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Steakhouse Dilemna!

SmokinActuary May 9, 2013 08:12 AM


I know steakhouse discussions have been beaten to death, but here is my situation:

I am planning for 5 diners, one of whom is from Italy and wants a New York Steakhouse experience, while another does avoids meat and generally has fish.

We want to stay in the central midtown area and these are the choices I have available:

Strip House - great sides, does fish well but only one cut of steak they serve is dry aged but in general the steaks have reviewed well
Del Friscos - good steak, attractive New York setting
Benjamin - excellent steaks - Lugar Style but the fish and sides reviews spotty
Wolgangs 41st ST - again Lugar style - some stellar reviews others eh.

Keens is not available and I don't want to venture too far out of the midtown area for various logistical reasons.

I am leaning towards the Strip House because it seems as if it is the closest to fitting the bill and delivers on things other than the steak.

Your thoughts and feedback are appreciated!

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  1. princeofpork3 RE: SmokinActuary May 9, 2013 09:03 AM

    Go with Strip House everyone will be happy.

    1. m
      meinNYC RE: SmokinActuary May 9, 2013 10:02 AM

      Bejamins very loud and steaks were grisely on our visit.
      Wolfang again very loud.

      How about Morton's midtown... good meat,excellent sides, good ambiance, have some fish....

      1. t
        tgseaver RE: SmokinActuary May 9, 2013 11:12 AM

        How about The Sea Fire Grill,owned by Benjamins,best of both worlds and beautiful space.

        6 Replies
        1. re: tgseaver
          SmokinActuary RE: tgseaver May 9, 2013 11:56 AM

          Regarding the Sea Fire Grill, I think we want to stick to someplace with more of a steakhouse feel to it.

          Morton's was a thought.

          1. re: SmokinActuary
            dyrewolf RE: SmokinActuary May 9, 2013 01:09 PM

            Mortons is a chain, not a NY Steakhouse. Go to Strip House.

            1. re: dyrewolf
              SmokinActuary RE: dyrewolf May 9, 2013 01:11 PM

              Strip House is a small chain but not the behemoth that is Mortons. I am surprised exactly how many steak houses are part of a chain of one size or another.

              Thanks everyone.

              1. re: dyrewolf
                chloebell RE: dyrewolf May 9, 2013 01:18 PM

                I've been to Del Frisco's. Wish I'd gone to Strip House.

                1. re: chloebell
                  SmokinActuary RE: chloebell May 9, 2013 01:29 PM

                  That good, huh? :-)

                  I keyed on the Strip House because it seems that they pay attention to everything not just steaks.

                  I have dived deep into steak house write-ups and reviews in the past 48 hours and it seems that steak ageing is approaching fetish proportions.

                  1. re: chloebell
                    gavspen RE: chloebell May 9, 2013 03:34 PM

                    I dont have anything constructive to add on the "where to get good sea food in a steakhouse" debate (sorry) but I have to agree about Del Frisco's. Was there once and was completely underwhelmed. Grey (not seared, in other words), overcooked ribeye, in a very loud environment. Some people like loud, so, Ok, but who likes grey and overcooked?

            2. p
              Pago77 RE: SmokinActuary May 10, 2013 06:07 AM

              Here are some thoughts. If you have searched the site, you might have run into my steak opinions before -- and they really vary based on the cut of meat you want. A porterhouse is nowhere near a strip or a ribeye, etc. Anyway, I will keep this to midtown locations per your request. If my body could handle it, I'd dine at a steakhouse 2-3x a week. But it can't, so I average 1-2x a month. I'd like to think I have good taste, and make good recommendations, but ultimately I am just one opinion...

              Strip House - Midtown location (4 visits) is not nearly as good as the Village location (over a dozen visits). If another selection is tied for you, I'd go with that over the midtown Strip House.

              Del Friscos - horrible idea of a NY steakhouse (5 visits too many). Inconsistent food and way over priced for the quality. Among all my friends who love red meat, this would never make their list. (can you tell I cannot hate on this place enough?...it's a trap! sorry if I have offended any DF lovers!).

