Tag Archives: porter

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (Tribeca)

Wolfgang’s overall score: 87

Prior to a costumed “Bank Robber’s Ball” charity event, me, my wife, and my good friend went in 1920’s attire to Wolfgang’s for an early dinner. It turned out to be a great meal. A really solid steakhouse experience, and a place I will definitely visit again, if not one of their other NYC locations. See below. 
Flavor: 10
This place has some good meat. I had the ribeye, and my friend had the filet. Both were excellent. The filet was manly; a big hunk of meat on the plate, evenly cooked to a medium rare throughout. The bone-in ribeye was delicious too. Every bit of it was edible, quality, melt-in-your-mouth fat with good tenderness in the muscle. It was nicely cooked all the way through to a perfect, juicy medium. Temperatures and seasonings were just right.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Wolfgang’s sticks to the main four cuts; ribeye, filet, porterhouse for two through four, and strip. The good thing about it is they focus all their efforts into making those basics really well. To that end, all their beef is USDA prime and dry aged. This is serious good meat, so there is no deduction for lack of options in terms of cuts available.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portion sizes are great here. As I mentioned above the filet was a manly hunk of beef. I was impressed when I saw it, and I immediately refrained from calling my friend a pussy for ordering it. My guess is that it was at least 14oz. My ribeye was about 22-24oz.
Price: 9
The steaks themselves were fairly priced and similar to other places of the same caliber. The ribeye was $49, and a little less for the filet. However the bacon slices were a bit high at $5 each. They were great, so worth every penny, but just a bit on the high end. A martini runs $14, and our total bill for three came to $222 with tax and tip included. Not too bad, considering.
Bar: 9
The bar is really great here. I love the neighborhood, so having a nice view out the front onto Greenwich Street is nice. The bartender was really friendly and mixed a really great martini to boot. Good place to hang out, and made me miss the old days of when I lived in the area.
Specials and Other Meats: 6
There were no specials offered, but when we asked for a seafood plateau type of thing they did produce one (see below for the verdict on that). The only other meats I noticed on the menu were lamb and chicken, unfortunately.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
First we had the bacon by the slice; it was sizzling, thick, and freaking awesome. Next, my wife had the seafood plateau item (not on the menu) for her meal. It had lump crab, lobster, and shrimp. No oysters or clams. Throw a half dozen oysters on there and it is fine. But it is a far cry from the marvel of Strip House. However the creamed spinach was AMAZING. My favorite so far. There was a perfect savory flavor with the creaminess to cut it. It still retained that great spinach taste and wasn’t drowned out by the dairy aspect. We skipped dessert so I couldn’t comment on that.
Seafood Selection: 8
Sea bass, salmon, tuna and lobster grace the seafood menu here. Since we didn’t get to try any of those, I can’t rate them. My only gripe is that the seafood plateau was lacking, so I took two points for that.
Service: 9
Our waiter was nice, and his service was friendly, fast, and courteous. The bacon apps came out within moments of ordering. On the table there was a nice variety of seasoned breads to dig into as well, and the butter wasn’t ice cold – it spread nice and easily.
Ambiance: 9
This place has a great feel inside. There’s testosterone-laden decor with high ceilings and mosaic tile detailing. It is modern but manly. The floors are a dark, clean, wood laminate. A shiny glass wine room in the back center is very easy on the eyes. There’s a clean modern bathroom, with nice tile throughout trimmed by dark wood.

409 Greenwich St.
New York, NY 10013

Nick & Stef’s

Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse overall score: 86

This was my second time eating at Nick & Stef’s. The first time was a few years back, before I started reviewing. My wife and I went for an anniversary and the chef came out to ask how our meal was. I remember the steak was good that time (I had the strip). This time my wife had a coupon for $50 off the bill for her bday (sign up for their newsletters), so that was a recipe for return. Unfortunately this place is going to be closing for several months while MSG is renovated, so go while you can. Renovations may even stretch on into 2013 if certain things pan out.
NOTE: Nick & Stef’s is finally back! My wife and I went for a third visit on 02/25/14 and there were some improvements. See the below bolded items. 

Flavor: 9
I almost want to give this place a 10, but there was just a slight lack of flavor as I got toward the bone side of my ribeye. This is kind of splitting hairs, I realize… It was juicy and cooked properly, just lacked a little seasoning in that deep tissue. Otherwise it was fantastic. The ribeye had a nice thick and delicious fat cap, and it was butchered well. There was a nice sear on the outside and the meat was cooked perfectly even all the way through. However I didn’t taste any characteristic gaminess that I would have expected with aged and certified angus. I might have liked a bit of that.
oops. took the pic a little late

This time I remembered to take a photo. Since I had the rib eye and the strip already, I went with the filet. It was definitely still a solid 9 for flavor, despite much of it being nearly a step overcooked. Bravo for consistency of flavor!

They serve this little mound of joy with your choice of sauce. I had the horseradish cream, which is thankfully presented on the side, though it was great with the french fries (which came with the roasted chicken):


Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Nick & Stef’s offers dry-aged, certified black angus steaks. This official certification is meant to guarantee consistent, high quality beef with superior taste. They have a sirloin (meant to be the strip), a T-bone (similar to a porterhouse for one but with a much smaller filet side), a porterhouse for two, and a ribeye that fall under this certification. They also offer two sizes of the filet (pussy and pussier). In addition they have a hanger steak, braised short ribs, and some alternative chops like lamb and veal on the menu as well.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portion sizes are listed as follows: 14oz. for the sirloin/strip; 20oz. T-bone; 42oz. porterhouse; 24oz. ribeye (bone-in); and 8 or 12oz. filets. These are good sizes, but the sirloin is a bit on the smaller side (though it is boneless).

Price: 10
The steaks are an average price for NYC. This place is close to MSG, so I was thinking it might even be more expensive than it actually was. The steaks range from $36 (small filet) to $47 (per person charge for the porterhouse). Our bill was under $200 after tax, tip and all deductions. The martini at the bar cost just under $16 (I threw down a $20 since Lawrence knows a friend and fellow meat man, Carlos), so that ups it a bit. Overall a fair price.
I bumped the price score to a full 10. Again we were able to use a $50 birthday promo, since my wife’s birthday was in January. On top of that, the prices haven’t moved too much in the 2 years since our last visit. Awesome.

Bar: 8
The bar is cool. It has a unique wavy zig zag shape to it, creating a very conversational environment. Located adjacent to Penn Station and MSG, it can get pretty lively with the after work and pre-event crowds. It can be quite fun if that is what you are going for.
They make a nice gin martini – the Beefeater they use is the special 24 kind, so the flavor is much nicer than the standard. Fresh. 
On the third trip I tried the “Bloody Bull” – essentially a Bloody Mary with steak sauce mixed in, and beef flavor. My wife had a Manhattan that was on the cocktail menu, and it was mixed nicely. Easy to slurp.
20140225_181208_LLS 20140225_181139_LLS

Specials and Other Meats: 8
As mentioned above, Nick & Stef’s has veal chops and lamb chops. They also have a roasted chicken to round out the basics for non-beef. On the beef front, outside of the normal four chops they have a braised short rib and a hanger cut. On special were oysters, butternut squash soup, surf & turf (lobster + filet), a sweet potato fries side, and a striped bass entree served over a broth with butter beans.
Here’s a shot of the roasted chicken that my wife had, which comes with Parmesan and rosemary french fries. It was pretty good – though the breast meat was a little on the dry side:

