Category Archives: Steakhouse Reviews

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote

There can be beauty in simplicity, and comfort in consistency. One can easily get swept away in the panoply of new and exciting menu items from the plethora of cuisines represented by the multitude of talented chefs in NYC. And I just used several words that are synonymous with “many.”

But there’s something to be said for a simple yet perfectly executed steak frites meal from a familiar French bistro.

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote is one of those French joints slinging such a classic meal. In fact, it’s the ONLY thing they serve. The menu is set: salad, fries and steak. The only choices you have are related to wine and dessert. Well, other than how you want your steak cooked and whether you want sauce, that is.

This kind of streamlined dining experience is awesome to me. One thing is for sure, though, and I can attest to it myself: If you’re going to focus on one thing (steak), you better damn well do it proud. Le Relais does. This is a great meal, and it comes at a great price to boot: $29.95 for the steak, fries and salad.

Let me start with the salad. It’s a simple plate of greens, nicely dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette and topped with walnuts.

It’s a great way to start, along with the sliced baguette table bread and dijon mustard (screw butter).

The steak and fries come out together.

Don’t be alarmed: A second plate of steak and fries comes out when you’re finished with this plate. I assume that’s why they call it “le relais,” or “the relay” in American: You’re getting a new steak “baton” handed off to you right after finishing the first. In round two, you get a similar amount of fries, and about half the amount of steak.

The sauce is a mustard- and peppercorn-based gravy. It’s really nice, especially with the fries. You can hold the sauce, or get it on the side, if you want, but I think this is one of the rare occasions where the sauce really makes the steak pop.

The steak hails from Cambridge Packing, and is a very nice, lean, tender strip loin cut. Pictured here is “rare,” but you can order “blue,” “medium” or “well done.” They even mark the table with your order preference as well.

That SOS means “sauce on side,” R means rare, and the M is medium. No sauce markings means that the plate will come out pre-sauced.

This steak is a solid 8/10, and the fries are incredible. Perfectly golden brown and crisp.

I’m not rating the joint on my full 100-point scale, because it’s too focused on the one dish to really be in the same ballpark as a full-menu steakhouse. However, I love the fact that this place is shameless in its offering of just one dish. It’s easily one of the best steak frites I’ve had in NYC, especially at that reasonable price point.

Now for dessert. There are so many to choose from! We went with a classic creme brûlée, and their house special, which is a layered tower of hazelnut ice cream and meringue, topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

The tower was the winner, as the creme brûlée was a bit eggy for my liking (though still very tasty).

This place is a home run, and anyone who has been here usually sings its praise any time steak is mentioned in a conversation. The best part: If you hate midtown, then you can go to the brand new location in SoHo. I’ll be heading there ASAP for sure.

LE RELAIS DE VENISE L’ENTRECOTE
590 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10022

Primal Cut

Primal Cut overall score: 81

Primal Cut is a newly revamped steak restaurant within the Sapphire gentleman’s club. I was invited in for a free meal to help promote the joint. Take a look below:

Flavor: 8

Chef Thomas Perone does a great job with the 40oz tomahawk rib eye for two.

The 37 days of dry aging gave it a really nice aroma.

And Perone and his team nailed the crust on this thing.

Perone leaves soon for The Lambs Club, but he assures me that his staff runs the kitchen extremely well, so you’ll still be in great hands.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

Two sizes of filet, two sizes of rib eye (a cowboy cut and a tomahawk for multiple diners), a porterhouse for multiple diners, a strip, an A5 wagyu strip and a wagyu spinalis round out the menu here. Really fantastic showing, and the majority of the beef cuts hail from Strassburger Steaks. Can’t go wrong there.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

The 40oz tomahawk was a great size for sharing with another person. And all the other items were well-hung too. The plating is basic steakhouse style: minimal and elegant.

Price: 9

I was expecting skyrocket prices for a joint that’s located in a pricey strip club. But $55/pp on the steaks for two is really fair, especially if ogling tits and ass while you dine is your thing. All soups and salads are $12, and apps range from $14 to $25. Very fair.

Bar: 7

The bar here is on the small side, but they do mix a nice martini. The bartenders are sporting some revealing lingerie style attire – which I think is actually sexier than the gowns that the dancers walk around in – so that boosts up the “stay for another drink” factor in what would otherwise be a not-so-impressive stretch of bar.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There were a couple of specials that weren’t on the menu, usually a different kind of house-made pasta that’s rolled out on specific days (like their lasagna, which all the strippers love). Big points here for the wagyu presence on the menu, otherwise there is just chicken and lamb for alternative meats.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We tried a few apps and sides. The salmon poke bowl was really tasty and tropical, with a nice pop of flavor from the pineapple.

The half pound slab of bacon is great too, with a nice sweet and savory sauce that will change your expectations of bacon.

The 5-cheese truffle lobster mac is decadent and tasty, and had a great crispy crust on top. You should definitely order this.

I was disappointed with the asparagus. These are the thin, limp, fibrous kind and not the thick, long, stiff ones you expect to sprout up at a strip club… I mean steakhouse.

This French toast style ice cream sandwich dessert not only tasted great, but for some strange reason I kept subconsciously seeing caramel drizzled tits every time I looked at it.

Maybe because I was in a strip club?

Focus, man!

Seafood Selection: 7

There’s salmon and sea bass on the menu, aside from the nice array of appetizers.

