Thursday, July 2, 2009
Delmonico's Steakhouse - A New York Classic
Delmonico's - 56 Beaver Street, New York NY 10004
2/3 Train to Wall Street
Dan and I had the delicious experience of visiting one of NY's finest steakhouses, Delmonico's. I've read about it in the past and have always wanted to visit--so when the opportunity presented itself, we were eager to take advantage. Unlike some classic steakhouses that have disappointed me in the past, this one overdelivered--and then some.
Located in Manhattan's financial district, Delmonico's attracts the Wall Street crowd--but it's surprisingly not pretentious. As soon as I walked in, I was welcomed by a friendly hostess who led me to the bar area to meet Dan. There we had a beer and chatted, not feeling the pressure to act "proper" but to just unwind and relax after a long day.
We were seated in the gorgeous dining room with deep rich wood moldings, grandiose paintings and chandeliers. Yes, this sounds formal but again, it felt entirely comfortable. Small parties of two such as ourselves were seated along the perimeter of the room while bigger parties sat in the middle. Overall, it created a nice atmosphere that was social but not too loud. I'd definitely recommend this place for a romantic dinner if that's what you're looking for.
I'd be doing a disservice if I wouldn't touch upon Delmonico's history. Besides it being the first restaurant in the U.S. to offer tablecloth service, it's also the place where some of the most well-known dishes were invented, including Eggs Benedict, Lobster Newburg, Baked Alaska and of course the Delmonico Steak.
We liked that in addition to the traditional steakhouse dishes, Delmonico's offered up new alternatives, some of which were a bit ethnic--and the diversity of the menu was appreciated.
Appetizers - Dan and I started with two dishes, a classic Caesar salad and the Blue Crab Cake. Both were fresh and used superb quality ingredients, especially the crab, which was embellished with a saffron aioli. The crab cake was substantial in size, seasoned properly, which didn't go unnoticed. I loved the crunchy, sauteed parsley on the side, which was cooked in the same style as Malagueta's sauteed spinach--divine.
The salad was simple but again, nice and fresh--the lettuce leaves had great crunch and the dressing had a touch of smokiness. I liked that they put an anchovy on top and some shavings of salty parmigiano cheese.
Steak - We ordered two cuts of meat--Dan went for the traditional Delmonico's steak (a boneless rib eye) while I got the more girly option, the filet mignon. Although I loved my steak and thought that it was juicy and flavorful, Dan's rib eye hit it out of the park with its intense taste. Marbling equals excellence and that's why Dan's steak was so finger-lickin' good. I didn't feel guilty eating it, as I only had a few bites of his 18 ouncer--it was huge and in my opinion, large enough to split. My filet was also generous in portion and I took about a quarter of it home--the thought of extending my meal to make leftover steak sandwiches excited me.
Sides - Our sides of choice included two starches, hash browns and the Hoop spaetzle. I loved the presentation of the hash browns--they were formed into a round shape and browned on the outside, making them super crunchy. They were a tad oily but that's expected with anything fried.
The spaetzle simply rocked my world. First and foremost, it reminded me of my beloved Slovak halusky but the flavoring was different--it not only incorporated farmer-style cheese but also garlic and parsley. It felt lighter than the Slovak halusky and the Hoop cheese seemed to melt into the spaetzle, giving it a subtle cheesy flavor. Dan, who's very picky with cheeses devoured and complimented this.
Dessert - To not order Baked Alaska in the place it was invented would be a crime, so of course we did. And to call it anything short of perfect would be a lie, as it was absolutely delectable. The meringue was my favorite part--it was shaped into a medium-sized dome with gorgeous little peaks that were slightly crunchy on the outside. The contents included almond cake, apricots and banana ice cream, which stood out to me. Dan loved the banana too and mentioned how pronounced and delicious its flavor was.
In addition to our dessert of choice, we also received small butter biscuits with dulce de leche cream. They were nice and I liked the filling but the dough tasted a bit raw and I wasn't into it.
Service and Cost:
The best part about our experience was the service. Attentive but unobtrusive, our waiter David knew just what to do and when to do it. Our glasses were refilled when needed, a napkin was replenished or crumbs were cleared off the table as soon as they appeared. I liked that David was friendly and not robotic, as I've experienced in certain upscale restaurants. Like me, his roots lie in Eastern Europe and we shared a few words about our beloved spaezle.
In terms of costs, Delmonico's is on the high side but as far as steakhouses go, it's pretty standard. Appetizers and salads range between $9-$26, steaks are between $43-$90 and sides will set you back between $8-$14. Specials and prix-fixes arise from time to time and they'll be participating in the upcoming Summer Restaurant Week, during which they'll boast a $24.07 lunch and a $35 dinner three-course prix-fixe.