Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Lucas Steakhouse Delivers on Taste and Class
I can't even tell you how many times I've prepared myself to visit Lucas Steakhouse, but to no avail. There was always something preventing me from trying it, whether the high costs or a lack of a special occasion, until this past weekend when Dan and I finally went there for his annual birthday dinner. While our expectations were on the low side, I can't properly express how surpassed they ended up being - from the impeccable service to the flawless food.
Surprised by how small the space actually was, I can safely say that I've never dined at a steakhouse this intimate. For the occasion we were celebrating, it was absolutely perfect and appropriate, but just note if you'd like to come with a bigger group, I'd place my reservation way ahead of time.
Something I found particularly wonderful is the decor - it's sleek and modern and a little funky too, which some of the most popular steakhouses in the city sometimes lack. The leather chairs with a high back and gorgeous details such as metal grommets made me feel the most comfortable I ever recall being at a fancy steakhouse. And to further create a sexy vibe, the dim lighting and soft music did just that, presenting a perfect atmosphere for couples. Collectively, I found the ambiance a little bit of a disconnect with respect to its location on the residential 35th Avenue and 32nd Street, but nonetheless welcome.
With classic steakhouse items gracing the menu, Dan and I had no trouble choosing our dinner. We were also happy to learn about the high quality of meats - all 100% USDA prime cuts, and even grass fed options. Meat heaven was upon us...
Appetizer - It was easy to choose our app, as we both had our eye on the crab cake. I was excited to see how innovative its composition was - a giant lump crab cake, resting on a bed of spicy corn salsa and a chipotle aioli that woke our senses. The crab itself was flavorful and meaty, and tasted as fresh and crisp as the sea.
Steak - Hands-down the best part of the meal (as it should be), we ordered two cuts of meat, Dan going for the 28-day dry aged T-bone and I for the grass-fed boneless sirloin strip. Both looked absolutely gorgeous, dressed simply with delicate grains of sea salt and fresh crushed herbs.
Dan loved his steak, getting two cuts in one piece of meat including the leaner fillet as well as a more marbled New York strip. I had the pleasure of tasting both pieces and had a strong preference for the New York strip - it had a lot more flavor.
My steak however, stole the show (in my opinion), as it was the juiciest cut of meat I've had to date, boasting a lot of explosive flavor in one bite. I adored the simple flavorings that were the same as on Dan's piece and thoroughly enjoyed dipping the steak into the side of two housemade BBQ sauces, the coffee BBQ and the classic with coriander flavoring.
Sides - Choosing to pair our steak with two sides, including the Brussel sprouts and the onion rings, the former was our favorite. It was lovely to see a pretty golden coloring on its exterior, which offered up a delicious charred taste. Paired with bits of smoky bacon and roasted garlic, the overall effect was expertly balanced and super sophisticated.
The onion rings too, were very good, coated in a smooth tempura batter. They kept their crisp nicely and were also great to dip into the coffee BBQ sauce. I enjoyed them but could eat only about 2 of them, since they were kind of heavy.
Dessert - Another show-stopper, we actually ordered the dessert before we put our steak order in. Our waiter explained that the apple pot pie was made to order and took about 25 minutes to cook. Not long after he explained the contents of this dessert (chunky apples, caramel, organic vanilla bean ice-cream), we without hesitation said "yes."
Once this beauty arrived, it reaffirmed our decision. It looked magnificent, with a honey golden crust, lovingly hugging the deep porcelain dish. The dough was flaky and buttery, pairing well with the hot, caramel filling. I just loved how large and chunky the apples were on the inside, making each bite substantially more and more delicious.
Service and Cost:
We both liked our server who was really comfortable with the menu and his love for steakhouse cuisine was very evident. He was able to definitively tell us his favorites (i.e. crabcake, cut of steak), which we took seriously.
Costs are in-line with other high-end steakhouses to maybe even slightly cheaper. I had an Opentable Spotlight coupon with me, which gave us $50 off the check (I paid $25 for it), but all in all, the dinner set us back about $75/person, tax and tip included.
3 Meaty Mmmms
Lucas Steakhouse - 34-55 32nd Street, Astoria NY 11106
Train to 36th Avenue