Note: Chef Adam Perry Lang has since left Robert’s Steakhouse.
Robert’s Steakhouse has gotten some good press lately, including a prominent mention in the Times. One night in early June, I decided to find out for myself if the fuss is justified. The restaurant is located in the Penthouse Lounge, although it is a separate section of the club. Most men go there, I think, to drink at the bar, to look at the strip show, and perhaps to visit a private room with one of the models.
Steakhouse pricing is fairly consistent in the city. The steaks at Robert’s are over-priced beyond reason. There are three options for the solo diner: filet ($51), t-bone ($51) or bone-in strip ($53). All of them are at least $10-12 more than most NYC steakhouses would charge. The porterhouse and ribeye, both available only in portions for two, are similarly over-priced.
The server recommended the strip. At this price, it had better be a strip steak to die for. It wasn’t. Yes, it was a huge slab of meat, probably two inches thick before cooking. And yes, it was expertly broiled. But it was slightly tough and over-salted. Later on, one of the Penthouse models told me that she thinks Del Frisco’s is better — a remarkable admission.
Needless to say, Del Frisco’s is more sensibly priced. It’s also in a far more hospitable part of town — 49th & 6th, rather than Robert’s perch in the hinterlands at 45th & 11th. Indeed, I could easily name a dozen steakhouses serving better steaks at better prices in better neighborhoods than Robert’s.
The over-priced fare was not limited to the steaks. On the wine list, there were no bottles below $75. When I asked for wine by the glass, I was offered “cabernet or merlot”; no indication of vintage or winery. A glass of the unremarkable and unnamed cabernet was an outrageous $17.
Service was merely average. There was an excellent selection of warm bread rolls, but they were brought to the table long after I sat down. My check was brought to the table before I had finished ordering. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Robert’s Steakhouse (603 W 45th St at 11th Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen)
Ambiance: fair, but not a place you could take a date