Tag Archives: johnny prime

Chef Chuck Troup

I recently tried a 500-day dry aged steak at Maxwell’s Chophouse.

It turns out that the chef there, Chuck Troup, is experimenting with some really interesting things.

After speaking with him that night, I decided I wanted to do a little feature of him here on the site in the form of a Q&A interview. Read on and enjoy, and I highly recommend Maxwell’s Chophouse.

JP: Tell my readers a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, how long you’ve been in the business, and what got you interested in cooking.

CT: I was born in PA and raised in New Orleans. I have been living this lifestyle going on 31 years now. I don’t think I necessarily chose this lifestyle, it really chose me. Growing up and starting out in the industry I was surrounded by all of the craziness and excitement in a kitchen. I was so engulfed in the way all the cooks would interact with one another and I found that really amazing. It was funny to me and also exciting the way the cooks would all scream and swear at each other all night long, and then be best friends after it was all over. It really was and is organized chaos and I love that.

JP: You seem to know your way around steaks. Would you say this is your specialty, or are there other cuisines that challenge you and inspire you?

CT: I would say I know my way around steak and I do enjoy working in the steak environment, but over the years I have worked in various cuisines. I spent three years in Japan. Working and living in Japan had a great influence on me as a person, and as a chef. Being from the south, I grew up in an environment full of Cajun and Creole food. I always try to incorporate everything I’ve learned over time wherever I go. Even at a Steakhouse such as Maxwell’s, I’ll throw in a Cajun/Creole special, or even a salmon or steak tartare or sushi roll special. All in all I love pretty much every cuisine, there isn’t much I won’t cook or won’t eat!

JP: I like that you are experimenting with various lengths of dry aging. Is there a sweet spot for flavor in your opinion? 30 days? 60 days? 90?

CT: I think that my personal sweet spot for aging is the 160 to 180 day range. To me, that length of dry aging just has the right amount of funk, flavor and taste. Honestly, after eating a dry aged steak, I don’t know if I could ever go back to not eating it this way. With that being said, as a chef it’s important to know what’s too much. I totally understand why some people have different views on aging. Always have to know your guest.

JP: What sorts of other things are you experimenting with?

CT: Lately, I have been experimenting with lamb, duck, bison, elk, veal and I have even done a few pheasants.

JP: Last time I was here you let me try something that was aged for 500 days. How would you describe the flavor on something aged for that long? I took to calling it concentrated beef rocket fuel!

CT: Well for me I would say that piece of New York strip steak had an unseasoned salami texture with a huge musky flavor, but was not near as funky as a 500 day rib eye. Not sure if “funky” is a good word to describe aged meat, but it’s usually a good kind of funk!

JP: Would you ever consider offering a tasting of various ages to a customer? Say 4oz each at 30, 60 and 90 days?

CT: I would love to do a tasting of aged meat! It would be really great to have people that don’t understand the complexities of flavor that come with the dry aging process at different intervals so they can see how that switch flips with age.

JP: Are customers generally aware of what dry aging does, or do you find that you and the staff have to explain the process?

CT: I think that our audience is generally more educated than 10 or 15 years ago, plus there are a decent amount of people that go to a steakhouse for the aged meat. There are times when we will need to explain what the process is and why different cuts have different flavor at the same age. It’s important that all staff (servers, back servers, etc.) are educated on the process so we can confidently explain to our guests.

JP: What’s your favorite item on the menu at Maxwell’s?

CT: My favorite cut on the menu is for sure our rib eye. My favorite thing on the menu would be the Lamb Burger! Of course it depends on what specials we have, so it does change from time to time. Now that I’m thinking about it, I also love our roasted chicken – it’s really hard to choose!

JP: What’s your favorite cut of steak?

CT: Rib eye!

JP: What’s the most difficult steak to cook properly?

CT: The porterhouse is the hardest to cook correctly. I am completely opposed to the technique of cooking it to rare, slicing and then bringing up to temperature. A good grill cook knows that is reheating, and how most steakhouses do the meat this beautiful deserves the respect of proper cooking along with our customers.