Service: 10

If you dine here, try to get Alfonso as your waiter. He’s really friendly and helpful, knows what to recommend, and is just really on top of his shit. Everyone is friendly, there are no pushy dancers trying to get on top of you while you eat, and aside from the occasional girl walking around in a skimpy outfit as you hear the DJ calling her name to the main stage, you’d never really know that you were dining in a strip club. Whether that’s good or bad depends on you.

Ambiance: 6

I know, I know: How can you rate a steak joint within a strip joint anything lower than a 10 for ambiance?!?? That aspect is excellent, obviously, especially for the waning existence of hetero-normative, straight, cis-gendered alpha males like the majority of my readers. But the dining room is in need of a little sprucing up. It’s a relatively small spot too, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they certainly have the ability to upgrade this place to the level of the untouchable midtown giants. There are low ceilings, it’s a bit stuffy (I think there was a ventilation and AC situation when we went), and the overall feel is very cavern-like. I think they should go all out in this place, maybe throw a few dance cages or a stage in there too. They don’t need to be topless dancers, but just embrace the strip club vibe! All that said, I went in at 6pm. Maybe things heat up later in the night.

PRIMAL CUT
333 E 60th St
New York, NY 10022

Greenwich Steakhouse

Greenwich Steakhouse overall score: 89

Greenwich Steakhouse is a newly opened French-inspired steak joint in the West Village. Chef Victor Chavez helped open Smith & Wollensky, and is a 30yr veteran chef from there. He tried retirement, but decided that he wanted to be back in the game. As such, he opened Greenwich Steakhouse.

I recently set up an “influencer event” here to help get some photos and reviews out there. Take a look at all the crazy shit we tried, and enjoy the review below.

Flavor: 8

Cajun Rib Eye: 10/10

I’m starting with the best steak first. This baby was cooked to a perfect medium rare from end to end with an awesome savory crust on the edges.

But the hint of cumin in the Cajun rub really sets this baby off as the best steak in the joint.

The spicy oil at the bottom of the place is reminiscent of the delicious sauce you get with the cumin lamb noodles at Xian Famous Foods, which I love.

When you come here, this is the steak to get. Chef Victor just absolutely nails it.

48oz Porterhouse: 8/10

This is nice and thick, and really goes great with the marrow butter sauce addition.

There was some grey banding since this is such a thick cut of steak, but nothing was dried out.

48oz Tomahawk Rib Eye: 6/10

Unfortunately this was a bit overcooked for our liking. Some parts were dry as a result, but the flavor was still nice.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

All the meat here come from Strassburger, a great supplier. Chef Victor dry ages them for three weeks in-house to develop a bit more flavor for his guests. There are several sizes of the four major cuts available.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions here are pretty big. The plating is on the nicer side with steel pans being used as serving vessels.

Price: 10

Since this was a free event, I am giving full points for price here. However, the prices are on par with midtown NYC steakhouses.

Bar: 7

The bar is a short stretch on the first floor with some seats along the window for people watching.

It’s on a nice stretch of Greenwich Ave in the village too, so likely will be a good spot for nightlife.

 

Cocktails are nice, particularly the Great Kills.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

The waiter read us some specials that were not on the menu. We tried one of them, a shredded Brussels sprout salad. I thought it could use some more dressing, but it was tasty.

For alternative meats, they offer a nice variety: veal, chicken and lamb. Perhaps a pork chop would round it out. We tried the lamb and it was incredible. So nicely seasoned and flavorful.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

This is the best thick cut bacon I’ve ever had. It was about a half inch thick, and each order comes with three massive slabs. We cut them each in half since we had a table of six.

The fries are pretty good as well:

The marrow is overkill. If you are eating steaks here, each cut will come with some roasted bone marrow, so no need to go for the app. Here are three delicious boats of bone meat though:

Creamed spinach was also nice:

As well as the hash browns:

For dessert, we went with the ice cream tartufo:

Creme brulee:

And chocolate cake:

All were good, but my favorite was the creme brulee.

Seafood Selection: 10

We tried the seafood tower, which comes with oysters, king crab, shrimp, lobster and lumb crab meat.

The shrimp were massive! For entree items, they offer tuna, halibut, lobster, sole and salmon.  Branzino was on special as well. That’s a serious variety!

Service: 10

The staff here is all top notch. The guys are pure gentlemen and it doesn’t surprise me that Chef Victor would staff his joint with such people. The table breads are served from a basket at the outset.

Ambiance: 9

They’ve done an awesome job with the space here. The main dining room is on the second floor and boasts elegant chairs and a bright space. Very different from other steak joints.

The third floor has a huge table for parties, and holds about 8000 bottles of wine in elegant glass-windowed rooms flanking each side.

GREENWICH STEAKHOUSE
62 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10011

Peter Luger (Brooklyn)

Peter Luger overall score: 79

What NYC steakhouse review site would be complete without the obligatory Peter Luger entry? Luger is synonymous with steak in NYC. Within a minute of discussing steak in NYC, someone party to the conversation is guaranteed to bring the place up. If I am around, you will also get a story about Bill Murray (see the bar section below).

NOTE: This review was first published in 2011 and was updated a few times since then.

Flavor: 7

I’ve gone to Luger’s three times for steak, and I have to buck the trend here and say that I wasn’t super impressed with the flavor. It was yummy, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve had better.

