Quality Meats

Quality Meats overall score: 94

UPDATE 4/16/14: This place just skyrocketed into the top of my list. On a whim a small gang of us misfits decided to grab a steak.

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The place was so crowded that we ended up having to sit at the charcuterie and cheese bar (formerly the ice cream and cake serving area), but it was an incredible meal. We started with some steak and tuna tartares, and an order of bone marrow. This place has, hands down, the best steak tartare I’ve ever eaten. I seriously could have eaten JUST THAT for my entire meal, like 6 orders of it. The marrow is pretty incredible too, and the tuna tartare was nice, cool, fresh, and peppery.

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The meal kept getting progressively better. The steaks came out. three of us got rib eyes, and one of us got a filet. Let me start with the filet: I retract all comments previously made about filets being for pussies and broads. When my buddy was ordering his filet, I heard him throwing around words like “bloody” and phrases like “black and blue” and “cold inside.” I think he even suggested they just torch the outside to get a crust, and bring the thing over still pulsing in the final clutches of life. So when it came over I was interested to see how it looked.

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Looks marvelous! I had a bite. Best filet to date, and I am not exaggerating just because I had three martinis. From now on I am ordering my filets this way. Awesome. Juicy, flavorful, soft, well seasoned.

So now for the rib eye. Check out the slab of dinosaur meat on this puppy:

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As I predicted (below, in earlier review), the single cut rib steak at 24oz is MUCH better than the large format 64oz cut. It cooks more evenly, and it has a better ratio of crust to soft inside. The super thick steaks often get over-cooked on the outside and under-cooked on the inside. This one was perfect in every way. Do you see anything left? Yes – I even picked up the bone and chewed off the gristle.

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On the side we had some cheese gnocchi (below), creamed spinach, and baby potatoes (on plate above). All were delicious. The creamed spinach was just right; not overwhelmed with salt and just the right amount of creaminess.

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I guess that pretty much wraps it up. OH WAIT! The guy working the cheese and cuts counter was named Danny. Really awesome guy and he gave us a plate of four assorted cheeses. All were really fantastic but the blue cheese was my favorite.

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This place is one of my new top steak joints. Please do yourself a favor and get the fuck over there ASAP.

My wife and I dined at Quality Meats once before I started reviewing steakhouses. I remember thinking it was a pretty good spot, and liking the massive bone that came attached to my ribeye. At the time I remember liking Smith & Wollensky better. By the way this place is owned by the same people as Smith & Wollensky, as well as Maloney & Porcelli; so right off the bat you know you are stepping into a place that knows what’s up. This time around we went with a friend of ours to give it the full Johnny Prime rundown.

Flavor: 10

On my first go at QM, I had the bone-in ribeye. I remember being impressed with the size of it, and the huge frenched bone – it was like an axe. My wife had a trio of filets that time. I wasn’t blown away by that, but I do remember liking the ribeye. This time me and the other ass-kicking manimal at the table split a 64oz ribeye for two, and my wife had a seafood tower. The meat was delicious. While it is difficult to ensure even cooking throughout such a huge hunk of meat, Quality Meats did a pretty damn good job. There was only one spot where the meat was a little too under, and not seasoned enough (in the center), and portions of the fat cap were a bit too salty and overcooked. However, if you combined a bite of each, it was a perfect medium. In hindsight it might have been better to go with two 24oz ribeyes (one each), but I was certainly impressed with the flavor. There was a distinct char on the meat, crispy edges, and an abundance of rosemary flavor, which after a while I thought was too much. In fact rosemary seemed to be pretty much the theme of the meal. It was also baked into the table breads. See below – there is a massive sprig of rosemary sticking out of the meat. You will also notice it is chopped up on the bread as well. This isn’t necessarily BAD; I like the aroma and flavor of rosemary, but I DO NOT like the actual needles themselves. They bother me. They also served the steak with a really vinegary mushroom and onion mix. They were black and just way too overpowering; we avoided that shit like the plague.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

There is a lot to choose from here, and I like that. A porterhouse for two was on special, as was a bone-in filet, so that makes up for what isn’t on the standard menu. Otherwise there’s a great selection: a regular filet, a trio of filets, a “sirloin” (Why am I starting to get used to steakhouses cheaping out and putting aged sirloin on the menu instead of a real strip?), a hanger, a ribeye, and a ribeye for two. I was going to take a point off for having sirloin instead of strip, but given the fact that they have a double ribeye AND a hanger, I am graciously awarding the full score here. They also have several nice alternative meats if beef isn’t your thing (you know, if you’re an asshole).

Portion Size & Plating: 10

The sizes are as follows: 12oz filet; 18oz bone-in sirloin; 24oz bone-in ribeye; 64oz double ribeye. These are on the upper end of the spectrum. Well played.

Price: 9

Our total bill came to just over $300; not bad at all. To top it off we had a $100 gift card from spending so much money with our AMEX card. POINTS = MEAT! Otherwise the steaks are average priced, with the double ribeye being a bit more per person than a normal cut of meat. We ended up paying about $255 for everything, with the tip included and the $100 deducted. Check out the breakdown of the original bill below:

Bar: 8

The bar was a lot more “hopping” than I thought it would be. A solid crowd despite it not being a big bar. The bar itself has a white marble top, and it feels like you are at a butcher’s counter. They made a good martini with three pit-in Castelvetrano olives skewered as garnish; my favorite. They also had a great selection of whiskeys and bourbons. The bartender was very friendly, and he even tried his best to make a Pimm’s Cup for my wife despite not having all the required liquors to make it. Quality Meats also has a bunch of great beers. They offer some good old fashioned cans of PBR, as well as some higher end beers; a good mix. I tried a “Quality Beer,” which was a nice, round, non-bitter, amber colored beer specially brewed by the Magic Hat company. They also keep a truncated drinks and desserts menu by the bar for ordering booze, desserts or charcuterie (a nice selection of four different cured meats and four different cheeses), which is the same menu they give you for dessert. Despite all of this awesomeness, I just can’t see myself hanging out too often at the bar here.

