEED! Below is the bill for the third visit:
WIlliam Price
WIlliam Price
Bar: 9
Tellers has a very nice bar and lounge off of the main dining room which you can access from the rear parking lot to bypass the main entryway. The full menu is available here, which is great if you ever try to go and the dining room is all booked up. Teller’s has an extensive wine list, and they make a good martini to boot (though mine was a little warm when it was first served to me). It is a cool place to hang out even if you aren’t eating. The bar itself is nice, and there is a great selection of booze, especially after dinner-type swanky drinks (several types of armagnac, grappa, single malt scotches, madiera, ports, and brandy).
DRINKS FIX
Specials and Other Meats: 8
Slim on alternative meats, Tellers offers just the lamb and roasted chicken. No shame in that; the red meat is the reason why you go here. As mentioned earlier, they offered a Wagyu porterhouse for two, which gets good marks in my book as far as specials are concerned. The Wagyu was the only item off menu offered as a special, however.
 
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
The duck fat french fries are delicious, and they came FREE as we awaited our appetizers. They’re served with a really nice homemade ketchup and mustard/mayo dipping sauce on the side. Perfectly seasoned and crispy. I ordered a bakers dozen oysters. For a moment I was torn between those and little necks, but I went with the oysters. In hindsight I should have gotten a half-dozen of each to try them all out, but I was extremely pleased with the oysters. Cold, clean, fresh, creamy, smooth, and well-shucked. They shucked the shit out of those things. My wife ordered a seared scallops & mushrooms appetizer; perfectly cooked and buttery sweet. Tellers also offers a “trainwreck” potato dish, which is essentially baked potatos scooped out into a cassarole dish and cooked with several types of fine cheeses, bacon and peppers. That will fill you right up. Speaking of filling, the creamed spinach is huge; it can easily feed four people. It is not super creamy (I don’t like it overly creamy), and it is your basic quality creamed spinach; it gets the job done. For dessert, we had a trio of pies in a jar, which was fun and interesting, though extremely HOT. They were very sweet as well, and could have benefitted from a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside to cut both the heat and the sweet. Luckily I didn’t burn my mouth this time like I did at Dylan Prime though. On our first visit here, we ordered the calamari, which were nicely breaded and crispy, but lacked seasoning/salt. The fries were also free then as well, and before dessert they brought us a small plate of home made cookies (they didn’t do that on our second visit). On the third visit, we tried the peppered bacon, the crab cakes, the brussels sprouts, and the hazelnut cheesecake. The bacon was thick – almost an inch. It was cooked in a braised fashion, soft and tender, and covered with a horseradishy BBQ type sauce. The crab cakes were a bit on the small side for the price ($17) but they were juicy, lumpy, and crispy without being too bready – and served with a yummy hollandaise sauce. The brussels sprouts were nothing to write home about. I make much better sprouts at home. I like a little crisp to mine, and there was no crisp on these. Also not enough pancetta. The hazelnut cheesecake was rich and tasty, and had a tangy smear of nutty chocolate poo beside it. See pics below:
APPS COLLAGE
 
