DeStefano’s overall score: 80
DeStefano’s seems to regularly offer Groupon deals in which you pay X number of dollars for Y amount of restaurant credit. Those are always the best kinds of deals. In our case, we had $90 credit for about $50. Our discount, however, was nearly voided completely when the lovely City of New York decided to shut down the L train in both directions due to police activity stemming from the infamous annual “pants off subway ride.” So after $25 in cab fare, we arrived to our destination about 30 minutes late.
This joint offers something a bit unique: a rib eye that is cooked with fennel. This highly Italian preparation doesn’t add much sweetness, as you might expect (Which is good), but the resulting “grilled fennel” that comes with the steak has a grilled onion quality, only less salty and more mild. I liked it. While the meat itself was aged (28 days) and prime, I felt that it could have benefited from a slight hit of more salt. The pepper usage was perfect, and the meat was cooked to a very nice medium rare. The only other down side was that the steak was sitting in a pool of butter and/or oil. I don’t mind that too much, but soaking in that will remove any good seared crust that may have developed on the outside of the steak during cooking.
Below is a closer look at the fennel. The steak comes served on a bed of sliced and grilled fennel (unless you request otherwise).
I should note here that the porterhouse cuts looked amazing. I saw two come out for other tables and my eyes lit up. You all know that I’m primarily a rib eye guy, so for me to get excited over a porterhouse is kind of a big deal. I’d definitely like to come back and try one of those big fuckers.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
You have all your basics here, but the quality is prime and the meats are aged to give the cuts a great flavor. My cut had a good amount of tasty beef jelly fat between the spinalis and the eye. I like that. It’s like marrow!
Portion Size & Plating: 9
My steak was a 24oz bone-in cut, served on a silver platter. Very nice. Sides can be ordered for one or for two, and the sizes are generous.
My rib eye was $58. That is midtown pricing. A bit high, in my opinion, for something that didn’t get full points for flavor, but balance that against the fact that DeStefano’s almost always has a Groupon deal available and it evens out. I also can’t complain too much here because the management generously comp’d our dessert.
There is a small three-seat bar beside the host station when you walk into the restaurant. This is certainly not the kind of place you go for, say, a happy hour or to just hang out at the bar. They do, however, make a good martini. My wife’s old fashioned was just so-so, she reported.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
Our waiter David read off some special apps for us, so there are definitely some off-menu items to explore. For other meats, you have lamb, veal and chicken. Not a bad showing.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We tried two apps. First was the sweet and spicy bacon. This slab came in just under $5 and was nicely cooked to a soft yet crunchy texture.
Next up was DeStefano’s version of carpaccio; a shoulder cut of beef that is tenderized and seared on the outside before slicing thin and serving with arugula, lemon and shaved parmesan. This reminded me of my dad’s “steak salad.”
It went nicely with the sliced table bread as well.
On the side we tried an order of creamed spinach. This was okay. I’ve had better, and I’ve certainly had worse. The top had a nice crunchy texture from baked breadcrumbs, and the spinach itself was only lightly creamy, which, in general, I like.
For dessert we had tiramisu. This was creamy and soft, not too boozed up, and very light. I enjoyed it, and it was a good recommendation from our waiter.
Seafood Selection: 7
There’s grilled mahi mahi and a pair of seafood pasta items on the entree menu, otherwise you’re limited to the app and salad section for your seafood (crab cakes, BBQ shrimp, lump crab, etc). But you’re coming here for steak anyway, so don’t get all bent out of shape over this.
David was an excellent waiter, and all the staff was helpful and nice. Our water was always filled, we never had to wait long for anything, and the management was very generous for comping our dessert. I’d definitely eat here again – especially to try that porterhouse I mentioned above. The table bread is nice – basic, nothing too fancy – and served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic.
You’re actually entering someone’s former home when you eat here. You feel like the home owners have cleared out their living room and set up nice dining tables for you to eat their home cooked meal. It’s very charming, and all the walls are covered in family photos going back to the 50’s (perhaps even earlier) and coming up to present day.
89 Conselyea St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211