Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New York State (exc. NYC) >
Mar 20, 2014 03:42 AM

Cliff's Elbow Room........... Jamesport

My wife's birthday is Saturday I thought maybe Cliff's,I've never been there and haven't heard any thing about the restaurant.Any feed back would be greatly appreciated . Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Surprised you've never heard of Cliffs, it's an institution. We live out here now, but I started going there when we lived in Kings Park, long before the vineyard invasion; we drove out just to go there.

    There are three of them; I like the Jameport location because they have added a nice assortment of side dishes, like creamed spinach.

    Great steaks, very old school, casual, usually mobbed. Great prices for what you get. No reservations except for big parties, so prepare for a wait on Saturday unless you get there early-ish. Get a steak each, one marinaded and one not, so you can compare the two styles. After 30+ years of going there, I still don't know which I like better.

    2 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Funny, on weekends when they are busy we do the Cliff's shuffle.
      We start out at Cliff's Rendesvous in Riverhead which is larger and we can usually get a table.
      If they are busy we head to Jamesport which is smaller, hence the name "Elbow Room." It's the original one.
      If Jamesport is mobbed we head to Elbow Too in Laurel and almost always get a table quickly.
      There is also Elbow East in Southold which serves the same high quality marinated steaks but I am almost sure there are different owners now.
      Maybe coll knows the Cliff's history better than I.

      1. re: Motosport

        I think Jamesport and Laurel are the original owners, and Riverhead is another branch of the family that broke off ties. We either go to Riverhead, and always get a table in a timely manner (except Mother's Day one time, unfortunately it coincided with my husbands birthday). Or we go to Jamesport and if it's mobbed drive a couple of minutes down the road to the secluded Laurel location. Which is even smaller but no one can find it luckily, so I won't give directions. We have to keep a few secrets!

        Southold I never liked, they broke off long ago and although it has been a long time for us, they seemed to have more seafood than steak. I was disappointed with the menu, not so much the food. They did have a nice location though....I think?

    2. Only ate there once, and never again. Their "famous" marinated steak is a salt lick, IMHO. And the vibe is definitely super bar-like and casual. Don't know if it would be my choice for a birthday dinner...

      11 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        Bite your tongue and lick your lips!! I love their marinated steak.

        1. re: Motosport

          Bite my tongue and lick my lips, and get me a gallon of water!

          1. re: roxlet

            I hardly use any salt when I cook at home, but it never seemed overly salty to me. It is heavy on the soy sauce, but as far as added salt I don't think it's above the norm. As a matter of fact, I have three slightly different versions of the "Real! Cliffs Marinade" from trusted sources, and none add any additional salt.

            1. re: coll

              That may be, but the saltiness of the steak was our overwhelming impression when we had it at Cliff's...

              1. re: roxlet

                They do offer steak without the marinade.

                1. re: Motosport

                  We like to get a nice sirloin from Wayside Market, and grill it ourselves. We've found it to be better than almost anywhere.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Sounds like they want to go out though, unfortunately ;-)

      2. I like the Roumanian tenderloin at J&R's. Unlike some of their other steaks, you do not need really intense knife work to separate the meat from the nasty stuff.


        1. About a year ago, we walked into the Southold location, having never been and hearing great reviews. It smelled funky inside, we sat down , and as the smell was off putting and decor old and worn, we left after 5 minutes.

          1. Was there yesterday. Steaks were good. Used a $45 gift certificate towards an $85 bill. The bill had a tip already added on at 18% of the original bill. We were a party of 3 so I had to ask the waitress why? Ahe said gift certificates must have gratuities added on. Never hear of this before and wont ever be going back. I would like to tip accordingly.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greyvmaster

              Great steaks, great service, nice family operation!!
              Not for nuthin' but (I love saying that)your reason for not going back seems silly I.M.H.O..

              1. re: Motosport

                I know, were you planning on not tipping? Or tipping 10%? When I have a gift certificate I'm usually in a very generous mood!