Char House overall score: 74
Char House is a new Chinese style steakhouse on Mott Street in Chinatown. I tried a nice variety of stuff here, so I think I got a good sense of the restaurant’s capabilities. Check it out:
Wagyu Sirloin: 8/10
This baby had a nice char on the outside, it was well seasoned and was perfectly cooked to medium rare inside. The cut itself was a little chewy, but for the price this wasn’t too bad.
This lacked a little seasoning, and didn’t have too great of a char. It did pack some nice dry-aged flavor though. Another miss here was that the filet side was overcooked.
Frenched Rib Eye: 8/10
This had a nice sized cap that packed a good amount of dry aged flavor. The steak had a nice char and it was pretty much cooked correctly – perhaps a bit on the rare side.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
The beef here comes from DeBragga, so you know you’re getting good quality. Char House does some additional aging in-house as well, and they develop some really nice flavors. As far as cuts go, they offer two large format rib eyes, a single cut rib eye, a strip, a porterhouse, the wagyu sirloin and a filet. That’s an impressive selection for a small steak joint.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions here are pretty good. The large format cuts that I tried clocked in at 36oz each. Each were meaty enough to feed two, although the filet side of the porterhouse was a bit on the small size. Sized and apps were nicely portioned.
The porterhouse and rib eye came out to $114 each (they charge by the ounce), which was a fair price, though a bit high compared to other small mom and pop style steakhouses. One item that stuck out as a bit pricey was the XO shrimp ($14 for three shrimp).
This joint doesn’t have a bar. They offer some wine and sake selections, and I think some loose beer selections on ice in the front near the host station, but there are no seats at that area (which looks like a bar). I was hoping for some interesting Asian inspired cocktails. Oh well. Maybe in time they will build the bar out.
Specials and Other Meats: 7
I don’t recall our waiter or the host telling us about any specials, but they do offer roast chicken and pork ribs. I was hoping for some duck, being this is a Chinese joint, but no luck.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
I really enjoyed this. It was reminiscent of the classic Chinese shrimp toast dish, only with crab instead.
These were nicely cooked and prepared, but I feel like $14 is too much for just three shrimp.
7 Spice Corn Brulee
This was really tasty. Creamy corn pudding, in a sense, with a great spice profile.
Sweet Soy Glaze Bacon
This was nice as well. Not in my top five, but definitely something I would order again if I came back. It had good sweetness to balance the savory.
Sesame Mashed Potatoes
This was a nice take on mashed potatoes. The toasted sesame flavors definitely bring you into the wheelhouse of Asian flavors.
Skillet Brownie a la Mode
This was a nice dessert. Not too sweet, as the chocolate was nicely balanced with dark bittersweet as well as melty milk chocolate.
Seafood Selection: 8
There’s a whole fish as well as “Lobster Dynamite” on the menu here for entrees. Again I was hoping to see a bit more variety from a Chinatown steak joint, but I bet that whole fish is great. I’d like to try that if I go back.
The service was awkward. It was a Friday night at 7pm, and the restaurant was only half full at best, so I would have expected a bit more “on top of things” service. There seemed to just be one waiter, and the hostess ended up being our server for half of the meal. It also took a while to get the check, but everyone was super friendly and hospitable, and they even threw in some complimentary apps and sides. No bad attitudes or anything like that – very nice people, and everything on the menu was explained to us perfectly.
One thing to note here is the awesome bread basket. It comes with a variety of chips: sweet potato, taro, shrimp and regular potato. I particularly liked the inclusion of the shrimp chips. And the bread was super hot and fresh. Lovely.
They did a great job with the space here. It feels both like a steakhouse and like a downtown Chinese restaurant. The music selection was a chill mix of electronic lounge type music and hip hop, and the lighting wasn’t too dim, but wasn’t too bright either.
43 Mott St
New York, NY 10013