Seafood Selection: 9
There is a great selection of seafood at Tellers. Crispy skin salmon, swordfish steak, seared tuna, lobster, stuffed flounder with crab, fresh clams and oysters, sashimi, scallops, seafood towers, and shrimp tossed with assorted seafood in pasta. If you can’t take the meat, no need to start bitchin’ – order up some seafood. They do it well here. We really enjoyed the oysters and scallop appetizers, and my wife was happy with her seared tuna. FYI – my wife is not an asshole pussy (asspussy) because she ordered fish at a steakhouse. She recently had her Charles-De-Gallbladder removed and red meats are just not sitting well with her at the moment. On the third visit my wife had the millenium lobster (2lb). It was served with very nice, creamy, super-whipped mashed potatoes. The lobster was de-shelled already when it came to the table, and topped with a spicy butter sauce. See below for the nice presentation:
2lb millenium lobster
2lb millenium lobster
Service: 9
The service here is impeccable. First, you are greeted with a lovely potato foccacia bread. It is FANTASTIC; buttery, sweet and savory, almost like a corn bread. Our attentive waiter explained and described everything to us; from how things were prepared to what they were cooked with. And I mean everything, including the foccacia, fries, steaks, apetizers – these guys really take pride in what they do, they learn the menu, and they understand the culinary arts (especially meat). The waiters all wear a formal shirt and tie, but there are women as well as men in the waitstaff. Big points on service for Tellers. We never waited on water, the check came promptly, and everything was done at a good, comfortable pace. Tellers will also go out of their way to bring something speial to the table if they know it is your birthday or anniversary. On the third trip we noticed that they no longer bring free french fries and the fresh baked pan bread to the table. That kinda sucks, since those items were almost the best part of the meal. However, we did have a great waiter named Billy, who was helpful, knowledgeable, and genuine. Top notch.
Ambiance: 10
Tellers used to be an old bank, hence the name. The main dining room sports a triple high ceiling with beautiful architecture and long, tall, elegant windows that seem to have been preserved with as much historical accuracy as possible. Seating is also available in the bar/lounge area. The old bank vault, which still has the gate and huge vault door attached, now houses a wine cellar. Bins of wine also adorn the main lobby. Very classy. It is a beautiful restaurant. There is no music in the main dining room, but you can hear it slightly, coming from the bar area. Tables are ALMOST too close, but not uncomfortable. Tellers is not a huge restaurant so they have to do what they can. The corner booths are roomy and spacious, however. Bathrooms are large and clean, and have nice thick disposable paper towels. Once in a while during the meal you might feel a slight breeze gently carry through the dining room since it has a high ceiling and there are large doors near the entryway that let the wind in when both sets of doors are opened at the same time. Two large, fake trees sit in decorative cauldrons in the dining room, giving the room an outdoors feel, especially when you look out the windows to see the uplighting on the real trees outside on the well manicured grounds. Tellers is a very pleasing and unique place to eat.
 
Just as a post-script, I thought I was eating a lot until I saw the couple at a neighboring table order the trainwreck potato dish, creamed spinach, and the lobster mac & cheese – all this along with their free fries, foccacia bread, porterhouse for one and seared tuna (HOLY FUCKING STARCH BATMAN). I wonder if they finished it all. That is pretty badass if they did.
UPDATE 9/13/15
I came back here for a meal after running in the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon. I burned about 3400 calories in that, my first marathon, so I was ready to pack on some fat. This joint offers a $45 price fix Sunday meal that includes some great shit. For example, my massive slab bacon app as a starter:
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Mine was perfect! My mom’s, hover, was very fatty and not as pleasant.
For the main course I had an 18oz delmonico (boneless) rib eye. Mine was cooked somewhere in the range of medium rare to medium (I ordered medium rare). My dad’s was unfortunately overcooked to medium well (he, too, ordered medium rare).
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Dessert comes with the meal as well, but before that I should mention the duck fat french fries and burnt broccoli that we shared among the table:
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Both had great crisp texture. The fries didn’t taste heavily of duck fat, but they were pretty much perfect french fries. The broccoli was super tasty. They are steamed and then flash fried for that crisp.
For dessert I needed something light. My body was not agreeing with this additional pounding I was putting it through after the race. I went with a trio of sorbets.
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I was amazed to see a cigar menu on the dessert menu. Odd, considering that smoking is not allowed in the establishment. However the restaurant has some nice outdoor lounge seating. So on a nice night you can puff away out there:
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As for drinks: I recommend the St. Germain and candied hibiscus martini. Really awesome, and you can eat the flower. Yes – this was my wife’s drink… Do I look like a fucking pussy to you?
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TELLER’S
605 Main St.
Islip, NY 11751

Le Cirque & Sirio Ristorante

We scored a deal on a three course meal at this famed upscale NYC joint. I was happy to see that there weren’t any restrictions on the deal too: three courses, app, entree and dessert, with no limitations other than paying extra for the super expensive items.

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First let me just say that the bread at this joint is really good quality. Those little disc looking things were delicious, and all items were warm and toasty.

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We started with the grilled octopus salad and veal carpaccio. I think the winner here was the octo salad. It was a warm salad, but it had great flavor from the olive, potato and tomato mix.

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The veal was a bit on the dry side. The anchovy paste sauce was reminiscent of a German style mustard of sorts, so this had an unexpected taste. Caperberries were great though.

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For our entrees, we tried the mini burgers and the skirt steak. The skirt steak was probably the best preparation of skirt that I’ve had out at a restaurant. It was charred nicely on the outside, and cooked to a perfect juicy medium rare on the inside. It was sliced nicely on the bias and at a steep angle. Just expertly handled all around. This is a 9 or 10 on flavor.