Boucherie Park

I’m going to keep this one nice and simple. Boucherie Park is the second location of Boucherie, which I love. The menu is the same, and the decor is very similar. While I like the ambiance of the original location a bit better, this joint has an area up front that I like to call the “meat bar,” where you can order freshly carved slices of prosciutto. They even offer baguettes and sandwiches during the day for lunch from this area. With that give and take on the ambiance of each spot, they actually even out at the same score: 95. You may as well jump over to that review to read more on each section (though I may need to update it). This place is excellent.

Steak Tartare:

Tomahawk:

Iberico Pork:

Flavor: 9
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Portion Size & Plating: 10
Price: 10
Bar: 10
Specials & Other Meats: 10
Apps Sides & Desserts: 9
Seafood Selection: 8
Service: 10
Ambiance: 10

Donohue’s

I’m a sucker for old restaurants, especially places that date back to the “Mad Men” days of NYC’s mod past. I’m not sure if they filmed anything from Mad Men at Donohue’s, but they should have. It is truly scenic in there, and perfect for a show like that. And that’s kinda where my excitement for this place ends.

I’m not an ageist, and I’m by no means a young whippersnapper. But I think I may have seen Don Draper and Richard Sterling at one of the tables here, struggling to throw back one last martini before their final coronary. I’m 40, and I was probably the youngest person in the joint at 7pm on a Monday.

This place just sucks in old rich people for some reason. We even saw an octogenarian couple pull up in their two-seater Mercedes sports car and park right in front before slowly shambling their way inside. I don’t begrudge that though; it must be a rough haul to hoof it down from 68th and Park to 64th and Lex at that age.

But what’s the fucking attraction? Do they swap spouses or some shit? Is there a back room where they buy and sell peoples’ souls?

Well there you have my synopsis of this review in picture form. I posted those to Instagram the night of the meal. But allow me to expand on that with a full steakhouse review:

Donohue’s overall score: 66

Flavor: 6

The filet wasn’t a nightmare, but it lacked flavor. It was likely cooked without salt and butter. Maybe this method caters to the low cholesterol, low sodium, salt substitute -using, high blood pressure -having, at-risk-for-heart-failure crowd that frequents the place. Or maybe they just don’t know what the fuck they’re doing in the kitchen as far as seasoning goes. In terms of working the broiler, it really was cooked perfectly. The crust on the outside was crispy but not charred or burnt, and there was a nice pink center from edge to edge.

I split this with a friend, though, and he said he had some chewy bits that he spit out. My half was fine in terms of texture.

We also split a burger. This thing sucked, mainly because the stale and lifeless bun needs to be replaced and the meat didn’t have a good sear on it. Otherwise I would have been fine with a simple cheese skirt and the basic toppings. The steak fries that came with it were actually great. They were golden crisp on the outside and soft like mashed potatoes inside. I was actually surprised by them, since I usually dislike steak fries.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 5

I’m not sure why this place holds itself out as a steakhouse when there are really only two cuts of beef being offered: sirloin and filet. That’s only half of the four basic steakhouse staples (assuming you count the sirloin as a strip). That said, they do offer other cuts as specials from time to time, and the menu lists the beef as prime.

Portion Size & Plating: 6

Portion sizes are a mixed bag here. My friend had a shrimp cocktail and there were just four medium-sized shrimp on it – certainly not “jumbo,” as listed on the menu. The crab cakes were small as well. The steak, however, was a good size for a filet; probably about 10 or 12oz. The same goes for the carrot cake; it was also a good portion size. Plating is very basic. Nothing fancy at all.

Price: 6

The pricing is another mixed bag. There’s something to be said about a steak joint that gives you a filet mignon, a salad, a potato and some onion rings for $40. While the majority of the side items sucked, I wouldn’t care if they just nailed the steak. A $40 price tag would still be good for that. I’d go all the time and give the sides and salads to a homeless person. The steaks and entrees are all under $40, and some are even under $30, which is great! But what makes things really odd is that so much other shit is overpriced. The small crab cakes ($19), the “jumbo” shrimp cocktail ($18), the kid’s size martini ($14)…

I’m used to feeling ripped off for getting double that amount of hooch for $18. This was some next level of rip off shit though. Maybe former Donohue’s regular Bernie Madoff is setting the pricing structure here. A seemingly good deal on entrees to get you in the door, and then a shitload of ass raping money grabs that would make Mr. Charles Ponzi himself stare in awe and envy from the beyond.

