Frankie & Johnnie’s overall score: 79
In a last minute, game time decision to grab some steaks, I took my wife and the super awesome guy who built this website out to dinner as a thank you gesture for all the work put into getting this page into legitimacy. It turned out to be a really fucking good meal.
Flavor: 9 (updated to 8)
We got the peppercorn crusted ribeye for two that was on special here. It was beautifully cooked to right between medium and medium rare, like we asked. If I had to guess I’d say it was maybe 36-40oz, but it had no waste on it. It came pre-sliced, but not in the shitty style of how most places serve the “porterhouse for two.” You know the drill and how it is at those shit boxes; it comes out on a screeming hot bowl-plate, and the bleed-out liquid pools underneath the carcass. It’s like a culinary horror movie where the star of the film gets killed at the end instead of living happily ever after. Then the meat becomes dry unless you destroy the soft tissue in your mouth and eat it right away, while it is still 17 million degrees. No – Frankie & Johnnie’s respects the meat! They let it rest and cool down, and there was absolutely no run-off under the sliced meat. NONE. It held all its juices, and the deliciousness was locked in tight. It has a great char on the edges, and the peppercorn crusting added interesting flavor, though I thought the peppercorn was not really necessary. Even the blubber was smooth and edible on this fucker – like you could smear it on bread instead of using butter, kinda like roasted bone marrow but less gamey. It was served with a gravy boat of sauce – likely a catching of flavorful drippings and juices from the cooking process, clarified, and reduced just a bit for cohesion. It was fucking drinkable. Bravo to this place.
Frankie & Johnnie’s is set up a bit odd, but they make good use of the space. When you walk in, you are in a small entry hall with the greeter. There is a stairway up to the main dining room, and a short stairway down into the bar area, which extends backward on the ground floor level. It is dim, but lively. It has one flat screen tv, and across are a bunch of tables for bar dining. The martini was made perfectly, though a bit on the pricey side at $13-$14. Since it isn’t adjacent to the windows, it lacks a certain feel that I’ve come to want at restaurant bars. Contrast with Del Frisco’s bar, which is big, open, and right along the windows. See a picture of the bar and seating area below:
Specials and Other Meats: 8
On special was the ribeye for two, a hot seafood platter app, a cold seafood platter app, and an apple smoked thick cut bacon app. I would have liked to see a marinated flank or skirt to round out the beef selection, but otherwise it was a decent showing, especially considering we ordered three of the four items on special. As for other meats, they offered a great and unique selection; double loin lamb chops, pork chops, veal porterhouse, calves liver, and chicken (for pussies and broads).
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7 (updated to 6)
They offer Maine and African lobster, broiled salmon, shrimp scampi, Chilean seabass, and pan seared tuna for seafood entrees (along with a quiffy surf & turf). There’s also lots of the standard stuff on the app side of the menu, like the raw bar, crab cakes and all manner of cocktails.
The waiter was great – he gave us enough space but he was always there when we needed him. He was cheerful and happy, but not in the fake “TGI Friday’s” kind of way. He was genuine. All the servers were dressed with formal attire (vests and ties), and the staff was mixed male and female. The bread assortment consisted of some onion bread, garlic bread, flat bread, and other dinner rolls. The bread was warm but the butter was cold.
Despite a slight lacking in the bar area, Frankie & Johnnie’s main dining room has elegant decor, lofty ceilings, and plenty of space. It is classy but not stuffy. In the rear there is a huge fireplace with lots of dark wood trim surrounds. Very nice. One down side is the lack of a bathroom on the dining floor. You have to go down to the back of the bar area, and that shitter isn’t that nice to begin with. Mediocre at best.
After a re-visit many years later, I had to drop the score down a few points. The rib eye was flavorful but lots of the fat was inedible. The filet had more flavor, despite having less character.
Rib Eye: 7/10
Filet Mignon: 8/10
The seafood appetizer special for two, I thought, was going to be a chilled seafood platter. It turned out to be crab cakes, baked clams, and shrimp scampi. It wasn’t bad, in fact i liked the crab cake’s potato crust. It was just a little bit skimpy for a dish “for two.”
Mixed Seafood Grill
The bacon was a bit too fatty. I enjoy eating fat bacon, but perhaps this needed to be cooked for a longer amount of time at a lower temperature, to ensure that all the chewy bits became soft.
The potatoes were cut into chunks as opposed to sliced thin. The result inside was a thin, soupy consistency that wasn’t too good.
Potatoes Au Gratin
The broccoli was great. Simple garlic and oil preparation, crisped and sautéed nicely.
Both the bread pudding and the chocolate lava cake lacked flavor. Particularly the lava cake. The outside was rubbery and flavorless.
FRANKIE & JOHNIE’S
32 W. 37th St.
New York, NY 10018