Before reading this post, please note that, in accordance with the FTC guidelines, I must disclose that I was contacted directly by the restaurant or a PR and that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
I was invited by Empire Steakhouse for dinner, to try some of their dishes. I have to say that I was really excited about it as I love steaks! I said it many times on this blog: the meat in the US is much better than the meat in France, even meat from a boeuf Charolais! I think restaurants, especially steakhouses pay more attention to serve the best quality ("prime" label) and more and more are dry aging their meat, a process that allows the meat to be tender and with more flavor. I always tell visitors from France that they should go to a steakhouse and each time, they recognize that my assertion above is true.
To give you an idea, Empire Steakhouse has been founded by the Sinaraj brothers who also own Ben & Jack's in New York. They get their meat from local markets and dry-aged them for 21 to 28 days. Too bad I could not see their dry-aging room: I bet I would have drooled all over the floor!!! Apparently, they are serving around 1000 steaks a week!
The decor is different from most of the steakhouses: this 180 seats is not dark and full of leather or dark wood. That's good: at least I can see what I am eating as we say that we eat first with our eyes! I also could have a nice conversation with Jodi without screaming as I noticed that most of the Steakhouses are loud!
They sat us at a table that conveniently overlooked most of the dining room and the restaurant was packed (it was a Saturday evening)!
They first brought us some bread and butter:
and I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir that is one of my favorite wines when eating a steak, because it is fully bodied and pairs well with the taste of the meat, moreover with stronger flavors like lamb.
For starters, Jodi ordered a Caesar salad.
There was a nice quantity of cheese on it and the salad was not overdressed. So it was a good start.
On my side, I ordered one of my favorites appetizers in a Steakhouse: crab cakes!
The presentation was very nice and the crab cake decent, but not the best I ever had. I thought at that point that they were made with the meat from the claw that is less tasty and has a bit of sweetness (I confirmed it later with the restaurant). So I did not get that smooth taste so particular to crab.
For steaks, instead of going for their signature dish that the porterhouse is, we decided to order our favorite pieces of meat. Jodi got the filet mignon (16 oz):
And I got the ribeye, bone in (24 oz):
For sides, we had the onion rings and cottage fries (that are in fact chips):
It was very good: both were not greasy nor soggy. The fact that they proposed homemade chips (that were crispy by the way) is a nice alternative to fries.
We also ordered some sautéed mushrooms with onions:
This was fantastic and even better than the onion rings and potato chips!
The sides we got were good and they offer a very nice choice; I just wish that Steakhouses put on their menu a killer Mac & Cheese that is the perfect side for a steak, especially if truffles are added...
At this point, we got just enough courage to order a dessert. We decided to go for the key lime pie:
It was served with a nice quantity of homemade whipped cream:
First of all, it was great to have the whipped cream because it cut the sweetness from the pie. I could have eaten that whipped cream, that was very light, just straight from the bowl!
The key lime pie was light and not too sweet. The crust was like a Graham Cracker crust and was slightly buttery. Good dessert!
So, we had a nice dinner at Empire Steachouse. What is interesting is that the owners worked as waiters at Peter Luger, same as Wolfgang Zwiener, the owner of Wolfgang's Steakhouse, that I visited already. But, contrary to Wolfgang's Steakhouse, they brought with them the basic rules that make the difference between good service and hospitality...
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!