Bar: 7

Bar and atmosphere are truly the reasons to come here. I love the dim lighting, the checkerboard floor, the warm wood tones, and the “regulars welcome” kind of neighborhood feel to a short, old, unchanged stretch of bar on Lexington. Sit down. Have a drink.

Specials and Other Meats: 6

There are chalkboards in the window out front and on the wall in the back that list many of the same items that are already printed on the menu. One or two things aren’t printed, though, so keep an eye on the chalkboard if you’re looking to be disappointed by an unlisted entree here. As for other meats, they have veal, chicken and pork. Not bad, but then again this place is more like a diner than a steakhouse, so I’m not really surprised at the variety.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6

I started with an order of crab cakes.

I joked that these were like frozen food aisle items, but they really weren’t that bad. These little guys had a good crispy fried crust on the outside, and the inside was all crab meat, for the most part.

The steaks came with a green veggie, three onion rings and your choice of potato. I picked a salad and mashed potatoes. The potatoes may as well have been made from a powdered box mix; bland and somewhat dry. The salad was an afterthought; the kind you might get at a roadside diner on a transparent, filigreed, faux-glass plastic plate with your meatloaf. The onion rings were fine, however.

As I mentioned above, the fries were pretty solid, and the carrot cake was good. But it wasn’t great. It was indeed the best part of the meal, but in no way did this dessert hold a candle to something like the amazing carrot cake dessert at Ocean Prime. One of my buddies asked if they made the dessert in house, and the answer was a resounding no.

Seafood Selection: 7

There are several fish entrees to choose from here. More fish entrees than beef entrees, I think. My buddy had scallops, which were broiled with lemon and white wine (no butter). I think the low sodium, no butter thing is what draws the elderly in here. Or maybe the menu is catered to their palettes. Has to be. That and the nostalgia of reliving their youth in a neighborhood place that’s still open since 1950.

Service: 8

Our waitress forgot to bring us menus for about ten minutes and didn’t tell us about any specials, but that’s not really a big deal. Other than that, there were no problems. She remembered all the beers they had when my buddy asked, and she didn’t need to write anything down for our order. She was nice and pleasant, and she deftly swapped our forks and knives out between apps and entrees.

Ambiance: 9

I truly love the ambiance here. I think it could use some sprucing up though. I’m not talking about a remodel or anything like that, but something to clean it up and make it even more appealing as an old classic. The prices have gone up and the lease is locked for another 10 years, so they can afford to do something if they want to.

In summary, I’m glad I came here, especially since my friends paid for my meal as a birthday gift. I probably wouldn’t go back for a full meal, but I’d definitely stop in to take in the scenery on occasion, and maybe have an order of fries at the bar. Probably a beer, too, since those weren’t painfully overpriced like the martinis.

To try to answer my own question about why so many old rich people go to Donohue’s: I think the low sodium, no butter thing is what draws the elderly in. Or maybe the cooks just cater to the palettes of their regulars. There’s nothing official or printed about no salt and no butter. It was just very evident. So that, plus the nostalgia of old folks reliving their youth in a neighborhood place that’s still open since 1950. As for the wealthy aspect? No idea. Must be the neighborhood.

DONOHUE’S STEAKHOUSE
845 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10065

Four Cuts Steakhouse

Four Cuts overall score: 82

My wife and I came here for a quick meal and to take photos for Instagram.

Flavor: 8

The porterhouse was a 7/10. It was cooked nicely to medium rare, but it lacked a bit of seasoning and dry-aged flavor. The strip side had a bit of a chew to it, but still pretty good. The filet side was perfect!

The “sauce” we ordered on the side was the “cherry peppers and onions” selection, which I knew in advance wouldn’t be an actual “sauce” as listed on the menu.

Four Cuts Steakhouse is owned by the same folks as Tudor City Steakhouse, and I recall that I enjoyed the cherry peppers and onions there (it, too, wasn’t a sauce, but, rather, a toping or a side item). I dig it. And these are perfect to use for leftover steak and eggs the next morning.

We also tried the filet “oscar” style.

This was a 9/10.

The lobster meat and hollandaise really worked nicely together with the steak, which was perfectly cooked to medium rare.

