Quality Meats is a new entry in the sub-genre of luxury steakhouses, a niche occupied by itself, BLT Steak, BLT Prime, and Craftsteak. Characteristic of the category, the décor is significantly more upscale and chick-friendly than the typical steakhouse, the wine list more serious, the side dishes more carefully thought out, and the prices are several dollars more per entree than the already expensive standard set by NYC steakhouses.
My friend and I gave Quality Meats a try last night. We found it a tad superior to Craftsteak, although with a few reservations. The restaurant offers a 64 oz. double bone-in rib steak for two, for $110. We’re both fans of the ribeye, so we gave it a try. This was enormous, sliced tableside, with more of a “prime rib” taste than usual for a solo ribeye steak. We asked for a preparation between medium and medium rare, which the kitchen executed perfectly. We brought the ample leftovers home.
The amuse bouche was a deviled egg, which struck us as unusual at this type of restaurant, but the kitchen did a fine job with it. They also sent out freshly baked dinner rolls, which were sinfully good. For appetizers, my friend had a salad, while I ordered the bone marrow ($9), which was excellent. While we awaited our steak, a server came over and prepared a terrific home-made steak sauce tableside. I don’t normally use steak sauce, but for this I made an exception.
For side dishes, we ordered the crispy potatoes ($7), which came in a hot pan, over which garlic butter was poured at the table. The effect was upscale potato chips. An order of grilled asparagus ($8) was wonderful. To go along with this, I found a very reasonable pinot noir. The total for two, before tip, was $215, which for a meal of this quality in New York was quite reasonable.
If the story ended there, I’d give Quality Meats a solid three stars. But there were a number of glitches with the service. When we asked for the double ribeye, we initially did not want appetizers, as we knew we were in for something huge. Our server warned us that the ribeye would take 90 minutes to prepare, and asked if we wanted to reconsider the appetizers. We were baffled as to how a steak could take 90 minutes, but we took her word for it and ordered appetizers. In the meantime, our steak appeared 35–40 minutes later.
We would also like to have been told that the steak came with about a pound of mushrooms and glazed onions, in which case we wouldn’t have ordered two side dishes on top of that. Lastly, we were subjected to unctuous upselling at dessert time. We were full at that point, but the server tried to break our resistance: “Are you sure you don’t want any dessert? Perhaps an ice cream to share?” On an already expensive bill, this bordered on offensive. We held our ground, but it was annoying nonetheless.
For a restaurant of this size, the noise level was manageable. The AvroKO décor is spectacular, but the tables are small and close together. Indeed, there was not room on our table for everything we had ordered, and our server had to commandeer the next table over, which fortunately was not yet occupied. I don’t know what they would have done had it been a full house.
I’m sure I’ll be back to Quality Meats — a steakhouse this good deserves to be on everyone’s list. I sure hope they’ll get their service team knocked into better shape.
Quality Meats (57 W 58th Street, East of Sixth Avenue, West Midtown)