 

Specials and Other Meats: 10

On special for beef they had a porterhouse for two, and a bone-in “filet.” They also had a soft shell crab appetizer, which was delicious. Light, golden, and crispy. They also had a Brazilian lobster tail (a lobster tail with no vagina hair) and an “Olympia” west coast oyster. As far as other meats go, they have a veal chop, roasted chicken, baby back ribs, and roasted veal shank for two. Perhaps a pork chop or a lamb dish would round this out better. Maybe make it a lamb shank or lamb chops instead of a second veal dish? In any case – a great showing on the beef specials here helped to bump the score up for choice of cuts available.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10

We ordered the special soft shell crab, a dozen oysters (two of each kind they had, including the one on special), bone marrow, and steak tartare to start. As I said above the crab was delicious. I was absolutely blown away by the steak tartare, though. The meat was served in a little bowl with an egg yolk sitting on top, just waiting to be busted open and mushed around the meat. The plate came with a wooden spatula of salt, herbs, and a nice mustard that get dumped in and also slathered around the meat. It was unbelievable. The oysters were all very unique in flavor. I tend to like the less fishy tasting ones (usually I prefer east coast in general or Bluepoint specifically). My friend and I each had three east and three west a piece (total of 12 at the table). The marrow was delicious too; nice to spread on some of the toasted bread. On the side we had creamed spinach, which was served in what looked like a bread bowl popover. It was average in comparison to other places, but still good enough to keep shoveling down my throat. For dessert I had a jalapeno and cucumber sparkling lemonade. It was awesome. We also shared a “cookie monster” ice cream (oreo, cookie cough, and chocolate chip cookies mixed into a light, soft chocolate ice cream), and tropical fruit sorbet (a mix of a bunch of flavors sitting on top of fresh fruit and topped with a dried, crispy pineapple chip). The sorbet was the winner there. As a matter of fact they have a little bar set up, which at first I thought was a sushi bar, right near the front entrance, where you can score “Quality Cakes” and all their special ice creams for take-out. Pretty sweet.

Seafood Selection: 8

For fish they have tuna, Scottish salmon and black sea bass; a little basic in terms of entrees, but there was a lobster tail on special to fill it out a little. If you don’t like the preparations they have on the menu for the entree fish items, you can also opt for simply roasted. They have a nice selection of oysters on the app menu ($3 a piece), two sizes of shellfish bouquets, and cocktails (crab, lobster, U7 shrimp). The soft shell crab was also a special, which I mentioned above was great. The shellfish bouquet was really great. The small one was two-tiered, and it came with lobster, lump crab meat, ceviche, four massive shrimp, four oysters, four clams and tuna tartare. it rivaled the platter at Strip House, which is a feat. Worth mentioning here is that the oysters come with a great array of sauces; a traditional cocktail sauce, a cilantro cream (awesome), a mustard horseradish type, and a bowl of crispy herbs for mixing in with vinegar or sprinkling on top of the oysters. I only took points here because there was no whole lobster item and only a few basic cuts of fish for entrees. Not like it matters – you don’t come to a place called Quality Meats for a fucking slab of salmon.

Service: 10

Our waiter was awesome. In fact we sort of had two waiters throughout the night, which I thought was really attentive. The table bread was a delicious pan of bread lumps that were buttery and hot, sprinkled with fresh salt and chopped rosemary. It was baked fresh while we waited. They even sent us home with some. The most interesting part of the meal was when the waiter came over and made us the steak sauce from scratch at the table. We watched him mix everything into a mortar and pestle and start mashing away (of course he cut some rosemary right into the bowl too hahaha!). It was a great sauce – really awesome with the gigantic shrimp from the shellfish plateau. I’d put it right up there with the sauce at Frankie & Johnnie’s and Strip House, but with extra points for the display and interactive dining experience. Also of note was the little freebie of traditional and white watermelon cubes, served with a really interesting flavored salt for dipping.

sauce making and bread/fruit freebies

Ambiance: 9

The decor in here is modern slaughterhouse chic: something that Patrick Bateman would like. Upscale horror. They have dim filament bulbs hanging overhead, butcher’s knives and meat hooks hanging on the wall, and an overall cool look to the place. Where we sat, there was horizontal wood slatted walls. The wood almost looks like flooring. Other spots have meat hook lights dangling overhead (custom fixtures) and exposed brick walls with grooves or nooks in them for candles or decorations. It has more of a lounge feel than most places, more trendy. The bathroom, for example, has dim lighting and flickering candles. It’s got to be one of the most romantic places for someone to take a shit. The walls in there are lined with cloth towels – really awesome. The front doors are great, heavy, old wooden gates. When you walk in, you almost feel like you are walking into a butcher’s shop with the tiled walls and glass. It’s even like heading down into a really clean, yummy smelling subway station. Cool place. Not traditional, but well played.

QUALITY MEATS
57 W. 58th St.
New York, NY 10019

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