BWW Reviews: EMPIRE STEAK HOUSE Sizzles With Flavor
Sometimes you just feel like having a no-nonsense steak--simply prepared and expertly cooked-- in an unstuffy establishment. That's what's in store when you visit Empire Steak House in Midtown Manhattan. Owners Jeff Sinanaj, along with his brothers Jack and Russ, have a combined total of 25 years' experience as waiters at the famed Peter Luger.
Empire, in a bustling Midtown neighborhood -- in the same building as the Hilton Garden Inn-- is an ideal pre- or post-theater dining spot. Let your server know if you have tickets for an evening show and you'll be taken care of without feeling rushed. Win-win.
The modern interior accommodates more than 200, with a spacious main room complemented by a high ceiling. As you are led to your table notice the white marble bar that can seat 50.
Subdued lighting offers a welcoming vibe and you may hear popular music wafting throughout the room. We were escorted to a roomy table for four and were greeted by Petr, an attentive manager who checked in with us periodically to ensure we were being well taken care of by our server Feke. We were.
The dinner menu offered a nice assortment of starters, salads, entrees and desserts. We didn't have theater tickets, so we were prepared to enjoy a leisurely experience and we weren't disappointed.
After ordering drinks from their 35-page wine list, Reisling for me and Malbec for him, we studied the menu. Obviously, the star attraction is the hand-picked, Nebraska-based USDA prime, dry-aged for 21-28 days, which makes the steaks flavorful and succulent. Non-carnivores have an array to choose from: Chilean sea bass, yellow fin tuna, and salmon among them. Or if poultry beckons, you won't be disappointed. You could even order pasta, if you must.
Starters ran the gamut from Canadian bacon, truffled mac and cheese, the Empire hot platter (shrimp scampi, sautéed mushrooms, clams and crabmeat) to lobster ravioli. Side dishes include the steakhouse favorite creamed spinach, and the not-so-common peas and onions. Intoxicating and generously proportioned bouquets of steak fries and onion rings floated past steadily. Tempting.
We started with the jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail, served on a table stand and delivered to the plate by Feke with two large spoons. The accompanying house-made cocktail sauce had just the right horse-radishy tang. Delicious and simple. My companion ordered the crab cake, which he deemed excellent. I agreed. A house salad was balanced and crunchy.
The hearty steaks are offered in assorted cuts, including porterhouse for two, three or four, prime New York sirloin, rib eye, steak, filet and veal or lamb chops. You can even order a Kobe burger.
I'm a big filet mignon aficionado and chose that while my companion ordered the New York sirloin. Both came to our table sizzling and perfectly medium rare. The sautéed spinach was so bountiful, we took home half of it and it was just as flavorful the next day. Same with my filet. The New York sirloin didn't stand a chance of leaving in a doggy bag.
We lingered over the dessert menu (we had to at least look at it) and found apple strudel, hot fudge sundae, chocolate soufflé, key lime pie, red velvet cake and fresh fruit. We decided on pecan pie, served with a sizeable portion of whipped cream that resembled a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
By the end of our meal, we were pleasantly full, our sweet teeth were sated and we were bid adieu by every staffer we passed.
Empire Steak House is located at 237 W. 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 Call 212-586-9700 or contact them at email@example.com. Visit their their web site at http://empiresteakhousenyc.com/.
You can also read Broadwayworld.com's "Chef Spotlight" on Empire's Executive Chef Jack Sinanaj by visitng the following link: /bwwfood-wine/article/Chef-Spotlight-JACK-SINANAJ-of-Empire-Steak-House-in-NYC-20150506.
Photo: Courtesy of Empire Steak House