Gallagher’s Steakhouse

Gallagher’s overall score: 76

Gallagher’s is an old-time New York City staple that got its start as a speakeasy during Prohibition (what a horrific idea that was). It is known for its window-of-steaks and hickory log cooking process. It has always been highly recommended. Tonight it got the Johnny Prime treatment. See below for the specifics.
NOTE: Gallaghers (no more apostrophe) was just recently remodeled and overhauled to be a completely new steakhouse. See my updated review for the improvements.
Flavor: 5
Unfortunately, Gallagher’s lacked punch. The strip had decent flavor, but the filet and ribeye were both under seasoned. My ribeye was tight in the center part, which means there was not enough marbling. I also had a lot of gristle in the fat cap – so much that it was inedible. That means the best part of the steak was essentially ruined. I also had a taste of an end cut of prime rib; the crispy edges were great, but otherwise it was a bit dry and over cooked. I suppose that is somewhat expected with an end cut though. Maybe someone who is a more of a steak purist would like it here since there is not much by way of seasoning, but I am also talking about a lack of basic salt and pepper use as well. Overall, I can put it this way: I have had much better steaks at local “mom-and-pop” Long Island places for half or a third of the price.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
Gallagher’s offers a great variety of beef. They have all four standards. Their signature cut is a 21-day dry aged (in-house) prime sirloin NY Strip. They also have the necessary filet and ribeye cuts. For the slightly vaginal, they have a prime rib, which is essentially a slow-roasted ribeye. They also offer the giant burger known as the “chopped steak,” and a “sliced beefsteak,” which I believe to be the porterhouse, though I am not positive. Their website says that all of their steaks are prime quality and aged, which I believe to be true since you can actually see the meat in the aging room as you walk in. However I expected more out of my meat than what I got here in terms of quality, so I am taking points off despite what I saw in the showcase. There should be no tightness or gristle in a prime, aged ribeye that costs close to $60. I had both tightness and gristle, not to mention an overall lack of flavor.
Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portion sizes are good – not huge, but that is probably due to the fact that the aging process shrinks the cuts slightly (sometimes up to a third). The NY Strip comes in 14oz or 18oz sizes. There are two sizes of filet as well, 10oz and 14oz. The ribeye was estimated at 18-20oz.
Price: 7
Our bill for four people came to about $125 each, tax and tip included. We had a few drinks, a big sharing-sized seafood platter, we each had a cut of steak, we shared two sides, and then we shared a light dessert with some coffee. The bill seemed reasonable, even though the seafood platter was a bit expensive. Had the steaks been better, Gallagher’s might have scored higher with respect to value. Since the steaks weren’t that great, I had to drop the score here.
Bar: 9
The bar is nice. It is old fashioned, and the bartenders are nice gentlemen. They have baskets of home made kettle cooked potato chips lining the bar. They tasted like they were seasoned with garlic and Parmesan cheese – really tasty. The martini was well mixed too ($13.50 a pop for Beefeater).
Specials and Other Meats: 8
This place has a great selection of alternative meats. Pork chops, lamb chops, veal chops, roasted chicken and even a calf’s liver steak. Nice! But there were no specials in the beef section.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6
We had the seafood platter for an appetizer. It came with lump crab meat, shrimp cocktail, a full lobster, smoked salmon, oysters and clams. It was the best part of the meal, so worth the hefty price tag (something like $140). On the side we had creamed spinach and onion rings. The creamed spinach was sucky. It was watery, and it lacked flavor and creaminess. Skip it. The onion rings, like everything else, lacked salt and flavor, though they did have a nice crisp to them. The chips at the bar would have been a MUCH nicer side, and they were free! For dessert we each had an espresso and shared strawberries and cream. Basically, nicely ripened and sweet strawberries topped with a dollop of homemade cool whip. You can’t really fuck that up too much, so we figured it was a safe bet.
Seafood Selection: 9
EVERY appetizer except the steak tartare is seafood. Shrimp cocktail, fried shrimp, clams, oysters, crab cakes, lump crab meat, fried calamari, and smoked salmon. For entrees they have salmon, halibut, lobster, crab cakes and a fish of the day.
Service: 9
Our waiter was good – no complaints. He was nice, non-intrusive, and fast. He also answered some questions we had about famous guests and the decor. The bread on the table was semi-warm, and there were a few different varieties of rolls (everything, onion, ciabatta, etc).
Ambiance: 9
Situated in the upper Times Square area and the theater district, Gallagher’s gets a lot of foot traffic. People gawk outside and stare at the meat room, and who wouldn’t!? It looks delicious. The inside is old fashioned and traditional, with a full male wait staff (as far as I could tell) wearing bow ties. The tables are covered with red and white checkered cloth picnic table material, the furniture is all old wood stuff (some of the stools at the bar are really old and wobbly), and the walls are covered with sports memorabilia and photos of famous people who have visited the establishment. The bathrooms boast oversized old marble furnishings typical of the 1920s.
 

GALLAGHER’S
228 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019

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