Tag Archives: chop

Beefbar

Beefbar overall score: 90

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

Beefbar is a global upscale steakhouse that obviously focuses on the glory of beef. They have locations all over the fanciest places in Europe, and one just landed at the old Nobu space in Tribeca. I was zipping around on my bike last summer when I saw the signage and became interested in what it was all about. Fast forward six months and here I am: attending a friends and family event a week before they open to the general public. I was pretty excited to check this place out, and I’m pretty excited to write about it, too. So here we go…

Flavor: 9

We had the center cut rib eye, which, if you don’t know what that means, its generally a loin side (not chuck side) cut of rib eye which eats and looks very similar to a strip steak, and has minimal if any rib eye cap (hold your criticism for just a moment).

This was definitely a wagyu cut of some sort, because the tenderness and marbling was magnificent, buttery, and delicious.

It had a great spice rub over it, adding a smokiness to the crust. I didn’t get a ton of aged flavor on it, but nevertheless I really liked it, and it was cooked perfectly to medium rare.

We also tried the robata “spicy beef,” which is a habanero-sauced rib cap served with crispy herbs (enter the rib eye cap!). This comes propped up over an occasionally smoking charcoal grill made from a copper kettle pot.

Here’s some of the sexy smoke. Every so often, something drips onto the hot charcoal inside the kettle and smokes up the whole area for a little bit. It smelled so awesome!

This was fun, unique, interactive and delicious. The habanero wasn’t too spicy, however, and it could have benefitted from a little bit of finishing salt. On the flip side, this was one of the most fun and original steakhouse menu items I’ve had in years.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

There’s a good selection of cuts here, and I imagine there will be even more once the restaurant opens to the public and fully unleashes an unfettered menu. I saw porterhouses and other things hanging in the meat coolers, but not yet offered on the friends and family menu. All the meat is top notch quality USDA prime from Creekstone, domestic wagyu hybrid from Snake River, or real-deal Japanese wagyu from Hokkaido.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are a little bit on the small side, but that’s because you’re trading off bulk for quality and well trimmed cuts. This was similar at Catch Steak. I think there will be some larger format items available in the future as well. One of the guys that worked there even mentioned that they can get bone-in wagyu rib chops flown in from Japan on occasion.

Plating here is a little different than most flat white plate joints, or sizzling plate, lake-of-butter spots. I was digging the cast iron and kettle presentations for the items we ordered.

Price: 8

The prices here are very fair considering the quality, the overhead that the space must cost, and the large staff. I was expecting this bill to be closer to $500, but it was under $400.

I should also mention my tremendous gratitude for this being a comped meal for friends and family. I was blown away, and totally not expecting that!

Bar: 10

The bar here is big and beautiful. I’d love to just sit there and have some snacks next time.

We tried three different cocktails and they were all good. Their take on a martini was unique – blue cheese and beef fat washed vodka, with a grape as garnish.

Their smoked cocktail, “What the Doctor Ordered,” was a fantastic take on an old fashioned using reduced Dr. Pepper syrup for the sweet aspect.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There were no real specials read to us, but I didn’t expect much from a steakhouse that just opened, or is streamlining for friends and family. As far as other meats go, you are relegated to seafood! This is Beefbar, after all. Not chicken bar.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We started with three really nice items. First was the incredible pastrami hamachi with slaw. This is a must order.

The “ham” is really a lightly cured beef carpaccio, served with some nice crispy cracker type papadum. I think this would benefit from some cracked black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and flake salt. If you want to go extra, maybe some shaved white truffle.

Our last starter was the veal tartare. This was really mild and light, yet flavorful and with great texture.

We did the baby Brussels on the side with our mains. These were really nice. A balance of spicy and sweet.

For dessert we did the Beefbar take on tiramisu, with fresh ladyfinger cookies that have espresso poured over them, table side. They they are topped with pistachio cream and candied pistachios. Beautiful and delicious.

Seafood Selection: 9

There’s a nice amount of seafood here on the menu for a beef-focused restaurant. I highly recommend that hamachi dish from above, and based on how great that was, I can confidently give them a 9/10 for seafood.

Service: 10

Service was absolutely immaculate. Everyone came over to greet us, from server to CEO. I’m serious. It was incredible. If this is how they will operate on the day to day, they will be known all over the city for their professionalism and attention to customers.

