Tag Archives: steak

Dinner: Sparks Steak House

I’m rounding out famous New York City steakhouses with Sparks Steak House.  From the moment you are greeted by the host, you feel the classic, upscale feel of Sparks.  The dark wood and large-framed Hudson River school landscape paintings on gold and burgundy walls evoke a time gone by.  The bar has quite a hopping after work suit crowd.  Clearly, it’s still a place where the good old boys do business meals and deals.

On my visit, I got a steakhouse classic, the sliced tomato and onion salad.

sparks tomato and onion salad

For sides, we shared the creamed spinach and hash brown potatoes.

creamed spinach and hash browns

I got a filet mignon.

Sparks filet mignon

My friend got prime sirloin steak.

Sparks sirloin

For dessert, I got the house special, strawberry Romanoff, a special cream made with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and Grand Marnier.

strawberry romanoff

My friend loved his steak and the sides.  My steak and salad were good.  The dessert wasn’t as great as I’d hoped it would be by the sound of it.  But I highly recommend Sparks as it is a great steakhouse with a classic New York atmosphere and good food.

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Dinner: Delmonico’s

delmonicos

I have wanted to dine at Delmonico’s for a very long time, and I can’t believe it took me this long!  It is such a huge part of New York history and also culinary history, as it set restaurant standards and created time-tested dishes.

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The original Delmonico’s opened in 1827 and had many locations and different owners since then.  It also involves a bit of trademark law.  The Delmonico family tried to keep rights in their last name, but a court ruled that when their last restaurant closed in 1923, the name went into the public domain.  So there were other owners who opened restaurants with the name Delmonico’s.  While the current restaurant isn’t in the lineage of the original restaurant, it serves the dishes Delmonico’s is famous for.

delmonicos table

Delmonico’s is historically famous for its grandiose dinners like those for Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.  It is also famous for being the first restaurant to let diners order a la carte.  It originated some dishes that have become classics like the Delmonico steak, Delmonico potatoes, Lobster Newburg, baked Alaska, chicken a la king, eggs benedict and Manhattan clam chowder.

On the night of my visit, CNN was there with a camera crew filming about the history of the restaurant and its famous baked Alaska.

As it is white truffle season, there was a white truffle special on the menu–lobster risotto with white truffles.  The appetizer version was $45.  I decided to splurge since I can’t recall having eaten white truffles before.

white truffles

My friend ordered the bacon appetizer that came with octopus.  I tasted it too, and it was delicious.

delmonico bacon

For my entree, I was deciding between lobster Newburg and Delmonico steak, and I opted for the famous steak.  Boy, am I glad I did.  You can’t tell from this picture, but this steak was cooked to perfection, slightly crispy char on the outside and pink on the inside.

delmonico steak

The 40-day aged bone-in rib eye was even better, if that can be.  This was an exceptional steak.

delmonicos steak

For sides, we got creamed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes.  Both were very good.  In fact, I think the creamed spinach is my favorite of all the steakhouses I’ve been to in the city.

delmonicos creamed spinach

delmonicos mashed potatoes

Since I saw the baked Alaska being showcased for the CNN program,  I knew I had to try one.  Generally, I’m not a meringue person, but of course, I love ice cream.  I didn’t know what to expect, but the meringue wound up being my favorite part.  The meringue has this light crispiness to it

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but it’s soft and frothy on the inside.  I loved it.  I could eat that alone.  But with ice cream and a nice crust, it was the perfect dessert.

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Dinner: Keens Steakhouse

Things are great at Keens Steakhouse.  It won a James Beard “America’s Classics” award this year, and since then, business has really been booming.  Not that the 128-year-old steakhouse needed an award–it’s obviously doing something right.  And that’s steak…atmosphere…service…and dessert.

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Speaking of atmosphere, the first thing(s) you notice when you step down the steps, besides the dark wood, is/are the thousands of pipes, yes, pipes, hanging all over the ceiling.

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The history is that travelers would check their pipe in at their favorite inn because the pipes were too fragile to be carried.  They are hard clay churchwarden pipes, and famous names like Babe Ruth, Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein had pipes at Keens.  Right by the door, there’s a case, including an autographed pipe from Michael Jackson and other present-day celebrities.

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I didn’t know about this history before eating at Keens, so it was an interesting, fun history to learn.

My dinner at Keens was a belated birthday dinner with a friend.  I was instantly pleased that along with a bread basket and butter, we got veggies and spinach dip for a somewhat clean-eating snack.  (Hey, we needed some celery before this meal.)

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For appetizers, we got littleneck clams on the half shell.

clams

Tomatoes and onion salad with blue stilton cheese.  I like that there was just a sprinkling of cheese on the tomatoes and onion.  Just the right amount of flavor.

