Tag Archives: rib-eye

Noi Due Carne

I’m always excited to discover a good new Italian place. Noi Due Carne really hits the high mark. Let me get right into it, before I reveal a surprise that I’m meaning to save until the end.

Fried baby artichokes:

I haven’t seen these since Rome, and they were every bit as good here as they were there. Perfectly golden crisp, expertly seasoned, and garnished with a bright citrusy sauce. I could eat this by the bucket.

Grilled marinated sweetbreads:

By far the best sweetbreads I have ever had. They were tender yet firm at the same time, not mushy and watery like other sweetbreads I’ve had. No sinew. All flavor. Amazing.

Spiced lamb flatbread:

You can pass on this. The dough or bread portion is just not up to par.

Beef carpaccio:

This was nicely drizzled with balsamic and had great texture from the crispy sweet potato.

Artichoke ravioli with a lemon and white wine sauce:

These were incredible. I get excited about anything artichoke-related, but my excitement is usually tempered by shitty execution. This place nails both artichoke dishes.

Cavatelli with short rib ragu:

Cavatelli is my favorite pasta. The beef was nicely prepared, and had a pop of interesting flavor from the pomegranate. I liked this.

This baby was made for going viral.

That may look like just an ordinary large meatball, but look inside:

That’s right. Spaghetti INSIDE your meatball!

Not really my cup of tea. Both components end up being a bit off when they’re cooked this way, and I feel like the dish is really only designed for the shock value of the presentation. The meatball itself was nice and spicy though, and the sauce on the plate was well prepared. This is probably something that’s fun to order for the kids though, since kids can sometimes be really picky eaters. Adults should pass on this. Especially men.

Half chicken al Mattone:

This had a great crispy skin on it. The chicken itself was a bit dry in parts, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the sweet potato puree underneath. But overall this dish was delicious.

Veal Milanese:

This was perfect. Pounded thin and flat, lightly breaded, and fried to a beautiful golden crisp.

26oz rib eye for two:

This is pricey at nearly $130, but there was no waste on it and no bone to beef up the weight numbers.

This was a 9/10 too. The simple olive oil and sea salt preparation really allowed the quality of the beef (USDA prime) to shine. It even tasted dry aged to me.

On the side we had some veggies and fries. Both just okay.

Dessert consisted of some kind of stacked, light, airy pastry with some sort of whipped topping and fruit…

A chocolate mousse cake of come kind, with some kind of frozen treat on top – like an ice cream…

And fondue with frozen banana, ginger snap cookies, marshmallows and strawberries:

The reason I’m cryptic about the pastry and the cake/ice cream is because, well, this place is Kosher, and I really have no idea how they pulled off pastry, whipped cream, cake and ice cream without using dairy. My wife would know, but I haven’t the slightest. Everything was really good.

But yes, that’s right: This place is Kosher. That’s the surprise I hinted about up top. This was the best Kosher meal I’ve ever had in the city, and I think I’ve had three or four? I would definitely eat here again. The fried artichoke, the sweetbreads, the artichoke ravioli and the steak were all top notch amazing dishes. Don’t PASS OVER (KNEE SLAP!) this place just because it’s Kosher and Kosher joints have a reputation for bad food.

NOI DUE CARNE
143 W 69th St
New York, NY 10023

Holy Ground

Holy Ground is a new sacred place for me. I like to call it Tribeca’s answer to the West Village’s 4 Charles. Only here, along with a sexy set-up, you get a bit more space and a hell of a lot more smoke.

Now, don’t get all excited; you can’t smoke here. I’m talking about smoked meats. I struggled with how to categorize this joint, but I ultimately decided to call it BBQ rather than a steakhouse or traditional restaurant, because several of the meat proteins are focused on smoking and/or slow and low roasting. Even their grilled steaks are slow roasted first, to allow flavors to penetrate deep into that tender, pink flesh.

You step into this meat sanctuary on the northwest corner of Reade Street, just east of West Broadway. That’s a mouthful, but read it carefully again and let it sink in. The door is pretty nondescript, but you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see this:

A hostess will lead you through a dimly lit, winding corridor and down a set of narrow, carpeted stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is a landing with a small but really fucking awesome bar parlor.

From there you can take in the vibe of this place, which is 100% my speed. It’s old tile. It’s dark wood. It’s deep reds. A speakeasy.

A few “rooms” are tucked away in nooks and crannies, up two steps here, around the wall there. Here is booth where we sat:

The four of us did some serious fucking damage. Let me get into it.