Their table bread, in keeping with the bar theme, was this bowl of spicy and sweet snacks. I really enjoyed that, and it helped me save room for the meat!

Ambiance: 10

The interior is really beautiful and elegant. Super high ceilings make you feel like you’re dining with royalty. They really did a great job with the space, and the music was modern without being too loud or “party vibe.” Great spot!

I can’t wait to go back and try more items.

BEEFBAR
105 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10013

Amber Steakhouse

Amber Steakhouse overall score: 83

I had heard good things about this place from a few different people recently, so I had to go give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised! First, watch my Ride & Review on YouTube below. Then read on!

Flavor: 8

We had the bone-in dry-aged rib eye, and the dry-aged t-bone. Both had a really nice char on the outside from the broiler, and both were just slightly over medium-rare. They were both really juicy, though, so that made up for any slight overcooking. Both were on the mild side for dry-aged flavor, but they both packed a punch for beefy, satiating flavor in general. I give the rib eye a 9/10, and the t-bone a 7/10, bringing the overall score to an 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

Everything here is Certified Angus Beef brand (typically prime) and dry-aged. They cover all of the major cuts in various sizes, with shared steaks coming to the table in “sizzling plate” format.

Portion Size & Plating: 10

The portions are great here. Our sides were quite large, and the appetizers were big too. The plating is standard clean white elegance, cast iron skillets, etc.

Price: 8

Some stuff here is really well priced, like the cocktails, whiskey pours, apps, sides, desserts… especially when figuring in the price. But the steaks themselves are at midtown prices despite the “mom and pop” nature of the place and the neighborhood.

Bar: 5

Sadly, I had to dock some points here because there is actually no place to sit at the bar. It is a service-only bar with no stools. Our table was beside it, though, so we got a good look at their bottle selections. They have a really awesome spirits list, and they made some great cocktails, so don’t let the score here deceive you.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There were no real specials read to us, but they offer lamb, chicken, duck and numerous other interesting proteins that I’d like to come back and try. Next visit, we are definitely getting the bacon (had to be 1.5″ thick for $18 – like a steak in itself), the roasted duck legs (plural, for $39), and the lamb chops (looked like four per plate).

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We started with the escargots, which were served in a really nice creamy mushroom broth/gravy, and had to have at least a dozen snails in the order. A great deal.

The steak tartare was a little bit too finely minced or ground, but the flavor was great, as was the portion size.

The roasted potatoes with peppers and onions were also a massive portion size, but the only negative here was that the dill was a little bit overpowering. It did smell nice though.

The sautéed spinach and mushrooms side was soupier than I expected, but really nicely flavored. This was just the right side for the steaks in my opinion.

For dessert, we had a scoop of espresso ice cream (very nice and creamy), the chocolate mousse cake (perfect thickness, richness and you could tell it was homemade instead of pre-purchase from a box like many midtown steak joints give), a glass of Hakushu 12yr ($30) and a double espresso. The double espresso was the only bad item of the entire meal. it tasted like burnt bean water.

Seafood Selection: 7

This was a rare occasion in which we tried absolutely no seafood. I saw the shellfish coming out though, and it all looked nice. Next time we will definitely delve into their raw bar selections and broader seafood entree menu.

Service: 10

Service was excellent. Our waiter was very knowledgeable and super helpful/attentive without being pushy, annoying or intrusive.

Their table bread is similar to Luger’s style – a stuffed onion roll.

Ambiance: 8

For a small neighborhood mom and pop joint, they really did a great job with making the place feel like an old-timey, age-old steakhouse that’s been there forever. It’s been there since 2010, and in that time it has established itself as a staple for the neighborhood drawing in weekly regulars as well as exploratory outsiders like us.

I will definitely be back for more!

AMBER STEAKHOUSE
119 Nassau Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Oak Steakhouse

Oak Steakhouse overall score: 83

My wife and I visited Charleston for the new year, and I was determined to try another steakhouse in the wonderful city. This time I hit Oak. Read below!

