Desmond’s Steakhouse

Desmond’s Steakhouse overall score: 88

Flavor: 8
Desmond’s did a great job getting a crispy sear on most of the cuts we ordered, locking in the juiciness. I had the cowboy ribeye, which was tasty, but lacked a little seasoning. It was also 2-steps undercooked from what I ordered (I ordered medium and it came rare), so that’s why the score seems a bit low (7/10 for rib eye). The undercooking didn’t bother me too much, but a ribeye needs some heat for that nice fat to melt away properly. If you want to order your steak rare because you feel like you aren’t supposed to cook the meat, then order a filet. But unless the beef is serious kobe or wagyu quality, you should not feel funny ordering anything medium. On the other hand, the others in our party enjoyed their steaks very much, so that balanced it out better. The steaks all come with a complimentary sauce on the side. I tried the horseradish cream, but it was a little thicker and heavier than I had anticipated, and not “horseradishy” enough, so I didn’t dive into it all that much. Some of the other sauces were better though. During a second visit with a Gilt discount, we had the 8oz filet and 16oz sirloin. Both were delicious and well seasoned. The filet was a bit overcooked (7/10), but the sirloin was perfect (10/10). I added a point here after that better experience.
steak final
sirloin (top), filet (bottom) with sauteed spinach and mac & cheese
sirloin (top), filet (bottom) with sauteed spinach and mac & cheese

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

They hit everything that is required here. They have a NY sirloin (which is their strip), they have a t-bone, a porterhouse for two, a boneless ribeye, a cowboy ribeye (bone in), and a filet (which they don’t even put into the red box on their menu that lists the steak cuts – awesome – it’s a reminder that a filet is not a real steak, but, instead, something for women). The menu says that all meats are aged and grain fed, and of prime quality.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

My steak was 24oz, bone in; but the regular ribeye was a boneless 20oz. As such, you might get more meat for your buck by ordering the boneless cut. They offer the strip in two sizes: 12oz and 16oz. The t-bone is 20oz. The porterhouse is 48oz for two. And the filet comes in 8 or 14oz portions. Those are good-sized slabs of meat. Plating was basic: beef + plate + complimentary sauce (either on the side of right on top). Aside from the steak sizes, everything else was pretty big too. The wedge salad was enough to give all 6 of us a try, the tomato salad was huge, and the sides were good too. Most impressive was the seafood plateau, which, for $49, was a huge bargain.

Price: 8

Prices here range from upper $40s to mid-$50s. I thought my steak was a little overpriced at $56, but not a deterrent. If I go back, I will most likely order the regular ribeye or try some other cuts and save on cash in the process. The seafood platter here is an incredible buy. For $49 you get so much shit from the sea – awesome. Check out the full monetary damage below.
bill final
On a second visit we used a Gilt meal deal coupon. Regularly priced at $99, dinner came with a bottle of wine, an app to share for two, two steaks (limited selections), two sides, and a dessert to share. My wife got that deal for $75 with a coupon code on the Gilt website. Sweet!
Bar: 9
The bar here is really awesome, and I can definitely see it being a good place to hang out. There is a massive wrap-around, marble-topped bar, and the bartender Danny mixes some incredible cocktails. Great guy. They also have these really great cheese-baked bread sticks to nibble on while you sip. The martini was made just right, and was topped with delicious pitted castelvetranos. My favorite. Only thing missing here at the bar is a street view.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

I didn’t pay much attention to the specials, but the waiter did read off a few (fish and pasta if I recall?). As far as alternative meats goes, they have braised lamb AND rack of lamb, short ribs, veal, and chicken. A wide selection! Only thing missing is pork, but you should be eating bacon in the appetizer round anyway.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
All the sides and apps we had were good. We started with a wedge salad (great chunks of thick bacon are involved – a must have). We also did a dozen east coast oysters. They were basic – good and crisp, creamy – and that’s all you can ask for, aside from Tabasco sauce. The tomato salad was huge and came with both thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes and sliced marinated grape tomatoes. The mozzarella that came with it was really great too – soft, hand-made, delicious. All it needed was some charred onion. We also chowed on the slab bacon app as well. It was different from what you would expect, but really good. At a steak joint you usually get a legit slab of bacon – basically breakfast but extra thick. But here, it was sliced in the opposite direction, no grease or fat at all, and served with an interesting apple sauce underneath. Great, but completely unexpected – also a bit small. There was also some chowing on creamed spinach (basic – nothing off the charts or memorable to me), “exotic” mushrooms (which, to me, looked like hen of woods or cloud ears – more earthy than your tyical buttons or shitakes), and hash potatoes. For dessert my wife and I shared an espresso creme brulee, which was tasty, but in some parts the sugar brulee on top was too burnt. On a second visit with a Gilt discount coupon, we split a crab cake for an appetizer. it was a bit small, but tasty. We also tried the sauteed spinach (perfectly seasoned, and not too oily or overpowering with garlic) and mac & cheese (was good but not awesome). For dessert we split a tiramisu, which had great flavor in the cream portions. The cake/cookie parts were just okay.
dessert final

Seafood Selection: 9

They offer salmon, tuna & lobster by way of “the sea” here. Basic. But the real star here for seafood is the plateau selection. The SMALL platter came with lobster (a full one), lump crab meat (at least 6oz), ceviche (at least 6oz), littleneck clams (6-8), oysters (9), mussels (4-6), and 4 razor clams (Whaaaaat!?!??  I was so stoked to see them on the plate). I can’t even imagine what the large one looks like. See the small one below, which was $49:

Service: 10

The service was incredible – really – fantastic. The staff took this score from what would’ve been an 8 back up to a 10. Our waiter, David, made excellent suggestions in terms of what to order, what to drink, etc. He even graced us with an amazing impersonation of Liam Neeson’s badass monologue from “Taken” when he heard us talking about the film (“I have a particular set of skills…”). I mentioned above in the bar section how awesome Danny was as well; really great bartender. The management was great too; genuinely interested in their diners, helpful, and informative. That said, it DID take a while to get the check to us, and my steak WAS very undercooked, but service was still excellent. Another minor gripe was that the bread was cold, and some even hard, but the butter was soft and spreadable.
Ambiance: 9
This place is really nice inside. HUGE space in an L-shape on what I guess would be considered the mezzanine floor. Only one side had windows (looking over 7th avenue), but it was still nice, unlike the set-up at Shula’s, which was also an elevated space but with NO windows. Nice decor with wood trim, big booths, marble accents, comfortable seating, etc. It looks like it has been there forever, even though it is brand new. Very classy joint too, with nice old-timey music and jazz on the speakers. The bathrooms were really clean – all marble – with great hand soaps and nice cloth hand towels to dry off after pissing all over yourself. We all wondered what this place was before it was Desmond’s, because we couldn’t imagine it being anything other than a steak place. No one seemed to know when we asked. The only problem is that when we went it was sadly empty (Saturday at 6:00pm – there until after 10:30pm). We were the only people in the restaurant, really, until about 8 or 9pm (there was a pair of people at the bar for a little while), and then only two or three tables came in throughout the evening. It’s a shame, really, because we had a great time. I hope they start packing out!

156 W 38th St
New York, NY 10018