The flavor here is pretty much ALMOST perfect. I think what drops it one point from perfect is due to the quality (which I address below). Seasoned nicely, nice full flavor, and cooked close to perfect (a slight bit of bleed-out, but nothing serious). The bone-in rib eye is delicious. I ate every bite. Even the fat was, for the most part, really yummy. One or two spots were a little tight, and the fat cap was a bit on the small side, but still – a very tasty meal. The steaks even come with two complimentary sauces. I chose the blue butter and the horseradish sauce. The horseradish sauce was the big winner, and it was similar to the cream served with our oysters. When it comes down to it, though, I barely used either sauce. Not necessary with just good tasting meat.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
The selection here is great. On the regular menu they have two types of rib eye: bone in, and cowboy (differing mainly in size). They have a porterhouse for one, and two sizes of filet. I didn’t notice a solo strip on the menu, otherwise that covers the basics. In addition they also have some braised beef, which is nice. The only draw back is that the steak I had was a bit tight in the main part of the cut. A little tough, or grainy. I think that has to do with low intra-muscular fat, or marbling. With more of that, the meat becomes more tender and flavorful. Perhaps some more aging is necessary.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
At 20oz for the rib eye, 24oz for the porterhouse, 34oz for the cowboy, and 10-14oz for the filets (boneless or bone-in conundrum filet), the portion sizes are nice! The sides were a bit on the small side, but our waitress Kathryn alerted us to that and recommended we order two sides instead of just one.
Prices are fair. Our steaks were $49 a piece. Not cheap, but not pricey either. use your own judgment regarding flavor and quality ratio for the price. I, personally, probably won’t come back, given the other places I’ve been to, but it certainly isn’t a bad meal at all. The martini was $15, also average. Sides were a bit hefty at $12 for a relatively small portion size. They were tasty though.
The bar here is pretty cool. There are two bars, actually; one toward the front of the restaurant, and one in the back. I had a drink up front: the bar is a nice white marble counter. They serve a nice martini, and there is a good specialty cocktail menu too. I don’t think I’d hang here often after work, but it is a decent joint for a drink.
Specials and Other Meats: 10
On special there was escargot for an appetizer, a boar chop and porterhouse for two for entrees, and lobster mac & cheese for a side. As far as other meats go, there was plenty of duck on the menu, some pork, chicken, lamb, and braised beef. Not too bad. They offer a $65 price fix deal too; four courses. but it is probably best to pick the fish entree, because the steak entree they offer is a measly 4oz filet. TINY! Smaller even than Shula’s!
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10
To start, we had a dozen oysters, which consisted of half east coasters and half west coasters. Both were mild, creamy, crisp, cold and delicious. They came with a really amazing light, airy horseradish cream. For sides we had sauteed broccolini and creamed spinach, of course. The spinach was low on cream, which I like. Very tasty, though a bit salty. The broccolini was perfect; firm but juicy, with a slight char, and accompanied by some crisp fried onions. For dessert we had the bag-o-donuts (Ayyyyyyyyyy… Fuhgettaboutit!!! You fuckin’ FUCK!). They were MINT! They were filled with a nice cream sauce, and came with jelly dip. COME ON! Perfectly fried.
Seafood Selection: 8
For seafood there was only tuna and a market fish (which I didn’t catch – BUDDUM TSSSSSSSSS). Plenty of shellfish and raw bar selections, with three sizes of seafood platters available.
The service was great! Our waitress Kathryn has been in the business a while, and it showed. She was helpful, attentive, and gave us the perfect amount of space and privacy to enjoy our meal. She was helpful with the selection of food, and answered all our questions about specials and menu items. The table bread was really nice: warm, fresh baked in a small cast iron pan, covered with melty butter. But the down-side — served with a very bitter parsley pesto oil type of deal. It needed sugar or salt to cut the bitter.
The ambiance was okay. It was a modern joint; not a traditional steakhouse vibe. High ceilings, elegant decor, lots of big glass floor-to-ceiling windows, etc. My friend and I commented that it felt like being inside of a whale; not a whale’s vagina (San Diego), but a whale – like the mythic/Biblical Jonah. The music was a mix of pop and classic rock at first, but halfway through the meal the music got VERY loud, and the music became a variety of different mega-mixes, where each dong only lasts 15 seconds before being terribly mixed into some other track of the same genre and/or decade. I took two points for that alone. Otherwise it falls in line with places like Primehouse (deceased) and Nick & Stef’s (the old version).
I was really psyched to hear that Strip House just opened up a new location in midtown. Let me tell you… I had one of the best steak dinners in my life at this place. Not only did Strip House Midtown provide me with one of the best rib eyes I’ve ever sunk my teeth into, but the waiter Scott recognized my “name” on the business card I gave him while we were paying the check. He alerted the general manager, Eric Hammer. Then Eric knew who I was, and he alerted the executive chef Michael Vignola! He helped open several Strip House locations all over the place – we got to meet him, and take a quick tour of the kitchen (which was absolutely beautiful, clean, and state-of-the-art, by the way). Check Michael out, in all his expediting glory:
It turns out that Michael knew who I was too, and they all follow this website! I was totally stoked that I was recognized as a meat man! Anyway… After we settled up the bill, me and my buddy Paul were treated to a private tour of the kitchen. Eric and Michael truly represent the future of meat and steak at Strip House, and in NYC in general. They are young, passionate, extremely skilled, and fucking spot on. Expect a long line of excellence to come from their “loins” in the future. The meat biz is looking spectacular to me right now. These guys have taken the concept of “pinnacle” to a whole other level of greatness. But the best part of this kitchen tour was that we also got to meet the REAL man behind the meat. RAPHAEL SANCHEZ. He is the guy who fired up all the steaks to perfection. Check him out – notice all the tickets dangling – it was fucking JAMMED in this place!!! Great for business!!!:
A second trip proved to be just as awesome and then some. I went with a group of 7. Michael and Eric once again did an amazing job, and this time I got to meet a great operations manager named Bill Varcoe. The personnel here are just incredible. I really can’t speak enough praise about them. They even threw in some freebies for us; a gazpacho amuse, a tuna tartare dish, and several desserts! Huge delicious cheese cake, massive layered chocolate cake, profiteroles, and baked Alaska! Check out the updates in italics below.
