Quality Eats overall score: 85
Is it a steakhouse? Maybe. I say yes in some ways, and no in others. I’ve decided to treat it like both a regular restaurant and a steakhouse, despite the fact that certain steakhouse review categories will ultimately be scored low due to a more minimalist menu and a completely different selection in terms of meat cuts. They focus on non-traditional cuts of meat here, so be prepared for something unique and different. Also be prepared for that Fourth Wall level of quality and excellence that you’ve come to know and love from them. The word “quality” is purposeful in this group of restaurants. Everything is always good at these places. That’s consistency, people… and I’m not talking about texture.
We had the bavette cut and the long bone short rib steak. Both were cooked to a perfect medium rare, both had tons of awesome beefy flavor, and any fat content was completely edible and tasty. Here are some quick angles of the long bone short rib:
They only allow you to order this cut “pink or grey.” Due to the high marbling and location along the bone, this meat can get chewy if not correctly cooked to either of those temperatures. Clearly I went with pink, and I was a very happy camper. These guys are masters in the kitchen.
If you’re wondering what it tastes like, think of the really flavorful bits near the bone of your rib eye steak, or the kind of meat you eat with cross-cut Korean style BBQ short ribs. So good.
Here’s a look at the perfectly cooked, beautifully charred bavette steak. Both plates came with a cup of corn creme brûlée – sweet yet savory, and creamy as fuck – and some pickled red onion. I explain a little bit about this bavette cut down in the next section.
This was nice. It’s a smaller portion, but at $19 it’s a steal because of how delicious it is. The flavor and texture is similar to a hanger or a very soft flank. It gets cut on the bias, against the grain of the meat and muscle striations, to increase textural tenderness.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
Don’t let the low score here fool you. This place offers more affordable, less common cuts of beef, but the quality is still extremely high. They don’t have a rib eye, a NY strip or a porterhouse. As such, points must be removed for each missing item. Instead, however, they have a bone-in short rib steak (the meat that rides along the length of the bone as opposed to the eye meat. They have a hanger steak, which is relatively more common. But they also serve a bavette, or flap steak, which is an extension of the T-bone and Porterhouse steaks. It is officially part of the short loin section, in the belly of the animal. They also have top sirloin, skirt steak, and a specially prepared filet with mustard peppercorn sauce called the “Don Ameche” – that’s Mortimer Duke from Trading Places! So they make up for not having those pricey cuts. I wonder what made them glorify Don. It’s funny because I always thought a theme steakhouse or restaurant called “Duke & Duke” or “Winthorpe & Valentine” would be a great idea (located somewhere by Wall Street).
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions are naturally a bit smaller for some of the less common cuts of beef, but the plating is really fun. They’ve got these line drawings all over the plates that match the decor of the restaurant.
This is the most budget friendly of the Fourth Wall restaurants. The most expensive steak is $29, the cheapest is $19. Wonderful! I think you get your money’s worth here. You save a good amount when you eat here, and while doing so you get to try some steak cuts that you would ordinarily not see on other steakhouse menus. We had two apps, two entrees, two sides, two desserts and three drinks. Our total was $151, before tip.
This bar has a great selection of unique cocktails, and some more hard to find beers. The bar area was pretty hopping on Friday evening when we went, in the 6:00 to 7:30 time frame.
Specials and Other Meats: 6
Since the menu is not massive, you’re limited to chicken and pork here in terms of non-beef meats. There were no specials offered by our waitress.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We did the PB&J bacon. Yes. It’s peanut butter and jalapeño jelly, with bacon. It was stupendously good. The jelly was spicy and sweet at the same time. If moms pack this on a sandwich in their kids’ lunch boxes, those kids will probably grow up to be UFC fighters or something. That’s how badass it is.
Our other starter was the steak tartare, because what is better to begin a steak meal with than raw steak?
The toast came with a marrow butter and radishes. The butter was really creamy and beefy, and the radish added a little bit of crunch element and a bright pop to the bite. The meat texture was soft and delicate, very tasty.
For sides, we first tried this scalloped sunchoke.
Sunchoke is the root of a sunflower. If you’ve never had it before, it tastes like a mix of artichoke and potato. It is one of my favorite starch-veggie items in the world. This was done beautifully, like a scalloped potato dish with some broiled cheese on top.
We also tried the creamed spinach hush puppies. These were pretty interesting:
A bit more dense and moist than your average hush puppy, the spinach inside added a juicy element to each bite.
It was also served with a beef jus mayo for dipping.
The dessert menu offered an array of interesting selections. We went with two ice cream items. First is my burnt marshmallow ice cream s’mores, with graham cracker shortbread, toasted marshmallows and a fudge swirl. Awesome. I declare that burnt marshmallow flavored ice cream needs to be in every grocery store, ASAP. Each bite tasted like a campfire or post-grilling snack.
My wife had an item called “This Shit is Bananas.” It’s roasted banana flavored ice cream with peanut butter caramel, candied bacon and cinnamon toast. ELVIS HAS ENTERED THE BUILDING!
I liked mine better, and my wife liked hers better. So that worked out.
Seafood Selection: 7
There’s octopus, branzino and scallops for main course seafood items. However, you have some seafood on the app menu as well, like hamachi crudo, crab and shrimp. Since we didn’t try any of these, I will be using a placeholder score of seven for now.
Our waitress was fun, bright and informative. We never felt rushed or slowed down, and the manager and kitchen staff each visited our table a few times to check in on us. This is the kind of service that I expect and have become accustomed to with Fourth Wall. They’re great people.
This joint does well with the small space. As you stroll past the bar you can go up to a back room area that has more seating. The lighting all over is warm and dim, comforting, but the walls are vibrant and interesting.
The details they put on everything, from the walls to the ceilings, to the cutlery and bathroom tiles, is all fun and light hearted (like the plates above). I like how the M on “Quality
Meats” is made to look like it was scratched out or missing on all their logos and signage.
There’s even some some meat- and drink-related tile work in the bathroom. It’s like an Atari game from the 80’s.
UPDATE FOR UPPER EAST SIDE LOCATION 9/9/17
My wife and I stopped into the upper east side location for brunch. We started with a pair of drinks.
The menu here is fairly similar to the downtown location.
My wife got the spinach beignets, which were pretty much the exact same thing as the creamed spinach croquettes.
I went with the strawberry and pistachio morning bun, which was essentially a huge cinnamon bun made of croissant bread.
Delicious, but pricey at $16.
19 Greenwich Ave.
New York, NY 10014