Putting Fresh Spins on the Steakhouse
Reinventing the steakhouse — the standard leather-bound, mahogany-paneled, cabernet-soaked model — has become a New York preoccupation in recent years. This season’s entries play a number of new variations on the theme.
A Greek steakhouse in the Flatiron district, Merakia, nods to history. Greek cattle rustlers in Ottoman-occupied regions in the late 19th century would cook their swag over spits; hence the emphasis here on rotisserie cooking, and not just for beef. Greek appetizers, dips and side dishes will fill out the menu by the chef Tassos Ballas.
Partisans of Turkish cuisine will have theirs, too, at Nusr-Et Steakhouse, the first New York restaurant from Nusret Gokce, a celebrity chef better known as Salt Bae, for the dramatic way he salts the meat before grilling. A branch of Mr. Gokce’s flagship in Istanbul, the enormous blocklong space in the former China Grill in Midtown, designed by Glen & Co., will have an open kitchen and reveal the original bronzed walls.
Call it a gimmick, but SaltBrick Tavern in Downtown Brooklyn will also feature salt, in slabs of the pink Himalayan variety that line the Connecticut room it uses for aging the beef. The company, Craveable Hospitality Group, has patented a process that it says adds flavor and tenderness. The menu will offer a somewhat limited list of steaks, plus a bone-in pork schnitzel and a lamb sirloin. (Glen & Co. is designing the interior of this one, too.)
Butcher & Banker will mark the return of the chef Scott Campbell, who has been quietly working on this project for several years. The restaurant and lounge, in the former Manufacturers Hanover Trust bank vault under the New Yorker Hotel, will put a new spin on the steak menu, with a long list of vegetable sides, choices like culotte and rib cap steaks, and a number of cuts, not just beef, on the bone. At Holy Ground in TriBeCa, smoked briskets and pork butts will be served tableside, along with prime strip loins and rib-eyes. It’s from the restaurateur Matt Abramcyk and his partners.
Steakhouses are a rarity in Harlem, where the Cecil, which closed this summer, will be resurrected as the Cecil Steakhouse. The new owners, the chef Raphael Benavides and Anahi Angelone, who also own Minton’s Playhouse (with Richard D. Parsons) and Corner Social, said they sensed a gap in the neighborhood. Mr. Benavides is from Argentina, so expect some South American flavors to complement traditional cuts of beef.
Late fall will bring a third branch of Michael Stillman’s Quality Eats, where lesser cuts of steak are given their due. And Ikinari Steak, the Japanese quick-serve steak chain where many diners eat standing up and lines stretch out the door, is adding six locations in Chelsea and Midtown.
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