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It came with a pine nut chimichurri type sauce on top, and it sat on a bed of lentils and crispy potato logs. There was even a miniature wedge salad on the side, and some pea puree blobs to boot. Really great composed dish here. I highly recommend.

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The mini burgers were a little bit over salted and grainy in texture. They were nicely presented, though, and the abundantly massive side of fries that came with the burgers was a really delicious and near perfect execution of the item.

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For dessert, we did the “floating island,” which was creme anglaise with merengue and fruit. Very nice and light. This was my favorite of the two, because each bite was dynamic.

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The chocolate soufflé was perfectly executed, uniform thoughout and rich with flavor. I think I just got bored about halfway though. It was very large. I think soufflé fans will really enjoy it.

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UPDATE 12/10/16

So it turns out that Le Cirque sectioned off part of its space to create “Sirio Ristorante,” which is, I guess, a more affordable and more casual dining option. My wife and I picked up a flash deal which gave us each a three course meal for $42 total (before tax and tip).

Much of the menu remains the same as above. We started with octopus and baccala.

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Both were good but the baccala needed more chips to round out the fish.

For our entrees, we went with salmon in a truffle sauce and spaghetti “frutti di mare.”

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The salmon was the big winner here, as it was perfectly cooked and had a great black truffle flavor. The pasta was a bit bland, and the sauce didn’t deliver. Some pieces of seafood were overcooked, while others were undercooked.

For dessert, we went with the creme brûlée and Crepes Suzette.

The crepes were fun. They tasted like a boozed up creamsicle.

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Ice cream on top for the win:

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The creme brûlée was perfectly done, and I was smiling when I saw the recipe hiding underneath the deliciousness.

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RESTAURANT WEEK UPDATE 8/4/17

My wife got us a comped meal for restaurant week due to her photo skills on Instagram.

We started with the endive salad, garganelli pasta primavera and tuna tartare (they brought an extra for us). All were really great, but I think the tartare was the best, followed by the pasta. The tartare had a really nice curry accent to it that popped.

For entrees we tried the branzino and steak. The branzino had a great crispy skin on it, and was nicely cooked.

The steak didn’t come sliced, but it was a small filet of strip loin with fries and a Bernaise sauce. Pretty decent. 7/10.

For dessert, we had the chocolate fondant and another creme brûlée. It was essentially chocolate ganache and chocolate cake covered with a chocolate shell.

LE CIRQUE & SIRIO RISTORANTE
151 E. 58th St.
New York, NY 10065

Tender

Tender overall score: 77

Tender is a sushi and steak joint in midtown. I recently purchased a Groupon: $49 got me $70 worth of food, though I think I paid less with a coupon code. Anyway, check the review below:

Flavor: 9
I had the rib eye. This thing was damn near perfect. Despite this being a somewhat small sized boneless cut, I only took a single point, and that was because some of the fat was a bit gristled and non-edible. I’m trying to reserve the 10-spot for when I eat every scrap.

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The meat was perfectly cooked inside. If I had to guess, I’d say they are using a sous vide machine, because the ONLY part that was not pink was the immediate edges, which had a wet crisp on them. Check out the cut and you’ll see what I mean in the cross-section:

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The steak was served with some roasted garlic too, which was really soft and spreadable.

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Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
This place has all four of the basic cuts (FRPS – filet, rib eye, porterhouse and strip), however they are only available in one size each. The menu says that the strip is dry-aged and the rib eye is Black Angus, so the quality is good there. There is no other beef available other than a meatloaf entree.

Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portions for the steaks are a bit on the small side. The filet is only 8oz at $38; the strip is 12oz at $54; the Black Angus rib eye is 16oz at $50; and the porterhouse is 40oz at $47/pp, which is $94. Since it is only offered for two, they may as well just say $94 on the menu instead of using the per person cost. I’m uncertain whether you can order it for three and have it be something like a 60oz cut. Plating for the steak was really pretty: a wood tray with a stone inlay plate.