              Benjamin - i like Benjamin's (6-7 visits), but not as much as Wolfgang's. Not sure why, maybe the atmosphere, but it is a good luger's style choice. Service can be a little inconsistent, but the same can be said about Wolfgang's. I will say, one time when they messed up an order, they went above and beyond in comping things without us even asking. So that leaves a lasting good impression.

              Wolgangs 41st ST - I have not been to this location, but have dined at the Park Ave, Tribeca and 54th st. location countless times. For showing people a steakhouse, I prefer Park Ave because the room is so nice, but when you want a little more quiet, then I'd go 54th st. Service and food can waiver, but it's not the norm. The norm is really good porterhouse and sides.

              OTHER SUGGESTIONS:

              Palm - the original on 3rd ave (countless visits), not Palm Too. Great double cut NY strip. Good sides, and the Palm is probably the most classic steakhouse of them all. It inspired one of the original chains, after all. And yes, it is a chain now, but the original is still great.

              Sparks - another classic...and if you're a bourbon lover, amazing selection. Plus, how can you hate a place that a big time mobster got gunned down in front of? Kidding aside, this place is solid, old school. I will say I have had a couple less than great experiences here, but on the whole, it is excellent, including my recent visit two weeks ago. (6-7 visits).

              Post House - I have only been here twice, but I have had one great meal that will bring me back. Not as classic a steak house as others, but still a thought...

              Smith & Wollensky - I prefer Wollensky Grill next door for a burger and martini, or when I crave it, the cajun ribeye (you can order the full menu at the grill), but the steakhouse itself is not horrible. If you want the true feel, this is a good choice. But if you are looking for the best steak, outside of the ribeye, you are better served elsewhere.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Pago77
                Phil Ogelos RE: Pago77 May 10, 2013 07:43 AM

                Isn't the original Third Ave. Palm defunct, pago?

                1. re: Phil Ogelos
                  Pago77 RE: Phil Ogelos May 10, 2013 08:03 AM

                  No, the original 1920's 837 address is still open. Hence the 837 club. It is directly across the street from Palm Too on second ave.

                  1. re: Pago77
                    Sneakeater RE: Pago77 May 10, 2013 01:55 PM

                    Just to be clear, it's on SECOND Avenue. (Your keyboard accidentally burped out Third Ave. in your first big post.)

                    1. re: Sneakeater
                      Pago77 RE: Sneakeater May 10, 2013 02:02 PM

                      My bad!!! Definitely on 2nd ave! Hazards of trying to work and inform chowhounders i guess. Sorry, and thanks for catching that!

                2. re: Pago77
                  ipsedixit RE: Pago77 May 10, 2013 09:51 PM

                  The problem here is the OP isn't trying to find the best steakhouse.

                  The OP wants a steakhouse that exudes "New York" and which also has a great Pescatarian options.

                  In my opinion, no such place exists in Midtown, or all of Manhattan.

                  Your list would be great if the OP simply wants a good steakhouse, or steakhouse experience.

                  But sadly for the OP, that's not what is sought after.

                3. b
                  budgetrick RE: SmokinActuary May 10, 2013 08:43 PM

                  Big fan of The Palm, but we generally go to the Palm West (50th @ 8th Ave.) The atmosphere is not quite as good as the original on 2nd,, but the food is certainly as good. Bigger bar with a nice atmosphere, too. Fish is on the menu, but I've only seen lobster as a seafood entree during my visits. Looks great, but we're there for the steak ...

                  In defense of Del Frisco ... they had a big "freebie" bowl of golf tees at the time of my last visit. Took a handful, and they have held up through a good number of rounds ...

                  1. a
                    AdamD RE: SmokinActuary May 11, 2013 07:40 AM

                    IMHO if you cant get to Luger's or Keen's, then you are going for the atmosphere and a decent steak.
                    Wolfgang's probably does have the best food of the midtown choices but it is very loud.