I highly recommend that filet, and I’m looking forward to trying more cuts the next time I visit.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

You can see here on the menu that all “four cuts” are represented (not counting the lamb chops):

However, they also offer specials like the filet “oscar,” and this tomahawk that I unfortunately didn’t get to try:

It looked and smelled delicious! The meats hail from Masters, and are all dry-aged for 28 days.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are large here, and plating is pretty standard in the steakhouse style. Elegant and simple.

Price: 9

The prices here are all very fair. In fact some are a huge bargain considering what neighboring steak joints are charging, much like their sister restaurant, Tudor City Steakhouse.

Bar: 7

There’s a cozy little stretch of bar that was seeing a fair amount of action on a Friday evening. I liked this little guy sitting on there:

Drinks are pretty good too.

First they brought out a vodka martini by mistake, but they knew before I did (I hadn’t sipped it yet). They just brought out a gin martini and told me to keep the vodka one too. Bonus!

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There are definitely some steak items that aren’t listed on the menu. The tomahawk steak and filet “oscar” style that I mentioned above, for example. Make sure you ask what they have. By way of alternative meats, you can go with either lamb or chicken.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

The crab cake was meaty!

The star of the apps were the oysters Rockefeller and the clams casino. These usually come six to an order, but the chef did us a solid and gave us three of each so we could try both preparations.

I also really liked the tuna tartare. Big portion, clean and fresh taste, and simply executed.

Sautéed asparagus with garlic:

Hash brown potatoes:

Sautéed spinach with garlic:

For dessert, my wife liked the raspberry cheesecake best of the two:

But I liked the raspberry creme brûlée. This was a unique take.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s branzino, salmon and tuna on the menu for you non-carnivorous losers out there. But based on the quality of the baked shellfish apps, I would say you’re in very good hands ordering a seafood entree here.

Service: 10

Tony is incredible, and the wait staff is top notch. You really are treated like royalty here. My favorite service aspect of the meal at Four Cuts was the table bread. It comes with a really tasty garlic, olives, capers and tomato oil spread that will blow you away. It’s almost like a “bagna cauda,” but I’m not sure if there are anchovies involved.

Ambiance: 8

This little “mom and pop” steak joint exudes a cozy yet elegant atmosphere that really makes great use of the space. It felt like the right balance between a traditional steakhouse and a local neighborhood joint. Go give it a shot. There’s even free garage parking for four hours right around the corner on 58th Street.

FOUR CUTS STEAKHOUSE
1076 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10022

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:

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.

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

Ben & Jacks Steakhouse (44th Street)

Ben & Jacks (44th Street) overall score: 90

I’ve been a big fan of Ben & Jack’s for a few years now, after several delicious visits to the location down in the Flatiron area. They recently re-opened their East 44th Street location, so I went in to give it a try with another food blogger pal of mine. Chef Admir wouldn’t let us order for two. Instead he fed us enough food for five. Check it out below:

Flavor: 8

Porterhouse: 7

This baby was cooked perfectly. It had a great char on one side, and it was cooked to a nice pink throughout.

Cajun Rib Eye: 9

What a great crust on this baby. And I could really taste the dry-aged flavor coming through. The cajun spice treatment didn’t overwhelm it at all.

Prime Rib: 9

This prime rib was definitely roasted to perfection, and since it was dry-aged, the flavor was extra intense and delicious.

As you can see, however, it almost looks as if the meat hit a hot surface to get an additional sear or cook on the cut.

Perhaps it was sliced on a hot surface, or it was a cut that was exposed on one side while roasting. Either way, it was delicious and worthy of your attention.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

This place uses Master Purveyors to supply the beef, and Chef Admir dry-aged everything in-house in a custom aging room. Everything is prime, and really friggin’ good. There’s a huge variety of cuts here, running the gamut on all the standard cuts and then some.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions here are good here. The plating is basic yet rustic and elegant on the steak and sides, but with the apps you will get some very beautiful looking platess.

Price: 10

This place charges average to below average prices, which is great given the midtown location and the fact that the steaks are delicious.

Bar: 9

Great big marble bar with lots of light coming in from the nearby wall of windows. They mix a nice martini too. I’d definitely hang out here and chow down on a burger or something before ordering a steak.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

I didn’t poke around too much into the specials and other meats sections of the menu, but there is good representation here. One thing I will mention is their happy hour burger special. For just $13.95 you get an 8oz dry-aged wagyu burger with fries. Awesome.