The cocktail menu is nice, but I had just tried a couple of cocktails (and a burger) earlier that evening at Manhatta, so I went with my usual: a gin martini. They are a bit on the small side, in those dainty, round, old fashioned martini glasses.

On a second trip, we tried both the red head and the odeon. Both were great. the odeon, on the right, is slammable!

The food menu is pretty meat-forward, but they do have some star quality fish and veggie items, which I will get into shortly.

We started with three apps and an entree to begin. I will tell you up front that we ordered nearly half of the menu, and nothing was bad. But the first thing to come out were these tremendous head-on, grilled red prawns.

They were damn delicious; one of my favorite dishes of the night. The heads hold a lot of juice, so when you pop them off, you may want some bread nearby if you aren’t going to slurp it all directly down your gullet like I did.

Next up was a plate of wings. These are smoked and char grilled, so they carry a fuckton of flavor. A great starter or bar snack.

We also grabbed the radicchio salad, which was one of my favorite items of the night. No shit. These veggies were perfect. I managed to get a shot before it was all gone, but my pic doesn’t do the dish justice. I will be returning soon to get it again.

The return shot:

We shared the beef rib as an appetizer. This is an impressive dish.

You’ll notice that sauce and color across several of the BBQ style dishes here. It has a mustard base with a little smokey and hot kick to it. Absolutely delicious. It’s like a cross of Carolina and Cajun style sauces. Very unique, like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.

The beef itself is slow smoked; tender, but still texturally intact. It isn’t some sloppy, soft, boiled, braised bullshit. This is the real deal. 9/10. And we learned that all the meats they use come from Dartagnan foods, which is a very high end purveyor of top notch proteins and gourmet ingredients.

On a second trip, my wife and I had the pork belly appetizer.

This is easily one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. The crackling is crisp, and that fermented chili sauce is killer. They only have a few of these per night, so go early if you want to try it. It is incredible!

Round two was the big show. This is where we crushed it. We couldn’t really narrow down our selections, so we just ordered everything – even the fish. We each had a different favorite too, which was pretty cool, and usually means that everything is great.

First, the wagyu brisket. This is the half-pound portion size for $21.

Again slow roasted and smoked, topped with that same delicious sauce. This is by far the best brisket I’ve ever eaten. 10/10

Next up, the Kurobuta pork shoulder. This is the individual portion size for $32.

This was so juicy. Extremely tender, and again that sauce really pushed it along into greatness. 8/10.

You may be thinking, “Well, shit, why don’t they come up with some more variety in the sauces on these things?”

My answer is this: most people aren’t ordering every major protein on the menu when they come here. Most likely just one person at the table is getting a dish that has the sauce on it. And most BBQ joints have the same sauce on the table for you to slather onto your meat anyway. No one is complaining there about variety, are they? I say it’s fine. The sauce is delicious, and it works with those three BBQ dishes (pork shoulder, beef brisket, beef rib). It might be on the pork ribs too, which we didn’t try on this run.

Our next protein was the king’s cut prime rib with smoked herb jus.

This baby was cooked dead on to medium rare even though it was smoked for hours first. That is a feat in itself, but it still managed to stay juicy and tender. Bravo. 9/10.

Take a look at how thick it is too, and the size of the cap. This easily feeds two people who have normal appetites, possibly three.

Last but not least in the world of meat was the grilled wagyu rib eye. This “Thousand Dollar Steak,” as it’s called on the menu, is 30-days dry aged and served with a demi-glaze and onion puree.

It, too, is smoked before being grilled. This went a little over, but it was no matter because it was still incredibly tender and flavorful. The sauce reminded me of a really concentrated onion gravy like mom used to make. It had a spectacular cap too. 8/10.

But wait… there’s more! Whole branzino.

This was char-grilled to perfection and served with a nice bright tartar sauce and lemon. One of my buddies said it was just like his mom used to make, and he loved it. This was one of my favorites of the night as well.

On a second trip, I tried both the ribs and the chicken. Both were served in a different sauce than the beef items above. They were different from one another, but both were on the sweeter side. I generally dislike sweet in my entrees, but this was mild and just right, not over the top. The chicken had an almost maple flavor to it.

The half order of ribs is enough. There are eight good-sized ribs.

For sides, we tried the broccoli, collared greens and mac and cheese.

The mac was the most superior of the three for me, and it was wildly tasty when we dragged those thick rigatoni pasta tubes through that delicious BBQ sauce.

I’m not sure how we managed, but we tried a few desserts as well.