Price: 7
I’m glad we had a Groupon, because I think the sizes of the steaks ran a bit small at this price point. When I saw $54 next to a 12oz strip on the menu, my eyes widened in disbelief. That’s way too high. That said, I think we had a good deal with the Groupon purchase, so I wasn’t cringing when Sir William Price arrived at the table:

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Bar: 8
This was a confusing visit. A good portion of the restaurant was shuttered due to a private event, so I think we were seated in the smaller rear area, where they had a secondary bar. I’ll give it the standard score of eight as benefit of the doubt, because I think the bar in the main dining area sits along some nice frontage on 47th Street, and has a full walk-around square of bar seating space.

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Specials and Other Meats: 5
The only other meat on the menu was chicken. While this only scores half of the allowed points in this category, I have to give credit to the place for sticking to what the sign says on their establishment, for the most part: steak and sushi. The big let down was that they didn’t offer any specials, especially being nestled in their high-powered midtown location on west 47th Street. When I think of a Japanese steak and sushi joint, high quality specialty items come to mind, like Wagyu/Kobe by the ounce, flash cooked on a hot stone with soy sauce and shiitake mushrooms… or tongue-numbing and deadly blowfish sashimi… or soft, delicate uni… NADA!

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We has some sushi rolls as starters. They were only six pieces each, instead of eight. But they were really tasty. First was the Pink Panther, which was king crab-based with a soy wrapper and some crunch.

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Next was Sunset, which had a bunch of different cuts of raw fish inside and on top. Very fresh and delicate.

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We also had some truffle fries. These were perfectly cooked McDonald’s style, with a dusting of parsley and a drizzle of truffle oil. Not too overpowering, but well seasoned. We cleaned out the entire bowl.

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Seafood Selection: 9
There’s a fair deal of seafood on the menu, even outside the sushi realm. Salmon, branzino, mussels and black cod, in particular, with a shrimp risotto to boot. I was surprised by some of the Italian-style preparations that were on this menu.

Service: 9
The staff was very attentive, and our water was always filled promptly. The service was quick too. We were in and out within an hour, pretty much. Very nice, considering that we weren’t in the mood for a huge, long dinner.

Ambiance: 7
While I can’t really give a full blown review of the ambiance here, since we were limited to a smaller portion of the restaurant, I can confidently assess the place based on what I saw. The lighting is very dim. Big props to Sony for creating a camera like the Alpha 7S, which is a fucking BEAST in low light situations. The music was somewhat ridiculous: very bad, corny 90’s music. I think Hootie & the Blowfish played at some point, which is funny because I mentioned above that I wanted the blowie special without any mention of the hooters. Okay so too dim, bad music, an awkward video screen displaying a generic, stock image of sushi with the word “sushi” next to it… BUT a very cool hallway that connected to the bathrooms and the adjacent Sanctuary Hotel (lots of Buddha and far eastern/Indian statues – those were cool).

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UPDATE 8/7/17

I came back in with the PR company that represents the Sanctuary Hotel in order to promote the restaurant week menu at Tender.

Here are the avocado fries and the spicy tuna roll starters. The avocado fries needed a hit of salt, as well as a better dipping sauce. The spicy tuna roll was fine.

Of the three entrees, the filet mignon is probably the best selection, but that comes at a $6 surcharge. When I was here, they gave me the fill sized filet, but I was under the impression that this is usually smaller for regular restaurant week guests. 8/10.

If paying the additional fee isn’t your speed, then go with the rigatoni bolognese:

The pasta is cooked perfectly, and the sauce is meaty but not too heavy. I liked it.

Last, the branzino.

This was nice, and had a great crisp from the skin and fried lotus root. But after having the same dish at Le Cirque, I was disappointed here. This was half the size at best.

Dessert was decent. TI tried a nice piece of tiaramisu and a sliver of cheesecake, but they also offer creme brûlée.

TENDER
130 W. 47th St.
New York, NY 10036

The Lambs Club

UPDATE 5/15/18

On a second visit, my wife and I sat downstairs, which had a very different atmosphere from the more mid-century modern upstairs decor. Downstairs, it’s a bit more cozy and steakhouse-esque.

We tried the beef tartare and the scallop crudo to start.

Both were really nice. The tartare had a good flavor because they use dry aged beef.

For a mid-course, we had the gnocchetti scampi.

This was served in a white wine and butter style sauce with nice juicy chunks of perfectly cooked shrimp, lemon herb breadcrumbs and a walnut and arugula pesto. This was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in years. It was well balanced in both texture and flavor, and the unique cavatelli size/shape gnocchi pasta was absolutely perfect.