                    Ive been hearing good things about Club A Steakhouse but have never been.

                    True old school NYC steakhouse experience in midtown:
                    Sparks (the swordfish is actually better than the steak)
                    Smith and Wollensky

                    Other options:
                    Del Frisco's
                    Club A
                    Bobby Van's
                    BLT steak
                    Maloney & Porcelli

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: AdamD
                      chloebell RE: AdamD May 11, 2013 09:36 AM

                      I agree. I love a great steakhouse and also like everything else on their menu to be worthy. Below are reasons why I didn't like Del Frisco's:

                      VERY crowded & loud. Now, I know most of Manhattan is loud and crowded, but when my chair is touching someone else's chair, hell, I may as well sit at their table.

                      Server told me crab cake was their most popular & best appetizer. Shame on me, I'm from the Gulf Coast, but I fell for it. Crab Cake was deviled crab.

                      One of their specials that evening was Lobster. From Australia. Really? When the state of Maine is right next door?

                      Their steak was fine. I guess by that point I was pretty much done with the whole experience.

                      However, my Martini was good. :)

                      1. re: chloebell
                        fourunder RE: chloebell May 11, 2013 11:05 AM

                        One of their specials that evening was Lobster. From Australia. Really? When the state of Maine is right next door?

                        There was a time Brazilian Lobster Tails were considered the best......when those became scarce, then South African Tails were bumped up until they met the same fate. The reason for the Australian Tail in high end steak houses was that they are a novelty, not necessarily the best.....and they charged by the ounce. I can recall getting a 25 ounce tail in DelFrisco's Orlando about 20 years ago @ 3.50 an ounce back then. I've seen them offered for as high a $6 per ounce. The larger chain restaurants have been including them on their menus ever since.

                        1. re: fourunder
                          chloebell RE: fourunder May 11, 2013 12:01 PM

                          Interesting. Was it good?

                          I was never a lobster eater when I was young - being where I'm from, they are not 1st on the menu/home list. Obviously, over the years they are easier to get, therefore I have had lobster. Still not my favorite though. But, I would love to have lobster from Maine. Reckon' I need to make a long road trip.

                          1. re: chloebell
                            fourunder RE: chloebell May 11, 2013 12:12 PM

                            If I can recall again correctly, the smallest tail offer was n the vicinity of 18-20 ounces.....quite large. I measured it against my forearm and it was slightly larger. It's not the same species as the Canadian/Maine Lobsters....more like the Spiny Lobsters. I'm generally not a fan of frozen Lobster Tails.....it wasn't great, but it was lobster, not as sweet and more chew than Maine Lobster.

                            I would not rush to get it again.....but I would not refuse it if it was offered.

                            If you want to try it on the cheap....Costco sells them occasionally

                    2. s
                      SmokinActuary RE: SmokinActuary May 11, 2013 12:50 PM

                      We went to the Strip House Midtown and is was very, very good. My friend and significant other has a porterhouse, DW had the 20oz bone in rib steak and I had the dry aged rib steak and they all were stellar. The creamed spinach and ripped potatoes were very good as was the wine we ordered.

                      The pescetarian liked the sea bass but did not think it was great.

                      The appetizers were generally good. I had oysters which were nice but I have had better. My friend thought the crab cakes were excellent. My wife's tuna tartar was good but under-flavored. The scallops were well received.

                      Service was top notch and everyone in our party enjoyed the burlesque theme and decor.

                      1. r
                        rottyguy RE: SmokinActuary May 12, 2013 01:47 PM

                        Very surprised Quality Meats has not been mentioned here. I think I've tried every (major) steak house in the city but keep going back to the Quality Meats boned in Rib-Eye as my all time favorite. Had the Keens Kings Cut Prime Rib the other week and it is my favorite prime rib. For a solid value in Hanger Steak, try the one at Buenos Aires in EV.

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