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Nov 18, 2008 04:58 PM

SR85 Del Frisco's Review

So I just finally made my way back to Del Frisco's last night after a two year hiatus. I had been meaning to try Del Frisco's again as part of my seemingly neverending journey through NYC's steakhouse arena. The first time I went there was for lunch and I had the regular boneless ribeye, mac and cheese, creamed spinach. It was a great meal, however at the time I did not consider myself the steak connosieur I do today. Plus it was for lunch and it was a BONELESS ribeye. Anyone who has read my numerous posts on steak knows that I judge the ilk of a steakhouse of their bone-in cuts because well- thats all that matters. Those are the best cuts and this is what we should judge a great steakhouses' reputation on in my opinon.

So without further blabbering I will just give a run down on my experience.

THE FOOD- What I ordered: MAIN- The 32 oz. Kobe bone-in Ribeye long bone. BUYER BEWARE- it is $96 and change. The bone on this thing was like 15 inches long and made for a great presentation. I for one don't care for when places "french" the chop because I believe they are really take away some great tasty meat but nonetheless this was really good. The steak was cooked to my specified bloody rare, however it could have use a little more crust on the outside. The steak had the same seasoning I remember from my first visit (they heavily season their steaks with salt and pepper). Bear in mind, The bone makes up about 10 of those 32 oz. but this is still a pretty mammoth cut of meat. In all honesty, I could not decipher what made this a "Kobe" ribeye. The taste didn't have anything truly unique that would make me say 'Oh yeah thres definitely something different about this meat". Maybe because it is American kobe and not the vaunted Japanese. Overall though this was a very respectable steak and I'd definitely eat it again. However, for the price of $96 I don't think it it worth it. Even after ordering the most expensive single steak on the menu, they have nerve to try to sell you on their three sauces (bearnaise, mushroom demi glace, and foie gras butter) for $10! I for one would never ever put bernaise sauce on my steak. I do love to have a little butter from my steak (Yes Luger is my favorite as many know). So the foie gras butter sounded intriguing to me. I told the waiter it sounded great, however for the price of my steak I wasn't paying 10 bucks for a sauce. But guess what-- my great waiter convinced the chef to give me some on the side for free!!!! And OMG this was the best butter I have ever had. Personally, I never had foie gras but there were little pieces swimming in this unbelievable buttery sauce. Overall, I would say this is a very good steak- a little too fatty, but real solid. The foie gras butter though is truly amazing.

SIDES- Their macaroni and cheese is probably one of the best variations I have had in my life. However, they had so many interesting options I just had to experiment with something else. Not to stray too far I selected the King Crab Gnocchi which is a new addition. AWESOME- creamy, delicious and chunks of crab. This is a heavy heavy side dish and really rich but it is very good. And my great waiter got us extra big chunks of crab in it.

They are famous for their onion rings which are like bracelets! These things are HUGEST onion rings I have seen in my life. Delicious too- perfect batter and seasoning.

Finally- A special sweet potato casserole with pecan crust. THIS WAS INCREDIBLE! I love sweet potatoes and this was the best side by far out of the three for me.

DESSERT- I was stuffed to the gills but hey I had to save room for dessert as usual. Had the bread pudding with jack daniels sauce and vanilla ice cream. The bread pudding was delicious but the Jack Daniels sauce really overpowered it for me. Overall, could have spared myself the calories and stomach pain but oh well. Took the lemon cake to go since it is like for 4 people and their speciality. I couldn't pass it up.

EXPERIENCE- Great space service and atmosphere. The thing at Del Frisco's is everyone is incredibly expensive. They try to push everything- from their "infamous" crab cakes to the special of crab claws that night. You will never get a waiter that says "you are ordering too much food". They want you to over order and pump up the bill as much as possible. In any event, the service is top notch and really second to none in the city. It may come off as a little phony and over the top, maybe even over bearing at times but in a good way. They are friendly and provide great service.

OVERALL- Del Frisco's is a fine establishment. They serve really good steaks, sides, desserts in a beautiful atmosphere with a great staff. Is it a top 5 steakhouse in NYC? I'd say not quite there BUT definitely in that next tier. If you have others in your party who like fish I think they serve some of the best of the steakhouses- lots of great options.

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  1. I had almost the exact same menu when I was there, except I let them cook the Kobe a little longer than rare so that the fat could meld. That may have been what you were missing out on that cut of meat, but I agree that even still the price tag was too hefty. That's what you get when you go to a mammoth steakhouse in the Times Square area, though. They've got to pay their rent, right?

    The sides, to me, were the best part of the meal. I would eat my weight in that sweet potato casserole. I was, however, disappointed in their "infamous" crab cakes (and you're right - they pushed these like drugs). They just didn't live up to the hype.

    I do have to say that the sommelier was fantastic, all the wines were excellent (albeit far too expensive, but I guess that goes without saying at this point), and they even let me take a little guided tour to the cellar, which I plan to duplicate one day :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Stella_Blue

      As any steak lover knows you need some fat in the steak as the marbilazation is what gives us that great flavor. Also, the ribeye cut will always be the fattiest cut anyway.

