Americans love their meat and I admit that the meat here is better than Europe, prompting me to always advise my fellow Europeans coming for a visit to give it a try (and I am not only talking about burgers). Some of my detractors say that it is because of hormones, but there are more and more restaurants serving grass fed beef, responding to the concerns of consumers.
This time, I was at Quality Meats, a steakhouse located Midtown, part of the empire of Alan Stillman who also owns Smith & Wollensky. There are plenty of items in the decor to remind you where you are, whether it is the cow head or white tiles representing a slaughterhouse, to the bulbs held by butcher hooks.
The place is big. At the entrance is the bar area where butcher's artifacts are on display:
Then, the dining room with two distinct sections decorated in a modern and warm way.
I went there for lunch. The menu proposed some classic appetizers you find in steakhouses (Caesar salad, crab cakes, shrimp cocktails...), steaks of course, a signature burger, as well as a salad that is kind of a make your own: first you pick your mix (classic, Mediterranean, roasted beets,...), then you pick your add on (roasted vegetables for vegetarians -good idea-, lobster, scallops, tuna, filet mignon...). So, if you are vegetarian, you still have some nice choices there and do not have to chose a boring salad.
As far as the meat is concerned, they have some classic cuts (filet mignon, ribeye, sirloin and porterhouse) coming from the only two meat purveyors in the City: Strassburger Meats and Pat La Frieda. So I was ready for a feast. As it was hot outside, I decided to order one of their homemade lemonades, composed of Jalapeño, mint, cucumber:
It definitely had a nice cooling effect, thanks to the cucumber and mint. However, I could not taste the presence of jalapeño. I found it odd that they were serving it in a plastic cup rather than in a glass...
Then, they brought a brioche bread and butter.
Let me tell you: this is dangerous, because it was so good that I imagine patrons would eat bread instead of their meal.
Very light, it had some coarse salt on top that was delightfully good. I could not stop eating it.
For appetizer, I went for the crab cake:
It was served on top of a slaw made of radish, onions and fennel that was quite refreshing.
That was definitely a good crab cake, made of big chunks of crab and, in fact, tasting crab and not fillers like bread crumbs. I definitely recommend it.
For the meat, I went for the porterhouse, cooked medium rare:
The meat was tender, had a nice char and was cooked to perfection, but I thought that it was not as tasty as the porterhouse at Ruth's Chris or Dino & Harry's.
The ribeye might have been a better choice... With the steak, I tried their homemade steak sauce that was deliciously sweet.
To accompany the meat, were waffle fries that were fantastic: crispy, they were drizzled with parmesan cheese.
The second side was buttered edamame:
This is the kind of sides that make you think you can have some healthy food with your steak. That would probably be true without the butter I guess...It is like having spinach...creamed...Ok, I exaggerate a bit: it is on the healthy side and I liked it as it was very tasty and a nice accompaniment to the steak.
Last was dessert: it was a chocolate brownie cake, served with a praline custard, fresh berries and yogurt ice cream.
The brownie was ok, being a bit dry and I did not really understand how all these components were working together: it was too much on a plate. I enjoyed the custard and berries though: they could perfectly be a dessert on their own.
I finished of course with my usual espresso:
If you ask me, Quality Meats is just ok. Would I go back? I think that, for the same price, I would prefer going to Ruth's Chris, The Old Homestead, Ben & Jack's or The Empire Steakhouse. As you can see, there're plenty of alternatives to that joint. But if you really need to go, get the crab cake and skip the porterhouse.
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!