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We had a few items: first, I had a half order each of both east and west coast oysters. The west coast were a bit more potent, while the east were nice and crisp. They were served with a really awesome mustard horseradish old bay infused cream that was incredible on everything. Top notch condiment. They should bottle that shit and sell the fuck out of it. The tuna tartare was just okay. It had a little bit of stringy texture to it, like the tissue between flakes of body meat were too over worked. We’ve had better elsewhere, though it did have a nice flavor overall with the capers, calamata olives and green peppers chopped up inside. We shared an order of creamed spinach, which cut the savory flavors nicely with a light veggie flavor. The green beans were good too – they were seasoned just right to bring out all the nice natural flavors, while still retaining a good snap and firmness in texture. My wife ordered the seafood plateau app for her meal, and it was pretty fantastic: mussels, clams, oysters, shrimp cocktail, lobster cocktail, lump crab meat, boiled crawfish, and salmon tartare were all included for under $40. The dressing on the salmon was basically the cocktail sauce (unimpressive – basically ketchup), but otherwise it was a really great item to order. For dessert we had the apple cobbler, which is served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I was not that impressed by it, but I was also pretty fucking stuffed from eating every ounce of meat on my steak.
On trip number three, we had sauteed spinach, which was just right – not too salty or overly garlicky.
We also had the steak tartare. It was okay – I’ve had better, but it certainly did the trick.
We also shared a key lime pie. Not nearly as good as Gallagher’s. It had a slight bitterness which often accompanies the center portion of key lime pie, but we still ate it all.

Seafood Selection: 9
This place offers a good amount of fish. Aside from onion soup, there is ONLY seafood in the apps section of the menu. Shrimp, crab meat and lobster cocktail dishes, raw clams and oysters, and a seafood platter that even has crawfish and ceviche. In addition to the cold stuff they have lobster bisque, crab cakes, tuna tartare, fried calamari and baked clams. Solid. On the entree side they offer a mixed seafood grill, crab cakes, salmon, grilled whole branzino, yellowfin tuna and shrimp scampi. They also had a special striped bass item that wasn’t on the menu. It sounded delicious.

Service: 9
The waiter reminded me of a more cheerful, upbeat version of Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption. He was great and friendly. The waitstaff are mixed male and female, but all wear traditional white shirt/black tie combos as a nod to tradition. The table breads were nice and crispy: a roll, a log, a bun, and some flats with a spreadable butter. Basics.

Ambiance: 8
It doesn’t help that there is scaffolding all over the front of the restaurant, but anyone familiar with NYC doesn’t care about that, since at any moment at least 1/4 of NYC is covered by the blight of restoration/maintenance/repair. The interior is in need of an upgrade. It is semi-sleek and modern, dimly lit, nice, but not trying too hard. The ceilings feel a bit low, since the awkward ceiling levels have been covered over with a strange angled architecture that was meant to look cool, but instead looks more like a bad wooden version of Superman’s fortress of solitude. The music selection was great: Sinatra and the crooners, mixed with some 40s and tin pan alley. The bathroom had stacks of nice thick paper towels, but the door was positioned oddly such that they had to hang curtains to block the view from outside to give some privacy to those taking a piss at the urinal.
FINALLY – the fucking scaffolding is GONE. 
But that interior… Man – I don’t like it.