      And Yes on inferior cuts a rare cooking tends to leave the meat too fatty because it hasn't melted properly. However, I have had my share of great steaks that have been cooked to a perfect bloody rare and you aren't gnawing on just fat (not saying this was the case with Del Frisco's). But there did seem to be a little excess fat which could have been incredible meat. I have had better ribeyes at Peter Luger, Uncle Jack's, and Smith and Wollensky probably tied it. I would say this topped the ribeyes I had at Porterhouse and Primehouse. Nonetheless, still a real respectable piece of meat. Glad you had a great experience at Del Frisco's.

    2. Excellent, comprehensive review SR85, thank you!

      We're still debating where to go for our steak on our trip at the end of next month. We're hoping to get to Lugers, but if we don't make it over the bridge what would you consider to be our best options for a good NY strip in Manhattan?

      9 Replies
      1. re: tinabull

        If you cannot make it to Peter Luger I would suggest Strip House, Keens, Old Homestead, BLT Prime, Uncle Jack's , and Craft. All are excellent! However, I would recommend you order the porterhouse (Strip House/Keens/BLT Prime/Craft), ribeye (Uncle Jack's), or prime rib (Old Homestead) instead.

        1. re: steakrules85

          I'm really sorry if this makes me sound a bit stupid, but we don't have porterhouse or prime rib in the UK - only Sirloin, Rump or Filet steak.

          What are porterhouse & prime rib, and why are they the best types of steak?


          1. re: tinabull

            They are not the best types of steak. They are his preferences. Short of Peter Luger's where the porterhouse is a must, the rest are personal preference.

            Me, I almost never get a porterhouse. Its is a steak that is cut cross the bone and has the tenderloin (filet mignon) on one side of the bone and the strip steak on the other side. It is the same as a T-bone but with a larger filet/tenderloin side.

            In my opinion, a tenderloin/filet mignon is a rather tasteless piece of meat suitable only for people without teeth since it is very tender. The Strip side (in the states called NY Strip, Shell Steak, etc) is good though.

            A prime rib the same piece of meat as a ribeye steak. Rather than cut into individual steaks, it is roasted whole and then sliced after it is cooked. The method of cooking affects the taste.

            A ribeye is a very beefy, fatty cut of meat. People, myself included, love it because it tastes like the way a steak should, esp if its dry aged. The NY strip is also pretty flavorful but has a much firmer texture, more chew to it. A filet mignon is soft and light tasting.

            1. re: ESNY

              Thank you for explaining that to me. We have very different cuts of steak in the UK.

              I am hoping we will get into Lugers for the experience so will just order steak for 3. I assume you can order it medium? I like my steak to be pink but not full of blood.

              If we don't get into Lugers we'll probably grab a good strip someplace. Even places you chows say are not great e.g. Angelo & Maxie is far superior steak compared to most places in the UK!

              1. re: tinabull

                Don't waste your time at Angelo and Maxie. There are far superior steakhouses in the city, even if you are settling for a NY strip. For the price there are many better options out there.

                1. re: tinabull

                  I don't know how others feel, but when I go to Peter Lugers I order my steak without butter. For those who haven't been... they are famous for their porterhouse and you order it by the # of people you'd like (at stated above, "Steak for 3" for example... and yes, you can specify a temperature). They then serve a platter of steak already sliced up and swimming in butter. Most people LOVE that. I prefer it w/o butter so I can get the full flavor of the meat, which is really excellent.

                  RE: Wine... Whereas Del Frisco's has one of the best wine lists around (and pricey!... don't be looking for a wine experience at Lugers.. you go for the steaks there, not the vino).

                2. re: ESNY

                  Obviously, this is my opinion. However, I think most would agree that bone-in cuts tend to be the best piece of meat and the signature cuts at most top steakhouses.

                  1. re: steakrules85

                    Agree re: bone-in. Disagree with porterhouse. keep on loving your porterhouse, and i'll keep on lovin my ribeyes.

          2. steak, thanks for another colorful and interesting review. i always feel like i'm peering over your shoulder while you eat, reading them. hope that's not too creepy. ;)

            i am by no means a steak connaisseur, but i've frequented a great many steakhouses in the past year, on my own mini tour of nyc establishments. my conclusion is that i really like del frisco's -- probably better than most of the big names for non-aged steaks.

            i agree that the restaurant is a bit too heavy with the salt and pepper crust. last time i went, i asked for them to cut back and the kitchen accommodated that request well.

            1 Reply
            1. I tried this place for the first time recently, and while I agree that the food options and quality are outstanding, I have to say that my experience with the service and staff frankly made me uncomfortable. My server was this huge, energetic guy who seemed like a stock broker on steroids. He was kind of phony and obviously had his own agenda. I understand that he's used to pandering to suits and obnoxiously rich people who go for that sort of in-your-face approach perhaps, but he seemed disappointed by some people's choices and when we didn't get a second bottle of wine or dessert.. Snobby, meathead types abound, but hey, its an NYC steakhouse!