36 West 52nd Street, NYC
The acclaimed Big Apple tradition of polished, professionally run steakhouses has a new addition, the appropriately coined Empire Steakhouse- in a convenient west midtown (Rockefeller Center friendly) locale…
Related to the Ben and Jack’s Steakhouses---the Empire Steakhouse is a modern, top shelf, smooth operation-courtesy of seasoned professional, Jeff, of the brothers' Sinanaj=== and staffed with the kind of well trained, educated staff culled from the likes of Peter Luger’s Steakhouse and the original Wolfgang Puck’s NYC restaurant---
We felt an immediate relief from our hectic day the nano-second we walked through the glass doors of this handsome ode to a USDA Prime meats, fresh seafood, and delicious sides…
Once seated in the spacious but intimate dining room, tables properly spaced for real conversations--- a rarity these days--- outfitted with slightly old fashioned-in the best way possible- thick white linens…
…We were ready to eat…
First things first though, we marveled at the thick wine list, aka leather bound tome---packed with accessible ($50’s/$60’S) and expense account worthy selections that spanned the globe…with a special emphasis on California, Italian and French wines, we thought.
Deciding on a balanced, medium bodied, ripe 2007 Saintsbury Pinot Noir Caneros---that works with both fish and meat options, we figured…
---we started our meal with a Seafood Patter for two---as an appetizer…a perfect choice that allowed us to indulge in some of the moist succulent jumbo lump crabmeat ever, two large shrimps, and a nicely portioned raw lobster half…served on crackling ice, simply accessorized with iceberg lettuce and lemon wedges ---and all the right accoutrements, cocktail sauce, horse radish sauce, Tabasco…
|Gee-nothing left... surprise!!|
One of our dining companions also devoured a thick slice of Canadian Bacon she got as well ($2.95)…properly crisp and meaty…
Next we both bypassed Empire Steakhouse’s famous Porterhouse steak (and dry-aged in thier own spacious coolers)--- we figured that was excellent---for entrees of Filet Mignon ($40,95) and Chilean Sea Bass ($33.95)…from an accessibly sized menu, full of selections that would more than adequately satisfy most palates (and we note, most special diets----like high protein, gluten sensitive, with entrees prepared steamed, lightly grilled, or lavishly smothered with butter).
We definitely had a hard time deciding on the sides…but kind of forgot the fact that we are training for Ironmans---ha ha---and indulged in the extravagant fried fresh onion rings/cottage fries potato/vegetable combo ($11.95)--- the latter more like freshly cut, oversized potato chips of yesteryear ---
Balancing out the sinfully awesome with perfectly steamed, hefty portions of just off the farm broccoli florets and asparagus.
It would be an understatement to say that the entrees were flawlessly rendered…our pal couldn’t believe how large her thick, buttery smooth, exceptionally cooked (rare/medium)--- portion was. (At least 16oz).
AND. her knife was practically a superfluous instrument.
Our Chilean Sea Bass was chosen from nine seafood offerings that included Grilled Norwegian Salmon and a 4 Lb. Jumbo Lobster---
We were cheering at the first bite…crisp, properly seasoned ---meaning the quality of the fish was so high, it didn’t need any to bury the taste---grilled just so as to reveal thick, moist 'meaty' part ---we managed to devour Every Single Morsel.
In short, a meal just the way we like it---no mystery, no recitation of weirdly exotic ingredients or concoctions by a flustered waiter who might as well be reading us the Terms of Agreement paragraphs we never bother with…what a relief.
And every single morsel was presented on hefty white china---in a well timed, well-paced manner.
As if we had room---the dessert list, ($9.95) ---was nothing out of this world…just some of the classics like cheesecake, key lime pie, brownie sundae, etc. But our selections that included palate soothing sorbets----was served with a generous bowl of fresh whipped crème --- we thought we could hear our Dad swooning with envy in Heaven---his favorite. And a real rare treat.
Note: After dinner drinks include options like scotch, bourbon, ports, cognacs etc---
There are a handful of highly rated restaurants in this area- with bragging rights to acclaimed wine lists, primo steaks, and other edible menu accessories…
But we prefer the calm setting and old school but not dated AT ALL…. atmosphere of Empire Steakhouse, as did our fellow diners---an eclectic mix of suited business types, tourist families, a few duos of gal pals catching up---the kind that would go to achingly scenester establishments on other nights, a solo diner or two, nearby office workers…and tables of what looked liked friends (Gen Xers to baby boomers, age-wise), enjoying their meals, able to carry on conversations without the need to rush--- or scream to be heard.
Importantly, the noise level didn’t require us to strain our vocal cords either…(there is barely heard music going on in the upfront bar-and a widescreen TV that was quietly on some sports channel)...
What we did really notice…besides the terrific straight-up food, was the service par excellence---and honestly the kind that’s only delivered by a professional wait staff that’s not auditioning for anything else on their downtime---
FYI: Lunch menu Price-Fixed at $29.95 and a la carte