This was a raspberry cheesecake, and it was served uniquely in a glass, almost upside down, if you will, with the graham cracker crumble as a topping rather than a crust.

A classic ice cream sundae in a mug. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream, toffee sauce, vanilla crumbs and whipped cream.

This is the Black & Blonde:

The base is a bed of toasted meringue, and on top are some toasted hazelnuts, a white chocolate bar and salted caramel.

This is one of my new favorite places to eat. Not only is the environment great, but the food and service are top notch as well. This place is going to start getting packed out, so make your reservations ASAP. I’m going back again very soon, and again and again as often as I can.

HOLY GROUND
112 Reade St
New York, NY 10013

Chicago Chophouse

Chicago Chophouse overall score: 88

My wife and I came here for our second steakhouse meal of the night on our last night in Chicago. While this was steakhouse dinner number two for the day, it was number four for the trip. Four steakhouses in three nights is aggressive. But that’s what I do.

Flavor: 8

We had the pleasure of going on a little tour of the kitchen and upstairs floors in the restaurant before we ate. I even had a chance to see my steak before it was cooked. Dry-aged rib eye:

1500 degree broilers!

This is how it came out:

Nice crust:

It reminded me a bit of my last visit to Delmonico’s. I liked it, but it was slightly over-salted. However, I love that all of their steaks get finished in rendered wagyu beef fat.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

You have a wide variety of steaks from both the dry-aged and wet-aged factions, as well as domestic wagyu and other selections. Below you can see some pics from their walk-in, showing wet-aged and dry-aged cuts.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions here are pretty good, and there are multiple sizes of each cut on the menu available to suit your appetite. Plating is in the standard steakhouse style.

Price: 7

The dry aged rib eye was a bit pricey at $69. This is more than NYC pricing, but then again dry-aged steaks are more of a rare thing here in Chicago, I have learned. The pricing on the seafood platter was fair though.

Bar: 10

This ground floor level drinking den is gorgeous, and it reminded me of Keen’s. I would hang out here any day.

They mixed a nice negroni and old fashioned too.

They are even opening a speakeasy on the second floor. I saw some of the pre-construction and it looks like it’ll be awesome.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There’s a healthy selection of alternative proteins here as well as some daily specials. I didn’t wade into that stuff on this visit though. I was streamlined for the rib eye.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We only tried the bacon and a dessert, since this was steakhouse dinner number two of the night. The bacon was thick cut Nueskes and glazed with maple syrup. So good.

How does one choose a dessert?

Go with the waiter’s suggestion: creme brûlée cheesecake. Very nice.

Seafood Selection: 8

My wife had a seafood platter for one. They ran out of oysters on the half, so they made up for it with that nice log king crab. This could have used one or two more items to round it out, but $25 is a nice price regardless.

Service: 10

Our waiter George was awesome. Super friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. The house even comped that bacon app for us, which I thought was very kind. The bread selection was nice and warm with spreadable butter too.

Ambiance: 10

I love this place. It’s set in an old townhouse that is rumored to be haunted, but the decor inside is in line with places like Keen’s, where it almost has an urban museum feel for the city of Chicago. When you come here, I definitely urge you to explore and check out everything on the walls.

CHICAGO CHOPHOUSE
60 W Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60654

Lawry’s the Prime Rib

Lawry’s The Prime Rib overall score: 92*

I’d never been to a Lawry’s before. I had heard good things, and of course we all know the seasonings from the grocery store.

But I honestly did not expect it to be as awesome as it was. The Chicago location is not only set in the beautiful historic McCormick mansion, but the prime rib is by far one of the best I’ve ever had. I would fly back tomorrow just for a repeat of this meal if I could.

Flavor: 10

We had the Lawry cut, which is $47 and comes with the famous spinning salad, Yorkshire pudding and mashed potatoes.

We shared this, which is why there’s a vertical emergency C-section scar on the meat in this pic (they plated it separately and I re-joined the meat for the photo).

I was blown away by this. It was so tender and juicy, so much flavor, and an incredible cap. I wish they had a location in NYC. They serve it with two types of horseradish: a cream and raw/grated.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

You actually have a pretty great selection of cuts here for a place that mainly focuses on just prime rib. next time I’d like to try the rib eye (roasted prime rib which is then grilled and seared) and maybe the English cut prime rib. They’re missing the strip steak and porterhouse, but who cares. I’m not even going to take points away for that, since you have like 19 sizes of prime rib to choose from.