Perhaps Peter Luger was hyped up so much by everyone as the greatest steakhouse in NY that I was expecting too much? I don’t think so, because my second and third trips were similar. The first two times I ate a variant of the porterhouse cut, and the third time I had both the porterhouse and the rib eye.

All three times the steak was good, but not awesome. You can definitely smell and taste the dry-aged beef flavor on these steaks, but they ultimately lacked seasoning. The rib eye also contained a lot of junk gristle on it, unfortunately.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 6

You may be shocked to see that Peter Luger really only offers two cuts of beef for traditional steak eating: rib eye and porterhouse.

While both are prime grade and aged, there is no filet, and there is no strip; you simply have to get the full porterhouse if you want either of those cuts.

The porterhouse is cut into various sizes and offered as “steak for two,” “steak for three,” and so forth (you can also get a steak for one). It’s typically served pre-sliced, sizzling on a hot plate with butter. Pictured here is a steak for two.

Luger’s does offer regular daily lunch specials that showcase other types of beef products like prime rib, chopped steak, corned beef, and pot roast, however these are not available at dinner and only sometimes at lunch. They also offer lamb chops.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Luger’s doesn’t advertise the sizes of each cut, but they are definitely big enough to fill you up. Plating is standard; nothing fancy. This is a man’s place, so we are good in terms of this section. Lots of the appetizers and sides are large enough to share as well.

Price: 8

Prices are average. I forget what the bill came to, but I think I recall a steak for two being somewhere around the $70 to $80 mark when I first came here years back. Now it’s a bit more, obviously.

Bar: 10

I score top points for the Peter Luger bar because, well, my friends and I met the one and only Bill Murray there one evening, hung out with him, and had drinks with him. We were on our way to an obscure party in Williamsburg when we decided to pop in Luger’s for a drink or two beforehand. The bar here is great – a long stretch of ancient but nice wood, stocked with great booze.

It’s a classy bar worked by a classy old ostler who knows every drink in the book, especially the old timey ones.

So we order our drinks and a moment later we see none other than Bill fucking Murray beside us at the bar, just sitting there with his son and a friend. Naturally we bought them a round of beers, after which Bill thanked us, talked with us, and took some photos with us. To this day I kick myself for not asking him to come with us to the party. Knowing the way he is now, hanging out with randoms, we could have been one of the first. Imagine if he said yes and we showed up to a party with Bill FUCKING Murray? Legendary.

Specials and Other Meats: 6

Luger’s is pretty basic. There’s not much by way of specials, so pick something and stick with it. As I said earlier, they do offer a decent lamb chop, but don’t go looking for anything else.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

The creamed spinach here is fantastic. Rich and smooth; it goes perfectly with the steak. It’s of the “creamless” variety.

I also tried the french fries for two, which were crispy and tasty.

We split a burger for our appetizer as well, which is a solid move at a steakhouse. The burger here is amazing, and only available at lunch until 3:45pm. Get it. Especially if you love dry aged beef.

Skip the bacon on your burger, though, because you’ll be getting that on the side as an appetizer anyway, and when you stack the bacon on top, the burger becomes too tall.

Or you can pretend to be healthy and get the wedge salad, which had the same bacon chopped up and plopped on top. We shared this salad among four people.

The sliced tomato and onion is okay. It just always seems pricey for some sliced veg on a plate. I didn’t shoot that.

Desserts are fun here, and large. Here is a slice of key lime pie, with the signature unsweetened “schlag” whipped cream.

A bowl of caramel cone ice cream:

And the chocolate fudge ice cream sundae, meant for sharing:

Seafood Selection: 6

Basically, Peter Luger offers a salmon entree and a fresh fish item which depends on the season. This is not the kind of place to order food items other than red meat. Stick with what’s good and quit being a pussy.

Service: 9

Luger’s has become infamous for crappy service, but the times I have gone the joint exemplified traditional great steakhouse service. Especially our last waiter, Carlos, and another guy who even offered to take a photo of us at the table.

They employ an all-male wait staff, dressed usually in formal back and white with bow ties, often older gentlemen who have been working there for many years. They are very attentive, they know their product inside and out, and they are all about the customer.

My only issue was with the reservation-making process. I got some attitude from a woman on the phone when they asked me to call back to confirm my reservation. Not that big of a deal.

Food comes out quickly because it’s prepared quickly. Screaming hot ovens blast the meat with flames at upwards of 700 degrees, so the meal is ready fast. That’s a good thing.

The bread basket of onion rolls and various other items is massive, and you get it with a gravy dish of their steak sauce.

Ambiance: 10

A traditional steakhouse, Peter Luger sets what can almost be considered the industry standard of steak eating environs. It features old wood floors that creak under foot throughout, dark wainscoting on the lower parts of the walls, and wood tables that have survived the test of time. If you’ve never gone to a steakhouse before, go here first so you get the full effect of what it means to eat at a steakhouse.

PETER LUGER
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211

The Palm (Too)

Palm Too overall score: 87

I was recently invited by @JustAFoodieNYC into Palm Too for an influencer dinner with a group of Instagrammers. We tried an assload of shit, and all of it was pretty fucking tasty. Take a gander below, you goddamn savage meat maniacs:

Flavor: 8

I tried a bit of every steak on the menu (aside from the prime rib, which is only offered on Fridays and Saturdays). I’ll break the scoring down for each cut here.