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Thick-cut smoked bacon.  My friend ordered this.  I’m not a bacon fan, but I decided to take a taste.  Oh wow, this was so smoky and flavorful.  This is definitely not your average bacon of bacon and eggs….

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Keens is known for its mutton chop, but I wanted steak.  I know I’m not a big steak eater, but lately, I’ve been enjoying it.  So I got the steamed Maine lobster and filet mignon.  The lobster was perfect and delicious.  The filet mignon was cooked to my liking.  It was very good–not as tender as the one I recently had at the Old Homestead, but still excellent.

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My friend got the prime rib of beef, king’s cut.

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For sides, we got mashed Yukon gold potatoes and creamed spinach.  I like mashed potatoes without garlic, so I was very happy with these.  I also liked the creamed spinach best of all I’ve had recently.

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We were pretty full after this meal, but our waiter talked us into a dessert.  Yes, the butterscotch sundae, with housemade butterscotch sauce made with real scotch.  They brought it with a birthday candle for me.

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OK, I usually find steakhouse desserts boring, like the standard cheesecake, chocolate cake, key lime pie…but this sundae takes the cake…er, ice cream.

This butterscotch sauce was sooooo good, we both want to come back and get our own.  I wanted to get a close-up so you could see it better.

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Yes, there is a reason Keens has been in business for more than a century, and that is because it serves classic food that is delicious.

Dinner: Quality Meats

This weekend, I went out to dinner a few times to celebrate my birthday.  My favorite birthday dinner was at steakhouse Quality Meats in Midtown, a restaurant that lives up to its name.

Our amuse bouche was watermelon with Korean spices.  I took the watermelon plain, and it was a refreshing start to the meal.

QM watermelon

We didn’t get appetizers but we didn’t need to.  The waiter makes a steak sauce tableside by blending rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, roasted garlic, raisins, molasses and black pepper with a mortar and pestle.  Yes, tableside theater is a little cheesy, but it’s also fun and makes the dining experience special.

QM steak sauce

Yes, it’s for the steak, but it was also yummy dipping the bread into it.

QM bread

Restaurant drinks are getting a little crazy these days with concoctions that just don’t sound appealing.  I ordered a peach hibiscus tea which was refreshing and flavorful without being too out there.

QM peach tea

We also ordered sides of Yorkshire creamed spinach and herb roasted baby potatoes.  The creamed spinach was excellent, and in my opinion, better than The Old Homestead’s.

QM spinach

The herb roasted potatoes would’ve been great without the lemon flavor.

QM potatoes

I ordered the filet mignon for dinner.  It was cooked perfectly as I had asked, but it wasn’t as tender as the one I had at The Old Homestead, a fact you can tell if you look at the picture below versus this one.

QM filet mignon

My friend ordered the aged rib steak.  She said it was the best steak she’s ever had. It’s so rare (no pun intended) that both steaks were cooked just as we had ordered them.

QM rib steak

Quality Meats makes their own dessert ice cream cakes.  They are fun cups of cake and ice cream.  I got the strawberry s’mores.  How cute is this with the little chocolate bar?

QM strawberry

My friend got the blueberry ice cream and lemon chiffon cake.  Look at the adorable lemon meringue pie on top.

QM blueberry

These were yummy additions to the evening complete with a birthday surprise!

QM birthday

Dinner: The Old Homestead

For a friend’s recent birthday, we went to the Old Homestead in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan.  The Old Homestead is a classic steakhouse in New York, and a restaurant no guy will say no to.

I’m not a big beef eater–in fact, I rarely eat beef.  However, I did partake since I was at the Old Homestead.

For starters, I got the roasted beet, goat cheese and baby spinach salad with walnut vinaigrette.  I love a good roasted beet and goat cheese salad, and this one was quite good.

OH kale salad

My friend loved the bread presentation and happily dipped the fingers of bread in the cheesy sauce underneath.

Old Homestead bread
For an appetizer, we shared the rock shrimp tempura and the crispy calamari with sweet Thai chili sauce and roasted cashews.  I really liked the sauce on the calamari, and my friend thought they were both delicious.

OH appetizers
I got the 10 oz. filet mignon with the hashed brown cake and bordelaise sauce.  The menu says it was wrapped with applewood smoked bacon, but I don’t recall that and the photo doesn’t look like it is.  This was so tender and flavorful.  I loved the accompanying sauce.  I’m not a hashed brown fan, but it was good too.

OH filet mignon
For sides, we shared creamed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes, two classic steakhouse sides, and both are my friend’s favorites.  I thought they were average, but he loved them.

OH sides
My friend got the 32-oz. Gotham rib steak on the bone.  I can’t tell you how many times he said, “This is the best meal I’ve ever had.”

OH steak