*This post was written by Vanessa Shoman-Duell and edited/formatted by The Lunch Belle. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs were captured by Vanessa Shoman-Duell.**
Restaurant: Angus Club Steakhouse
- Cuisine: Steakhouse
- Pricing: $$$
- What's delicious: Steak fries, cocktails
- Perfect for: Date night, small group dining
From NYC to Argentina (and, literally, everywhere in between) I've been to more than my fair share of steakhouses. As an avid carnivore, you can imagine the anticipation and excitement I felt leading up to my inaugural visit to Angus Club Steakhouse, a beef-centric restaurant located in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan.
Housed in a bi-level space, Angus Club boasts a dining room and bar on each level: The lower floor is best suited for the evening with its stunning, dimly-lit atmosphere, generous table spacing, and handsome, "classic NY" appointments (sleek hardwood flooring, leather chairs, crisp white tablecloths). Upstairs evoked more of a "lunch time" vibe, perhaps for the sole fact that it was brighter.
Upon arrival, my guest and I were greeted by Dino (the owner) who, en-route to our lovely first floor table, told us a bit about his gorgeous restaurant. "Angus Club separates itself by approaching some steakhouse classics differently. Our creamed spinach, for example, is prepared with just a touch of cream," he noted. "We also pride ourselves on seafood."
Clink! My guest and I toasted to our evening with perfectly-crafted dirty martinis that were finished with my favorite accoutrement: Blue cheese-stuffed olives!
For appetizers, we chose to split the Crab Cake and the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. While the presentation was attractive and colorful, I found the 'cake to be a bit bland and lacking in flavor. The shrimp, on the other hand, were perfect and delicious. There was a "snap" with each bite, which confirmed their freshness and quality. A steakhouse classic!
For entrees, my guest and I thought it would be best to split the restaurant's highly-recommended Porterhouse steak. For those of you unfamiliar with the theatrical presentation of this cut of beef, imagine when you're at a Mexican restaurant and order the fajitas. Not only can you smell their approach from like 20-feet away, the sizzle wafting from the hot griddle pan causes guests at neighboring tables to pause their conversations and visually follow the fragrant steam train that's quickly approaching your place mat.
Well, very much unlike the fajita service at your local Mexican joint, it is traditional and customary for your waiter to serve each steakhouse guest their first slices of the Porterhouse! Fancy, eh?
After our server placed two slices of the sirloin portion (of the Porterhouse) and one piece of the filet atop our plates, he made a "hold on just a second" hand gesture as we reached for our knives and forks. "Et voila," he said, as he simultaneously poured some of the rendered drippings over our meat. To accompany, we ordered a side of Creamed Spinach and Steak Fries.
To my utter shock, I found the sirloin cut - not the filet - to be the better of the two! Despite the marbling, the filet was lacking in inherent flavor.
While we found the meat lackluster, the sides were brilliant. The less-cream Creamed Spinach tasted much cleaner and spinach-y, with a subtle hint of garlic. Quite the opposite from every other steakhouse's version (a white, wiggly glob with a few green bits)! And those Steak Fries! My goodness, they must have been twice - maybe thrice - cooked! Crispy and hot, with just the right amount of salt, I would return for these, alone! They were, hands down, the best part of the meal.
With a bit of room left in our bellies, my guest and I split two desserts: Creme Brûlée and the Key Lime Tart. While neither was exemplary, we preferred the brûlée to the tart.
Until we eat again,
Vanessa Shoman-Duell for The Lunch Belle