Steaks are one of our society’s primal pleasures. In New York, we’ve all been conditioned to equate steak houses with Peter Luger, and great steaks with a well aged, perfectly charred porterhouse. When steakhouses deviate from this accepted formula, and innovate….. it’s quickly labeled as fusion or trendy. Trendy is good in many things in life, but seldom when it comes to steak.
So appetizers at most steakhouses are a collection of timeless classics from the raw bar, salads, and a collection of small plates that saw their best days in the 90s. And you wonder why Luger serves sliced tomatoes and bacon… would you rather see raw diced fish?
How do you improve a steakhouse menu without being trendy? Christos takes inspiration from the neighborhood. Located in Astoria, on a block peppered with sky blue flags, Christos showcases many great Mediterranean flavors in its appetizer section. Want seared scallops and grilled octopus before your porterhouse? why not.
The scallops arrived as part of the “trio of appetizers”, in which you’re given the option to chose one meat, one seafood, and one vegetable. The scallop (singular) was the standout, with a translucent center to contrast the beautifully charred center. The octopus salad was equally blessed with aggressive grill marks, giving it a powerful punch in flavor.
For entree, while there are still some more delicate Greek styled plates, this is a steakhouse after all, so it was time for some read meat. The porterhouse at Christos is aged 21 days in their own aging facility. As Chef Mina Newman explains, the texture and tenderness comes from the first 15 or so days, the rest is all a delicate control of flavor. Age too long, and you risk prime cuts of meat rotting away.
In terms of tenderness and preparation, the steak at Christos is excellent. Like many of the other restaurants in the city offering porterhouse for two, the two side of the bone presented two separate cuts of meat with very different tastes and texture. For the most part, the quality at Christos rivals many top tier Manhattan steak houses. However compared to the steak houses that age their meat 28 days, the flavor wasn’t quite as intense. Is 21 days too few? or is it just a matter of personal taste (or distaste) for dry aged flavor.
If you’ve been pacing yourself for dessert, an excellent choice would be the Baked “Astoria”, the local interpretation of Baked Alaska.
It’s great to know that I can get a great dry-aged porterhouse for two without leaving the borough. To find a top-tier steakhouse in Queens was quite a pleasant surprise, and the excellent appetizers that pushed beyond the normally expected fare at a steakhouse was just icing on the Baked Astoria.
What does this rating mean?
The meal was complimentary, though this fact did not affect my opinion, nor was I required to write about the experience.