Filet Mignon (14oz): 9/10

This baby had a nice crust on the outer edges, adding a really pleasing charred flavor that was the perfect contrast against the buttery smooth, pink flesh inside. If that reads a bit sexual to you, that’s because it was a jerkworthy piece of meat and I fucking intended the sexual innuendo.

Let’s move on…

Porterhouse: 8/10

This baby was pretty solid. While it’s not as thick as I’m used to seeing a porterhouse cut, this was meant as a “for one” steak. That’s nice, as most joints only offer a porterhouse for two or more diners. At 28oz, it did the trick for filling my bottomless shit-pit stomach.

Wagyu Rib Eye (12oz, boneless): 7/10

I was expecting a bit more from this cut. It was still good, but when eaten side by side with the other offerings at the table, it just didn’t hold up. There was a slight bitter element to it, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – just a character trait of the meat.

Bone In Rib Eye (24oz): 9/10

This fucker was tasty, and I’m torn between this and the filet for my favorite of the night. I’m leaning toward the filet, but that might only be because I tried more of the filet than the rib eye. But what I did try of this rib eye knocked my balls back into my stomach and made me feel like a little girly boy. My buddy @Food_P.o.r.n_NY took that cool shot, by the way. I can’t take credit for his genius.

Strip Steak (14oz): 8/10

The strip on this solo cut was on par with the strip side of the porterhouse, only here it’s obviously a thicker, dedicated cut.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

There are a ton of size options available here for the main four steak cuts, aside from the porterhouse (only one size). The selections are all prime quality and wet aged for 35 days or more. The meats hail from the Chicago area, a place called Consumers Meat Packing.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are generous here, and the plating is basic – nothing fancy. I mean there’s sawdust on the floor for fuck’s sake. This joint is old school and I like it!

Price: 10

My meal was free, so I’m giving full points here. Everything is reasonably priced, however. In fact there’s even a whopper strip steak for three that only costs $99. That’s a steal if it’s your cut.

Bar: 8

The bar area is a bit small for hanging, but it’s really charismatic and old timey. I’d definitely love to plop my ass down and sip on some old fashioneds or martinis here, especially while snacking on some thick cut bacon. In fact two of the guys I ate with did that exact thing just a few weeks back on a steakhouse bacon crawl. Awesome idea.

They also mix a good dry martini to boot.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

In addition to a special featured steak, there’s veal, lamb and pork here for alternative meats – even a wagyu beef selection for those with the bug. Fuck chicken.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We tried a ton of shit so I’m just going to rattle them off and highlight the best ones.

Beef Carpaccio

Seared Sesame Ahi Tuna

Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon: Absurdly delicious.

Fried Calamari

Coconut Crusted Scallops

Creamed Spinach

Green Beans: Very nice and distinctly “Asian” in flavor profile.

Brussels Sprouts

Half & Half (potato chips and onion straws)

Nova Scotia Lobster Mac & Cheese (with bacon crust): So rich and decadent. One of the better sides I’ve ever had. Sorry – no pic!

Doughnuts (also no pic)

Key Lime Pie: A classic, tried and true dessert done right. No pic!

Cheesecake (nope! no pic!)

Carrot Cake: Seven layers of pure joy for me.

Seafood Selection: 8

The lobster is definitely the way to go here. They offer a variety of preparations and several size options, depending on your budget and appetite.

Salmon and sea bass are also available as well as entree sized portions of the sesame crusted ahi tuna and crab cake apps.

Service: 10

The shortest amount of time that a waiter has worked here is about 20 years, so these guys are seasoned experts and absolutely phenomenal when it comes to congenial service. It’s also pretty impressive that they can sling all this food out in such a small kitchen (we took a little tour of the back).

Since I always chat about the bread basket in this section, here it is:

The sesame bread was my pick of the bunch. Butter could be softer.

Ambiance: 10

This place is classic. There’s a cork floor with sawdust sprinkled throughout; a tribute to the old days when The Palm first opened, and the staff would track sawdust into the restaurant while running in and out to get steaks from the butcher shop across the street.

At first, The Palm was an Italian joint. The name was supposed to be “Parma,” after the city in Italy to which the owners were paying homage with their cuisine. The licensing folks at City Hall didn’t hear the brother owners correctly, and so the word “Palm” was licensed instead of Parma. They rolled with it.

Early on, an artist customer was unable to pay his dinner bill, so he offered to do portraits of the customers and staff as payment. That’s how the artwork all over the walls became a feature.

It’s a great place with a great history. The simple decor and manly vibe is a beloved calling card of a traditional American steakhouse like The Palm.

PALM TOO
840 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10017

Benjamin Prime

Benjamin Prime overall score: 88

The massive success of Benjamin Steakhouse and The Sea Fire Grill has afforded the owners, two guys named Benjamin who cut their teeth at Peter Luger, to open another location – Benjamin Prime – in which to sling their incredible food.

Nestled on 40th Street just below Grand Central in a modern yet elegant setting, Benjamin Prime attracts more than the usual steakhouse crowd. In addition to banktown big shots, business tycoons and groups of middle-aged guys on bro-dates, there’s a notably more female and young demographic dining there as well. The Benjamins attribute that to their diversified menu, which plucks the best from both Benjamin Steakhouse’s and The Sea Fire Grill’s menus, curates them and gently tweaks them anew.