I had the 12oz dry aged strip steak for my entree.

It came with a shitake mushroom cap that was stuffed with short rib, and it was accompanied by a truffle sauce. Perfectly cooked, with a good dry aged flavor. 8/10.

My wife had the lamb.

This was a great dish. It was really three parts of the lamb: thick cut belly, t-bone, and rib chop.

Really great middle eastern flavors happening on this too.

For dessert we had the pistachio parfait and the vanilla cheesecake. Both were really flavorful and unique. I preferred the pistachio parfait, but my wife liked the cheesecake better. Can’t go wrong with either, though.

This was a really great meal. I highly recommend this place. They mix some really great cocktails:

…And even the table bread is excellent:

ORIGINAL REVIEW:

This joint is owned by Geoffrey Zakarian, famous celebrity chef. My wife and I came through this place for restaurant week during lunch hours in the upstairs bar room.

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We started with an Arnold Palmer, made with unsweetened iced tea an slightly sweetened natural lemonade. The interesting part about this is that the ice cubes are also made of Arnold Palmer mix, so you never get a watered down drink when the ice melts:

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Starting bread was nice, warm and buttery:

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For the apps, we shared bur rata and zucchini, barley and avocado soup. The soup was a nice, light tomato and veggie broth that packed a lot of flavor for such a light dish.

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The burrata was nice and soft. I sort of wish that they served some roasted tomatoes with it, but the greens and pickled onions were good as well.

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My wife had a crispy skin duck rilette. Portions of the skin weren’t crispy, but this dish was otherwise a really nice item. The such was pulled or shredded style, and mixed with light mustard, capers, and other goodies that made it pop.

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I had the sirloin burger with aged, sharp cheddar. This was nice. The meat was a little soft and crumbly, but the bun was top quality challah bread.

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The lunch menu charges $24 for this, with the fries, but the restaurant week menu included an app and dessert for just a buck more. Not sure I’d think this was worth it for $24. The fires were pretty good though. Nice and crispy, golden brown.

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For dessert, we tried the chocolate mousse with ice cream and the passion fruit semifreddo. Both were nice. I liked the chocolate mousse better, but the semifreddo did have a nice mango sorbet that cut the tang of the passion fruit.

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THE LAMB’S CLUB
132 W. 44th St.
New York, NY 10036

Fogo de Chao

This is a big all-you-can-eat Brazilian steak joint in midtown.

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I’ve always been a fan of these types of places because you get to sample a great variety of meats to whatever extent that you want. This place offered about 11 or 12 different items.

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A few different awesome things, like suckling pig, sometimes show up at other places that do Rodizio Churrascaria as well.

The idea is pretty simple. Start off at the salad bar, which is typically amazing by itself. I’ve seen some places offer sushi there as well. I usually go with the smoked salmon, cured meats and hearts of palm right off. This joint had some decent selections (though no sushi):

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The salmon was amazing. So once you have had your fill of salad, you flip your little circular card over to the green side (as opposed to red), and then the meat guys start coming around:

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Each diner is equipped with a small pair of tongs to grab the slices of meat as they are carved off the skewers by the swordsmen. Then you start making piles of delicious meat on your plate. Dig in!

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Above you’ll see a little roasted drumette piece of chicken. This was actually my favorite thing they served. So fucking good. There was a lot of different preparations of sirloin, but I think my favorite of the beef was the bottom sirloin, which is pictured just above, next to the lamb chop.

Don’t forget to slam a beer; shit is salty and you will get thirsty:

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The sides are free (the meal is a set price) and also “all-you-can-eat.” Here, you’ll want to stick with the caramelized bananas and fried polenta.

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The mashed potatoes sucked. They were dry and chalky.

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Save a little bit of room for dessert too, because this shit is pretty good. I had a delicious slice of key lime pie, but they also have flan, creme brûlée, passion fruit mousse, and lava cake with ice cream.

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Afterwards, the dessert booze cart comes around, along with the bill, of course:

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Just a quick FYI about this place during restaurant week: $25 for most of the same meats, the exact same salad bar and sides, and a slightly smaller portion of dessert. Best deal in town! I give the flavor 9/10, but despite this being a “steakhouse” I am not giving it the full review treatment.

FOGO DE CHAO
40 W. 53rd St.
New York, NY 10019