Flavor: 8

We had the dry aged rib eye as well as the filet mignon steak frites. Both were juicy, well seasoned and flavorful, but the age didn’t really come through too strongly on the rib eye. That said, both were cooked to medium rare perfection. 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

There’s a good selection of cuts here, and most claiming to be dry-aged for around 60 days. The selections are prime Certified Angus Beef brand, so they are generally going to be high quality.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portion sizes are good here, with most individual steak entrees ranging from 14-22oz. The plating is standard, minimalist elegance; common for steakhouses.

Price: 7

The prices here are a bit high for a non-NYC steakhouse. Charleston is an expensive city too, but I felt like $115 for my steak was a bit hefty.

Bar: 9

The bar here is very nice. I was almost hoping we would have to wait for our table when we checked in, because I kinda wanted to sit there with a martini for a few minutes.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There was a special 30oz dry aged porterhouse offered, which wasn’t on the menu. As for other meats, I did see some lamb, chicken and pork. A nice spread!

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with three appetizers: a pair of oysters Rockefeller, a pork belly dish, and beef carpaccio. All were good, but I feel like the carpaccio could have been larger.

We took down some crispy fried Brussels sprouts with bacon as a side. These were great.

The sticky toffee pudding a la mode was a nice dessert option.

Seafood Selection: 8

There was a curry red fish on the menu for the night, which sounded delicious, but I had my mind on other things. If the oysters were any indication of how the seafood is prepared here, I’m sure it would be good.

Service: 10

Service was great here. They even took note that it was my wife’s birthday, and they were kind enough to comp the dessert. They even included a little happy birthday chocolate and a candle.

Ambiance: 9

This joint is inside an old downtown townhouse, so it is really nice inside. The only downer is the middle floor which, if seated there, I imagine it can get both hot and annoying due to the proximity of bathrooms.

OAK STEAKHOUSE
17 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401

La Marchande

La Marchande overall score: 80

My wife took me here for a nice dinner last week. I’m calling this a French steakhouse. Not sure if that’s correct, but I feel like it fits into my review categories nicely.

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

 

Flavor: 7

Sadly, the boneless domestic wagyu rib eye was WAY over salted. I hunkered through half of it, but I could not finish and had to give up. It was a beauty though, with a great crust. 5/10.

My wife had the bacon wrapped venison loin, which was much better, despite the little snaggle of connective tissue in the middle.

Nicely cooked. Irony without game flavor. Lean and clean. 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7

There’s a good selection of cuts here all day long, but they don’t have enough dry aged selections. I would also like to see more traditional Angus on the menu, as opposed to all the fancy wagyu cross breed shit.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

My steak was like $105 for a pound, which is about right for the domestic wagyu varieties. Portions here are good for everything else, and plating is definitely understated but elegant.

Price: 8

The prices here are average to slightly above, which makes sense for the location near lots of FiDi businesses.

Bar: 8

The bar here is small but nicely appointed as you walk in. No sidewalk people watching views, but its snug and cozy. They made some nice drinks too, both standard cocktails and their signatures.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

I mentioned there was venison, which is rare and nice to see. They also offered a Peri Peri chicken dish, which I’d love to try. It feeds two and is only $68.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

We started with the beef tartare summer roll with lemongrass sauce. This was really nice, but they just need to wrap it a bit tighter. This was probably the best dish of the night, with a close second to a side that I’ll discuss below.

Skip the marrow. The table-side service is unnecessary (at least it wasn’t theatrics), and it was mainly just a fancy bread service or sandwich. Probably better off getting a burger and fries for a few dollars less.

The mushrooms were ever more over-salted than the steak We actually had to send them back, which is wild because we NEVER do that.

They replaced it with this bean cassoulet thing, which was actually quite good and was a close second for my favorite dish of the night.

The miso creamed spinach was nice. As you can tell, there’s a distinct theme for trying to bring Asian fusion into the menu.

For dessert, they forgot to bring out our Vietnamese style egg coffee, but the basque style cheesecake was nice enough.

Seafood Selection: 8

We didn’t take on any seafood, but they did have some nice looking shellfish and tower selections, as is common with steakhouses. The king crab cake was a whopping $45. I wonder if that is any good. Too rich for my blood!

Service: 10

Service was really good here. They brought out some complimentary bubbles at the beginning and end of our meal, since my wife told them it was our anniversary on the reservation. They also comped the drinks, desserts and the bogus side for us, which they replaced gratis as well. This was a really great gesture, and they genuinely tried to make the evening nice despite the mishaps. They did forget our coffee, though. I was done complaining for the night, so we just let it slide. A for effort, I guess.