Portion Size & Plating: 10

Portions here are large and you get a great deal of food for the price. Everything is plated nicely, and the table side service for the spinning salad and prime rib cart is truly awesome.

Price: 10

Despite the silly “share charge” of $15, this place is a friggin steal. For $47 we got the steak, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and a salad.

Bar: 10

Although there is no real street side view or windows to the outside world, the bar and lounge area is breathtaking.

They make a delicious martini with Chopin vodka, where the olives are stuffed with prime rib and horseradish. Awesome.

My wife had one of their signature cocktails with gin and cucumber that was incredibly refreshing on such a hot day.

And they even have a side entrance to the bar room with a speakeasy vibe to it, called Side Door. Their bar menu gives you access to some of the delicious food in Lawry’s, but it is mostly re-thought for snack type dishes and pub food.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

The prime rib is special itself here. No real need for other items to be marketed, and if they were, I didn’t pay attention. They do offer any other entrees aside from beef or fish, and I respect the shit out of that. Take this category’s score with that in mind. In other words, disregard it.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We only had what came with our prime rib; namely, the spinning salad, the Yorkshire pudding and the mashed potatoes.

The spinning salad is called that because they spin a cold metal bowl which tossing it. Romaine lettuce, sliced beets and a thousand island style dressing. Very classic.

The Yorkshire pudding is essentially a pop-over, and it was delicious.

Dessert selections are nice. At first we didn’t order anything. We were full.

But they brought us out an English trifle on the house for our anniversary, which is what we were leaning towards anyway. It was really nice and light. Great cake and great jam.

Seafood Selection: 7

There’s definitely something here for you fans of the sea. Salmon and lobster tails, to be exact. And some sides or starters like shrimp cocktail, of course.

Service: 10

Nothing like it. When you go here, you’ll feel like you stepped back in time. White glove service, extremely friendly and attentive waitresses, but not overcrowding or annoying. Very knowledgeable too, I might add. Here’s the inside of that prime rib service cart pictured above. Heaven.

 

The bread was basic, but the butter was soft and spreadable.

They paid attention to what we put on our OpenTable reservation, and we were greeted with a ribbon on our table, and treated to a free dessert.

Our waitress knew the Lawry’s Chicago story in and out. The space used to be a private mansion. It is absolutely stunning inside.

Ambiance: 10

This place is beautiful. I mentioned above that it used to be a private mansion (the McCormick family).

I’ve never seen a more elegant dining room.

Nice details in this joint. Check out this stained glass window in the lounge/bar area:

Bottom line, go here! This was my favorite meal in months.

LAWRY’S THE PRIME RIB
100 E Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60611

Gene & Georgetti

Gene & Georgetti overall score: 77

Another old timey Chicago joint that my wife and I hit on our trip was Gene & Georgetti.

This Italian place has been slinging food since 1941 with steak as their specialty.

The air conditioning was indeed comfortable, as the front of the menu suggests. In any case, we did a somewhat smaller meal here, as we were still a bit full from lunch and I knew I wanted to get another Italian beef sandwich later that night.

Flavor: 6

We shared the smaller cut porterhouse, which is generally meant for one. I think it was 24oz.

It was cooked nicely to medium rare throughout, and it was tender. Every bit of it was devoured. The down side was that it didn’t have a great char on it, and the flavor was a little weak, though it was indeed properly seasoned. There is certainly potential here.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

This place covers the four steakhouse basics and then some, with different sizing of each. Most of the beef is wet-aged, with the exception of the tomahawk special.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are good here. No complaints whatsoever. I think the plating is typical of old time steak joints: a semi-fancy plate with the item plated neatly in the center.  No fluffy bullshit; I respect that.

Price: 8

At this point I was starting to get used to Chicago steakhouse pricing. The marked up items are generally the dry-aged stuff or the specials. The single cut porterhouse came in at about $55, which is closer to NYC pricing, but it did come with a soup or salad as well as a potato. Not too bad.

Bar: 7

The bar here is a mid-century modern stretch at which I would be happy to sit and have a drink.

There’s a great plaque on the wall at the bar with an excellent quote:

And as for the drinks themselves, they’re nicely mixed. I had a negroni since this is an Italian steakhouse. It was delicious.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

They had a few items on special. Let me grab the menu for you:

Maybe we should have tried that tomahawk.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7

Aside from dessert, we really only tried the soup, salad and potato that came with our entrees. They had a shrimp appetizer that sounded like scampi that seemed interesting to me. Next time.