It just needs a potato bun and a sauce. Then it’s perfect.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

Great creamless creamed spinach, just like at the other location. Really unique mac and cheese, made with shallots and butter in the mix for a bomb of flavorful decadence. Great crispy hash brown potatoes, sliced thin and cooked with onions. Also some really awesome thick cut steakhouse bacon.

Seafood Selection: 10

I didn’t try any here yet, but I know the other location was great, and the same kind of variety in menu items is present here as well, so I’m piggy-backing the 10 score over here.

Service: 10

Top notch. Always. These guys are great and will make you feel like royalty.

Ambiance: 8

This is a brand new restaurant with really nice space and elegance. There’s even an outdoor area in the back for when the nice weather finally gets here.

BEN & JACK’S STEAKHOUSE
219 East 44th Street
New York, NY 10017

Mastro’s Steakhouse

Mastro’s overall score: 89

My wife and I came here with her uncle to celebrate his birthday and to use some accumulated Open Table credit that we built up with reward points. Check out the verdict:

Flavor: 9

We had two steaks. The first was the Australian wagyu tomahawk from Broadleaf. This thing was impressive.

It had a great crust, it was cooked perfectly to medium rare from end to end, and it was so damn tender. 10/10.

The other steak we tried was the 20-day wet aged prime porterhouse.

This was pretty good too, but I felt that it needed a bit more crust and lacked a little bit in terms of tenderness and flavor. 7/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

There is a massive selection of cuts here, with several different types of cuts within each category, and then some. Very impressive. The quality is all wet-aged prime or wagyu. I took a point because they have no dry-aged offerings.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions here are good, and they do some really nice plating for the chilled seafood. Everything else is pretty standard for steakhouse fare.

Price: 7

We had $120 of credit to use but the bill was still hefty.

Overall I think there is a better value for the tomahawk at Del Frisco’s (same steak is $95 instead of $115 – and just as good), and better value elsewhere for the porterhouse. For $63, a mediocre 24oz cut is a bit of a stiff price to pay.

Bar: 8

This joint has three bars; two upstairs and one downstairs. That splits up the crowd a bit, but each bar is still pretty nice.

I liked that they served my martini to me with the shaker, rather than taking it away. This allowed me to have that briny, watered down gin as a second serving when I finished the stiff drink. At $26 all in with tax and tip, that martini was pricey though.

Specials and Other Meats: 10

There were lots of specials read off to us, both in the meat and non-meat categories. As for other meats, they offer veal, lamb, chicken, and pork. They run the full gamut.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We tried the “steak bacon.” This was really good and thick. Loved it.

The chilled seafood was pricey but really delicious. We built our own tower with three jumbo shrimp, colossal crab meat and a dozen oysters.

For dessert we had butter cake and chocolate cake. The butter cake was awesome, and truly rivaled Del Friscos. It was bigger but lighter than theirs.

Seafood Selection: 10

There’s bass, tuna, swordfish, salmon, scallops, crab and lobster. Damn! I didn’t try them, but based on the quality of the seafood in the apps section, I have to bump this from my placeholder of 8/10 to a solid 10/10.

Service: 10

Let me start with the bread – amazing little basket here:

As for the wait staff – really top notch. They were very attentive, nice and non-intrusive. They gave us a freebie dessert since we were celebrating a birthday too. What really sent me over the top, though, was that they even called my wife the following day to ask how everything was, and to make sure that her uncle enjoyed his birthday celebration. That’s crazy!

Ambiance: 8

This place can get loud and rowdy, a little bit clubby upstairs. But the downstairs is a little more intimate and chill. I like that split personality aspect. Hopefully, when you go, they seat you in the location that corresponds to your mood.

STEAKHOUSE NAME
Address
Address

Maxwell’s Chophouse

Maxwell’s Chophouse overall score: 88*

I came here with a group of friends to tackle their dry-aged  six-bone standing prime rib roast. Watch this:

If their regular steak selections are anything like that monster, I think this could end up being one of the best steak joints in town. Read on.