Ambiance: 9

Gorgeous dining space, with big private booths that you can curtain off if you’d like. I really dig the space. Very elegant but casual. A nice balance.

LA MARCHANDE
88 Wall St.
New York NY, 10005

Prime 112

Prime 112 overall score: 78

My wife and I had one night to squeeze in a steak meal when we were in Miami. Since most steakhouses in South Beach seem to be chains, we went with Prime 112 based on a totality of recs we got from friends. The other contender was Papi Steak (next time).

Flavor: 9

We had the t-bone and the veal rib chop. Both were nice, and aged flavor came through. Both solid 8/10 in my opinion. I was impressed for Florida steak!

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

There’s a good selection of cuts here all day long,. In fact the menu is pretty gigantic. There’s both a T-bone and a porterhouse, a rib eye for two and for one, bone-in and boneless strips. Plenty of dry aged selections as well.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

The portions are on the large side here. Sometimes I forget how small portions can be in NYC, even at steakhouses. Plating was on par with minimalist upscale modern steak joints.

Price: 7

Steaks for one here will range between $80 and $140, which is mighty high. They’re really raking the tourists over the coals here, but at least the food is good.

Bar: 6

The bar here is small. I was expecting a bigger, nicer/better bar for a hot spot like a Miami beach steakhouse.

Martini was nice, however.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There are plenty of non-beef options to explore here, and as I mentioned earlier, the menu is massive. We tried the veal and we were impressed, so I think 8/10 is fair here for not having tried any other items.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6

We started with the foie gras and broiled Louisiana style oysters. The oysters were the better of the two, and they were great. After the apps, things went slightly downhill, and then they fell off a cliff.

I wish I knew the veal came as a composed dish with a side (spinach, cheese and breadcrumb stuffed tomato). I would have skipped the gummy creamed spinach and maybe even the scalloped potatoes.

Dessert would have been great if a couple of the mini donuts weren’t raw inside.

Inedible.

Seafood Selection: 8

Based on the quality of the broiled oysters, I think it’s safe to get all manner of seafood here and it will be good.

Service: 10

Our waiter was great, friendly and knowledgeable, so I have to give a full 10 here. A few things to note, though, was that there was a musty/moldy smell to the warm/moist towels they brought out for us between courses. Don’t use

The table bread was a nice assortment of cheese biscuit, nut roll and pumpernickel onion. Really liked this.

Ambiance: 7

This joint had a smell throughout that was wet/musty. It did just rain when we went there, and it is Miami/south Florida, so maybe this is common. But it was sort of like the entire place smelled like the moldy hand towel! Strange.

PRIME 112
112 Ocean Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Benny John’s Bar & Grill

Benny John’s Bar & Grill overall score: 83

My wife and I came here as guests of the restaurant. They just opened last week, and they’re the same ownership team behind Atto Prime and Tudor City Steakhouse. Check out my Ride & Review video first, then read on.

Flavor: 9

We had the porterhouse for two. It was pretty great. Excellent crust, perfectly overcooked, and it was very tender. It was a bit mild on the dry aged flavor, and that’s why I took a point.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

There’s a good selection of prime cuts here all day long, and everything is aged in-house.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

The plating here is 100% standard steakhouse style, and the portions are all big enough to share when it comes to sides, and most apps and desserts.

Price: 8

Prices have gone up significantly lately in the city, especially for beef. But this place is keeping it pretty friendly compared to others I’ve seen in the area that have really jacked up their prices. A steak for two is still under $120, and most single cuts are under $60.

Bar: 7

The bar here is beautiful, but they only serve wine and wine style cocktails, as they are still waiting for their liquor license.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There were no real specials read to us, but they did have lamb, chicken, and this absolutely delicious, tender and mild “Serious NY Veal Chop”  on the menu. We loved it – 9/10.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

Excellent oysters Rockefeller, creamed spinach and truffle creamed corn. I highly recommend all of these.

For the desserts, I say stick with the creme brulee. The others were good, but not up to par with that one. The cheesecake was a close second, but it ate a slight bit salty. Great creamy texture though.

