Del Frisco’s Grille

Del Frisco’s Grille overall score: 82

Flavor: 9 (downgraded to 8 after subsequent visits)
True to the Del Frisco’s brand, the steaks here really pack a donkey-punch of flavor. I went with the standard rib eye, which is boneless and comes in at around 16oz. of crisped goodness. It was cooked perfectly, had tons of soft, flavorful, edible fat, and it was juicy. The only down side was that it was a bit on the thin side for my liking. About one inch thick… I mean thin… What am I at fucking Applebees? But hey – it WAS delicious. And I was actually surprised they were able to get a good sear and crust on it without overcooking. Impressive skills from the chef. My wife had a trio of filets (on special). Each was wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and then topped; one was Oscar style (crab meat + Hollandaise), one was mushroom & red wine reduction, and the last was fois gras (best one because it added some much needed fat into the filet). And now I will take this time to rant about something that happened with the trio… Only one bite of one steak succesfully merged the bacon with the meat in proper cooking temps. The problem is with the method… wrapping shit in bacon…. People … I love bacon just like any other trendy asshole with a bacon themed t-shirt who posts bacon-related crap on Facebook … but there is a time and place to use it. The idea behind wrapping shit in bacon is to impart fat into something, and/or give things a smoky flavor. This is great – a wonderful concept… but it needs to be executed properly – EXACTLY – for it to be a success. Inevitably the bacon wrapping problem boils down to one of two things: EITHER (1) your meat is overcooked because you need to make sure the bacon is fully cooked before you serve it… so prolonged cooking time overcooks the star of the plate, which is the filet… OR (2) you undercook the bacon, leaving it rubbery, so that the steak is not overcooked. But then you end up serving disgusting half-cooked bacon, which is a health hazard if not just an incredibly shitty thing to do to bacon. Please… Unless you are among the ranks of fucking Thomas or Hubert Keller, then you need to go fuck yourself if you are wrapping good meat with bacon. And if you are either of them, I would hope you are wrapping meat with caul fat rather than bacon, since it essentially melts into the meat. If it MUST be done, then please half-cook the bacon first BEFORE wrapping the meat, and while the meat is cooking you can spoon some bacon grease over the top to make sure the flavor is imparted into the meat. /endrant
steak insta

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

The MEAT selection here is pretty much the same as the Double Eagle location around the block (seafood and other meats selection varies). They offer an upgraded version of each type of meat as a special; a boneless strip and a bone-in strip (16oz vs 22oz), and a boneless rib eye and a bone-in rib eye (same ounces as the strips). They had a great selection of filets: small (8oz), medium (12oz), and bone-in large (special) at 16oz. They also had a trio of filets on special (4oz each). All around this is pretty good. No porterhouse, so I had to take an extra point.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

My steak was 16oz, boneless. That’s a good-sized slab of meat – a little on the small side if you have a good pair of balls swinging between your thighs – but it’s still a pound of flesh, and not as small as the one at Dylan Prime. They had a broad range of sizes. Filets came in 8, 12, and 16oz portions, and even 4oz in the trio plate. Strips were either 16 or 22oz, and same with the rib eyes. Plating was basic: beef + plate.
steak

Price: 7

Prices here range from $37 for the pussy filet to $60 for the manlier upgraded cuts of steak. My regular menu rib eye was $42. That’s a pretty good price for a pound of perfectly cooked meat, however, the other items were a bit too pricey ($16 for 5 shrimp, $5 a piece for lamb sliders, etc). At the Double Eagle, it seems more worth it for the higher prices – maybe because of the atmosphere. See below and make your own judgments.
The price is wrong, bitch.
The price is wrong, bitch.
Bar: 10
The bar here is pretty cool, and definitely a good place to hang out after work if you work in midtown. It butts up close to the windows that look out into the Rockefeller Center area. I imagine it gets a good crowd in nice weather when the patio seating is available. They also have a nice fiery oven for cooking the flatbreads and pizzas right next to the bar, so you can sit there and watch the flames. The martini was made just right to boot – and $3 cheaper than at their other establishment around the block.
martini

