Formerly the location of Prime & Beyond, Ikinari switches up this dedicated steak spot from Korean to Japanese, only this joint lowers the price tag “big league” and creates a casual, standing-only environment.
What a great bargain for good quality meat! All of their beef is choice grade from Aurora Packing in Illinois, and wet-aged at least 40 days. Most importantly, the beef is cooked properly and treated with respect. But what’s surprising is that, for a “fast food” style joint, this place can actually compete with mom and pop restaurants (and even some big name steakhouses) on quality and flavor, for sure. And definitely on price.
Here’s how it works: You pay 8-11 cents per gram, telling the butchers exactly how thick you want your cut of steak. They offer filet, sirloin and rib eye.
Naturally, I had a proper sized steak cut from each:
I’m fat. Here’s what my bill would have looked like, had this not been a press/media event:
There are a variety of sauces and condiments to use for both your salads/sides and steaks. I was prone to keep hitting the wasabi.
The Ikinari sauce is thicker and sweeter, while the hot steak sauce has a little bit of spice and is a thinner liquid. Both are soy based.
The onion and pepper dressings went nicely with the radish salad. This was a small size:
So after choosing your cuts, the guys cook it up for you and you wait for them to bring it over to your standing/eating area.
Very casual! The steaks then come out sizzling on a cast iron plate with corn and onions.
Here are some more shots of that sirloin:
They serve the steaks rare, so that you can continue to cook it to your desired temperature directly on the hot skillet. I pretty much left mine as-is.
Here’s the filet:
Freaking HUGE for just $27.
And cooked perfectly inside.
My rib eye was cut a bit on a diagonal, and thinner than the other two, but no matter. It was excellent, and since I ate all of these steaks myself, like a real man, I didn’t mind so much.
The filet was tops, with rib eye close behind (if not tied), and sirloin next. If I had to put numbers on them, they’d all be in the upper 70th percentile for flavor, especially if you add some of the earthy sauces into the mix.
When you think about how much steakhouses are charging for on-par and sometimes lower flavor scores than these, it makes you question the entire steak scene!
Another thing worth mentioning: the pepper garlic rice was wildly tasty! It even had bits of steak thrown into it, and it also comes out on a sizzling cast iron plate.
Mix it all up and then let it sit and sizzle, so that a good, tasty crisp develops on the bottom of that rice.
Essentially, this place is everything that you wish Tad’s could be. You go into a place like Tad’s (do you even go in?) with high hopes and a hunger for steaks while you’re on the go. But, without question, it fails you, every time. The meat sucks, and it’s cooked like garbage.
Ikinari won’t let you down. I’ve eaten hundreds and hundreds of steaks in this great city, and I can tell you that this is a fantastic value, striking a bizarre but fascinating and attractive balance between steakhouse quality and budget dining. Give it a shot! Just don’t go there when your feet ache, because, as I said earlier, STANDING ONLY!
90 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003