The crowd mix is no surprise to me, since they offer things like a prix fix lunch for $35 and a three-hour $1.50 oyster happy hour from 4pm-7pm during the week. But they’re also garnering the attention of people – even celebrities – who are looking to host events in their handsome upstairs space, which boasts the ability to be either an open floor plan or sectioned-off rooms. The entire upstairs is enveloped by an impressive glass wall that showcases thousands of bottles of top choice wines; a perfect place to gather.

I was invited in for a complimentary meal to help promote the joint on Instagram and social media by the restaurant’s PR folks. I was impressed, and you guys know I’m always honest with you on here, regardless of whether my meal is free. In short, this place is pretty fantastic. Take a look at what we tried:

Flavor: 9

The porterhouse packed a good dry-aged punch for 28-days. I’ve had stuff that was aged twice as long but didn’t have half the flavor, so they’re definitely doing something right here.

That characteristic dry-aged beef aroma fills the room when the plates are coming to the table, and you can hear your steak before you see it, as they’re served sizzling on hot plates in the traditional, old-school steakhouse style.

While that serving method is generally not my cup of tea (I like a well rested steak and I worry about grey-banding on the edges), it is certainly done in the correct way here. The waiters don’t just plop the steak onto the table, walk away and allow it to continue cooking to well done on that screaming-hot plate. No. They will immediately serve you the delicious, pre-sliced, medium-rare steak, unless you’re an asshole who actually WANTS it to cook more on the plate.

In any case, I loved this porterhouse, and now I need to come back to try the rib eye, which is my favorite cut of beef.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

The masters at Benjamin Prime hand-pick their meat directly from the Pat LaFrieda processing facility. The restaurant is one of the few (if not the only) permitted to do that. This means you’re getting the best of the best at Benjamin Prime. The steaks are then aged in the restaurant’s own aging box.

Cut selections include porterhouse (for two, three or four), NY sirloin, filet mignon, rib eye and a wagyu NY strip. That covers all the bases and then some.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

It may be a bit tough for me to comment about portion sizes since we received a few items that were extra big to share with eight diners, while other items were individualized and smaller, just so we could have a taste. Based on what I could see around me, though, I can safely say that the portion sizes are all generous. The plating is standard, traditional American steakhouse style: nothing fancy, but just elegant enough to make your mouth water.

Price: 10

Since this was a comped meal for me, I clearly have to give it full points! But the menu isn’t unreasonable, which is kind of shocking since the location is primo Grand Centralville real estate. In fact, I mentioned above in the intro paragraphs about the crazy price fix deal and oyster happy hour that they offer. Both of these are excellent bargains.

Bar: 8

The bar was pretty crowded on a Monday at 6:30pm, which is great. It was hopping. It’s somewhat of a narrow space that stretches backward from the main entrance, but there is some window access and high-top seating to get comfy. The bar itself is gorgeous, with gas fireplaces lining the wall in back.

I tested their drink slinging skills with a dry gin martini, and they passed with flying colors. They also have a really nice menu of special house cocktails that looked delicious.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

They offer a Niman Ranch aged rack of lamb that I’m dying to try. But if you’re looking for chicken you can go fuck yourself, because it isn’t offered on the menu. Man up and eat red meat for fuck’s sake. You’re at a steakhouse!

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10

We sampled a bunch of stuff on the savory side, but we didn’t get into dessert. As such, I reserve my review score here to be amended if necessary (I suppose I always do that anyway for subsequent visits). But based on the savory success, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with the sweet.

Benjamin Prime does something wild that I’ve never seen before: a dedicated tartare menu section. They offer four: (1) a duo with salmon and yellowfin; (2) filet mignon with truffle cream and shaved truffle; (3) strip loin with caramelized onion and foie gras; and (4) wagyu beef with caviar and egg cream. Come on! That’s fucking cool.

We tried the filet and the strip versions. I went in thinking I’d like the filet (left) better because of the truffle, but I came away liking the strip (right) better because of the onion and foie. The strip delivered a really robust, powerful punch of funky flavors. Awesome.

The sea scallops are perfectly seared and extremely tasty. I could eat a dozen at a clip, no sweat. The celery root puree really makes them pop in terms of flavor.

Bacon. Fucking ridiculous. Just get it.

I mean come on… Look at this… It’s just as thick as it is wide!

They serve a “creamless” style creamed spinach, which I always love when I see it on menus. It’s just better than the traditional, heavy style. They really nailed it with this one.

We also did some three-cheese mac & cheese, as well as creamy corn with pancetta. Both were really great.

We also snacked on some blistered shishito peppers. These were awesome. They’re lightly salted, have a great char, and boast a hint of fresh, herbal heat that kicks in with the occasional fiery one.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a ton of great looking seafood on the menu here, and I think that’s part of the reason why they’re attracting a slightly different customer base than Benjamin Steakhouse. Here, they’ve made an effort to combine the best of both their steakhouse brand and their seafood restaurant brand. Next time, I will order a fish entree as an app to share, so I can properly score this category based on more than just the scallops (which were incredible, as I mentioned above).

Service: 10

Nothing short of perfection here. The staff is absolutely great, from the front of the house, to the wait staff, to the bus boys, to the management. They’ll make you feel like royalty in this place.

Ambiance: 8

They’ve really done a tremendous job with the space here. The main dining floor has high ceilings and good light from the windows along the street, but it’s cozy enough to feel private and intimate. Upstairs is great for even more privacy or a special event. They’ve managed to strike a nice balance: Benjamin Prime achieves the modern vibe while simultaneously maintaining the right amount of traditional.