9 Pennsylvania Plaza
New York, NY 10001

E&E Grill House

E&E Grill House overall score: 89

NOTE: This place is now CLOSED!
My wife discovered E&E Grill House through one of those coupon deal websites (Living Social). It seemed like an interesting quasi-steakhouse kind of place, so we gave it a shot. I think the deal we purchased was something like $40 gets you $90 worth of menu items. Not bad! As it turns out, E&E happened to BLOW AWAY many of the so called top steakhouses in NYC. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality, flavor and choices available here, and most impressed with the extremely friendly staff.
Flavor: 10
Everything here tasted exceptional – apps, sides, entrees, and dessert. Here I will focus only on the steak entree. I ordered the ribeye, as I always do to test the mettle of a steakhouse. The meat was perfectly cooked to medium, it was allowed to rest properly to keep those juices locked in, and the flavor had a slight gaminess to it (it was aged prime beef) that added character. Perfectly seasoned – not too salty or overly crusted with seasoning. Just right. These guys know how to handle their slabs of meat. The central portion had nice marbling because the meat stayed soft and tender, it chewed easily, and was packed with goodness. The fat cap was a bit smaller than I had hoped, but it was so freaking delicious. I picked the bone clean. What a welcome meal after last night’s misery at Gallagher’s. That’s right – I ate fucking ribeye two nights in a row, and this place STILL scored top marks. The meat man is impressed.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
E&E offers two filets: 8oz (for pussies and women) and 14oz (a bone-in conundrum for people with more than a few inches of penis dangling between their legs). They have a hanger, a skirt, a strip and a ribeye as well. They don’t have a porterhouse on their standard menu (I took a point for that), but they still offer both strip and filet, so you can create your own porterhouse if you really feel the need to. Porterhouse isn’t really my thing anyway. But they make up for the lack of a porterhouse with the alternative selections (hanger and skirt), which were nice to see on the menu.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portion sizes are a bit on the smaller side. I think they are good for the money though. The filets are 8oz and 14oz (these are actually right in the average zone). The strip is a bit small at 12oz (lunch size at Ruth’s Chris). The 9oz hanger, and the 8oz skirt are a bit small as well, though deceiving if you see the size of the hanger on the plate. The ribeye gets close to normal at 18oz (bone-in). The plus here is that you get a great meal for your buck; every ounce is delicious.
Price: 9
The steaks range from $23 (hanger – nice sized portion by the way – bigger than you expect) to $58 (ribeye), so they are about right for the size, perhaps bordering on slightly expensive if you don’t have a Living Social coupon. The bonus here is that they regularly offer deals through Living Social and those kinds of websites, so you can basically get $50 of your meal for free if you keep an eye out for those deals before you go. Our bill, after all deal deductions, tax and tip, came to about $150 – sweet!
Bar: 8
The bar is so-so. It isn’t bad by any means at all. It is neat, clean, chic – not the traditional steakhouse type of bar. It is a bit small, so not sure if I could see myself hanging out there other than while waiting for a table. The place is adjacent to a nice hotel so there is likely some traffic from there, which is good for E&E since people will likely eat and enjoy the place after having a drink, or before going to a show. The bartender was really friendly, and made a great martini just how I like it (very dry). The best part about the bar is that they have a really awesome selection of specialty cocktails with bold new ideas and ingredients (such as elderflower, cucumber water, and other fresh taste bud popping flavors) in conjunction with rich, old-timey classic favorites. We tried the Violet Beauregarde (great name) and the Hendrick’s 49. Both were fantastic.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
This place has pork chops, lamb chops and chicken by way of alternameats. They have tofu on the menu. Come on, man. Really? WTF!!??!? I had to take a point off for that, just because. I guess it is nice that they are thinking of vegan losers too, but maybe I am just an old fashioned carnivore (with an appreciation for the societal good inherent in bullying). If it were up to me, vegans would be shaved, sterilized and destroyed! In addition to a good selection of other meats, they also had some specials on the menu. Three to be exact; first was an appetizer special of west coast oysters + caviar. Second was Onaga fish (similar to red snapper, hailing from Hawaii). Third was duck l’orange (breast and thigh/leg). We had two of these – read on for the verdict.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10
AMAZING! EVERYTHING WE ORDERED WAS AMAZING! First, we started with a trio of appetizers; the special oysters, the grilled bacon, and the buffalo steak tartare. The oysters were really fresh, and the caviar on top made the flavor pop. Instead of Tabasco they offered Sri Racha to kick the spice level up. YES! Sri Racha is awesome on anything. Put it on cardboard and I will eat it. The grilled bacon was the ultimate; nice thick slabs of perfectly cooked goodness with a creamy, zingy sauce on the side to dip into. I could eat that shit all day. The buffalo steak tartare was delicious too – very lean, and served with a cooling bone marrow mayo that added just the right amount of fat back into the meat. What an amazing flavor that marrow mayo had to it. It was like a refreshing, cool fat-foam, and served beautifully inside a hollowed out length of bone (where the marrow would normally be). The entrees each come with a sauce and a side item, which is rare in the steakhouse world. Usually sides are a la carte, over priced, and over sized, and sauces are an upcharge. These sides were just right. We had creamed spinach and grilled broccolini. Broccolini is my favorite veggie on earth, so I was psyched to see it on the menu. It was nicely grilled and packed a lot of flavor. The heads had a beautiful char on them that added a crispy texture to the normal snap of a nicely cooked veggie. The creamed spinach was very nice and creamy; not too rich but it still had a lot of flavor to it. Before I move to dessert I need to mention the sauces. If you are getting a steak, order the sauce ON THE SIDE. The steaks are so well prepared that you really shouldn’t cover them with anything except for the saliva that dangles from your mouth as you drool and wait to dig in. The sauces are good, but probably better for going into on occasion rather than with every bite. That is my opinion anyway. I had the “blue butter” which was essentially a blue cheese flavored butter. It was really delicious, but I couldn’t do every bite of my steak with that on top. I was glad I ordered it on the side. My wife had the tomato shallot white wine sauce, which went perfectly as a bedding underneath her fish entree. For dessert we shared a slice of key lime pie. Our waiter (Chris, who was awesome – see below) informed us that it is made fresh on site every morning. It had a great tartness to it without being too sweet, or “cloying,” as assholes on Food Network like to say all the time. Add to that the nice airy meringue and you have a perfectly balanced dessert. The table breads were interesting too; warm homemade biscuits with a smooth whipped honey butter. Nice touch!
Seafood Selection: 8
They only have a salmon dish and a scallop dish on their entree menu in terms of fish. But their apps feature smoked salmon, crab fritters, and mussels. Add to that the specials of oysters (app) and the Onaga (entree), and you are ALMOST at a top-notch seafood level. I think they should scrap the tofu entree if it’s not a big seller, and replace it with a nice seared sushi-grade tuna dish, like a tataki preparation or something. Sure – it is a little expected, but I think it goes with the chic and clean decor style. The Onaga was really great. The meat was succulent and fell off the cut in pieces that resembled lump crab meat. This Hawaiian fish is similar to red snapper, but a little more robust and meaty. A nice fit for a steakhouse, I think. It had a great crispy crust to boot.
Service: 10
I was greeted with warm smiles and a friendly attitude when I walked in. At the bar, I met a gentleman who was genuinely interested in his customers, and very amicable; he asked about growing beards, as I had a nice full one at the time. He mixed a great drink as well! Our waiter Chris could not have done a better job. He was extremely helpful with suggestions on dishes, sauce combinations, etc. He did an amazing job explaining how certain dishes were prepared, and was very thorough in describing the specials and answering our questions. His personal opinions on which dishes he liked best were helpful too, and our dining experience was heightened by his exceptional service and attention to detail. Overall the staff here is just on another level. E&E should be proud of them, and I look forward to returning for another fantastic meal.
Ambiance: 8
E&E is more of a modern steakhouse/restaurant. So temper your expectations with that knowledge up front. I typically prefer the old-school steakhouse feel, but I am not opposed to the modern style if done right. For example, Primehouse is one of my top rated steak joints and it is a modern joint rather than the old style of Keens (also a favorite). In other words, I don’t discriminate. E&E did a really wonderful job with the space here. It is modern, but not pretentious and overly trendy. It is just right. I particularly liked the paintings/photographs on the wall that were screened onto floor tiles and mounted together. Very nice! Everything is clean too – bathrooms included (small, personal, one-at-a-time deals).

233 W. 49th St.
New York, NY 10019

Gallagher’s Steakhouse

Gallagher’s overall score: 76

Gallagher’s is an old-time New York City staple that got its start as a speakeasy during Prohibition (what a horrific idea that was). It is known for its window-of-steaks and hickory log cooking process. It has always been highly recommended. Tonight it got the Johnny Prime treatment. See below for the specifics.
NOTE: Gallaghers (no more apostrophe) was just recently remodeled and overhauled to be a completely new steakhouse. See my updated review for the improvements.
Flavor: 5
Unfortunately, Gallagher’s lacked punch. The strip had decent flavor, but the filet and ribeye were both under seasoned. My ribeye was tight in the center part, which means there was not enough marbling. I also had a lot of gristle in the fat cap – so much that it was inedible. That means the best part of the steak was essentially ruined. I also had a taste of an end cut of prime rib; the crispy edges were great, but otherwise it was a bit dry and over cooked. I suppose that is somewhat expected with an end cut though. Maybe someone who is a more of a steak purist would like it here since there is not much by way of seasoning, but I am also talking about a lack of basic salt and pepper use as well. Overall, I can put it this way: I have had much better steaks at local “mom-and-pop” Long Island places for half or a third of the price.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
Gallagher’s offers a great variety of beef. They have all four standards. Their signature cut is a 21-day dry aged (in-house) prime sirloin NY Strip. They also have the necessary filet and ribeye cuts. For the slightly vaginal, they have a prime rib, which is essentially a slow-roasted ribeye. They also offer the giant burger known as the “chopped steak,” and a “sliced beefsteak,” which I believe to be the porterhouse, though I am not positive. Their website says that all of their steaks are prime quality and aged, which I believe to be true since you can actually see the meat in the aging room as you walk in. However I expected more out of my meat than what I got here in terms of quality, so I am taking points off despite what I saw in the showcase. There should be no tightness or gristle in a prime, aged ribeye that costs close to $60. I had both tightness and gristle, not to mention an overall lack of flavor.
Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portion sizes are good – not huge, but that is probably due to the fact that the aging process shrinks the cuts slightly (sometimes up to a third). The NY Strip comes in 14oz or 18oz sizes. There are two sizes of filet as well, 10oz and 14oz. The ribeye was estimated at 18-20oz.
Price: 7
Our bill for four people came to about $125 each, tax and tip included. We had a few drinks, a big sharing-sized seafood platter, we each had a cut of steak, we shared two sides, and then we shared a light dessert with some coffee. The bill seemed reasonable, even though the seafood platter was a bit expensive. Had the steaks been better, Gallagher’s might have scored higher with respect to value. Since the steaks weren’t that great, I had to drop the score here.
Bar: 9
The bar is nice. It is old fashioned, and the bartenders are nice gentlemen. They have baskets of home made kettle cooked potato chips lining the bar. They tasted like they were seasoned with garlic and Parmesan cheese – really tasty. The martini was well mixed too ($13.50 a pop for Beefeater).
Specials and Other Meats: 8
This place has a great selection of alternative meats. Pork chops, lamb chops, veal chops, roasted chicken and even a calf’s liver steak. Nice! But there were no specials in the beef section.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6
We had the seafood platter for an appetizer. It came with lump crab meat, shrimp cocktail, a full lobster, smoked salmon, oysters and clams. It was the best part of the meal, so worth the hefty price tag (something like $140). On the side we had creamed spinach and onion rings. The creamed spinach was sucky. It was watery, and it lacked flavor and creaminess. Skip it. The onion rings, like everything else, lacked salt and flavor, though they did have a nice crisp to them. The chips at the bar would have been a MUCH nicer side, and they were free! For dessert we each had an espresso and shared strawberries and cream. Basically, nicely ripened and sweet strawberries topped with a dollop of homemade cool whip. You can’t really fuck that up too much, so we figured it was a safe bet.
Seafood Selection: 9
EVERY appetizer except the steak tartare is seafood. Shrimp cocktail, fried shrimp, clams, oysters, crab cakes, lump crab meat, fried calamari, and smoked salmon. For entrees they have salmon, halibut, lobster, crab cakes and a fish of the day.
Service: 9
Our waiter was good – no complaints. He was nice, non-intrusive, and fast. He also answered some questions we had about famous guests and the decor. The bread on the table was semi-warm, and there were a few different varieties of rolls (everything, onion, ciabatta, etc).
Ambiance: 9
Situated in the upper Times Square area and the theater district, Gallagher’s gets a lot of foot traffic. People gawk outside and stare at the meat room, and who wouldn’t!? It looks delicious. The inside is old fashioned and traditional, with a full male wait staff (as far as I could tell) wearing bow ties. The tables are covered with red and white checkered cloth picnic table material, the furniture is all old wood stuff (some of the stools at the bar are really old and wobbly), and the walls are covered with sports memorabilia and photos of famous people who have visited the establishment. The bathrooms boast oversized old marble furnishings typical of the 1920s.