Specials and Other Meats: 8

As I said earlier, on special there were lots of meats. A strip, a rib eye, a filet, and a trio of filets (pictured below – they came with asparagus as well). This isn’t really the kind of place for “other meats,” and I guess to that end it isn’t really a proper “steakhouse” either. They have sandwiches on the menu, and some plated dishes that take on the alternative meats like chicken, veal, beef short rib, and lamb (app).
filet trio
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7 (updated to 8 after subsequent visits)
No shellfish here (oysters/clams). We started with an order of cocktail shrimp and the lamb sliders. The shrimp were good, almost peppery, but there were only 5 for the whopping $16 price tag … and they weren’t that big: their small size didn’t match their large price. They did come with a nice dipping sauce that was some sort of horseradish, cream-based thingy. The lamb sliders were tasty and potent. They came topped with arugula, roasted red pepper, tzatziki sauce and goat cheese. I enjoyed them so the hefty $15 price tag for three wasn’t as bad as the shrimp. For sides we had Parmesan & sea salt fries and truffled mac & cheese. Both sides were too salty. The mac & cheese was unbearably salty, but the truffle taste was really good. I just wish they held back with the salt. The fries were more doable – they had some nice chopped up herbs on them too. For dessert we had nutella bread pudding. This was hands down the best dish of the night. Crispy coating, juicy middle, incredible flavor, topped with coffee ice cream… man… I will go back just for that.
apps, sides, and dessert
apps, sides, and dessert

Seafood Selection: 7

They offer salmon, tuna & sole by way of “the sea” here. No lobster, no oysters or clams. A shame, but at least they have the famous and delicious Del Frisco’s crab cake. Stick with that and you are set. But, again, you probably aren’t coming here for a full-on steakhouse experience. It’s not that kind of place.

Service: 10

The service was good. No real complaints. There was very little interaction as it was a busy time. Unlike traditional steakhouses, here you won’t get a basket of bread with your water or drinks (unless they forgot about that). Hmm… maybe they did forget… because they also forgot to bring sugar out for my Cappuccino.
Ambiance: 8
As I said above, it isn’t a typical steakhouse setting. It’s more of a concept restaurant. It’s a lot like a gangbang – you go in and out, it’s loud, busy, social, lots of people coming, there is use of a back door entrance, etc… That’s fine, but I have judging standards to which I need to stay true. This isn’t some subjective bullshit like sexual harassment in the workplace or The Beatles vs The Stones. This is truth. Okay then – onward…The wait staff are all dressed nicely but not traditionally in suits or jackets. They have both men and women taking orders and serving. The decor was modern, and the vibe is loud, happy hour, after work crowd chaos. It’s definitely not the same class of restaurant as other places I’ve rated, mainly because the Del Frisco’s “Grille” brand is marketed toward a more casual and social dining atmosphere. If you want a more sit-down and take-your-time kind of place, then go to the Double Eagle around the block. The bathrooms are nice though – four single user rooms with a dim, clean and modern look. I was almost tempted to have King Richard the Turd usurp the coveted Porcelain Throne and squat over The Tepid Pool to unleash a reign of brown terror the likes of which Manhattan has never seen… but I refrained from that conquest.
cross section of a rib eye: left side is the fat cap, right side is the "roast" side, as I like to call it.
cross section of a rib eye: left side is the fat cap, right side is the “roast” side, as I like to call it.

UPDATE: 09/19/14

Check this out… My buddy got this email from Del Frisco’s Grille about a crazy burger & beer deal. The details were as follows: double cheeseburger, fries, and any pint of beer for only $17.50! Needless to say, we jumped at the opportunity.

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I am a big fan of the Del Frisco’s brand, and despite not giving this location as much accolades as the Double Eagle site, one of the best in the world, I am still a loyal patron. I’ve heard great things about their burgers in particular.