BENJAMIN PRIME
23 E 40th St
New York, NY 10016

Ikinari Steak

Formerly the location of Prime & Beyond, Ikinari switches up this dedicated steak spot from Korean to Japanese, only this joint lowers the price tag “big league” and creates a casual, standing-only environment.

What a great bargain for good quality meat! All of their beef is choice grade from Aurora Packing in Illinois, and wet-aged at least 40 days. Most importantly, the beef is cooked properly and treated with respect. But what’s surprising is that, for a “fast food” style joint, this place can actually compete with mom and pop restaurants (and even some big name steakhouses) on quality and flavor, for sure. And definitely on price.

Here’s how it works: You pay 8-11 cents per gram, telling the butchers exactly how thick you want your cut of steak. They offer filet, sirloin and rib eye.

Naturally, I had a proper sized steak cut from each:

I’m fat. Here’s what my bill would have looked like, had this not been a press/media event:

There are a variety of sauces and condiments to use for both your salads/sides and steaks. I was prone to keep hitting the wasabi.

The Ikinari sauce is thicker and sweeter, while the hot steak sauce has a little bit of spice and is a thinner liquid. Both are soy based.

The onion and pepper dressings went nicely with the radish salad. This was a small size:

So after choosing your cuts, the guys cook it up for you and you wait for them to bring it over to your standing/eating area.

Very casual! The steaks then come out sizzling on a cast iron plate with corn and onions.

Here are some more shots of that sirloin:

They serve the steaks rare, so that you can continue to cook it to your desired temperature directly on the hot skillet. I pretty much left mine as-is.

Here’s the filet:

Freaking HUGE for just $27.

And cooked perfectly inside.

My rib eye was cut a bit on a diagonal, and thinner than the other two, but no matter. It was excellent, and since I ate all of these steaks myself, like a real man, I didn’t mind so much.

The filet was tops, with rib eye close behind (if not tied), and sirloin next. If I had to put numbers on them, they’d all be in the upper 70th percentile for flavor, especially if you add some of the earthy sauces into the mix.

When you think about how much steakhouses are charging for on-par and sometimes lower flavor scores than these, it makes you question the entire steak scene!

Another thing worth mentioning: the pepper garlic rice was wildly tasty! It even had bits of steak thrown into it, and it also comes out on a sizzling cast iron plate.

Mix it all up and then let it sit and sizzle, so that a good, tasty crisp develops on the bottom of that rice.

Essentially, this place is everything that you wish Tad’s could be. You go into a place like Tad’s (do you even go in?) with high hopes and a hunger for steaks while you’re on the go. But, without question, it fails you, every time. The meat sucks, and  it’s cooked like garbage.

Ikinari won’t let you down. I’ve eaten hundreds and hundreds of steaks in this great city, and I can tell you that this is a fantastic value, striking a bizarre but fascinating and attractive balance between steakhouse quality and budget dining. Give it a shot! Just don’t go there when your feet ache, because, as I said earlier, STANDING ONLY!

IKINARI STEAK
90 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003

Butcher & Singer

Butcher & Singer overall score: 90

My wife and I were in Philly for the weekend to see family and take in some sights. After a long day of walking around, we hit Butcher & Singer for a late evening carnivorous meal.

Flavor: 9

We ordered their Pat LaFrieda 50oz tomahawk rib eye. This thing was monstrous.

But, as you can tell, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare.

Let’s get right in there:

Gorgeous. And they did a fine job on this thing, especially considering there was no aging done to the cut. That bone adds a lot of flavor into the meat though. It was perfectly seasoned with a good crust on the outside, and the flavor penetrated deep into the muscle tissue for a nice even bite. I just missed that aged funk a bit.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

A strip, two filets, two rib eyes, and multiple sized porterhouses are available here. Not too shabby, but also nothing over and above. In addition, there are no dry-aged selections. They do a great job cooking these fuckers though, so that’s a plus. And all the meats are LaFrieda, so you know you’re getting top notch quality here.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are all nicely sized here, with the exception of the bacon. I felt there could have been two strips for $12. Plating is simple and basic – nothing fancy.

Price: 9

I mentioned the bacon above. In addition, I felt that the tomahawk was a bit pricey for a non-aged cut at $125. Their porterhouse seemed to be a better deal for two diners. In any event, it was still well worth the shell-out, and they ended up comping our dessert, which was very nice of them.

Bar: 9

I wish this bar was bigger, because I would definitely give it a 10 based on the quality of the cocktails alone. There was some lounge seating as well, which was nice, but ultimately this bar was a bit small for such an immensely high-ceilinged joint.

In any event they mixed a perfect martini.

And they sported an awesome cocktail menu, with an entire page dedicated to Manhattans.

Definitely a cool place to hang out, even if you’re not eating.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There are pork chop and lamb chop selections here, as well as a girly chicken entree. Not bad, but I’ve seen better.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with the thick cut maple bacon, which was awesomely sweet and savory at the same time.

Yes, that bacon is smiling at you.

I wish there was one more slice for that price of $12. Oh well.

For sides we went with a half portion of creamed spinach, which was generous for just $6. This was just okay. It did the job.

The stuffed hash browns were excellent. This was basically a latke of shredded potatoes with chunks of diced potato and sour cream inside. Fried to a crisp. Excellent for leftovers with fried eggs on top.