Seafood Selection: 8

Based on what I had (the oysters) this place is legit for seafood. I’d have to go back and try more to really level this section up though.

Service: 10

Service is impeccable here. Nobody does it quite like these lifelong steakhouse and restaurant industry professionals. Great focaccia and toasty table bread too.

Ambiance: 7

They definitely made the best of this narrow space, which, I think, used to be a sort of mini-market, perhaps Japanese. It looked familiar to my wife and I when we were there. Great job on the renovation, and I think the outdoor seating area is going to be awesome.

I can’t wait to go back and try more steaks!

BENNY JOHN’S BAR & GRILL
8 E 48th St
New York, NY 10017

Steak Frites Bistro

Steak Frites Bistro overall score: 86

The PR company that helps promote this restaurant invited me in for a free meal in exchange for some social media posts. I brought a couple of other friends from the Instagram food world and we gave it a shot.

Flavor: 9

We had three steaks here. First was the tremendous cote de boeuf, which was roughly 28oz on the bone, meant to be shared among two diners.

This comes out sliced with a hotel herb butter on top. Great presentation.

While this wasn’t dry aged and left a little bit to be desired in terms of texture, it was quite tasty, juicy and nicely cooked. 8/10.

Next up was the dry-aged strip steak.

What this lacked in crust and thickness, it made up for in flavor. The age definitely came through. 8/10.

A delicious crust on this chateaubriand filet mignon for two at 20oz for under $100. 9/10.

Finally, we tried the hanger steak.

This was the winner of the three, especially when eaten with the peppercorn cream sauce. It had a great hard crusty sear on the outside, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare on the inside, and it was properly sliced against the bias. 9/10.

I should also discuss the “Burger Francaise” here, which was a stellar dry aged patty cooked to a nice juicy rare, topped with gruyere, stone ground mustard, crispy fried shallots and gherkins, on a freshly made brioche bun. GO GET THIS!!! It’s a 10, and it was probably the best item of the night.

Their French Dip sandwich, offered at lunch, is killer. While a bit pricey at $34, you will definitely leave there very satisfied.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

There’s a lot to choose from here, including some large format items meant for sharing like the chateaubriand. All the meats come from the great folks over at Pino’s Prime Meat Market.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

This place came through with good sized portions. The hanger, for a lighter appetite, is 9oz. The strip is 16oz on the bone, but it felt more like 12 or 14. The larger format steaks for two are just under the 30oz mark. Slightly light, but maybe fine for many diners. The presentation is nice, French and simple.

Price: 9

The pricing here is very fair. $35 for the hanger, $65 for the strip and $88 for the rib eye that’s meant for two people. I like that.

Bar: 8

The bar here is nice, and it was crowded while we were there, even on a nasty weather night. It can get a little cramped since there are high tops close to the back of the bar seats, as well as a row of tables behind the high tops, making for some narrow passing. Otherwise, nice cocktails and great beer and wine selections.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There were no real specials read to us, but they do offer a rotisserie chicken that I’d like to try next time I go. At the bar, they’re offering 12 duck confit sandwiches per night (until it graces the lunch menu permanently. This was an easy 10/10. Absolutely insane! It’s cooked in duck fat at 165F for 24hrs.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with steak tartare, escargots, foie gras terrine and duck pate. All of these were great, but to me what stood out the most was the escargots. They were different than what’s typically presented at other French bistros. I liked that they came in a bowl/tray and had chunks of French bread already soaked in the delicious puddle of herb butter/sauce in there. The fries are also outstanding here, and they pretty much come with every meat item.

The green beans were good (not pictured), but we mainly ordered them just to have some green shit on the table.

On a second trip I tried the frisee lardon salad, which was stellar!

The Paris Brest is nice as well, with hazelnut.

The brest was swapped out recently for the eclair. Similar flavors.

The chocolate mousse was very nice too.

Also really loved this almondy, grapey, blueberryey baked thing called a claufutis.

Seafood Selection: 8

I didn’t try any seafood here, so can’t really rate it. But I think they would do a great job on the mussels given how well they prepared the escargots. I always felt they were similar, in many ways

UPDATE – I tried these large, plump and juicy mussels. They were really nice! Ask for extra baguette to dip.

Oysters also delicious.

