Recently I picked up a Groupon for this joint when they offered a pretty sweet deal: One app, two entrees/steaks, and two sides for something like $65. I figured that was a steal at more than half off the face value of the menu items. The place is Kosher, so I went with a buddy of mine who keeps to the old ways.
Talia’s has a very neighborhood, home style feel to it. Lots of regulars come in, and they even have live music on many nights during the week.
I had read online that some people didn’t like the service in here, but our waitress was friendly and accommodating, as were the people at the host and reservation table. I guess there’s a lesson here: never trust the morons on Yelp.
So on to the meat and potatoes (literally)…
The table bread here was really unique. This fluffy, semi-flat, naan-like bread had a half-sweet flavor quality to it, but that “butter” you see on the right was incredible. It’s not butter, by the way, because butter is dairy, and, in Kosher cuisine, dairy can not be mixed with the beef. Anyway it was salty, herby, really smooth and spreadable. Perhaps based from olive oil? I was devouring this shit:
You can even see the little oven thing where they make and heat the bread as you walk into the entrance door. It takes up some real estate at the end of the bar:
Next was the app: we went with the hummus and mushrooms dish. This came with more of the aforementioned bread. The flavor was excellent on this. The hummus was smooth and the mushroom and onion mix on top reminded me of gravy. If this was slathered onto some fried chicken, you’d think you were eating a middle eastern or Mediterranean southern fusion dish. It may look like vomit, but I assure you it tasted great. Both of us kist kept going back into this for more. But beware – it is very filling:
I ordered the grilled prime rib for one (16oz). It came out on a sizzling hot cast iron plate and smelled delicious. The meat was cooked slightly above how I like it (medium instead of medium rare), but that’s probably due to the residual heat of the cast iron plate. As you can see below, it came to me pretty correct in terms of temperature. The only down side was that it was slightly gamey.
It came with a choice of sides. I went with salad since we were already getting other sides with the Groupon meal. This was a basic mixed greens type of thing. Nothing too fancy or anything, and it definitely fits with the neighborhood, home-style, mom & pop type of restaurant feel.
My buddy got the butcher’s steak, which is a hanger. It was cooked to his liking at medium, had a great charred crust on the outside. I felt it just lacked a little bit of salt in terms of seasoning. His dish came with sautéed kale, which neither of us liked as much as the spinach (below). Something was missing on that – perhaps it needed some pepper or salt.
The spinach was a basic garlic and oil sautee. Pretty solid:
And the fries were golden and crisp. Nicely done:
Overall this place was actually pretty good given the limited menu options for a non-Kosher guy like me. I was happily surprised, as I was expecting the worst based on some of the reviews out there. I was satisfied and felt like I got my money’s worth. While it’s difficult for me to fit this into the standard steakhouse review format, I will give it a shot below.
Talia’s overall score: 58
Flavor: 6 – see notes above.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 6 – basically, we are working with only rib cuts, a hanger, and some form of knock-off tenderloin, since Kosher butchery requirements make it very difficult to extract the filet without running afoul of the system. There is no strip either.
Portion Size & Plating: 5 – basic plating with smaller than usual portions, but this is a low key, neighborhood family type of joint. I wasn’t expecting 24oz rib eyes.
Price: 7 – fair prices given the Groupon. Otherwise it may seem a bit overpriced. However they run the special quite often, so keep an eye out for that if you are considering this joint. You get a lot of food for that Groupon meal.
Bar: 5 – there are only about three or four spots at the bar.
Specials & Other Meats: 7 – there was definitely an entire page of special menu items and even cocktails. As far as other meats go, there was definitely a selection for those not wanting beef (lamb, chicken, etc).
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6 – a good showing, but nothing to really go bonkers about. The hummus was nice though.
Seafood Selection: 2 – There’s only two salmon dishes, so it’s sort of a weak showing. However, certain items that you typically find in steakhouses, like shellfish, are not Kosher, so they can’t be on the menu.
Service: 8 – Service was good. I don’t know what all the Yelping was about. We enjoyed our meal, the people were nice and we felt warmly welcomed. There are no waiters sitting around preparing themselves to swap your fork out or fold your napkin when you get up, but the water glass was always full, and we never felt like we were waiting around for service. Everything was as it should have been.
Ambiance: 6 – It was crowded, which is not a bad thing, but the tables were a little cramped. Since this is a local neighborhood joint, you are not going to get the crazy, opulent steakhouse vibe like you would down in Tribeca or midtown.
668 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 10025