228 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019

Maloney & Porcelli

Maloney & Porcelli overall score: 90

I had heard wonderful things about this place from a friend and coworker – specifically about the signature pork dish – so my wife and I decided to go here for our Christmas dinner.
I’m not sure if it truly qualifies as a steakhouse, but I am treating it as such based on the menu, which is clearly beef-heavy.
Flavor: 9
This place was incredible for the entrees. I ordered a ribeye, and my wife ordered the crackling pork shank. The steak was cooked perfectly from end to end, it was juicy, well portioned, nicely seasoned and delicious. The pork is really something special though. The skin is so crispy and the fat underneath just melts in your mouth. Some of the best eating I’ve had in NYC right there.
On subsequent visits, I’ve tried the Bronson Pinchot steak: 9/10

As well as the Wellington Rossini: 8/10
Their porterhouse is a 9/10.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
There was a great selection of beef. First, they have five different styles of filet and two different sizes for each: classic, cajun, au poivre, roquefort crusted, and oscar. Add to that a “bone-in” filet (the conundrum) on special. Impressive… but if you are ordering a filet it may as well be a filet of flounder in my eyes. Man up and get a real cut of beef, pricks. Next, they have porterhouse for two, a ribeye (two sizes), and a sirloin (also two sizes). There is a braised short rib as well. I took points off because there is no porterhouse for one, and no proper strip steak. All the meat is prime quality though, so that is a feather in the cap. Furthermore, it’s all dry-aged on site.
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions are big. My ribeye was on the order of 22-24oz (bone-in), and the pork shank was certainly enough to feed two. The scallop appetizer portion was a little on the small side, but the sides were enough for two or more, so it evens out.
Price: 8
The price point is about right for NYC steakhouses. It could even be considered a bargain considering that this place is semi-legendary among NYCers, and is usually packed out on any given night. It is $48/pp for the porterhouse, filets range from $42-$52 depending on preparation and size, the sirloins are $43/$48, and the ribeyes are $45/$50. The martini is $14.
Bar: 9
The bar is an island set-up. They do make a good martini, and they use castelvetrano olives with the pits still inside as garnish, which is a huge bonus as they are my favorite kind of olive (bright green, ample brine, and meaty but not too firm). One cool thing about the bar area is that there is a row of bar stool seats that face into the kitchen. Essentially the kitchen is open view to the public. You can sit and nurse your drink or order bar menu items and watch the cookery in full swing.
Specials and Other Meats: 10
Roasted chicken, rack of lamb, and braised short rib are all on the regular menu along with the big daddy – the crackling pork shank with firecracker applesauce. This place is famous for that dish.
On special they also had plenty to choose from, apps and entrees alike, so this place definitely gets the full till on this category. Don’t skip out on the bone-in chicken parm. This thing is killer!
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7
We had a bunch of stuff here.
First, an order of east coast oysters (6) – blue island and malpeque. They were delicious. There were one or two shell shards, but nothing to deduct points over. Next we had a sea scallop appetizer and the plate of blood sausage and sweet breads. The scallops were on the small side. There were two on the plate for about $16, and they were half the side that a normal scallop should be. They were closer to bay size than sea size, if you catch my drift. They were also a bit overcooked, which was a shame. The hints of fennel were nice, and otherwise they tasted great. The sweet breads were crisp outside and creamy inside. A little buttery, but I didn’t mind so much. The blood sausage was nice and mild in flavor but small in portion size. However there was a nice “stuffing” that accompanied the items to make up for it. On the side we had creamed spinach and the “signature balls.” Sounds delicious, right? PICK A NEW NAME FOR THE BALLS M&P! The spinach was a bit watery and not so creamy, but the lack of cream was not unwelcome considering how rich everything else was in the meal. The balls were essentially potato hush puppies, supposedly filled with cheese, though I didn’t get much of that flavor inside. They definitely tasted like chive though – they were just mediocre. For dessert we had a variety of creme brulees. There were six flavors (chocolate, key lime, banana, almond, coffee and vanilla). They were neatly served inside empty egg shells in a porcelain egg holder. Very cool, and a bonus point on plating! It was fun to taste them all.
On a subsequent visit, I couldn’t help but try the dry-aged meatball. This thing is beautiful, all covered up with melted mozzarella and swimming in a light marinara sauce.
The wagyu carpaccio is intensely marbled.
Seafood Selection: 10
They offer several preparations of lobster, salmon, tuna, trout, red snapper, and even a roast whole fish. For the vagina of your dining party, this place certainly has a great selection. From what I hear, the quality and taste is fantastic; especially the trout. They also have the standard apps, like lump crab meat, shrimp cocktail, lobster cocktail, clams, and a variety of east and west coast oysters. There were seafood specials too, both under apps and entrees.
Service: 10
Our waiter(s) were a bit impersonal. They didn’t seem as attentive as other places we have been to and that I have rated. In fact, they served us our apps and forgot to take our entree order. My wife had to call the guy over to take our entree order when we were nearly finished with the appetizers. They made up for this though by giving us each a complimentary glass of champagne at dessert. Nice touch. The table breads were warm when they came to us; a loaf of pretzel bread served with a mustard seed butter. Very innovative and fun. They also serve this extremely flat, crispy item that almost looks like a tortilla or some kind of flatbread cracker. We didn’t have any in our basket, but other diners did. What up wit’ that?
Ambiance: 9
The look is early to mid 20th century, but it isn’t as authentic as other places feel. There is a wrap-around upstairs that encircles the outer perimeter of the restaurant and looks down over the main dining area and bar. We sat up there. Everything looks nice and is clean. The music was crooner stuff and tin pan alley, which I liked. The bathroom was big and clean, and they had stacks of individually folded cloth hand towels for drying off. Nice.