Nothing too impressive here, but all of it reminded me of what my mom used to make at home when I was growing up. Just not quite as good. Their “Garbage Salad” sounded way more appealing, and we should have ordered that instead. It has all sorts of meats and cheeses in it, which would have been exactly like my mom’s. The potatoes were just under-seasoned and under-crisped. Mom’s are better than these too.

Dessert was great, and it was a much appreciated gift on the house.

That’s pistachio, coconut, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Keeping it simple! I like it.

Seafood Selection: 8

There are a bunch of seafood entrees here, but we decided to try a seafood pasta for our second main course. A classic: linguini with white clam sauce.

This was great. Not only was there an abundance of clams in the shell, but the sauce was also made with minced clams as well. Very flavorful, with perfectly cooked pasta.

Service: 10

Top notch service here. Attention to detail, nice staff, and they pay attention to what you write on your OpenTable reservations. I was also a huge fan of their bread sticks.

Ambiance: 7

I love the old feel to this place, but I think it might be time for an update. The original touches and details can definitely remain, but maybe some spit shining can happen. I wish I was able to check out the upstairs, but it seemed like there was a private event going on up there. The two dining rooms downstairs were nice though.

GENE & GEORGETTI
500 N Franklin St
Chicago, IL 60654

Gibson’s

Gibson’s overall score: 87

On my first trip to Chicago, I made it a point to hit as many of the old classic steakhouses that I could. Naturally, Gibson’s was my first stop on that list.

Flavor: 7

W.R. Chicago Cut: 8

The WR Chicago Cut is a bone-in wet-aged rib eye. They nailed the medium rare cook temp, and the texture was tender and juicy. It had a great broiled crust as well. The only thing missing was that punch of flavor that I’ve come to love with dry-aging. Otherwise this was a great steak.

Prime Rib: 6

Unfortunately a big portion of this was chewy and not the greatest quality. The cap, however, was incredible. Despite the lighting here, the roast was pretty accurate to medium rare, with some edges coming closer to medium.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

Everything here is the proprietary Gibson’s brand of Angus beef, which they farm out of several ranches nearby. Everything is wet-aged, with the exception of the dry-aged tomahawk. They offer all of the basic four cuts in various sizes and preparations, and they are presented nicely by the waiter before you order.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are pretty good here. The side of broccolini was three huge bunches. The slice of lemon meringue pie was cartoon sized. Plating is fairly basic, but they did a beautiful job with the beef carpaccio.

Price: 9

We had a lot of food for the price here, and it was pretty refreshing to see that some cuts were even under $40.

Bar: 10

This place has a gorgeous, big bar room and lounge beside the main entrance. A perfect place to have a drink. And, of course, they mix a nice Gibson as well.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

The waiter read off a few specials but I didn’t really pay attention, as I was LASER focused on the steaks. Their dry-aged tomahawk is considered a regular special, it seems. Nothing else was offered in the realm of meat cuts. Lamb, pork and chicken are available for alternative proteins.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

One of the cool things about this place is that they give you a soup or house salad with your entree. This is probably common outside of the NYC steakhouse scene, but I thought it was pretty nice. Anyway, the beef carpaccio was our favorite of the accompaniments. It was beautiful and delicious. One of the best I’ve had.

House salad with blue cheese.

Soup of the day – lobster bisque.

Side of spicy roasted broccolini (this was lacking in spice and flavor, and had some unappealing lemon seeds on it).

Massive lemon meringue pie.

Seafood Selection: 9

There were five different seafood entrees on the menu, which makes for a wide variety. They offered salmon, white fish, lobster, bass and halibut.

Service: 9

Our waiter was awesome, knowledgeable and friendly. The bread selection was nice and warm, and the butter was soft.

Ambiance: 10

This place is gorgeous, so no wonder it’s a Chicago icon. There is ample seating indoors and outdoors, lots of elbow room and space, really beautiful and classic fixtures, and  old school decor. I love it.

GIBSON’S
1028 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

Char House

Char House overall score: 74

Char House is a new Chinese style steakhouse on Mott Street in Chinatown. I tried a nice variety of stuff here, so I think I got a good sense of the restaurant’s capabilities. Check it out:

Flavor: 8

Wagyu Sirloin: 8/10

This baby had a nice char on the outside, it was well seasoned and was perfectly cooked to medium rare inside. The cut itself was a little chewy, but for the price this wasn’t too bad.

Porterhouse: 7/10

This lacked a little seasoning, and didn’t have too great of a char. It did pack some nice dry-aged flavor though. Another miss here was that the filet side was overcooked.

