Porter House New York Review
So my latest steakhouse adventure lead me to Porter House New York last night. I have had this place on my list for quite some time and was really excited. I wound up going with 3 other of my friends. We had a 5:30 reservation and were seated as soon as we got there. The restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived but by the time we left started to pick up. The building and space are absolutely beautiful.
Ok enough about that- onto to meat and potatoes (no pun intended) of my lastest steakhouse review.
Appetizers- Short rib raviolo and jumbo shrimp cocktail were both terrific. The raviolo was more like pasta sheets layered with tender short ribs, spinach, and mushrooms in a delicious creamy cheese sauce. The shrimp were huge and fresh.
Mains- Our table ordered 3 cowboy steaks (RARE for me, medium, and medium well) and one hanger steak (medium rare). My two friends got the chili rub on theirs, but being the steak purist I am I declined. They seemed to like their steaks, and while they appreciate a great steak, they really are not what I would consider true steak afficionados. The female in our party ordered the hanger and gave me a taste. It was very good and tender.
After seriously considering ordering the porterhouse just for myself, I opted for the Cowboy Rib Steak since I didn't want to seem like a glutton. As for my opinion (I do consider myself a steak afficionado), it was.... good. I ordered my steak rare with a nice crust on the outside. When my steak arrived I cut into it right away to check if it was cooked properly since I am a stickler for this. Unfortunately, the steak was severely overcooked more like medium than rare and had to be sent back. Any time a steak needs to be sent back that automatically puts a damper on that steakhouse for me. The staff was extremely apologetic though and did get me a new steak. The new one came back better, however still not as rare as I would have liked. Overall, it was a very good piece of meat nicely salty and juicy, but definitely not one of the best I have had. They also gave us some complimentary sauces (which a great steak does not need). The BBQ and cabernet were very tasty though. STEAK- B-
Sides- We got the onion rings (delicious, light batter, crunchy), creamed spinach with bacon (also extremely good), hash browns (delicious- great buttery taste and filled with onions probably the best I have had-the standout), polenta (nothing special), and macaroni and cheese (very disappointing). Overall, the onion rings and spinach with bacon were really really good. But, the hash browns were quite amazing. I usually am not a big hash brown guy but these were spectacular and the best I've had (more like a knish). The mac and cheese and polenta sounded awesome but both were afterthoughts. SIDES B
Desserts- Of course no meal is complete without dessert. And even after all the apps, steak, and sides we consumed we saved room. I opted for the baked alaska and my friend had the ice cream sundae. The baked alaska was awesome! Chocolate ice cream and coconut sorbet on a brownie crust encased in toasted meringue. One of the better desserts I have had. I tasted my friends sundae and it was good- but nothing spectacular to set it apart from any other sundae I have had. (See Luger and BLT Prime).
Service- Our waiter was awesome. He had a great personality and really made the dining experience enjoyable. We had a lot of laughs. Only thing is we told them it was my bday in a few days and they didnt comp us on a dessert. No biggie but would have been a nice gesture.
Overall- I came away a bit disappointed. There were some highlights but there were too many lows for me to consider PH NY as a top 5 steakhouse in this city. Overcooking my steak was a big letdown for me (had the same problem at Prime House). I may have to come back and try the porterhouse to really give it a fair review. The impression I leave with is pretty much the same as my impression from Prime House, although I will say Porter House's ribeye was better. They are nouveau "steakhouses" that try to compensate the lesser quality of their steak with a newer ambience and more inventive sides and desserts. That is cool and all but for those reasons I wouldn't consider either a TRUE steakhouse. They are just restaurants that are serving steaks and branding themselves as such. So in conclusion, while the meal overall was enjoyable, for the price (100 bucks a person) I didn't think it was worth it. Peter Luger, Keens, BLT Prime, Old Homestead, Uncle Jack's are all far superior. If you want a true steakhouse go to any of these steakhouses. If you want to go to someplace new, different, and you have others in your party who want things other than steak you can give PH NY a try. OVERALL- B-
NEXT STOP- STRIP HOUSE for my REAL birthday dinner Saturday Night I cant wait!!!!
I had a meal at Porter House a couple years ago (same time that Talk Radio was having a revival) and thought the meal was good enough, but at the prices charged good enough was not good enough, and I haven't been back. (My problem was mainly underwhelming steak.)
But that was a while ago. Why I decided to post on here, is I thought the desserts were terrible. But it seems as if they have changed! Baked Alaska was not on the menu at the time, so glad to see something positive has happened since then.
Too bad you didn't see my post from a few weeks back, you could have saved yourself the trip ... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/537664
Porter House during restaurant week is not the same as it is the rest of the year.
Not looking to defend them but I find for many restaurants, restaurant week is not the time to see them shine. Ironic i know, but I highly recommend going back when the kitchen's less likely to be stressed by throngs of people looking for an inexpensive meal. Especially if you're going to base that one experience on weather or not to recommend it to others.
I'm very interested in how you like Strip House. Many of my friends absolutely rave about it, but me, not so much. Don't get me wrong, it's very good, but not on par with Wolfgangs (which is my favorite for a consistently well-cooked steak), OH or Lugers. (I think you'll find the steak to be cooked like the "nouveau "steakhouses"' you mentioned.)
By the way, I wholeheartedly agree with your decision to get the ribeye. In my view it's that cut (not the porterhouse) by which all steakhouses should be judged.
Oh and since it was recommended here earlier - I have to go on the record here and say I do not recommend Ben & Jacks. I've been twice and found the decor to be rediculous, steak overcooked, and waitstaff to be in their own world.
re: Spends Rent on Food
Its funny, I have the opposite feeling and would recommend Ben & Jacks over Wolfgang's (although I agree that the ribeye should be the number one steak at a steakhouse)
Although Wolfgangs did cook the steak properly every time I went, the steak just didn't taste good. It came out well cooked, and looked great but was flavorless. This happened to me three separate times at their first location over the course of a year, and I have since vowed never to go back. Whereas the steaks I've eaten every time at Ben and Jacks has been great.
I do find it amazing that people can have such different experiences at the same places. I can't speak to your Wolfgangs trips other than to say that I've had the exact same experience as you, only with tremendous flavor in my steaks. I assume you go for medium rare, although if not, that could be a telling difference ...
As for Ben & Jacks - I'll eat good steak wherever I can get it regardless of decor. But the second time we ate at Ben & Jacks we were seated in the back room which has all the charm of a retirement home rec room. Beige wall to wall carpeting... check... cheap banquet chairs... check... round flimsy tables... check. It was probably the wierdest place I've ever eaten a high end steak. We were at a table for eight and I think the staff were getting angry because we honestly couldn't stop talking about how completely rediculous the room looked. But we could have put all that aside had the steak been a knockout, but it really wasn't for us - it was overcooked both times.
But hey, there you go. Two opposite opinions from two people who love a good steak.
I was at Porter House for their RW lunch and ordered the hanger steak. Insides were nice and juicy, good but not spectacular - but the outsides were completely burnt. I love a nice char but this just tasted almost ashy. I liked the raisin and pecan bread though.
Have you tried the porterhouse at Ben and Jack's?