Tender overall score: 77
Tender is a sushi and steak joint in midtown. I recently purchased a Groupon: $49 got me $70 worth of food, though I think I paid less with a coupon code. Anyway, check the review below:
I had the rib eye. This thing was damn near perfect. Despite this being a somewhat small sized boneless cut, I only took a single point, and that was because some of the fat was a bit gristled and non-edible. I’m trying to reserve the 10-spot for when I eat every scrap.
The meat was perfectly cooked inside. If I had to guess, I’d say they are using a sous vide machine, because the ONLY part that was not pink was the immediate edges, which had a wet crisp on them. Check out the cut and you’ll see what I mean in the cross-section:
The steak was served with some roasted garlic too, which was really soft and spreadable.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
This place has all four of the basic cuts (FRPS – filet, rib eye, porterhouse and strip), however they are only available in one size each. The menu says that the strip is dry-aged and the rib eye is Black Angus, so the quality is good there. There is no other beef available other than a meatloaf entree.
Portion Size & Plating: 7
Portions for the steaks are a bit on the small side. The filet is only 8oz at $38; the strip is 12oz at $54; the Black Angus rib eye is 16oz at $50; and the porterhouse is 40oz at $47/pp, which is $94. Since it is only offered for two, they may as well just say $94 on the menu instead of using the per person cost. I’m uncertain whether you can order it for three and have it be something like a 60oz cut. Plating for the steak was really pretty: a wood tray with a stone inlay plate.
I’m glad we had a Groupon, because I think the sizes of the steaks ran a bit small at this price point. When I saw $54 next to a 12oz strip on the menu, my eyes widened in disbelief. That’s way too high. That said, I think we had a good deal with the Groupon purchase, so I wasn’t cringing when Sir William Price arrived at the table:
This was a confusing visit. A good portion of the restaurant was shuttered due to a private event, so I think we were seated in the smaller rear area, where they had a secondary bar. I’ll give it the standard score of eight as benefit of the doubt, because I think the bar in the main dining area sits along some nice frontage on 47th Street, and has a full walk-around square of bar seating space.
Specials and Other Meats: 5
The only other meat on the menu was chicken. While this only scores half of the allowed points in this category, I have to give credit to the place for sticking to what the sign says on their establishment, for the most part: steak and sushi. The big let down was that they didn’t offer any specials, especially being nestled in their high-powered midtown location on west 47th Street. When I think of a Japanese steak and sushi joint, high quality specialty items come to mind, like Wagyu/Kobe by the ounce, flash cooked on a hot stone with soy sauce and shiitake mushrooms… or tongue-numbing and deadly blowfish sashimi… or soft, delicate uni… NADA!
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We has some sushi rolls as starters. They were only six pieces each, instead of eight. But they were really tasty. First was the Pink Panther, which was king crab-based with a soy wrapper and some crunch.
Next was Sunset, which had a bunch of different cuts of raw fish inside and on top. Very fresh and delicate.
We also had some truffle fries. These were perfectly cooked McDonald’s style, with a dusting of parsley and a drizzle of truffle oil. Not too overpowering, but well seasoned. We cleaned out the entire bowl.
Seafood Selection: 9
There’s a fair deal of seafood on the menu, even outside the sushi realm. Salmon, branzino, mussels and black cod, in particular, with a shrimp risotto to boot. I was surprised by some of the Italian-style preparations that were on this menu.
The staff was very attentive, and our water was always filled promptly. The service was quick too. We were in and out within an hour, pretty much. Very nice, considering that we weren’t in the mood for a huge, long dinner.
While I can’t really give a full blown review of the ambiance here, since we were limited to a smaller portion of the restaurant, I can confidently assess the place based on what I saw. The lighting is very dim. Big props to Sony for creating a camera like the Alpha 7S, which is a fucking BEAST in low light situations. The music was somewhat ridiculous: very bad, corny 90’s music. I think Hootie & the Blowfish played at some point, which is funny because I mentioned above that I wanted the blowie special without any mention of the hooters. Okay so too dim, bad music, an awkward video screen displaying a generic, stock image of sushi with the word “sushi” next to it… BUT a very cool hallway that connected to the bathrooms and the adjacent Sanctuary Hotel (lots of Buddha and far eastern/Indian statues – those were cool).
I came back in with the PR company that represents the Sanctuary Hotel in order to promote the restaurant week menu at Tender.
Here are the avocado fries and the spicy tuna roll starters. The avocado fries needed a hit of salt, as well as a better dipping sauce. The spicy tuna roll was fine.
Of the three entrees, the filet mignon is probably the best selection, but that comes at a $6 surcharge. When I was here, they gave me the fill sized filet, but I was under the impression that this is usually smaller for regular restaurant week guests. 8/10.
If paying the additional fee isn’t your speed, then go with the rigatoni bolognese:
The pasta is cooked perfectly, and the sauce is meaty but not too heavy. I liked it.
Last, the branzino.
This was nice, and had a great crisp from the skin and fried lotus root. But after having the same dish at Le Cirque, I was disappointed here. This was half the size at best.
Dessert was decent. TI tried a nice piece of tiaramisu and a sliver of cheesecake, but they also offer creme brûlée.
130 W. 47th St.
New York, NY 10036