Flavor: 9

These guys dry age everything on site, and this roast was aged for two months (61 days). The edges had a great earthy, nutty and mushroomy flavor to them from that aging process.

And as you can see below, the center was cooked perfectly.

Unfortunately, on a second visit, the prime rib wasn’t as good. Still had great flavor, but the texture was a bit off for some reason. 8/10.

I did try their porterhouse as well. This baby was tender all over, and had a nice crust. It was cooked just right at medium rare too. 9/10.

I even tried something very special and unique as well. A 500-day dry aged strip steak.

This was wild. It’s not on the menu, and it was something the chef was doing experimentally. It had a super aged flavor that was almost like meat fuel or butane. I liked trying it, but I’m not sure I would go all in on something like this often. Too aggressive for me.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

In addition to the four major steakhouse cuts, they also offer that prime rib as a regular menu item, king or queen cut. Everything is graded at prime and dry-aged on site. I also like the fact that they proudly state that the animals are raised on corn, which helps develop all that tasty marbling.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are all pretty good here from what I can tell. The sides are big enough to share with two people, for sure.

Price: 8

This place is on par with the steak joints in midtown, but the rack of ribs comes in at $80pp and includes sides. That’s a good deal.

Bar: 10

This place has a great long marble bar with elegant surroundings. I would definitely hang here. They mix up a nice martini too, and have an interesting signature cocktail list.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There weren’t any specials read to us (we had pre-ordered this monster in advance), but the prime rib rack is pretty damn special itself. As far as other meats go, you basically only have lamb or chicken. I can respect that though: focus on the beef!

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We tried a number of items during this feast. I’ll list them all and discuss.

Bone Marrow: 7/10

This had good flavor but there just wasn’t enough of it. The grilled lemons were a nice touch though, and the bread was delicious.

Bacon: 10/10

This is top notch shit from Nueskes. Easily on par with Angus Club or Tuscany Steakhouse, and very close to a top five bacon app.

Mashed Potatoes: 8/10

I’m rarely impressed with mashed potatoes after growing up eating my mom’s, which were butter- and mozzarella- laden trays of pure heaven. But they were smooth and buttery. Very nice.

Mushrooms & Spinach: 9/10

Both simple and delicious. I would get these again for sure.

Chocolate Cake: 9/10

This thing is enormous and can easily feed a table of four for the $25 price tag. In fact, this fed seven people (though we also shared another dessert as well).

Butterscotch Creme Brûlée: 8/10

Wow. Super rich, very sweet, but really fucking tasty. Share this otherwise you might overload on decadence. Below is a shot of the dessert platter that came out on my second visit, to share among 10 people.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s salmon, three-pound lobsters and big eye tuna on the seafood entree menu. I like how this and the chops menu are streamlined and slim, but that means fewer options for you picky assholes out there.

Service: 10

Impeccable. Everyone is attentive, really friendly and knowledgable. The bread basket here is quite interesting, and contains cheese baked flatbreads, chocolate and strawberry muffins, olive bread and other stuff. Very nice.

Ambiance: 9

This place is gorgeous inside. The floor space isn’t gigantic, but the ceiling height is. That really gives the joint a grand and spectacular feel.

There’s also a private dining room, which is where we ate:

I will definitely be back to try some seafood and their porterhouse.

MAXWELL’S CHOPHOUSE
1184 Broadway
New York, NY 10001

Tuscany Steakhouse

Tuscany Steakhouse overall score: 91

Last week the owner of Tuscany Steakhouse invited me in to take some photos and try out the food. This place used to be called Nino’s Tuscany Steakhouse, but just before the new year they did a big remodel and upgraded the place big time.

I was excited to try it, hoping that they made some improvements. I didn’t have the greatest meal at Nino’s, but this new joint was a much different experience. Check it out:

Flavor: 9

We ordered the porterhouse for two.

Let’s take a peek at the inside…

Oh fuck yes… nice and pink. Let me spread her open a little bit.

Closer?

More? Wider?

Okay… so this thing was perfectly cooked to medium rare. It had a gorgeous, crispy, well-seasoned crust on the edges. This is one of the better porterhouses I’ve had recently. 9/10.

I came back for a second visit and tried the rib eye.

This was cooked perfectly, just like the porterhouse.

