Monday, March 25, 2013

Desmond’s Steakhouse And Grill: A Classic Midtown Steakhouse With A Modern Flavor

By: Anne M. Raso

I’m always happy to check out new steakhouses and Desmond’s in midtown was one I was especially eager to check out as fellow food writers told me they had a great time there, not only raving abut the steaks but also saying that they loved the fabulous trays of mixed raw and cooked seafood that have become diner’s favorite appetizers (although it is a meal in itself). I am a bonafide landlubber, so I stuck with the steak and traditional sides and sampled the eatery’s two most popular desserts.

The décor is “classic steakhouse” as I like to call it—the push-button leather banquets are there, but they are higher than the standard ones, and the matching chairs have interesting T-backs, giving the décor a modern flare. Artwork is traditional (oil paintings abound at serving stations), but lighting is avant guard and dramatic (the multiple globe-shaped ceiling lamps are stunning).
I was a very carnivorous mood, so I ordered the first ever straight bacon appetizer of my food writing career. Simply called Grilled Slab Bacon With Black Pepper Applesauce ($15), the meat is sliced maybe a little more than 1/3” thick. The taste of the bacon is more like a very tender Virginia ham—heck, I would rather be eating this at Easter than a ham. There is great marbling and the bacon is tender and juicy. The applesauce was subtle and thinner than applesauce one would eat as a side dish.
Grilled Slab Bacon With Black Pepper Applesauce
Not surprisingly, I went for the gold and ordered the 14-ounce filet mignon ($50), which is served on the bone, something I have never encountered in another NYC steakhouse. Our amiable server David French explained it was left on for more flavor. The meat was tender and served perfectly medium as I requested—and I did not really need a steak knife to cut it. This is an ideal dish for two to share—or take some home for the next day’s lunch like I did. (I am never ashamed to ask for a doggie bag even though I’m the last person who’d want to keep a dog in a small NYC alcove studio apartment, LOL!) I have heard raves about the Cowboy Ribeye, which is a whopping 24 ounces, and also “bone-in” ($56); it is served with a dark charbroiled crust like the filet. Other steak cuts that can be ordered are T-Bone , Porterhouse and Sirloin, and diners get a choice of five sauces: Béarnaise, Hollandaise, Au Poivre, Bordelaise and Horseradish Cream. (I had the Horseradish Cream put on the side and it rocked!)
Filet Mignon
My three sides with the Filet Mignon were the Creamed Spinach ($11), Mashed Potatoes ($9) and Exotic Mushrooms ($11). The runway winner was the mushroom dish, which included tender Chanterelles in with interesting Japanese mushrooms and simply sautéed in sparingly used butter (but not oily at all). The Creamed Spinach was sweet and more pureed than this steakhouse staple usually is, and the mashed potatoes were perfectly firm and fluffy, just how I like them.
Exotic Mushrooms
I also tried the Grilled Veal Chop With Horseradish Potato Puree And Chanterelle Mushrooms ($40). Served in a perfect Béarnaise sauce that was not overpowering, this is a world-class version of this dish. I would return to Desmond’s just to have this. The Horseradish Potato Puree was actually fairly firm (more like horseradish mashed potatoes) and was the horseradish kick was delightfully peppery, not overwhelming.
Grilled Veal Chop
It was remarkable that I had room for dessert. Desmond’s desserts of moderate proportions, not monstrous like at many steakhouses. They keep the dessert menu to six choices to keep things simple. I tried the Vanilla Panna Cotta With Raspberries 3-Ways ($8) and the Warm Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Ice Cream ($9). The panna cotta was done with a classic recipe but not chilled as firmly as usual—those who like a more pudding-like consistency to this famous Northern Italian dessert will appreciate this. The organically raised raspberries were a perfect side note.
Warm Chocolate Cake
The chocolate cake was of the “molten” variety, with hot Hershey’s liquid lava spouting out with that first forkful. This is a must for those who need a chocolate fix to end a heavenly steakhouse epicurean experience…and why not go out on a chocolate explosion? We can’t think of a better way!

Desmond’s Steakhouse
515 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
Cuisine: American/Steaks And Seafood

Desmond's on Urbanspoon

Photos: Anne M. Raso

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