Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Last week, I was invited by the Sinanaj Brothers to their outpost of Empire Steakhouse Midtown East, attached to the Kimberly Hotel. That place is impressive: it used to be an Opera house before becoming a club called Versaillles where Edith Piaf, represented in a large painting in the main dining room, performed. Smartly, they kept the spirit of it, setting this place apart from the traditional wood, leather and low light steakhouses. It is a huge place that can accommodate 500 patrons, with a bar dominated by a large selection of domestic and international whiskey, the main dining room with its plush banquettes and large chandelier hanging from a very high dome ceiling, and the back wine room, used for private parties, with its fireplace...displayed on a flat screen. They also have another room upstairs that you can access via the ornate winding staircase, but, unfortunately, I could not see it as there was a party going on there.
I should also mention the noise level: minimum! For the first time in New York I do not need to scream to be heard. For sure they benefit from the acoustic of the opera house, but still, it is like an incredible thing these days!
Food wise I was there for a treat and regretted not wearing stretch pants. See for yourself:
I started of with a whiskey. I love whiskey and seeing their large selection of close to a 100 different ones, I could not resist. I tried the Oban 14 year, a scotch from the West Highland, that was pretty good, with a nice sweetness.
Then, came the appetizers. The first one was the crab cake that is always my go to when going to a Steakhouse. It was good, but I wish they use jumbo lump crab, elevating a bit the dish.
The second appetizer was the Empire’s hot platter. It was composed of a shrimp scampi, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed clams and crab meat. Good, but might not be the best appetizer to share if you get only one.
The last appetizer was what I always expect in a Steakhouse: a slab of bacon. Sold by the slice, it was delicious with their steak sauce, quite decadent.
Then came the steak: the emperors steak for two that is a bit larger than the porterhouse for two, the fillet mignon being replaced by a chateaubriand that is not to be confused with the dish made with a sirloin topped with a reduced sauce. No, in this case, the chateaubriand is a thicker cut from the tenderloin. It came on a hot plate, sizzling and perfectly cooked medium rare. They dry age them on premises for 28 days, making the meat tender, tastier and juicier. All the juice from the plate came straight from the steak: they do not add oil or butter. Jack Sinanaj explained that they reach such perfection by cooking the meat in the broiler for 5 minutes at 900 degrees, slice it, and put it back for a very short period of time in the broiler to heat the plate. I am telling you: that first bite was heaven and I admit that I went mainly for the chateaubriand that was superb.
To accompany the steak, I tried a Pinot Noir from France, a Gerard Bertrand 2016, that was quite smooth and perfect with the meat.
The sides were fried onions and a very creamy truffle Mac and cheese, two of my go to dishes when I have steak. I should also mention that, on top of the steak sauce, they have béarnaise sauce, that is not on the menu.
Last was dessert. They kindly offered a dessert sampler composed of 4 of their house made specialties: the chocolate mousse cake, the tiramisu, the carrot cake and the cheesecake. They were good, but the best was for me the chocolate mousse cake that had a nice Oreo crust.
With it, i got a decaf espresso and a sambucca.
I had a good time at Empire Steakhouse: the setting was beautiful, the noise level perfect and the steak amazing. I truly appreciated that I did not have to yell to have a conversation and would point out the service that was courteous, not like some steakhouses where being rude seems to be a custom.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Empire Steakhouse- 151 East 50th street, New York, NY 10022