Murtha’s (Long Island)

Murtha’s overall score: 70

Murtha’s is a small neighborhood joint in the area where I grew up. It holds a special place in my mind, since I have been there a number of times and have even had friends who worked there back in high school. UPDATE: Murtha’s is now CLOSED FOR BUSINESS. The owner passed away, and the family decided it would be too difficult to keep the busines going. What a shame!

Flavor: 7

Murtha’s packs a punch. This little mom & pop offers better tasting choice steaks than some of the prime and aged steaks you find at more expensive places considered “top steakhouses.” That is the difference that truly knowing meat can make. You can coax really great flavor out of even grocery store cuts if you understand meat, how it tenderizes, and how flavor develops while cooking or during preparations. Murtha’s knows what they are doing. This is the kind of place to order a marinated steak; it turns choice into prime. Simply getting a broiled steak here may leave you unsatisfied; go with the blackened or marinated versions. I ordered my ribeye medium but it came back medium-well. It was, however, cooked evenly throughout, and it was delicious.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7

Murtha’s covers the basics of steakhouse cuts (though they call their strip a NY sirloin, so it might not be the most marbled of that particular cut). They also occasionally offer a flank or something on special. On my last trip they had a t-bone and a special filet as well. The meat is choice, but it is treated with care and different preparations are offered for boosting the flavor, such as marinated, blackened, or charbroiled. Occasionally they offer a garlic-rubbed preparation as well. They also offer pork chops, lamb chops, and several styles of chicken.

Portion Size & Plating: 7

Murtha’s portions are on par with the big boys here, which is impressive for a small place, especially one that does not charge you an arm and a leg (the exact same cost of a pirate’s hook and peg-leg). They regularly offer a 24oz porterhouse, a 20oz ribeye, a 12oz NY “sirloin,” and a 10oz filet. The t-bone is 20oz. Plating is basic: nothing fancy. All steaks come with a veggie and a potato, and soup or salad. Bonus.

Price: 9

You get a great meal here for your money. I came with a gift card, so even better for me! Total for two entrees, two appetizers, soup, salad, and a side of creamed spinach was just under $100. My gift card covered more than half, so this was a steal for us.

Bar: 7

Not the best place to hang out, but they do have a decent bar for watching sports and they do make a solid martini – even leaving the small shaker for you to pour out that last bit of ice-melted gin into your quiffy, curved, diva-style martini glass for a second slurping. Occasionally they have live music at the end of the bar too.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

Murtha’s definitely offers a variety of specials that run across each section of the menu. They often offer garlic preparations of each of their steaks, which are nice. In the “other meats” category they have pork chops, lamb chops, and chicken.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

Despite the lack of oysters being on the menu, which I consider to be a steakhouse MUST HAVE, Murtha’s offers some less traditional but still yummy alternatives. The fried ravioli is delicious. And if you need to get your shellfish fix like I do, they still offer clams on the half shell (at a very reasonable price), as well as shrimp, crab and calamari. The crab cakes are a bit under par, but not horrible for $9. At $9 for the clams on the half shell, you get 6 on the plate. Not cheap but also not that expensive. The creamed spinach was average to slightly under par (a little bland but okay for a few bites). The soup and/or salad that comes with the meal are basic throw aways – filler. The fries, however, are great – nice and double fried to a golden crisp.

Seafood Selection: 6

In addition to the semi-typical seafood appetizer offerings, Murthas has a decent amount of fish on their menu for the weak, vaginal appetite: several preparations of shrimp and scallops, sole, lobster, and king crab legs (nice touch Murtha’s!). Nothing fancy though – either simply broiled, scampi, or fried. The scallops were good, nicely cooked, and you get about eight large ones in your order.

Service: 7

As a local joint, Murtha’s generously employs local school kids as bus boys. The service is good, reliable, and friendly. Murtha’s has provided me and my family with satisfying meals for between 15 and 20 years now, so, clearly, it makes no difference if a waiter wears a tie or knows his/her meat. As long as they are friendly and the food is good, what else really matters? Appetizers were a little slow to come out, but everything else was well timed. Bread was warm, butter was spreadable.

Ambiance: 6

Go here knowing that Murtha’s is not the greatest location (a storefront next to a Sleepy’s and a floor/carpet place), it is a little small, and it’s not very classic steak-house. But also understand that it is not cheesy like some local places with horrible themes.

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