37 E. 50th St.
New York, NY 10022

Pace’s (Port Jefferson)

Pace’s overall score: 82

A big group of us went to Pace’s (the Port Jefferson location) for a Christmas steak dinner. Below are the results:
Flavor: 8
Fortunately I was able to try a little bit of everything. I ordered the ribeye, my wife ordered the marinated porterhouse, and a friend ordered the “surf and turf,” which came with the non-marinated filet. First of all – the ribeye was perfectly cooked from end to end (9/10). Exactly spot on medium from the fat cap all the way to the bone. That is amazing. A bit more crust on the top and bottom would have sent this baby into the 10-spot, but it is certainly a solid hunk of meat. The marinated cuts soak for three days in what I guess is a sweet garlic-soy concoction. It was really nice for the first few bites, but after a while it is a bit much (8/10). Stick with the standard preparation, even though they offer “Oscar” style (with crab meat), and “Tuscan” style (with Gorgonzola melted on top). The filet side of the porterhouse was tender and juicy, as was the strip side. The non-marinated filet that came with the surf and turf (soif & toif) was perfectly cooked, but it lacked seasoning. I’m not sure if they use a different cut for surf and turf than they do for the petite filet, but that could be why there was a lack of flavor intensity (7/10). But if you go for the standard beef cut to test the mettle of the meat (aka the ribeye) you will not be disappointed. There were clean bones all around the table, as five of us ordered the ribeye.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
Pace’s has most of the basics. They have filets in two sizes (7-9oz; 10-12oz), a ribeye (24oz bone-in), and porterhouses (30-32oz for one; 52-56oz for two). What is missing you ask? The strip. They offer a double cut sirloin (20oz), and a NY shell steak (20-22oz). The shell steak is meant to be considered a “strip,” but come on – lets get with the program. Get the real thing.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions are just right. The ounces listed above are on par with the big dogs of steakhouses. Bone in or boneless, you get a good amount for your dollar here.
Price: 8
These were fair prices, especially when compared to NYC steak joints. The most expensive cut of meat is $45 (porterhouse for one). Ribeyes price in at $42, and filets at $32 and $38. Seeing a filet under $40 is refreshing these days.
Bar: 8
The bar is nice – not too big, not too small. I could definitely see myself hanging here for a drink and some bar food. The only problem is that Port Jefferson is so far away. They made a nice, ice-cold martini to my liking: Beefeater up, very dry, and with olives.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
Roasted chicken, Long Island duckling, rack of lamb, and double center cut pork chops grace the alternative meats menu here; a good selection (hats off to the duck, which I like to see on steakhouse menus), but no other beef cuts like flank, skirt or hanger. On special there were some enticing seafood items, like Chilean sea bass and some lobster items, along with a few apps.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
I tried the crab cake and the “filet mignon spring roll” appetizers. The crab cake could have been a bit lumpier (as in less shredded and “filled”), but it had a good crunch to it, and good flavor. The special filet mignon spring roll with Gorgonzola cheese was okay. There was some chew to the meat, which was slightly disappointing, but overall it was interesting and worth a detour from the usual orders (oysters, wedge salad, etc). For sides we had creamed spinach, steak fries, and mashed potato. The mashed had a bit too much garlic for my liking, and were a bit dry inside (I admit that I am spoiled by my mom’s mozzarella mashed potato platters from childhood). Everyone at the table liked it except for my wife and I. The steak fries were nothing special to me either, though others did like them. I’ve personally had better at my local “Carousel Diner” in West Islip. The creamed spinach was good though: not too heavy (a dark green color), but it had enough creamy smoothness to cut the salty meat in between bites. Nicely done.
Seafood Selection: 7
Seafood is delivered fresh daily to Pace’s, so you have to go there to see what is offered. A regular menu item, however, is lobster (starting at 2lbs). They only had one featured seafood item on special, which was a horseradish crusted Chilean sea bass on top of a bed of sauteed spinach. It sounded marvelous, but since we didn’t have our dicks tucked back into our asses like a bunch of nancy-boys, we all decided to get meat, like real men (ladies included). Two more seafood items might have boosted the points here. I am not one to order seafood entrees at a steakhouse, but sometimes I want a good selection. Perhaps Pace’s is confident enough in their meat and fish to only have the one item offered? Bold move? Maybe. Since I didn’t try it, I can not properly judge. Based on lack of choices, though, I have to take a couple of points off.
Service: 9
Our waiter was great. We didn’t really test his knowledge, but he was attentive, and made good suggestions in terms of appetizer sizing and what he thought was good. The bread was warm and multifarious. The whipped butter was cool and hard at first, but it quickly became spreadable.
Ambiance: 10
Situated in picturesque Port Jefferson Long Island, Pace’s is located on a narrow one way street just off the main strip of town, in an old historic structure that was probably built in the 1600’s or 1700’s. The walls are exposed brick, the trimmings are nice wood blinds and wood-colored drapery. Pictures on the walls are old Long Island street scenes; authentic and classy without being cliche. There are several alcoves and small dining areas that offer privacy while still allowing for the feel of community in the dining space. It is cozy, but not stuffy or tight-spaced. An interesting touch: the bathroom is equipped with a mouth wash dispenser and small dentist-office cups for rinsing out. They also stock that baby with quality disposable thick cloth hand towels. Bonus.

AJ Maxwell’s

AJ Maxwell’s overall score: 76

I used to love this joint. I have been here, I think, four times. My wife and I used to get $20 and $40 gift cards in the mail from them randomly, simply by virtue of them being a newly opened restaurant that was loyal to new customers. I dig that. We were happy the first few times we went, but this review is based on a much different dining experience.
Flavor: 7
My buddy and I each had ribeyes – their supposed “signature” dish. We were both a bit disappointed. We experienced tough meat in the central portion of the ribeye (no marbling), and an overall lack of flavor or seasoning throughout. It wasn’t bad, but certainly not on par with my prior experiences here and steaks at other joints. My buddy ordered medium rare and it came to him rare at best. It was VERY undercooked. Bad. I’ve had the ribeye before, and it was better. I’ve also had the filet and braised short rib, which were better than average.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
AJ offers porterhouse for two, three or four, ribeyes, all manner of filet, and even some specials – like a bone-in filet (the conundrum). Score for that. To top it off, they have a killer pinot braised short rib. My feeling is that they are passing off high quality choice for prime, or using low quality prime (if that is possible). There is just not enough flavor going on in the cuts – likely due to lack of aging, or lack of quality marbling. At least not like I remembered from previous visits.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions are on the heavy side, which is good considering you aren’t getting the best flavor or quality. At least in this respect you get some good poundage for your buck. EAT UP and SHUT UP.
Price: 6
Too high. For $55, I expect my ribeye to be fantastic, especially when it is marketed as their signature cut. I’ve had better tasting ribeyes for $40 on Long Island. Know your role, AJ. You are slipping. For six oysters ($17), 2 ribeyes ($55 each), the cheapest bottle of wine ($??) and a trio of appetizers ($21), the total came to about $150 each (tax and tip included). Better off hitting Del Frisco’s around the corner for that cost.
Bar: 9
The bar is great, and the bartender, who is a regular fixture there (his name escapes me at the moment), is really friendly. He will get you whatever you want (such as a steak or a double espresso), and mixes a really good martini. The bar room is cool because it sits right along the windows of 48th street – nice place to hang, especially after a hard 60 hour work week.
Specials and Other Meats: 8
I’m always happy to see alternative meat on the menu. AJ’s is good with that. They always have a nice non-traditional cut, along with the braised short rib and pork/chicken/veal cuts.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6
Let me say, the six oysters we had were fantastic… but the fries were sub par (I’ve had better at the diner around the block from my house), the creamed spinach was blah (it lacked seasoning and was a little watery), and the mac & cheese was something on the boxed level. No crumbs, no meat folded in, no burned crisp to it… absolutely no texture. Over all a disappointing app experience (aside from the great, cold, fresh oysters [which were a little overpriced at $17 for 6]). The oysters even came with a nice little basket of hot sauce, fresh horseradish, crackers and other sauces.
Seafood Selection: 8
Honest – I didn’t really pay attention to anything other than the appetizers – they had lump crab, lump lobster, a good shrimp selection, and fantastic oysters. Viewing their menu online shows a normal type selection for the vaginal non-meat items.
Service: 9
Our waiter was awesome – good guy, knew his meat, helpful. That’s all I ask for. He didn’t push anything on us, nor did he leave us lacking anything throughout the meal. 
Ambiance: 8
As a relatively new corporate type steak joint, AJ’s is a bit lackluster in terms of charm, but it is nicely decorated and set up. I think with more time it will come into its own, or start to develop its own character… but right now it is just a very plain type of space.  It is nice and open, high ceilings, etc… but basic. The bathroom urinals are cool because they have a foot-pedal flush, so you don’t have to dirty up your hands anymore after they just cupped your balls. That’s always a plus.

Club A

Club A overall score: 86

UPDATE 5/6/18

I finally had the chance to come back in to Club A and dig on some steaks from the regular menu. The older review below was based on two meals where we used a Groupon and were limited to what we could order. This time I was here for some Instagram photos, so my wife and I tried both the rib eye and the porterhouse. Here’s how it went down:

Porterhouse: 9/10

This baby was nearly perfect. I only took a point because the seasoning was a hair too light. Otherwise the strip side had a really great texture, and the filet side was as soft as a baby’s ass.

Watch as this baby came to the table:

The photos and video make it look very overcooked, but it was just my light shining too hard. It may have been closer to medium than medium rare, but there was plenty of pink to go around.

We really enjoyed this.

Rib Eye: 8/10

This could have used a little more salt, and I only detected the dry aging on the edges by the small cap muscle, but we destroyed every ounce of it.

This baby was perfectly cooked.

Dead on medium rare.

We actually start with the steak tartare.

Here’s a yolk pop and mix video:

This was really nice. Very tender and flavorful.

Bread basket is on point:

Negroni at the bar was very refreshing and well mixed:

Great ambiance both inside and outside. They have live jazz on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and a private room upstairs that I didn’t know existed.

Loved this on the back of the menu:

And the service is impeccable. They even brought out a pair of mushroom ravioli, carrots, and mac and cheese for us even though we didn’t order them:

The dessert plate came out for us gratis as well. Look at how pretty this is:

New Score Totals: 86/100

Flavor: 8
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Price: 10
Bar: 7
Specials & Other Meats: 9
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
Seafood Selection: 9
Service: 10
Ambiance: 8


As nearly all NYCers know, Club A has been running an enticing promotion on Groupon since the Spring of 2011: $80 four course dinner for two, with a bottle of wine included (now $99 for the same deal in 2017). Here’s my review, though I kinda wish my wife stopped Geoffrey Zakarian on the street and begged him to cook us a private meal. She passed by him on her way to meet me.


The choice of beef cuts with the special deal were either an 8oz filet or a 10oz hanger steak. Naturally, I chose the hanger cut, because I think it shows more finesse and skill to prepare a good hanger steak than it does to whip up a filet. Also, the hanger generally has more flavor and character than the monotonous and generally same-at-every-place-you-go filet can have. My steak was good. It had decent flavor, but it was not tenderized or aged in any noticeable way to enhance it. Parts were stringy, which means the fat was not allowed to break down in the aging process.

It came to me just how I ordered. I asked for medium rare, and I was given medium rare. This cut has a tendency to be tough, so a fast cooking approach with a slice on the bias or a slow, long braise is generally best. I’ve had a better hanger steak at non-steakhouses. 7/10.

My wife had the veal shank osso buco on our first trip here, which was better than my steak that first time around. I had originally given the hanger a 6/10, but after the second trip I bumped it to a 7/10. On the second trip, my wife had the filet.

This was tender and had nice flavor throughout. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare and had a good sear on the outside. 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

Club A has the standard selection of steaks on their regular menu, plus some special cuts and high quality meats like “Kobe” rib eyes and prime aged stuff. Perhaps my flavor review would be higher if I had ordered off the regular menu, but these were test visits. I’m not sprinting to go back, but I definitely would because I see good potential. Perhaps if someone insists, I will try it again.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

The portion sizes were good, and the plating was above average. The veal osso buco came with a mini fork to get the marrow out of the bone – nice touch. The hanger was pre-sliced, properly on the bias, and served with a watery gravy (but good). The bacon appetizer was a generous half-inch thick slice of heaven.

Price: 9

The price was great – $80 for four courses each, plus a bottle of wine (now $99). The quality didn’t quite exceed the value, but I guess they have to draw the line somewhere to distinguish between the bargain menu and their regular menu. Prices for regular items are standard NYC steakhouse prices.

Bar: 7

There is a small bar in the front of the restaurant – not impressive, but nicely set up.

There is also a larger bar upstairs splitting the front and rear dining areas, but these spots aren’t the kind of place you go to hang out. The upstairs bar seems to be unmanned, though I’m not sure if it gets more lively at night.

The martini was nice, but the atmosphere pales in comparison to other steakhouse bars. This is a neighborhood joint though, not a major steakhouse attraction, so allow some leeway. The waffle cut potato chips on the bar were a nice snack.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

I must say, the menu is full of meatery. Aside from the special beef cuts, they also have a prime pork chop, veal, chicken, sausage, and lamb. They’ve covered all the bases with various sizes as well.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

The bacon app was fantastic on the first visit, but just good on the second. Recently I’ve had better. It wasn’t too salty, and for the most part it had a good amount of fat balanced with the meaty parts.

On my first visit, the steak tartare was sub-par: over cut with capers, red onion and other doo-dads; it tasted yummy, but it seemed short on actual meat. Also, some of the consistency was chewy, like they didn’t trim the fat off before chopping. On the second visit, there was a noted improvement to this dish, though it seemed to lack a bit of seasoning.

The sides were decent. I liked the creamed spinach, despite it being a bit thin or watery. The mac & cheese was delicious, however, with an awesome cheese crust on the top.

As for dessert, the tiramisu and cream puffs tasted homogeneous. Similar textures (aside from the crunch of the profiterole shell), similar flavors… dull. The profiterole shells, I think, need to be dusted with powdered sugar right when they come out of the fryer. They tasted a bit savory rather than sweet. The chocolate mousse they sat upon was delicious, however.

Seafood Selection: 9

Decent selection of seafood, even a manly fish like swordfish made its presence known on the menu. There are good sounding alternatives for the vaginal.

Service: 8

Good service, attentive. There was an assortment of varied warm and room temperature table breads to snack on.

They ranged from sweet to salty. Butter was still cold, and steak sauce tasted like it was 90% ketchup.

Ambiance: 7

At first I hated the place. Dimly lit with red tones all over, typical framed photos of celebs on the walls, a cheap looking but pretty gas fireplace on the back wall of the first floor dining room, and cheese-bag electronic lounge music playing like we are at “Centro-Fly” from a decade ago. But then the music switched to instrumental funk, jazz and crooner… and we went upstairs… WOW – Beautiful view of the lit trees out the floor to ceiling windows in the front of the building. Non-traditional and small, but stunning.

On my second visit, the music was more along the “golden oldies” lines, and I still liked the upstairs better than the downstairs.

240 E. 58th St.
New York, NY 10022


Keens overall score: 96

Keens holds a special place in my heart, and is easily one of my favorite places in NYC. The ceiling is lined with clay churchwarden tobacco pipes. I’m talking EVERYWHERE. I smoke a pipe on occasion, and I almost always use a churchie, so when I first found out about this place back in 2003 or 2004, I was flipping out. I went once back then and had a porterhouse with my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time. This time I was with a group of friends, so I got to taste much more of the menu. Interesting factoid – Keens had a fire and lost all their records of who owned what pipes. All they have left are the serial numbers written on them. Many a famous person had one in the place, including presidents and the like. My friend Joe’s grandfather had a pipe in there, and we inquired about how to go about locating it. Bottom line – we need to know the serial number of Joe’s grandfather’s pipe. Once we find that, we can locate it in the restaurant and stare at it in awe.
Flavor: 10
I ordered a braised short rib. I know, I know. PUSSY! But let me ‘splain. Everyone shared, and Keens is known for many things. First thing they are known for: they didn’t allow women into the place until it was well beyond normal. Second, the pipes. Third, the mutton chop. And fourth, the braised short rib. I love braised meat, so I figured I would give it a shot, since the other stuff on the menu was basically covered by the other diners at the table. It was tasty and good, but a little dry. That means it was either cooked too fast, or cooked too long. Okay – no biggie. My buddy got the mutton chop, which was amazing. Nice clean gaminess, thick as hell, on a nice bone, and seasoned to a beautiful crisp. The others at the table (the same rag-tag crew from Dylan Prime) split a porterhouse for three. That was hands down the best porterhouse I have ever tried. The strip side was a little tough and chewy, but it was full of great flavor and prepared/cooked flawlessly. The filet side was perfect. PERFECT. On a second trip, the strip side far exceeded the filet side. I would give it a 9 for flavor here, but the braised item doesn’t really count now, does it? The brilliant mutton and the unbelievable porterhouse make up for it in scores.
porterhouse steak for two

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

They have a great selection of some really nice looking meats. As mentioned above; mutton chop, braised short rib, the porterhouse, lamb chops, pork chops… Notice anything missing? THE FUCKING RIBEYE! THEY DO NOT HAVE A RIBEYE ON THE MENU! WHY!?!??!?? I will never understand. As my dad once said; “Everyone should have rib eye… even McDonalds.” I suppose they only serve it when they have it on special? Perhaps it is so good that they only do it on occasion. I will go back, and next time they better have it on the menu (on a second trip – STILL no ribeye – but they do have prime rib). Three points off what was an in-the-bag 10 if they had even a 12oz choice cut ribeye with no marbling whatsoever. Bad move Keens. UPDATE!!! On a third visit they had a rib eye. It wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it was good (8/10). I’d say it was about 16oz, boneless, and juuicy/tender. As promised above, I have given the full award for points here, now that a ribeye has made the menu. Alas, though, I had to remove some points again because on yet another visit the rib eye was gone. I guess it is only a once in a while offering.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

I think I recall someone at the table saying they thought the portion size was small for something – perhaps the steak for three? I was a little bit buzzed up, so I can’t remember… But the mutton was massive, and I thought the steak for three was huge, especially since I ate about 6 or 8 ounces of it toward the end of the meal when everyone was getting full. The short rib was a bit lady-like, but not TOO dainty. It really is a woman’s order. Come on guys… Don’t do what I did. Get the porterhouse. The creamed spinach was normal size to slightly small, but I think they split a portion up into a few ramekins for us to share easier. I am hesitant to take a point off because I am a little fuzzy, but my heart says take one.

Price: 10

Once again, Tom picked up the damn bill (THANK YOU!), so the meal was free. It was an effort to get him to let us pay the tip. How can I give anything less than a 10? To be honest though, the prices are fair and you definitely get your money’s worth, so a 10 all the way. On trip number two, steak for two, two sides, one app, and a couple of drinks came to about $80 per person, including tax and tip – totally reasonable. Here’s a recent bill for two:

Bar: 10

Not only is the steak great, but the bar at Keens is one of my favorite places to hang out even if I am not planning on eating. It has timeless character, it is classy, it is old New York, and it is always fun. Plus they make a mean martini with nice big, fat olives. And HOLY SHIT the scotch menu is only rivaled by the Brandy Library in Tribeca in terms of selection and quality. They sport five different laphroaigs, and three different lagavulins – those are my two favorite scotches. They just don’t make places like this anymore. Martinis run about $15 here, and Keens has their own beer (made by Brooklyn brewing company, i think) – its a nice IPA, not overly hoppy.

Specials and Other Meats: 10

Like I said earlier, they have everything except ribeye. This is simply an amazing place to eat – there really is something for everyone, even vegetarian assholes. I’d like for the ribeye to be a main fixture, even if it is a “special” or off the menu. No real “specials” to mention, but for other meats the obvious star is the mutton.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10

We skipped apps this time around, but last time I had a lobster cocktail, which was really well done. The creamed spinach was really unique; it has a hint of clove to it that really set it apart from other places. Plus is tasted really friggin’ awesome too. For dessert I had the cask strength Laphroaig that always nearly blows my shoes off. Potent but leathery-delicious. In all honesty, this category might NOT deserve a 10. I simply didn’t try enough items. What I did try was fantastic on both trips though, so I can’t take a point in good conscience. One a second visit, I had the bacon app, which was delicious. Not quite on the level of some other joints, but still really great. We also had the french fries, which I think you would be hard pressed to find better in NYC – they are up there with the best in town.
creamed spinach and french fries
Some apps from a second visit – halibut tartare and littleneck clams: 
Dessert – creme brulee and coffee ice cream:
Bacon – perfection!
The prime rib hash browns. from the bar menu, are incredible.

Seafood Selection: 9

Sole, salmon, shrimp and lobster. Not bad! Plus all the usual apps and shellfish, with an added selection of cured salmon that I was really tempted to try. I would have liked to see a meat-eaters fish on the menu though: maybe a swordfish steak or something good and manly.

Service: 11 (only 10 scored)

“But these ones go to 11” – Nigel Tufnel. If I could give an 11, I would. Wait a second… I can! This is my game, bitches – but I won’t count the extra point. I need to maintain some level of integrity; the 11 is in spirit only. Our waiter, Chris, KNEW HIS SHIT. It is because of him that Keens is an 11 in spirit. I even TESTED him about the history of the place. He busted out a really eloquent explanation of the establishment without even sounding scripted or rehearsed. He also made really good suggestions when it came to the food, and, for his young age, even seemed to know a good deal about fine scotch (they have a menu of over 200 different scotches). Attentive, polite, not annoying or prying – just an overall good experience. On another visit, our waiter Muhammed showed us that he knew all about the history of this place as well, and was really great – a true gentleman. As far as table items – they had these really awesome, large, half-sour pickles in a tray with olives and celery. The bread was really tasty too – warm, butter easily spread, etc.

Ambiance: 11 (only 10 scored)

An 11 can go here too; for real – and same with the bar. Keens is hands down the best ambiance and atmosphere of all the steakhouses I have ever been to. It is old, but not quiet and musty. It is vibrant and fun, but not loud and annoying or over-crowded. It is manly, but also really inviting for people of all sexes (women and trannies included). This place isn’t just a restaurant – it is a destination, a landmark, an experience, a hangout. The pictures on their website don’t do it justice, and when you are in there, you feel like you are a king. The history of the place is really amazing too. I recently learned that they have an actual playbill from the theater/show during which Lincoln was assassinated (see below), and they also sport one of Teddy Roosevelt’s taxidermied hunting trophies on one of the walls.
Bread basket: nice and warm.
Crudite: crisp and refreshing, good dipping sauce.
Martini: shaken up  nicely.
12-ingredient salad: a dozen praises.
Tomato & onion with mozzarella: standard steakhouse starting fare.
House-cured salmon: a good briny beginning to a meal.
Pumpernickel nut bread that comes with the salmon:
6-east and 6-west coasters: both delicious and crisp.
Seafood platter: 6 oysters, 4 clams, 4 shrimp and half a lobster. Great deal for $52.
Prime rib: juicy, tender, delicious.
Mutton: an excellent alternameat for those looking for something bold and unique.
Filet mignon: simplicity at its finest.
Creamed spinach: warm and inviting, green with cream and nutmeg.
Escarole that came with the mutton: YES! Escarole needs more attention in restaurants.
Mushrooms: a good little side.
Mutton slice: a perfect medium rare cook job.
Doggie bag: woof.
Coffe cantata dessert: coffee ice cream with chocolate, berry sauce and topped with a marshmallowy whipped cream.
Creme brûlée: a classic.
Stilton cheese plate dessert (comes with a glass of port): funky.
“The Bad News” – ouch
Ambiance: a NYC icon.

72 W. 36th St.
New York, NY 10018

Mark Joseph

Mark Joseph overall score: 82

Mark Joseph is a well known steak joint down by NYC’s South Street Seaport. The word among steak-folk is that one of the owners was formerly employed with Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn, but then left to start his own legacy. As it turns out, a fellow carnivore friend of mine knows one of the other owners or investors in a roundabout sort of way through the butchery and meat packing industry; my friend worked for a meat company that one of the owners ran. It is comforting to know that the pedigree of this place is firmly grounded in the meat biz. This rating comes on the heels of my second time eating at this fine establishment. Groupon had a great $25 for $50 offer recently so I jumped on it in hopes to refresh my meat senses in order to give this place a thorough review.

Flavor: 8

My first time here, my wife and I got the steak for two (porterhouse). It comes out on a sizzling hot plate, cooked a little under from what you ordered. The plate is so hot that you literally finish cooking the slices to your liking right on the plate. Now, this is tradition in the spirit of Luger’s, and it is cool from a theatrical perspective, but not cool for other reasons. I am not a fan of it. Why, you ask? The meat has not had a chance to rest when it is sliced. This creates a pool of blood/juices under the steak that ruins the crisp texture of the bottom while draining it of moisture, rendering the meat dry if you don’t scarf it down ASAP. It tasted good enough though, so there’s that.
This trip, I went with the ribeye to truly test Mark Joseph’s mettle. It was good. Crispy outer edges and crust – perfectly cooked – well rested, well seasoned.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

This place is pretty bare-bones. Porterhouse for two, three or four; a “sirloin,” which I assume and hope is a real strip at a place like this; a bone in ribeye (thank God they had the sense to leave the bone in), and filet. There’s nothing wrong with a bare-bones approach to steakhouses. I appreciate it, actually. If a place is willing to really focus their skill on the basic four cuts and make them perfect, then that is something to be proud of. This is what Mark Joseph strives for. They offer the “chopped steak” as well, the large, glorified, bun-less hamburger, but I think it is a wasted menu item. Throw a skirt on there, or another dead animal other than the steer. They DO have lamb chops though, which I always am tempted to order at steakhouses but refrain from doing so. The quality is all prime, dry aged, so that is a feather in the cap.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

The portions are healthy here, at 28oz for the bone-in ribeye, and 16-20oz for filets. Plating is basic; hot white plates; nothing fancy, yet it still remains elegant.

Price: 8

The steak for two is $82, which is fair in comparison to other high end NYC steak places. At $51, the ribeye is a bit on the high end. Eight oysters ran us $17, $16 for the tuna app, $10 for sauteed spinach, $12 martinis (after tax) and $4 per slice of bacon. Our total bill was $204 – and special thanks to Groupon again for knocking that additional money off.

Bar: 9

Nice bar. Three TVs (30-40inch flat screens), friendly bartender that mixes a good martini (filled high with fat olives), great scotch selection, and close to the seaport (nice environment).

Specials and Other Meats: 7

Aside from seafood, the only other meat Mark Joseph offers is lamb. I appreciate the gesture. The place basically says “fuck you” to chicken and other pussy meats. I think a cherry pepper pork chop or maybe something more game-oriented like venison could make a showing though and MJ would still keep that macho attitude. As for specials, there were none. Oh well.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9

I can’t for the life of me remember what I had the first time we went here, so all I can do is judge based on this last visit. MJ seems to take the approach of “simple is better” or “showcase the quality of the ingredients” with their apps. They are all delicious. We had oysters on the half shell (creamy, crisp & cold), a slice of bacon (freaking AWESOME here – I even buttered it – yup – buttered bacon), tuna tartare (nice solid sushi grade chopped chunks, no fatty whiteness – nicely seasoned/dressed – very simple but yummy), and sauteed spinach (very nice – better than their creamed spinach, which I do recall that we had the last time we went). For dessert we had the apple crunch pie, but it was not crunchy. It was served with a scoop of whipped cream that had me fooled into thinking it was ice cream at first. A point off for false advertising on the lack of crunch.

Seafood Selection: 7

Tuna, salmon, lobster, and (kick his ass) sea bass are the entrees to consider if you are going vaginal here. The appetizer menu is riddled with great looking shellfish too; clams of every preparation (including raw), chilled oysters, and multiple preparations of tuna, crab and shrimp. My wife got the lobster tails, which were done very nicely. The bang bang shrimp and tuna avocado tartare are both nice apps to share as well.

Service: 10

Service is top notch. Well dressed in the traditional white shirt & bow tie, attentive but not annoying, and they know their meat. Sometimes I like to test them on their knowledge, but there was no need; the waiter immediately told me all about the ribeye when I asked how big it was. A good note here: the bartender remembered my drink order after I sat down. When I first get to a steakhouse, I like to order a drink at the bar, assess things, etc. When the waiter put my order for a second martini in, the bartender remembered, and asked the waiter if it was the same customer. Nice touch. I like that. The table breads were a nice assortment of raisin pumpernickel, slices of rye, onion bread buns, and standard dinner rolls – all toasty and warm. The butter was cool/cold, but it was whipped so not that hard to spread against the warm bread (and bacon). This has changed to a simple dinner roll, a very nice one though. The steak sauce is very sweet, but when you eat it with their bacon it almost tastes like pineapple.

Ambiance: 8

The owners took the Luger concept and made it more upscale. The dark wood furniture is contrasted with the bright white linens and curtains. Yet you don’t get a sense of pompousness or over-elegance. It is the right mix of manliness and culture; like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a tuxedo. The bathrooms could use a little work – they are standard bar type bathrooms, but with a good smell and some interesting Yankees memorabilia.

261 Water St.
New York, NY 10038