E&E Grill House overall score: 89
My wife discovered E&E Grill House through one of those coupon deal websites (Living Social). It seemed like an interesting quasi-steakhouse kind of place, so we gave it a shot. I think the deal we purchased was something like $40 gets you $90 worth of menu items. Not bad! As it turns out, E&E happened to BLOW AWAY many of the so called top steakhouses in NYC. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality, flavor and choices available here, and most impressed with the extremely friendly staff.
Everything here tasted exceptional – apps, sides, entrees, and dessert. Here I will focus only on the steak entree. I ordered the ribeye, as I always do to test the mettle of a steakhouse. The meat was perfectly cooked to medium, it was allowed to rest properly to keep those juices locked in, and the flavor had a slight gaminess to it (it was aged prime beef) that added character. Perfectly seasoned – not too salty or overly crusted with seasoning. Just right. These guys know how to handle their slabs of meat. The central portion had nice marbling because the meat stayed soft and tender, it chewed easily, and was packed with goodness. The fat cap was a bit smaller than I had hoped, but it was so freaking delicious. I picked the bone clean. What a welcome meal after last night’s misery at Gallagher’s. That’s right – I ate fucking ribeye two nights in a row, and this place STILL scored top marks. The meat man is impressed.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
E&E offers two filets: 8oz (for pussies and women) and 14oz (a bone-in conundrum for people with more than a few inches of penis dangling between their legs). They have a hanger, a skirt, a strip and a ribeye as well. They don’t have a porterhouse on their standard menu (I took a point for that), but they still offer both strip and filet, so you can create your own porterhouse if you really feel the need to. Porterhouse isn’t really my thing anyway. But they make up for the lack of a porterhouse with the alternative selections (hanger and skirt), which were nice to see on the menu.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portion sizes are a bit on the smaller side. I think they are good for the money though. The filets are 8oz and 14oz (these are actually right in the average zone). The strip is a bit small at 12oz (lunch size at Ruth’s Chris). The 9oz hanger, and the 8oz skirt are a bit small as well, though deceiving if you see the size of the hanger on the plate. The ribeye gets close to normal at 18oz (bone-in). The plus here is that you get a great meal for your buck; every ounce is delicious.
The steaks range from $23 (hanger – nice sized portion by the way – bigger than you expect) to $58 (ribeye), so they are about right for the size, perhaps bordering on slightly expensive if you don’t have a Living Social coupon. The bonus here is that they regularly offer deals through Living Social and those kinds of websites, so you can basically get $50 of your meal for free if you keep an eye out for those deals before you go. Our bill, after all deal deductions, tax and tip, came to about $150 – sweet!
The bar is so-so. It isn’t bad by any means at all. It is neat, clean, chic – not the traditional steakhouse type of bar. It is a bit small, so not sure if I could see myself hanging out there other than while waiting for a table. The place is adjacent to a nice hotel so there is likely some traffic from there, which is good for E&E since people will likely eat and enjoy the place after having a drink, or before going to a show. The bartender was really friendly, and made a great martini just how I like it (very dry). The best part about the bar is that they have a really awesome selection of specialty cocktails with bold new ideas and ingredients (such as elderflower, cucumber water, and other fresh taste bud popping flavors) in conjunction with rich, old-timey classic favorites. We tried the Violet Beauregarde (great name) and the Hendrick’s 49. Both were fantastic.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
This place has pork chops, lamb chops and chicken by way of alternameats. They have tofu on the menu. Come on, man. Really? WTF!!??!? I had to take a point off for that, just because. I guess it is nice that they are thinking of vegan losers too, but maybe I am just an old fashioned carnivore (with an appreciation for the societal good inherent in bullying). If it were up to me, vegans would be shaved, sterilized and destroyed! In addition to a good selection of other meats, they also had some specials on the menu. Three to be exact; first was an appetizer special of west coast oysters + caviar. Second was Onaga fish (similar to red snapper, hailing from Hawaii). Third was duck l’orange (breast and thigh/leg). We had two of these – read on for the verdict.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10
