Sam Bahri’s Steakhouse opened two months ago on a lightly-trafficked stretch of lower Sixth Avenue that hasn’t been kind to restaurants. Next door, 10 Downing has been struggling for years to attract a following.
Naming a restaurant after the owner can be an earnest way of introducing oneself to the community, or it may signal a vanity project. On a recent weeknight, the staff were gracious and welcoming, but I was their only customer at around 6:30 p.m. I saw no signs of Mr. Bahri.
The restaurant claims to be serving “classic American dishes with a subtle French flair.” Only two items on the menu could claim to be plausibly French: Foie Gras au Torchon and Coquilles St. Jacques, both appetizers. That is hardly enough to establish Gallic bona fides, on a menu that is otherwise generically American.
Despite the steakhouse hook, there are about a dozen non-steak entrées, ranging from $25–45: things like chicken, salmon, duck breast, sesame crusted tuna, and beef short ribs. As none of these are at all original, the only claim the restaurant could hope to make is preparing them better than other establishments in its neighborhood and price range.
Perhaps it does. So far, there are handful “reviews” on sites like Yelp, OpenTable, and Menupages, almost all four or five stars out of five. That may be suspicious, or maybe Sam Bahri’s is that good.
My only evidence is the Cowboy Ribeye, which might be the best $40 dry-aged prime steak in town. It’s thick, earthy, and has a firm crust.
You’ll note I didn’t say best, only best for $40. This one’s pretty good, but others are better. You’ll also pay $5, $10, or even $20 more.
I’ll admit curiosity about the double-cut duck breast bacon, but the menu said it’s for two, and even at $12 I didn’t want to put it to waste. So that’ll be for another day, assuming Sam Bahri’s Steakhouse sticks around.
It’s a pretty, pleasant place, but the Village has plenty of those, and it’s not as if there aren’t other steakhouses clamoring for attention.
Sam Bahri’s Steakhouse (257 Sixth Ave. between Bleecker & Houston, West Village)