For dessert we went with the ice box lemon cake, which was similar to a key lime pie, only frozen. I liked this very much.

Seafood Selection: 9

There’s a great deal of nice looking seafood on the menu. Branzino, swordfish, shrimp, lobster and salmon. We also got a peek at the seafood tower app from across the restaurant and it looked marvelous. Not to mention they also had some east and west coast oyster varieties that were being offered on special.

Service: 10

Our waitress was awesome. She knew her meats in and out, and she was quick with answers to my questions about the beef itself, where it came from, whether it was aged, etc. Also, the bread was good. It was served with a soft, whipped butter, and it was warm and fresh.

Ambiance: 10

Fantastic. I am guessing this was an old bank that was converted into a steakhouse due to the incredibly high ceilings.

And they’ve got a nice bull head in the rear.

They play fancy 1920’s music, which is a nice change up from the typical trendy bullshit I’m hearing in NYC these days. Bravo.

BUTCHER & SINGER
1500 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Cut

Cut overall score: 80

Wolfgang Puck just opened up a new location of his steakhouse “Cut” in downtown Manhattan. Of course I had to check it out. A buddy and I came here with our ladies to get down on some steak.

Flavor: 8
We were able to sample three different cuts: rib eye, sirloin and tenderloin. All three hailed from Creekstone Farms, and all three were bone-in.

The rib eye here is a solid 8/10. It felt a bit small for 20oz, but as you can see it had a great outer crust.

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Inside was perfectly cooked. Check out the cut:

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Where it fell short, for me, was the cap. There wasn’t much to it, unfortunately. The eye was delicious though, and I think it was the most flavorful cut of the night. I didn’t get pics of the other two.

I’m giving the tenderloin a 9/10. It had that same great sear and same great cook temp. The flavor was excellent for a tenderloin, too.

The sirloin was not marketed as a NY strip or strip loin, so I am considering it to be an “other cut” for categorization purposes. In all likelihood, it was probably a strip, but one can never be certain without actually doing the butchering oneself. This was an 8/10. Again, same great crisp and cook, and the flavor was nice for a lean cut, though I did prefer the rib eye and tenderloin over the sirloin.

As for the sauces, well, each steak comes with a free sauce on the side. There are about six to eight to choose from. We tried a bunch: house steak sauce, bernaise, creamy horseradish, and yuzu. While I prefer my steak naked, the best of the lot was the horseradish. Their house steak sauce was a bit aggressive on the tarragon (I think that’s what it was in there – not rosemary).

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
This place is truly amazing in terms of available cuts and quality. A quick scan of their menu reveals that they not only offer all of the main steakhouse cuts in various sizes, but you can also choose by farm. They offer stuff from Kansas (Creekstone), Illinois (corn-finished), Ithaca New York (grass-finished), and Snake River (American Wagyu). On top of that, they feature legit Miyazaki beef from Japan as well. You can even order a tasting that will give you 4oz from various farms, that way you can actually taste the difference between them. Currently, they only do this with the sirloin – not the rib eye. Honestly I don’t think any other steakhouse has this extensive of a selection.

As if the cuts of beef for steaks aren’t enough variety, they also feature wagyu beef short rib and wagyu beef sashimi. Amazing.

Oh, and they bring the shit out to show you, too.

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Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portions could be a bit larger here for the pricing. I understand the cost of high-end beef, but at $88 for 9oz of American wagyu rib eye, you are getting ripped off. If that’s what I am going for, I will happily just head the fuck over to Del Frisco’s to get 23oz more wagyu beef for an additional $7 (32oz, $95). And that fucker is a clear 10/10 score on flavor – one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten.

Price: 5
See my rant on portion size above for some weight here as well. But in addition to that issue, I felt that some of the items were way overpriced for what we were getting. In particular, the marrow app, the tortolloni, and the mac and cheese.

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Bar: 8
The bar is pretty cool, and there are some great cocktails and booze selections available. However the prices are a bit too high (a non-alcoholic “mocktail” was fucking $14), and I was hoping for a more street side experience. The bar is just off the lobby of the apartment building / hotel with no view of the downtown streets, so the vibe is slightly off a bit.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
There are no off-menu specials, with the exception of an addition that was not yet printed – another offering of steak. But there’s chicken, pork and lamb for alternative meat selections, if for some reason you are avoiding all the tasty beef on the menu. The app selections also feature veal tongue, suckling pig, and bone marrow flan. Really interesting.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried a bunch of stuff. Let’s get right down to business.

The mac and cheese was really tasty, but insanely overpriced at $16. Apologies for not getting a photo of it.

The suckling pig and pork belly was excellent. Not as salty as I was expecting, but really nicely plated. Also overpriced at $25 for six cubes that were the size of large Las Vegas gambling dice.

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Bone marrow flan was very nice, but overpriced and small in size. It was similar to the creme brûlée from Beatrice Inn, only savory.

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Broccolini was fantastic. I highly recommend this item. Topped with shaved cheese and adorned with roasted tomatoes, one cannot possibly go wrong.

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Tortolloni was overpriced for seven small dumplings. They were nice and mild though, which is exactly what my wife wanted.

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Doughnuts dessert came with about six doughnut holes, all the same flavor (granulated sugar coated). Some of the purees that came with it weren’t that good (sweet potato), but the ice cream was nice.