AMAZING! EVERYTHING WE ORDERED WAS AMAZING! First, we started with a trio of appetizers; the special oysters, the grilled bacon, and the buffalo steak tartare. The oysters were really fresh, and the caviar on top made the flavor pop. Instead of Tabasco they offered Sri Racha to kick the spice level up. YES! Sri Racha is awesome on anything. Put it on cardboard and I will eat it. The grilled bacon was the ultimate; nice thick slabs of perfectly cooked goodness with a creamy, zingy sauce on the side to dip into. I could eat that shit all day. The buffalo steak tartare was delicious too – very lean, and served with a cooling bone marrow mayo that added just the right amount of fat back into the meat. What an amazing flavor that marrow mayo had to it. It was like a refreshing, cool fat-foam, and served beautifully inside a hollowed out length of bone (where the marrow would normally be). The entrees each come with a sauce and a side item, which is rare in the steakhouse world. Usually sides are a la carte, over priced, and over sized, and sauces are an upcharge. These sides were just right. We had creamed spinach and grilled broccolini. Broccolini is my favorite veggie on earth, so I was psyched to see it on the menu. It was nicely grilled and packed a lot of flavor. The heads had a beautiful char on them that added a crispy texture to the normal snap of a nicely cooked veggie. The creamed spinach was very nice and creamy; not too rich but it still had a lot of flavor to it. Before I move to dessert I need to mention the sauces. If you are getting a steak, order the sauce ON THE SIDE. The steaks are so well prepared that you really shouldn’t cover them with anything except for the saliva that dangles from your mouth as you drool and wait to dig in. The sauces are good, but probably better for going into on occasion rather than with every bite. That is my opinion anyway. I had the “blue butter” which was essentially a blue cheese flavored butter. It was really delicious, but I couldn’t do every bite of my steak with that on top. I was glad I ordered it on the side. My wife had the tomato shallot white wine sauce, which went perfectly as a bedding underneath her fish entree. For dessert we shared a slice of key lime pie. Our waiter (Chris, who was awesome – see below) informed us that it is made fresh on site every morning. It had a great tartness to it without being too sweet, or “cloying,” as assholes on Food Network like to say all the time. Add to that the nice airy meringue and you have a perfectly balanced dessert. The table breads were interesting too; warm homemade biscuits with a smooth whipped honey butter. Nice touch!
Seafood Selection: 8
They only have a salmon dish and a scallop dish on their entree menu in terms of fish. But their apps feature smoked salmon, crab fritters, and mussels. Add to that the specials of oysters (app) and the Onaga (entree), and you are ALMOST at a top-notch seafood level. I think they should scrap the tofu entree if it’s not a big seller, and replace it with a nice seared sushi-grade tuna dish, like a tataki preparation or something. Sure – it is a little expected, but I think it goes with the chic and clean decor style. The Onaga was really great. The meat was succulent and fell off the cut in pieces that resembled lump crab meat. This Hawaiian fish is similar to red snapper, but a little more robust and meaty. A nice fit for a steakhouse, I think. It had a great crispy crust to boot.
I was greeted with warm smiles and a friendly attitude when I walked in. At the bar, I met a gentleman who was genuinely interested in his customers, and very amicable; he asked about growing beards, as I had a nice full one at the time. He mixed a great drink as well! Our waiter Chris could not have done a better job. He was extremely helpful with suggestions on dishes, sauce combinations, etc. He did an amazing job explaining how certain dishes were prepared, and was very thorough in describing the specials and answering our questions. His personal opinions on which dishes he liked best were helpful too, and our dining experience was heightened by his exceptional service and attention to detail. Overall the staff here is just on another level. E&E should be proud of them, and I look forward to returning for another fantastic meal.
E&E is more of a modern steakhouse/restaurant. So temper your expectations with that knowledge up front. I typically prefer the old-school steakhouse feel, but I am not opposed to the modern style if done right. For example, Primehouse is one of my top rated steak joints and it is a modern joint rather than the old style of Keens (also a favorite). In other words, I don’t discriminate. E&E did a really wonderful job with the space here. It is modern, but not pretentious and overly trendy. It is just right. I particularly liked the paintings/photographs on the wall that were screened onto floor tiles and mounted together. Very nice! Everything is clean too – bathrooms included (small, personal, one-at-a-time deals).
E&E GRILL HOUSE
233 W. 49th St.
New York, NY 10019