Service: 10

Impeccable service here, and the bread game is on point! Just ask for extra butter.

Ambiance: 9

The location of this place may seem odd to some, but I always thought the area had a unique flare to it. Inside, they did a great job with the decidedly “French bistro” space they have, minus one point for the narrow passing areas that I noted in the bar section. I’ll definitely be back!

Side note: Brunch is pretty great here on weekends. Quiche Lorraine, Moroccan Baked Eggs, and Croque Madame – all top notch.

STEAK FRITES BISTRO
496 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Hall’s Chophouse

Hall’s Chophouse overall score: 90

I finally got down to Charleston, SC, and, of course, a top priority was to check out Hall’s Chophouse. I went down to visit a law school friend with some other guys from law school, so we went big here!

Also: quick caveat – I think the score for this place would climb with multiple visits. I’d need to get back and try more meats and some seafood, but I can see this place getting in the 95-point range.

Flavor: 9

We tried three cuts: the porterhouse, the tomahawk, and the prime rib. All were excellent, but I think the prime rib took the victory.

The prime rib was a 10/10. It’s wet aged, but rubbed with a Montreal seasoning that really added a ton of flavor.

Both the tomahawk and porterhouse are dry-aged a minimum of 45 days after two weeks of wet aging. These packed a lot of funk, both 9/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

There’s a great selection of dry-aged beef from Allen Brothers in Chicago. Everything is aged off site, first wet-aged and then dry-aged for 45-days (except for the prime rib – that’s just wet-aged). All prime, and all delicious.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

The meat board plating was really nice for our massive order of three steaks. Portion size is definitely on the large side, especially for sides, apps and desserts.

Price: 8

Don’t expect a cheaper bill just because you’re outside of the NYC insanity! Beef prices have gone up lately, and top notch quality like Allen Brothers being shipped from Chicago to Charleston means you’ll be paying a premium. That said, I thought the prices were all kinda fair, with the exception of the martinis at $26ea.

Bar: 9

The bar here a great spot to hang out. My buddy is there all the time, and I would be too.

My martini was great (blue cheese olives) despite being pricey.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There were some specials off the menu that all sounded delightful. They have quail and duck for non-beef meat items. One stand out was the bison filet, which you can see here in this short video at the beginning (the very dark colored lean cut, top right). We didn’t try it, but I’m sure it was good.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We started with the bacon; really nice. The tomato on top was a nice twist on this.

The tartare was slightly over worked but it was still really delicious. The table was impressed!

We split a burger for our appetizer, which was really delicious. It reminded me of Peter Luger and Red Hook Tavern – a distinct dry aged flavor that eats more like a steak than a burger. It’s definitely a top five steakhouse style burger for me.

The sautéed spinach was a nice light side.

Loaded mashed potatoes – of course.

These fried okra were a fun change up for side dishes as well.

For dessert we tried the skillet cookie, the lemon cheesecake, and the whisky bread pudding. All were awesome, but the bread pudding was my favorite.

 Seafood Selection: 8

I gotta be honest – I didn’t even bother looking at the selections. But the she crab soup that we tried in between courses was fantastic. If you have room, get it!

Service: 10

Service was amazing here. You really can’t beat it. The staff knew everything there was to know about the meat when I pried them, too. Our waiter even asked if we’d prefer a chuck side or loin side cut of prime rib, which I don’t think I have ever experienced before. I was impressed (and of course I went with chuck side).

Table bread was warm and toasty, with a great whipped butter. You know I always have to mention it!

Ambiance: 10

Great spot. There is live music in the main bar room, which is more lively and loud, while the side rooms and upstairs are a bit more private and cozy.

While walking around, I saw Walter Goggins and Danny McBride having a meal, so I sent them a bottle of wine and had the pleasure of chatting with them for a bit. If you don’t know the names, they are the headliners for great shows like Eastbound and Down, Justified and The Righteous Gemstones.

Oh yeah – nice little Michters bottle in the bathroom filled with mouth wash.

This place is the real deal, and if you plucked it out of SC and dropped it into NYC, it would still be a wild success and I’d rank it among the heavy hitting stars here, easily. I can’t wait to go back.