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Seafood Selection: 8
There’s lobster, “loup de mer” (branzino), cod and sole on the seafood menu here. Scallop preparations, hamachi, a crab and lobster cocktail and a tuna tartare can be found on the app menu. Not too shabby, though I didn’t notice any oysters or clams.

Service: 9
One thing worth noting here is that you can add a variety of nice items to your order (for a fee, of course). But you can add a fried egg, white truffles, blue cheese, mushrooms, garlic, bone marrow, etc. to the steaks you order.

Bread is on point. The table receives a basket of mini pop-overs (we got a second basket) and five different style dinner rolls/breads to choose from with a nice whipped butter. All are delicious. My advice is to fill up on bread and share a really good, high end steak.

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Ambiance: 7
This place suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. There are two huge panels on one wall that show a kind of cheese-bag conversation between a chef and a woman. We surmised that this had something to do with how Wolfgang Puck met his wife, and it turned out we were right (our waitress overheard us talking and confirmed it when we asked).

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The dining room was vast and dark; a bit too sexy for my liking. And the random neon lighting at the bar felt a bit too “Miami Vice.”

CUT
The Four Seasons Hotel
99 Church St or 27 Barclay St
New York, NY 10007

Bob’s Steak & Chop House

Bob’s Steak & Chop House overall score: 88

My buddy Jeff from @foodmento organized a nice influencer meal here and invited me to tag along. Bob’s is a chain steak house that hails from Texas. They just recently opened shop at the Omni Berkshire Place hotel on 52nd and Madison. Since Texas knows beef, I was really excited to try this out. Here’s how it went down:

Flavor: 8
We had two beef items and lamb. I’ll focus on the beef here and discuss the lamb later.

The 22oz cote de boeuf rib eye was the better of the two steaks we had. It was cooked perfectly to medium rare, with a nice crust on the outside that was packed with good, simple seasoning. 9/10.

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The 28oz porterhouse had a slightly different flavor profile to it that I wasn’t really feeling. It was still good – don’t get me wrong – but going back and forth with the rib eye created a stark and noticeable difference. 7/10.

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Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
There’s a lot of variety here. Three different sized rib eyes, filets and strips, and a t-bone as well as a porterhouse. Excellent showing. All the cuts are wet-aged for 28 days, so the flavor is a bit different than the standard dry aged cuts at many NYC joints.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions here run slightly small for the steaks in relation to the pricing. The cuts themselves are good sizes, though, and so are teh other items like sides and apps.

Price: 7
My meal was comped, as I was here for an influencer gig to promote the restaurant. The prices, however, are a bit high for the sizes, with a 22oz “cote de boeuf” being $62 and prime porterhouse being $75. Luckily the quality is pretty much on point.

Bar: 9
The bar is great. It’s a big rectangle with a bunch of high top tables situated along the windows that look out onto 52nd Street. Definitely a spot you can hang at for a bit. They also mix a good martini with blue cheese stuffed olives. Hendricks is $16, which is very fair in my opinion.

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Specials and Other Meats: 10
This joint has a solid variety of other non-beef meats. They offer lamb, duck, pork, and veal (the other white beef). Fuck chicken. We tried both the lamb and the duck, and both really stood out as exemplary menu items that are totally worth trying. These would even be great as appetizers to share with the table.

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Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried a lot of shit, and if I go deep into each with descriptions, this will be a long fucking review. So let me just rattle them off and highlight a little here and there.

Bacon: (thick cut slabs of Neuskes – outstanding):

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Crab cake (great honey mustard sauce):dsc07073

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Potatoes (these were incredible – you can see them on the bottom right side of the steak here, sliced like thick potato chips, baked to a crisp, and covered with cheese sauce and onions):

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Onion rings (amazing stack and perfectly cooked):

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Mushrooms:

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Roasted Brussels (because you need a little green sometimes):

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Creamed Corn: I didn’t get a pic but it was excellent.

Creamed Spinach:

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Fried Calamari (great crispy batter):

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Smoked Salmon (the prosciutto of the fish genre – excellent):

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Baked Potato & Carrot: See pics of the composed dishes above. The thick, long, and obviously phallic carrot is prominently placed on each plate, it seems, like the raging boner that hides within Donald Trump’s pants. You can just imagine the jokes that went around the table with that.

Carrot Cake (very moist and tasty):

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Creme Brûlée (perfect execution):

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Key Lime Pie:

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Bread Pudding:

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Chocolate Brownie Cake:

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Seafood Selection: 9
There’s salmon, shrimp (scampi or fried jumbos), crab cakes (entree portion), lobster tails and fresh fish of the day available. Not a whole lot, but it certainly will get the job done for the assholes who aren’t ordering meat. In fact, we ordered the shrimp scampi with black pepper pasta, and it was fantastic.

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I kept going back in for more and more, bite after bite.

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Service: 10
Impeccable. Everyone here is amazing and attentive. They know their menu well, and make excellent suggestions. Worth mentioning here is the amazing jar of pickles and peppers that comes out to every table. Careful or you might fill up on this instead of steak!

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The table bread was warm and flakey, like a large dinner roll.

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Ambiance: 9
I like the large, open feel to this place. Finally, you can stretch out in Manhattan and not hit the back of someone’s head. Also the decor is beautiful with warm grey paneled walls and beautiful table settings.

BOB’s STEAK & CHOP HOUSE
21 East 52nd St
New York, NY 10022