It just needed a bit more seasoning and it wasn’t as potent in terms of the dry aged flavor on this particular cut. 7/10.

The porterhouse was still incredible though. Perfect.

The filet mignon was also excellent. 9/10. Thick, tall, like a mountain of meat.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

While they only offer the basic four steakhouse cuts – filet, strip, porterhouse and rib eye – they do a bang-up job on them, and they dry age everything in house. My porterhouse was aged for 29 days, and it came from Masters up in the Bronx next to my facility.

A couple next to me ordered the strip and it looked and smelled amazing. This place gets the job done nicely.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are big here. The sides are definitely large enough to share with two to four people, especially if you’re going heavy on steaks. Plating is basic for the steaks and sides, but the apps can get a bit more flare to them.

Price: 9

The prices are very fair here. The steaks come in slightly cheaper than average for the location Some of the pasta dishes seemed high, but the one I tried was worth it, and the sides and desserts are all great bargains, especially when you factor in the quality of the food for the price.

Bar: 8

This is a nice little bar, and it was getting a good crowd on a Saturday as we were leaving. Same set up as the old restaurant bar, but nicer and remodeled.

I snagged a few of the potato chips that they serve at the bar. I like that touch.

They mix up a great martini too.

There’s also a great selection of wines here, and a little wine room in the back.

We tried some muscat with our dessert and it was just right. Not too sweet, not too potent.

Specials and Other Meats: 10

There were no special meats offered up, but there were specials of the day like soups. As for other meats, they had lamb, veal two ways and chicken two ways. Not a bad showing at all. In fact, I saw a veal parm come out after finishing the porterhouse, and I was so tempted to order one to go. It looked amazing.

Here it is:

Absolutely incredible. An easy 10/10. I would eat this every day if I could. It’s really surprisingly light, and super flavorful. The beef was so tender inside, and the crispy crust was the perfect contrast to the soft melted cheese.

Oh, so cheese isn’t your thing? How about the broiled veal chop, then? It’s a veal porterhouse, and it comes with grilled greens. This is amazing, and you definitely don’t see this cut very often in steakhouses, or anywhere else for that matter. 10/10.

Or the veal Milanese, which is essentially just a salad on top of a fried veal chop. 8/10.

I also gave the lamb chops a try. The serving size is incredible: three thick, double-cut chops.

They really nailed the crust.

And the inside was perfectly cooked. 9/10.

One thing I will note here under specials is the lunch menu. That veal Milanese is just $28 at lunch, and it is the full dinner size. They also have a special cajun rib eye at lunch too. This thing is amazing.

It’s a slightly smaller portion size than the dinner menu, but still around 18oz.

And for just $30 it also comes will full sized creamed spinach and mashed potatoes sides. Incredible! 9/10.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

We did three apps to start. First, the bacon:

This was two slabs of thick cut Canadian bacon (we cut them each in half).

Te second trip the bacon came out a little more burnt on the edges, but still really delicious.

This shit was amazing. Easily on par with places like Angus Club and Maxwell’s Chophouse. This is a must order when you come here, and it goes very nice with their steak sauce (a tomato-based and horseradish-heavy sauce – also good with seafood).

Next was the tuna tartare. This was delightful.

It came with lightly salted avocado slices, lime slices, cucumber slices, toasted bread slices and a slice of tomato, along with some unsliced arugula. It was bright and fresh, and dressed perfectly.

We also tried an order of oysters. Just a half dozen, to see how the quality was.

They were excellent: Perfectly shucked with no bits of shell in them. Great size – not too big, not too small. Crisp, clean, briny, and fresh. Here they are, all dressed up and ready to get raped by my mouth:

For our sides, we ordered sautéed spinach and hash browns. Both were great, and very large portions. The spinach was seasoned just right, nice and simple with salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic.

The hash browns were nice and crisp on the outside, while still tender and soft inside. I loved these.

The Clams Oreganata were excellent as well.

Lumb crab meat is a generous portion size:

Crab cake was really nice and classically prepared, Maryland style.

The lobster cocktail was flavorful and generously sized.

I didn’t get a shot of it, but the creamed spinach here is the “creamless” style that I love.

The calamari had a nice batter and were perfectly cooked.