HALL’S CHOPHOUSE
434 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Maple & Ash

Maple & Ash overall score: 81

Maple & Ash came recommended by a friend. First thing I saw when I looked at the menu online was an order called “I don’t give a fuck.” For $200 a head, they give you what they want. I thought that was funny, so I was sold on trying this place out.

Flavor: 7

We had the aged porterhouse, called “The Eisenhower.” I didn’t really get much aged flavor from it, and the thing was basically swimming in juices (likely cut too soon after cooking), but it was in fact tasty and tender. It was cooked slightly over in some parts, and slightly under in others.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

There’s a lot to choose from here, including, again, items from Japan and various parts of the country.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

The portions here are big, on everything from the steaks to the sides and sweets. They go a little extra here on plating – beyond the usual white plate elegance. The marrow served with the steak is nice; kinda reminded me of stuffed clams (breadcrumbs mixed in).

Price: 6

Another Chicago slam job on the price. I don’t think NYC has gotten there yet. A steak for two here was $225, over $100 a head. That’s insanity!

Bar: 8

The bar(s) here are a little too small for the size and type of crowd that this joint attracts (bros and hoes). They mixed a decent martini though, and the bars were nicely appointed.

Specials and Other Meats: 10

There were no specials read to us, but I didn’t expect much from a place with such an extensive menu. We did try their veal chop as an appetizer. This was much better than the porterhouse for two.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

The broccolini was in fact broccoli rabe. Let down. It was also mushy and chopped up into oblivion.

The coconut cream pie was excellent, and the size and shape of the slice was a sight to behold.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a lot of seafood on the menu, but we only tried the octopus appetizer. It was okay, but a slight bit snappy and chewy in texture.

Service: 9

Service was very good. Nice waiter, and they seemed to know their meats very well.

Ambiance: 8

I really can’t decide if I want to give this place a 10, or something like a 6, so I’m splitting the difference. I like the idea of a gothic looking steakhouse. They have these wild candlesticks all over the place. The rooms are dark and dim, but loud as fuck from a young crowd. It’s kind of a strange juxtaposition. And then they also have modern touches throughout, which kind of clashes with the gothic stuff. Interesting, to say the least. Since the place is multi-level, at times it seems cramped and small. But they did make the best use of their space.

MAPLE & ASH
8 W Maple St
Chicago, IL 60610

RPM Steak

RPM Steak overall score: 81

For our second steakhouse visit on our second Chicago visit, we hit RPM Steak. I had heard great things about this place, so it was time to try it out.

Flavor: 7

We had the aged strip steak. It was pretty average. The crust was a little lacking, but peppery at least. The aged flavor was mild.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

There’s a massive selection of cuts here, including many from Japan as well as both aged and fresh items. There’s even some cross breed/domestic wagyu items to try.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

The plating for the apps was nice, but the steak plating was average. My steak came with a cherry pepper and a spring or parsley for some reason. I arranged the slices like this to make it look nicer.

The portion sizes were okay, but a little on the pricey end for single order steaks.

Price: 6

Another $100 steak for one, this time even smaller at around 18oz. Woof. I know prices are going up, but this is getting nuts!

Bar: 9

The bar here is really nice, with great signature cocktails. I would have much rather eaten here than at the tables. There’s also a hidden shoe above the lights. Some fashion designer or model hid a shoe or article of clothing in each of the RPM restaurants, or something. My wife saw it up there so we asked the bartender what was up. You can just about see the red heel peeking out on top of one of the light fixtures here (top left):

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There was a domestic wagyu prime rib special here when we ate, which I should have gotten instead of the strip. Or in addition. Oh well. And there are several other items of non-beef variety to choose from, including lamb and chicken.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

Oysters. Hamachi. Hen of the woods mushrooms. All fairly good. We skipped dessert, as this was our second steakhouse meal of the night.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s lots of “sea steak” on the menu here, but we didn’t get to try it. Given the quality of the apps, I would say that seafood is a good choice here.

Service: 9

Service was excellent. Not sure why, but we arrived 15 minutes early to a mostly empty restaurant and they didn’t seat us until 15 minutes after our reservation time. I took a point for that.

Ambiance: 7

I know they went all out here in terms of modern fanciness, but it just felt too corporate. Coming here just a couple of hours after seeing Bavette’s, we were a little let down.

RPM STEAK
66 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654