Club A overall score: 80
As nearly all NYCers know, Club A has been running an enticing promotion on Groupon since the Spring of 2011: $80 four course dinner for two, with a bottle of wine included (now $99 for the same deal in 2017). Here’s my review, though I kinda wish my wife stopped Geoffrey Zakarian on the street and begged him to cook us a private meal. She passed by him on her way to meet me.
The choice of beef cuts with the special deal were either an 8oz filet or a 10oz hanger steak. Naturally, I chose the hanger cut, because I think it shows more finesse and skill to prepare a good hanger steak than it does to whip up a filet. Also, the hanger generally has more flavor and character than the monotonous and generally same-at-every-place-you-go filet can have. My steak was good. It had decent flavor, but it was not tenderized or aged in any noticeable way to enhance it. Parts were stringy, which means the fat was not allowed to break down in the aging process.
It came to me just how I ordered. I asked for medium rare, and I was given medium rare. This cut has a tendency to be tough, so a fast cooking approach with a slice on the bias or a slow, long braise is generally best. I’ve had a better hanger steak at non-steakhouses. 7/10.
My wife had the veal shank osso buco on our first trip here, which was better than my steak that first time around. I had originally given the hanger a 6/10, but after the second trip I bumped it to a 7/10. On the second trip, my wife had the filet.
This was tender and had nice flavor throughout. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare and had a good sear on the outside. 8/10.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Club A has the standard selection of steaks on their regular menu, plus some special cuts and high quality meats like “Kobe” rib eyes and prime aged stuff. Perhaps my flavor review would be higher if I had ordered off the regular menu, but these were test visits. I’m not sprinting to go back, but I definitely would because I see good potential. Perhaps if someone insists, I will try it again.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
The portion sizes were good, and the plating was above average. The veal osso buco came with a mini fork to get the marrow out of the bone – nice touch. The hanger was pre-sliced, properly on the bias, and served with a watery gravy (but good). The bacon appetizer was a generous half-inch thick slice of heaven.
The price was great – $80 for four courses each, plus a bottle of wine (now $99). The quality didn’t quite exceed the value, but I guess they have to draw the line somewhere to distinguish between the bargain menu and their regular menu. Prices for regular items are standard NYC steakhouse prices.
There is a small bar in the front of the restaurant – not impressive, but nicely set up.
There is also a larger bar upstairs splitting the front and rear dining areas, but these spots aren’t the kind of place you go to hang out. The upstairs bar seems to be unmanned, though I’m not sure if it gets more lively at night.
The martini was nice, but the atmosphere pales in comparison to other steakhouse bars. This is a neighborhood joint though, not a major steakhouse attraction, so allow some leeway. The waffle cut potato chips on the bar were a nice snack.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
I must say, the menu is full of meatery. Aside from the special beef cuts, they also have a prime pork chop, veal, chicken, sausage, and lamb. They’ve covered all the bases with various sizes as well.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7
The bacon app was fantastic on the first visit, but just good on the second. Recently I’ve had better. It wasn’t too salty, and for the most part it had a good amount of fat balanced with the meaty parts.
On my first visit, the steak tartare was sub-par: over cut with capers, red onion and other doo-dads; it tasted yummy, but it seemed short on actual meat. Also, some of the consistency was chewy, like they didn’t trim the fat off before chopping. On the second visit, there was a noted improvement to this dish, though it seemed to lack a bit of seasoning.
The sides were decent. I liked the creamed spinach, despite it being a bit thin or watery. The mac & cheese was delicious, however, with an awesome cheese crust on the top.
As for dessert, the tiramisu and cream puffs tasted homogeneous. Similar textures (aside from the crunch of the profiterole shell), similar flavors… dull. The profiterole shells, I think, need to be dusted with powdered sugar right when they come out of the fryer. They tasted a bit savory rather than sweet. The chocolate mousse they sat upon was delicious, however.
Seafood Selection: 9
Decent selection of seafood, even a manly fish like swordfish made its presence known on the menu. There are good sounding alternatives for the vaginal.
Good service, attentive. There was an assortment of varied warm and room temperature table breads to snack on.
They ranged from sweet to salty. Butter was still cold, and steak sauce tasted like it was 90% ketchup.
At first I hated the place. Dimly lit with red tones all over, typical framed photos of celebs on the walls, a cheap looking but pretty gas fireplace on the back wall of the first floor dining room, and cheese-bag electronic lounge music playing like we are at “Centro-Fly” from a decade ago. But then the music switched to instrumental funk, jazz and crooner… and we went upstairs… WOW – Beautiful view of the lit trees out the floor to ceiling windows in the front of the building. Non-traditional and small, but stunning.
On my second visit, the music was more along the “golden oldies” lines, and I still liked the upstairs better than the downstairs.
240 E. 58th St.
New York, NY 10022