Frenched Rib Eye: 8/10

This had a nice sized cap that packed a good amount of dry aged flavor. The steak had a nice char and it was pretty much cooked correctly – perhaps a bit on the rare side.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

The beef here comes from DeBragga, so you know you’re getting good quality. Char House does some additional aging in-house as well, and they develop some really nice flavors. As far as cuts go, they offer two large format rib eyes, a single cut rib eye, a strip, a porterhouse, the wagyu sirloin and a filet. That’s an impressive selection for a small steak joint.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions here are pretty good. The large format cuts that I tried clocked in at 36oz each. Each were meaty enough to feed two, although the filet side of the porterhouse was a bit on the small size. Sized and apps were nicely portioned.

Price: 8

The porterhouse and rib eye came out to $114 each (they charge by the ounce), which was a fair price, though a bit high compared to other small mom and pop style steakhouses. One item that stuck out as a bit pricey was the XO shrimp ($14 for three shrimp).

Bar: 3

This joint doesn’t have a bar. They offer some wine and sake selections, and I think some loose beer selections on ice in the front near the host station, but there are no seats at that area (which looks like a bar). I was hoping for some interesting Asian inspired cocktails. Oh well. Maybe in time they will build the bar out.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

I don’t recall our waiter or the host telling us about any specials, but they do offer roast chicken and pork ribs. I was hoping for some duck, being this is a Chinese joint, but no luck.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

Crab Cake

I really enjoyed this. It was reminiscent of the classic Chinese shrimp toast dish, only with crab instead.

XO Shrimp

These were nicely cooked and prepared, but I feel like $14 is too much for just three shrimp.

7 Spice Corn Brulee

This was really tasty. Creamy corn pudding, in a sense, with a great spice profile.

Sweet Soy Glaze Bacon

This was nice as well. Not in my top five, but definitely something I would order again if I came back. It had good sweetness to balance the savory.

Sesame Mashed Potatoes

This was a nice take on mashed potatoes. The toasted sesame flavors definitely bring you into the wheelhouse of Asian flavors.

Skillet Brownie a la Mode

This was a nice dessert. Not too sweet, as the chocolate was nicely balanced with dark bittersweet as well as melty milk chocolate.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s a whole fish as well as “Lobster Dynamite” on the menu here for entrees. Again I was hoping to see a bit more variety from a Chinatown steak joint, but I bet that whole fish is great. I’d like to try that if I go back.

Service: 7

The service was awkward. It was a Friday night at 7pm, and the restaurant was only half full at best, so I would have expected a bit more “on top of things” service. There seemed to just be one waiter, and the hostess ended up being our server for half of the meal. It also took a while to get the check, but everyone was super friendly and hospitable, and they even threw in some complimentary apps and sides. No bad attitudes or anything like that – very nice people, and everything on the menu was explained to us perfectly.

One thing to note here is the awesome bread basket. It comes with a variety of chips: sweet potato, taro, shrimp and regular potato. I particularly liked the inclusion of the shrimp chips. And the bread was super hot and fresh. Lovely.

Ambiance: 8

They did a great job with the space here. It feels both like a steakhouse and like a downtown Chinese restaurant. The music selection was a chill mix of electronic lounge type music and hip hop, and the lighting wasn’t too dim, but wasn’t too bright either.

CHAR HOUSE
43 Mott St
New York, NY 10013

Boucherie Park

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

Steak Tartare:

Tomahawk:

Iberico Pork:

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

Donohue’s

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

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

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

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

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

Donohue’s overall score: 66

Flavor: 6

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

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

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

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 5

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

Portion Size & Plating: 6

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

Price: 6

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

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

Bar: 7

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

Specials and Other Meats: 6

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

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6

I started with an order of crab cakes.

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

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

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

Seafood Selection: 7

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

Service: 8

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

Ambiance: 9

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

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

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

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

Four Cuts Steakhouse

Four Cuts overall score: 82

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

Flavor: 8

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

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

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

We also tried the filet “oscar” style.

This was a 9/10.

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

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

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

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

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

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

Portion Size & Plating: 8

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

Price: 9

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

Bar: 7

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

Drinks are pretty good too.

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

Specials and Other Meats: 8

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

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

The crab cake was meaty!

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

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

Sautéed asparagus with garlic:

Hash brown potatoes:

Sautéed spinach with garlic:

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

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

Seafood Selection: 8

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

Service: 10

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

Ambiance: 8

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

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