Here’s a special they had: burrata with portobello and roasted red peppers:

For dessert, we had a slice of tiramisu and a piece of chocolate mousse cake. Both were excellent, and I really loved their shlag.

Here’s their apple strudel – HUGE!

Seafood Selection: 9

There’s sea bass, tuna, salmon, lobster and shrimp in the entree portion of the menu. That’s a fantastic showing, and I bet they do a great job since this is essentially an Italian joint, and Italian joints are known for having good fish. While I only tried the oysters, I am confident that this section of the menu is well above average.

Their seafood linguini was incredible. It was jam packed with perfectly cooked shrimp, clams, calamari and even a half lobster.

Service: 10

The waiters are awesome here, and the management is super nice and engaging. They all know their stuff and can answer any questions you have, whether it’s the basics of the steak cuts or the specifics of aging.

The table bread consisted of onion rolls and some sliced Italian bread, served with butter. This stuff is also great with their steak sauce.

Ambiance: 9

This place made a great turnaround in ambiance. I loved the brick walls in there last time, and the overall cozy feel to the place. Now, with white-washed brick walls and deep, elegant wood finishes, this place feels more like what it is – a really nice steakhouse.

It still has some nooks and crannies in the dining room where you can get a more private feel, which I really like, and there’s even a separate room where you can host a party or larger group. They’ve really done a great job in here.

No bull: this place is really nice, and I’m glad it’s only a block away.

TUSCANY STEAKHOUSE
117 W 58th St
New York, NY 10019

Jade Sixty

UPDATE: THIS PLACE IS CLOSED!

I was recently invited into Jade Sixty to try some food and share photos on Instagram. Here’s how it went down:

We started with the following:

Pastrami Dumplings
Jade Chicken Sticks
Peking Duck Tacos

I didn’t do the ordering, but I would have wanted to try two of those anyway. The Peking Duck Tacos were my favorite of the three.

The duck was delicious and had quality crispy skin on it, and the fried wonton taco shell was a welcome textural pop.

I liked the Pastrami Dumplings best next.

They had a flavorful hit of that juicy pastrami meat inside with a nice crispy brown on the outside of the dumpling. Perhaps Russian dressing or spicy mustard would be a more fitting dip instead of traditional dumpling sauce.

Last of the apps: the Jade Chicken Skewers.

These were thin strips of chicken that were coated in some kind of light breading. Good to snack on for sure, but I probably would have tried the soup dumplings if choosing the dishes myself.

For our entree we had a rib eye.

This had a great dry aged flavor to it (45-60 days), and it was perfectly cooked to medium rare. In some parts it could have benefitted from a bit more crust on the edges, and overall it needed just a bit of salt or seasoning. Otherwise, though, I loved it and we finished every bite. 8/10.

For our sides we had crispy eggplant with sweet and spicy chili sauce, as well as vegetable fried rice.

The eggplant was expertly fried and had a unique texture to it that was both airy and watery at the same time.

My wife and I generally aren’t huge fans of eggplant, so we were kinda bummed when that is what came out for our tasting. However, I found myself going back for more. It was oddly addicting.

The fried rice was served in a cool metal bucket.

It was a very basic veggie and soy sauce mix, and suffered slightly from a lack of crisp. I was hoping for a bit more from this, as it is an Asian steakhouse, but it did make excellent leftovers with some strips of turkey meat.

For dessert we had their famous fried apple wontons and a scoop of mint chip ice cream.

Both were very good on their own, but didn’t necessarily pair well together as an “a la mode” kind of dessert.

I apologize for the truncated review, but I am definitely interested in going back to try more things. The menu is really unique and interesting, and I think this spot would make for a fun group dinner where everyone can try a variety of items. I provided some rough estimates below, but note that this is tentative, since I didn’t have the opportunity to choose my own food. Stay tuned!

Jade Sixty Total Score: 84

Flavor: 8
Choice of Cuts & Quality: 9
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Price: 8
Bar: 8
Specials & Other Meats: 9
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
Seafood Selection: 9
Service: 9
Ambiance: 8

Jade Sixty took over the location from Blu on Park. Much of the space remained the same, with the exception of additional dining seats near the bar/lounge and basic aesthetic and decor choices.

JADE SIXTY
116 E 60th St
New York, NY 10022