Despite the outcry for environmental sustainability and local food awareness, Manhattan diners still find room in their hearts for a steakhouse the size of my middle school. Our caveman need for meat seems unfazed by rising sea levels and angry Nobel Peace Prize winners. If you want to stick it to the vegans, Quality Meats is the place to go.
Elements of a butcher shop are sanitized and in plain view. Meat hooks serve as lamp holders above your head as you chow down on what hours before had hung on similar implements. Let’s not think too hard about that huh…
The dining room areas are huge, but the space allotted is not more than any typical New York location. The ambiance is colored intimately with the candle lit darkness, certainly more chic and main street than Ben and Jacks or Smith and Wollensky. There will be no talk of mergers and acquisitions, if your PR friends don’t want to hear about it, don’t bring it up.
Appetizers are innovative by steakhouse standards. It pays not to be a Peter Luger spin off like Wolfgang’s where the owners dare to not serve Canadian Bacon and Tomato Mozzarella. I had a nicely seared scallop, but the real kicker was the steak tartare we ordered. You may think that one steak dish is too much, but not in this case. The tartare is paired with a variety of…additives. In the center of the red mess rests an egg that just tenderizes and adds to the delightful texture. It may make for a queasy dish for some, but the taste is first rate and the portion size will make you smile.
As always, your considerate blogger team tried its best to achieve variety, even at a steak house. So as to cover the entree sections: One of our diners had the veal with maple glaze, while two other took one for the team and ordered the hefty porterhouse. Finally, I braved the filet mignon. All medium rare, as gourmets intend.
The taste is pretty solid, but honestly, just the standard for New York steak–a good standard, but nothing heart stoppingly spectacular (in a couple of years, you may feel differently). The differentiators for this joint is still in the opening dishes, but this was of course far from a disappointment.
No Schlag in this place I’m afraid, but I had a most wonderful banana ice cream creation. I’m told it’s a favorite on the dessert menu and for good reason. It’s a crisp clean, almost healthy way to end a guilt laden dinner.
From details like the branded bottled water to the careful plating, Quality Meats is a worthy cousin of Park Avenue. The sort of sleek feel underlies the two places, but is much more approachable at Quality Meats, even if there are cleavers dangling in the windows.
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Quality Meats (Make a Reservation)
57 West 58th Street
New York, NY 10019-1630