Tag Archives: harry’s cafe

Upscale Flavored Steaks

The idea of a marinated steak is nothing new. Throw some soy sauce and garlic in a tupperware container, plop your steak in there, and a few hours later you’ve completely transformed the flavor, texture and character of your beef.

Lots of small, usually budget-friendly, run-of-the-mill restaurants that serve steaks will do this to punch up the quality and flavor of their beef. But a true steakhouse, it is often believed, won’t fuck with a quality cut of steak. Just salt and pepper is all you need.

Yet some of the best places in NYC are offering “flavored” steaks. And you will almost always see something like a coffee rubbed filet on a steakhouse menu from time to time. But let this be your guide to some of the good ones out there.

Probably the most commonly seen flavored steak is the “Cajun” steak. Typically this involves some onion, garlic, black pepper and often times something potent like cumin, paprika or cayenne pepper. These spices, when combined, can really make a steak pop and excite the taste buds.

My favorite Cajun steak is at Greenwich Steakhouse. This one comes with a little pool of oils and spiced sauce on the bottom, which I like to drag my steak though for extra pop. They’ll even throw the flavoring onto other cuts if you’d like, but the rib eyes are marinated in the stuff, so I think they might have a bit more deeply penetrating flavors.

For something less “wet” when served, go to Tuscany Steakhouse. This one is only on their lunch menu, but if you ask nice they might hook it up. Especially if you tell them I sent you. It’s excellent.

Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse also does a really nice job on their Cajun rib eye, which is a happy middle ground between Greenwich and Tuscany in terms of preparation and presentation; a little of the oil on the bottom, but still mostly a dry presentation. The great thing about this one is that the dry-aged flavor still comes though nicely.

Smith & Wollensky is thought to be the originator of the Cajun rib eye up here in NYC. In fact, Chef Victor at Greenwich Steakhouse is the one who developed the recipe at Smith & Wollensky before he struck out on his own (Greenwich Steakhouse). Greenwich is much better, in my opinion, but the two are very similar in overall style.

Harry’s offers a Cajun rib eye too, but it tastes completely different from the others up above, which all tend to have the same flavor profile. Harry’s is more earthy and peppery than the exotic spice flavors on the above cuts. Still great, just entirely different.

Another great flavored steak is the chili-rubbed rib eye. You can occasionally find this at Delmonico’s if they’re doing a tribute menu, but the man they pay homage to is Chef LoMonaco of Porter House Bar & Grill. He became well known for creating this spicy and delicious flavored rib eye.

If you’re like me, when it comes to spice, you prefer something aggressive like chili. But not so harsh that is fucks up your entire palate for the rest of the meal. I happen to love Szechuan peppercorn; that numbing heat with a slight burn. There’s just something about it.

I even tried to make a steak with those flavors a while back. But my attempt paled in comparison to the Szechuan tomahawk rib eye from The Lobster Club. This thing is aggressive, for sure, and richly flavorful. It’s tingly, it’s spicy, and it’s perfectly cooked. And when you go, bring the oily sauce home and fry up some leftover white rice with it, and top it with a fried egg or two. You won’t be disappointed.

There are lots of others out there that I didn’t try yet, like the chili wagyu sirloin at Char House, or the whiskey dry-aged rib eye and lavender-rubbed porterhouse at The Beatrice Inn. I may need to win the lottery first though to afford those. I’ve heard great things, but I think the whiskey steak starts at about $1000. At least it feeds three people.

Harry’s

Harry’s overall score:  86

I came in to Harry’s for lunch on a weekend with my wife and parents. Here’s how it went down:

Flavor: 8

I went with the standard bone-in rib eye.

It comes out pre-sliced, so don’t give me shit. It was pretty good. I’ve had better, and I’ve certainly had worse. 8/10. I think it just needed a better crust, a bit more seasoning and more punch of dry-aged flavor.

My mom hit the boneless cajun rib eye.

She wen’t to work on this before I had a chance to shoot it. But I did try it, and it was unique. Unlike the other cajun rib eyes in town, there was no hint of cumin on this. But it did taste like pepper and other earthy spices. Pretty good. 8/10.

My dad had the filet mignon.

He crushed it before I had a chance to try it, but he said he liked it.

The Kobe burger is likely not made with real Kobe beef, but I’ll bite. Actually my wife bit, and I had half.

It was cooked nicely, and all the toppings were good (pickles and caramelized onions), however, the bun fell apart in my hands on the first bite. I had to fork and knife the rest. Here’s a shot of the beauty before the bun went to shit.

It comes with fries. These were pretty good, but could have used a bit more crisp:

Second trip – porterhouse – also an 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

I was here for brunch on a weekend, and the menu was still ample in terms of steak cuts. I was impressed with the variety.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are large and plating is a step above the average nondescript steakhouse style. I liked the metal cooking plates on which the rib eyes were served.

Price: 8

Here’s a look at our William:

There are some pricey items but some great bargains as well.

Bar: 10

This is one of the most beautiful and inviting bars I’ve ever seen.

I almost wish I lived or worked downtown just so I could have an excuse to come here more often.

There’s even some great lounge seating off the bar in a semi-secluded room. Lovely. Also, the cocktails were insanely good.

Pictured here is the Old Mr. Johnson, which is easily in my top five for “Old Fashioned” or “Manhattan”-like cocktail renderings. And you’ve gotta love that H that they branded into the perfectly clear ice cube. It’s not a mold – it’s a hot brand.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There were some specials read to us, though I don’t remember what they were. But the fact that they were not on a strict “brunch menu selections only” policy on the weekend is a good sign.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We had a few things from this category. First, the tempura onion rings.

These didn’t strike me as having a typical tempura batter texture. They were a bit heavy in terms of the fry, and the onions inside were thick (but cooked through at least). The unique thing about these is that they almost tasted like curry or turmeric.

I already mentioned the fries above in the flavor section for the burger, so I won’t re-discuss them here. What I will discuss, however, is the insane house smoked Canadian bacon appetizer.

Yeah. That’s an entire pork chop that they like to call a side of bacon at Harry’s, for just $18. Get it. As your entree. It was the best item of the meal! That’s apple sauce on the side.

Awesome steak tartare.

We had some desserts as well. In particular, I liked the lemon meringue pie the best.

Not as good as some places, but up there for sure. The warm skillet cookie was a bit too sweet, so get this only if you plan to share it.

Seafood Selection: 8

I didn’t even bother to fucking look. Maybe next time I’ll hit some shellfish from the dinner menu.

Service: 9

Our waiter was good, but he had a shift change or a break right in the middle of our service. The new waiter had to kind of figure out what the fuck was happening, and I felt bad for him. Overall, great service though. My cocktail glass had a big chip on the rim, which was crazy sharp. I was surprised they didn’t catch it on the way out to me, but they fixed me a new drink quickly when I told them. Table bread was warm and nice as well.

Ambiance: 10

Simply amazing decor here. Truly gorgeous from top to bottom.

I actually wish I had taken more photos of the decor. They really did a great job with the space.

HARRY’S
1 Hanover Square
New York, NY 10004