I’ve been to the other Strip House downtown several times, and I’ve pretty much tried everything on the menu at this point. With any new place, though, I always have to go back to the standard order for a review: the dry aged bone-in rib eye. It was fucking insane. Nice and savory, juicy as all fuck, and perfectly cooked from end to end. There was not one speck of gristle or fat left on my plate. I ate every glorious bite. Look – I went at it so fast that I only managed to remember to take a pic of it at the last minute, when I had one slice left. Note the perfection of color and the juicy reflection in the flash. My buddy had the filet, ordered medium rare. It, too, was perfectly cooked, though mine packed a hell of a lot more flavor (we both agreed).
I managed to remember to take a picture of my cote de beouff special (for steakhouse month). It was 34oz of glorious rib eye, and I ate every last scrap. I must say though – the standard rib eye had better flavor.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
The selection here is pretty much exactly the same as the other location, with the exception of a “Kosher Rib Eye” that I noticed was added, so no change in scoring here. And every cut is awesome. You can’t go wrong, regardless of what you choose to eat. Here, you can even be a pussy and order a petite filet and still pass muster in the judgmental eyes of Johnny Prime.
Portion Size & Plating: 10
The sizes are all the same here as the other location. Steaks are filling, sides are large enough for two or more, and apps are generous. Eat up, assholes. Eat until you pop, or poop.
Prices here are the same as downtown, which surprised me because I expected higher rents and overhead at this location to drive up the cost to diners. Strip House is always always always an absolute great buy for the money. This is the best steakhouse business/chain in Manhattan, so fucking go for it.
The bill from my second outing is below. Really fucked up problem here – my buddy who did the math on the tip messed up and we under-tipped at around 15% when we meant to give more like 25%. I vow to make it up to Chris, our waiter, who did a freaking fantastic job at our table. I think we were about $60 short of what we meant to give. Hilarious part about this: we had an accountant at the table.
The bar here is nice. It’s large, and good for hanging after work. Definitely a place I could see myself hanging at. The martini was made perfectly to boot. Belle, the bartender, was great, and it turns out she is a friend of a friend whose wedding I shot as a photographer.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
They had some great steak specials here, and for alternative meats they had veal and lamb. A nice rounded selection of meat for all carnivorous tastes. I was set on the rib eye, so I didn’t pay much attention to what else they had. Fuck that shit. I had my order decided before lunch time.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10
The midtown locale has basically the same choices as the downtown restaurant. We tried the clams on the half shell (really nice and crisp, briney, creamy, and mild), the lump crab meat (nice and lumpy, generous size bowl of meat), the slab bacon (fucking MINT), and the pancetta creamed corn (always a favorite). You can’t really go wrong with ANY side here, but I think the creamed corn and bacon might be the best of the best at any place I’ve been in the last 5 years when it comes to apps. Our clams were fucking incredible though. When clams are this good, and clean, I actually prefer them over oysters (BLASPHEMY!). I had some dessert on round two. I must say the portion sizes are tremendous. I only tried the cheese cake of the four items they brought out to us, but it was damn delicious!
Seafood Selection: 10
For seafood you have lobster, sea bass, and salmon. They also serve gigantic U6 shrimp, and have an incredible array of shellfish and cold/raw items on the appetizer menu.
The service is unreal. Our waiter, Scott, was absolutely perfect, and referred to me as “Mr. Prime” a few times after I passed him my card at bill-paying time. HA! He even saw me drop a fork and he quickly swooped in to replace it. I would’ve just wiped the fucker off and used it anyway. At first we were seated at a high table near the bar and entrance area, but I asked for a switch and a guy named Derrek helped us out. I made the reservations over a month ago, so I was a little upset that we had a junky seat. When they switched us, we were still in a tight area – tight like a virgin’s puss… crowded, close quarters, a little bloody, shy, scared, etc. But, we really enjoyed out meal, so I can’t complain too much. The bread was warm (the pretzel bread was delicious), and the butter was soft and spreadable (like a whore’s puss). Very nice way to start out the meal. Another cool thing was that they gave us a freebie amuse between the apps and main courses – a shot of smoked potato soup with parsley oil. It was tasty!
Strip House is a brand; so they have a certain style and image that they keep constant among their restaurants: old timey naked pics of chicks, aka broads, aka birds, aka hoo-uhs. The joint has a speakeasy feel; dim lighting, and lots of deep reds in the color scheme. It’s great. The midtown location delivers on that just as well as the downtown location, but with higher ceilings and a second level. Great bathrooms too; single user jammies, really clean and nice. I’d feel totally comfortable dropping a deuce in those fuckers if I had to.
PS – you might have taken a look at the bill and wondered: where the fuck is the booze? Well… Paul and I put back a bunch of booze beforehand at a workplace cocktail party. It saved us some cash. Notice the addition of quality meat consumed by me before we even got to the restaurant. If I see meat, then I must eat… And yes – that was two different kinds of prosciutto, with a glass of fucking scotch (I had three glasses of scotch before dinner, and about six slices of prosciutto).
Just a quickie here: this is Michael Vignola giving a quick recipe demo on how to cook a filet: