Tag Archives: quality

Quality Eats

Quality Eats overall score: 85

Fourth Wall Restaurants, who’s group includes Smith & Wollensky, Maloney & Porcelli, Quality Meats and Quality Italian, has just opened up this new casual joint.

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Is it a steakhouse? Maybe. I say yes in some ways, and no in others. I’ve decided to treat it like both a regular restaurant and a steakhouse, despite the fact that certain steakhouse review categories will ultimately be scored low due to a more minimalist menu and a completely different selection in terms of meat cuts. They focus on non-traditional cuts of meat here, so be prepared for something unique and different. Also be prepared for that Fourth Wall level of quality and excellence that you’ve come to know and love from them. The word “quality” is purposeful in this group of restaurants. Everything is always good at these places. That’s consistency, people… and I’m not talking about texture.

Flavor: 10
We had the bavette cut and the long bone short rib steak. Both were cooked to a perfect medium rare, both had tons of awesome beefy flavor, and any fat content was completely edible and tasty. Here are some quick angles of the long bone short rib:

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They only allow you to order this cut “pink or grey.” Due to the high marbling and location along the bone, this meat can get chewy if not correctly cooked to either of those temperatures. Clearly I went with pink, and I was a very happy camper. These guys are masters in the kitchen.

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If you’re wondering what it tastes like, think of the really flavorful bits near the bone of your rib eye steak, or the kind of meat you eat with cross-cut Korean style BBQ short ribs. So good.

Here’s a look at the perfectly cooked, beautifully charred bavette steak. Both plates came with a cup of corn creme brûlée – sweet yet savory, and creamy as fuck – and some pickled red onion. I explain a little bit about this bavette cut down in the next section.

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This was nice. It’s a smaller portion, but at $19 it’s a steal because of how delicious it is. The flavor and texture is similar to a hanger or a very soft flank. It gets cut on the bias, against the grain of the meat and muscle striations, to increase textural tenderness.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
Don’t let the low score here fool you. This place offers more affordable, less common cuts of beef, but the quality is still extremely high. They don’t have a rib eye, a NY strip or a porterhouse. As such, points must be removed for each missing item. Instead, however, they have a bone-in short rib steak (the meat that rides along the length of the bone as opposed to the eye meat. They have a hanger steak, which is relatively more common. But they also serve a bavette, or flap steak, which is an extension of the T-bone and Porterhouse steaks. It is officially part of the short loin section, in the belly of the animal. They also have top sirloin, skirt steak, and a specially prepared filet with mustard peppercorn sauce called the “Don Ameche” – that’s Mortimer Duke from Trading Places! So they make up for not having those pricey cuts. I wonder what made them glorify Don. It’s funny because I always thought a theme steakhouse or restaurant called “Duke & Duke” or “Winthorpe & Valentine” would be a great idea (located somewhere by Wall Street).

Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions are naturally a bit smaller for some of the less common cuts of beef, but the plating is really fun. They’ve got these line drawings all over the plates that match the decor of the restaurant.

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Price: 10
This is the most budget friendly of the Fourth Wall restaurants. The most expensive steak is $29, the cheapest is $19. Wonderful! I think you get your money’s worth here. You save a good amount when you eat here, and while doing so you get to try some steak cuts that you would ordinarily not see on other steakhouse menus. We had two apps, two entrees, two sides, two desserts and three drinks. Our total was $151, before tip.

Bar: 8
This bar has a great selection of unique cocktails, and some more hard to find beers. The bar area was pretty hopping on Friday evening when we went, in the 6:00 to 7:30 time frame.

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Specials and Other Meats: 6
Since the menu is not massive, you’re limited to chicken and pork here in terms of non-beef meats. There were no specials offered by our waitress.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We did the PB&J bacon. Yes. It’s peanut butter and jalapeño jelly, with bacon. It was stupendously good. The jelly was spicy and sweet at the same time. If moms pack this on a sandwich in their kids’ lunch boxes, those kids will probably grow up to be UFC fighters or something. That’s how badass it is.

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Our other starter was the steak tartare, because what is better to begin a steak meal with than raw steak?

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The toast came with a marrow butter and radishes. The butter was really creamy and beefy, and the radish added a little bit of crunch element and a bright pop to the bite. The meat texture was soft and delicate, very tasty.

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For sides, we first tried this scalloped sunchoke.

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Sunchoke is the root of a sunflower. If you’ve never had it before, it tastes like a mix of artichoke and potato. It is one of my favorite starch-veggie items in the world. This was done beautifully, like a scalloped potato dish with some broiled cheese on top.

We also tried the creamed spinach hush puppies. These were pretty interesting:

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A bit more dense and moist than your average hush puppy, the spinach inside added a juicy element to each bite.

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It was also served with a beef jus mayo for dipping.

The dessert menu offered an array of interesting selections. We went with two ice cream items. First is my burnt marshmallow ice cream s’mores, with graham cracker shortbread, toasted marshmallows and a fudge swirl. Awesome. I declare that burnt marshmallow flavored ice cream needs to be in every grocery store, ASAP. Each bite tasted like a campfire or post-grilling snack.

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My wife had an item called “This Shit is Bananas.” It’s roasted banana flavored ice cream with peanut butter caramel, candied bacon and cinnamon toast. ELVIS HAS ENTERED THE BUILDING!

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I liked mine better, and my wife liked hers better. So that worked out.

Seafood Selection: 7
There’s octopus, branzino and scallops for main course seafood items. However, you have some seafood on the app menu as well, like hamachi crudo, crab and shrimp. Since we didn’t try any of these, I will be using a placeholder score of seven for now.

Service: 10
Our waitress was fun, bright and informative. We never felt rushed or slowed down, and the manager and kitchen staff each visited our table a few times to check in on us. This is the kind of service that I expect and have become accustomed to with Fourth Wall. They’re great people.

Ambiance: 9
This joint does well with the small space. As you stroll past the bar you can go up to a back room area that has more seating. The lighting all over is warm and dim, comforting, but the walls are vibrant and interesting.

The details they put on everything, from the walls to the ceilings, to the cutlery and bathroom tiles, is all fun and light hearted (like the plates above). I like how the M on “Quality Meats” is made to look like it was scratched out or missing on all their logos and signage.

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There’s even some some meat- and drink-related tile work in the bathroom. It’s like an Atari game from the 80’s.

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UPDATE FOR UPPER EAST SIDE LOCATION 9/9/17

My wife and I stopped into the upper east side location for brunch. We started with a pair of drinks.

The menu here is fairly similar to the downtown location.

My wife got the spinach beignets, which were pretty much the exact same thing as the creamed spinach croquettes.

I went with the strawberry and pistachio morning bun, which was essentially a huge cinnamon bun made of croissant bread.

Delicious, but pricey at $16.

QUALITY EATS
19 Greenwich Ave.
New York, NY 10014

Quality Italian

Quality Italian overall score: 96

Flavor: 10
When you’ve eaten as much steak as I have, it takes a lot to achieve memorable, lasting impressions of a meal. QI delivered in spades. This was by far the best regular menu item steak I have ever had. I say “regular menu item” because, of course, when I dropped $94 on a 32oz wagyu rib eye at Del Frisco’s I got a better steak. But for $46??? Holy shitbags my friends… It’s $10 cheaper than most rival restaurants, and for that price you get the most delicious tomahawk style rib chop you will ever sink your teeth into. And it’s a nice big 28oz fucker to boot.
Juicy all the way through, from fat cap to bone. Perfectly cooked pink all the way through. Soft, tender meat even in the roast portion. The fat was delicious – not too oily or greasy, and all of it soft and edible. Seasoning was just right – not too salty to the point where you get the meat sweats afterward (hate that). Simply put: the thing is fucking fantastic. But not only is the steak incredible; everything else is too. My wife had the lemon chicken (pic below in “other meats” section); it was a generous portion size and really tender and juicy – even in the huge tit area (large breast) where things can tend to dry out. Apps, sides and desserts were some of the best I’ve ever had as well.  Read on, assholes.
rib eye before and after
rib eye before and after

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

Everything is prime and aged, and they cover every type of cut possible. They even offer some steaks for two, and a bunch of different types of filets for assholes who eat filets. Every base is covered, and then some.

Portion Size & Plating: 10

The plating was amazing here, just like it was at their sister restaurants Quality Meats and Maloney & Porcelli (Smith & Wollensky not so much). Little touches like herbs for garnish, interesting little porcelain cups filled with coarse salt, mortar and pestle containers for the fresh sauces, and just the way the food was decorated as well – not just slapped on the plate but artfully done. Portion sizes were all very healthy – healthy meaning big – not healthy meaning pussy-sized small dishes for losers on diets. The tartare was the size of a big burger. The sunchokes were two potatoes worth. The pasta side was enough for two no problem. The steak was huge, and the chicken was, I think, a half chicken (thigh, drum, wing, tit, still articulated).

Price: 9

I was a little surprised that the bill only came to $175 and change. For what we had, I was expecting over $200. Everything is extremely fair in price, especially when you take into consideration the PRIME real estate they have. Right on 6th avenue, overlooking the street, and just below the park. Are you fucking kidding? And steaks are still under $50 each??? Wow.
William Price
William Price
Bar: 10
There are two bars to mention here. First you are met with a really nice little bistro style open air/semi-outdoor bar at the front door. Great place to hang out for some negroni on tap, or house made white peach bellinis (also on tap) and watch the people whiz by on their way home from work.
signage and outdoor bar area
signage and outdoor bar area
Upstairs there is a big bar at the top of the steps. Nicely decorated, modern, sleek, but not pretentious. They make great drinks. My martini was perfect, and was garnished with the best olives (castelvetranos). My wife had a great drink called “the midtown,” which was made with bourbon, vermouth, sour cherry, orange peel, and burnt sugar. Nice ice cubes too for those who care (you know who you are).
half drunk martini and "the midtown"
half drunk martini and “the midtown”
Specials and Other Meats: 10
The waiter read off some delicious sounding off-menu specials, and highlighted a few featured menu items that were considered house specialties. One dish they have already become instantly famous for is the chicken parm. It is pounded flat onto a pizza dish and topped with sauce and cheese, then baked. It seriously looks like a pizza. I might have to go back to try this. Anyway they have all kinds of meat on tap here. Beef (of course), chicken, veal, pork, lamb. Everything is covered. One thing to note here – truffles on demand. What? Yes. You can have them come over and tick off a few shavings of truffles on anything your little heart desires (for a fee, of course). Fucking brilliant idea. Below is the lemon chicken dish I described above:
chicken alan
chicken alan
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10
We started off with the steak tartare and the grilled octopus saltimbocca. Both were fucking incredible. I liked the tartare at Quality Meats better, but it was still really great here. Underneath the patty of chopped beef there was a little pool of mushroom aioli, which was really great when you folded it into the meat and mixed it all up (with a squeeze of lemon too). They even had some shaved cheese on top for a salty crunch. The octopus was perfect. They swapped garbanzos (chic peas) for the cannolinis. I think this is a common thing in Italian food culture, because whenever my mom ran out of cannolinis she used garbanzos for our pasta fagioli. Either bean is fine. Both are great.
tartare and octo
tartare and octo
For sides we had sunchokes (a delicious cross between potato and artichoke, with an amazing little dipping aioli), and porterhouse filled agnolotti (little football shaped pasta dumplings/packages) with a brown butter sauce. Also amazing. They don’t offer creamed spinach here, but they did offer sautéed spinach. I was too excited for the sunchokes though, so I didn’t try it.
pasta and sunchokes
pasta and sunchokes
For dessert we shared a watermelon, lime, strawberry and basil sorbet. It was so fucking good. Very aromatic from the basil, and they even crystallized and sugarified some basil to sprinkle on top and garnish. Really interesting flavors.
sorbet
sorbet
So many of the other desserts looked good too. It was so hard to choose. They even had a cannoli cart rolling around where you could have them make and fill cannolis for you with whatever flavors you want. This place takes steakhouse dining to a whole new level.
Seafood Selection: 8
Other than the octo, we didn’t have any seafood. They had some nice sounding fish entrees like grilled branzino, etc. And they offered 4 different types of oysters on special (Montauk, Rhode Island, and two west coasters), a nice seafood tower, and some interesting shrimp based pastas. Next trip I will have to delve deeper into the seafood menu.
Service: 10
John was hands down the best waiter I’ve ever had – even better than the young guy at Keen’s that I was so impressed with. I instantly felt like I had known John forever. He was warm, funny, very nice, natural, and extremely knowledgeable on the menu. He knew it in and out, and he knew just where to go and what to suggest when we had follow-up questions. The management was the same way – all very welcoming and friendly. I had the opportunity to meet a bunch of people on the floor. Scott, Roger, and Mike: thank you for making me feel like such a celebrity! My wife was beaming when we left – we had such a great time and you really made our special night memorable. I only wish we had a little more time to spare. We would have loved to take Roger up on his offer to hang out at the bar for a while and have some after dinner drinks. Hopefully next time! Other awesome things to mention in the service department: fresh hot garlic bread. Bread like that makes me wish I had 4 hands (One for each lump, just like how Benny wished he had 3 hands – one for each tit – in the movie Total Recall).
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garlic bread
For larger tables, they have this bigger bread dish:
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Also; Kate, the sauce specialist. She made the steak sauce table side, mixing up concoctions of raisin molasses puree, fresh tomato, oregano, and other herbs/spices. It was like watching a wizard make a potion. She stirred it up nice in a mortar and pestle, and boom – we had the most delicious and fresh steak sauce in town. We put it on everything we ate, and even took some home with us.
sauce making
sauce making
Ambiance: 9
I love the simple, bare and elegant look here. They really made the best of the space. I think a few more booth type seats might be nice to add, but the concept here is a little more open anyway, so it might not fit right to have big private type booths jammed in there. The views out the windows are great. I didn’t expect to like a second floor dining room this much. The lighting was cool and interesting: glass balls held in a clamp or vice; very industrial, but not the meat-locker type of look that Quality Meats has. Even the shitter was nice, with its beautiful arched wooden doors. It smelled like the inside of a Yankee Candle store. You would never know that people shit and piss in there – very clean and pretty. For a second floor joint, tho splice is pretty dynamite.
dining room
dining room

 

the room where shitting happens
the room where shitting happens

UPDATE

I came back about a year later and really put the hurt on some bone-in strip, filet, and chicken parm. Check out the pics. This place still holds up really well after a year.

Thank you Roger and Gaetano for putting up another amazing meal!

We started with an order of prosciutto, and also ricotta cheese with honey, pine nuts and pear. Really fucking simple and delicious.

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Next came the chicken parm. Holy fuckbags, this is some blow-your-mind shit.  They pound out and chop the chicken into the shape of a pizza and then cover it with sauce and cheese. It’s amazing.

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They also offer a brunch version of this baby with eggs and bacon on top. Super tasty.

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Speaking of brunch, carbonara pasta!!!

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We ordered only the side of mushrooms, but the house sent out some kale carbonara and spaghetti squash too! All were amazing. The mushrooms were a blend of four different types; very earthy and fresh. The kale was really great. This dish beats creamed spinach any day.

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I had the bone-in strip. Really juicy and perfectly cooked. I ate every bite like a fat bastard.

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The filet stole the show though. My buddy got it with this dumpling that was filled with melted gorgonzola. Perfect!

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I almost forgot – the house sent out a free bottle of wine too. WOW!

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Some more food porn from a third visit. Man the shit is always on point at this joint.

Doughnuts:

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Veal osso buco for two:

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Pappardelle:

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Porterhouse for two:

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Mushrooms and peppers with the steak:

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One night my wife and I came here and really just focused on the pasta. Here’s a shitty photo of the really great bucatini with clams (cockles):

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The pasta was cooked perfectly and had a really amazing flavor, with a generous heaping of saffron sprinkled on top.

We had a side of artichoke mac and cheese. Really great texture from the bread crumbs on top, and gratuitous amounts of delicious artichoke brewing beneath the surface.

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On special was a garganelli pasta (similar to a rigatoni or ziti shape) with pork shoulder and guanciale (cured pork jowls). So fucking good.

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They really execute this stuff like no other place. I think my favorite pasta dishes all come from Quality Italian (like the pappardelle that you get with the veal shank, pictured above – fucking amazing).

That night we had the smores ice cream dessert. Burnt marshmallow flavored ice cream and a tart filled with brownie? Yes please!

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The drink selection is always on point too. My wife ordered a tricolor margarita. Check out the ice cube, layered with different colored margarita ingredients, so that when it melts you’r just getting more margarita, instead of water:

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And I was able to try some really nice beer that I’ve never seen before:

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After this non-steak visit, I put this place into a tie with its sister restaurant, Quality Meats. They top the leaderboard right now.

UPDATE 2/20/16

This place is truly amazing. I inserted a few updated photos above, but here is a look at their “bone-in filet” – a really nice piece of tenderloin that’s still attached to the vertebra.

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It was cooked very nicely and was super tender and juicy, yet retained a great charred flavor from the grill.

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My wife tried the balsamic lacquered filet, which is service with a marrow bone filled with fried hazelnuts and marrow. Delicious as well, and cooked similarly perfect.

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I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every cut of beef available here, and a few specials and steak alternatives as well. I can guarantee you will have a great meal here. My most recent waiter, Michael, and the manager Gaetano, really made us feel like royalty here. A few more shots of the incredible food here.

Corn brûlée:

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Sauteed spinach:

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Fries:

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Assorted gelato: ferraro rocher, coffee and nuts, and blood orange creamsicle.

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A beautiful lemon tart:

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Apple strudel thing:

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Tartufo for two (big enough for four):

QUALITY ITALIAN
57 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019