Here’s the burgerporn:

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Verdict: the meat was cooked properly, well seasoned, and had a nice ratio of cheese to meat. The tomato was nice and cold, contrasting with the hot burger and cheese. Downside: it was a bit bread, as the bun was big, but on the positive side there was no dog or flopping of the bottom due to burger grease. I liked it a lot.

I chose the parmesan sea salt fries. They were really flavorful, but a bit limp. Perhaps another session in the deep frier would take them to the next level.

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Okay so all’s well, right? Wrong. The bill came and, to our surprise, we were being charged way more than $17.50 each! As it turns out, the NYC location is apparently an exception to the $17.50 deal. The price is supposed to be $24.50. Now, this all makes perfect sense in hindsight, as the regular price for a burger is something like $18.50 WITHOUT the beer. Also NYC rents are astronomical. It only makes sense that they would have to charge more for the food here. We asked Chad, the manager, if they’d still honor it, being my friend had actually received TWO emails with the $17.50 price. There was no way around it. Chad explained that the price could not be altered. He told us that he didn’t have a button on the register to change the price of the burger. We were a bit upset, but I reassured him that I DID like the burger. When I pulled out my card to present it to him, as I do at the end of every meal, he suddenly remembered the “oh shit, it’s Johnny Prime” button on the register. “We can adjust the price of the beer,” he said. Well, hey, that works for us! “You were in here before,” he remembered. “Yes, for steaks,” I answered. Chad even remembered where my wife and I sat! Wow! Anyway, he had a new, adjusted bill printed up, in which we were not charged for the beer.

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My buddy pays close attention to these sorts of things, still pointing out that we were over-charged by $2 from what the ad said as we were walking home. I don’t really blame him, because that $17.50 price was really the whole reason we even went. There was no limitation on the email, and no exclusion of NYC in the fine print of the ad. But I also really didn’t care and wouldn’t have minded; I’ve paid some hefty bills in my day, and as long as the food is good, I am generally fine with it. But in keeping with the stellar service of the Del Frisco’s brand, Chad earned the Grille another point for service to make it a full 10. This location really can’t compare with the Double Eagle, but at least now I know I will definitely be coming back at some point to try some more items off the dinner menu. Chad: we humbly thank you for making it right on the $17.50 issue. You’re a stand-up gentleman.

UPDATE: 7/18/17

I went back for an influencer event and got to try (and re-try) lots of stuff.

The Porterhouse: 9/10

This was awesome. It had a good pepper crust, nicely cooked, and both the strip side and filet side were both tender and juicy. My only issue is that it seemed kinda small.

The NY Strip: 9/10

This and the porterhouse were both on point. Really great job cooking this bad boy.

The Rib Eye: 8/10

This suffered slightly because it was over-salted (you can actually see a track of it along the left side of the cut in the photos below). Despite what looks like a lot of inedible fat on this baby, it was all really soft beef jelly.

The Tenderloin: 7/10

This bone-in “filet” was just a bit blah in comparison to the other three cuts we tried. It was cooked nicely and it was tender, however it just fell flat and lacked the character that the others had.

All of the other sides, apps and desserts we tried were good.

Pizza

Tuna Tacos

Shrimp Cocktail

Philly Cheese Egg Rolls

Lemon Cake; Creme Brulee Cheesecake; Coconut Cream Pie

Also not pictured: creamed spinach with bacon, mac and cheese, and the burger again. The creamed spinach went nicely with the mac and cheese, together in one bite. The salt from the creamed spinach added what was lacking in the mac. Given how much I enjoyed all these sides, apps and desserts on this visit, I added a point to the score. However with an average new steak rating of 8.25, I had to round down and lower the flavor score from 9 to 8. In the end, the total score is still the same at 82.

DEL FRISCO’S GRILLE
50 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020

2 thoughts on “Del Frisco’s Grille”

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  2. I don’t know Johnny…we don’t all have a Johnny Prime card to pull out. So while I’m glad Chad gave you good service, I’m not personally convinced he earned that extra point for customer service. Something tells me that Hugh Gallon and others would just be screwed. Points for flavor are well deserved if you say so. But I’m taking that bonus point back out. Sorry Chad.

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