Friday, August 6, 2010

West Side Steakhouse is indeed your neighborhood steak shop

I reported on West Side Steakhouse in its Plywood stage, but it's been fully open for a month or two now. I finally made it over there to check out the goods a couple of weeks ago.

The dining room is spare but comfortable, and the service is efficient but friendly. The bread to start consisted of olive and what looked like cheddar ciabatta; it was quite good, marred only by the rock-hard cold butter (a few minutes of softening would have done wonders for that).

Might also want to get cloth napkins to kick the "paper napkin in a basket" vibe up a notch...

My dining companion ordered the crab cakes to start. They looked slightly on the flaccid and soggy side to me, but he said that although they were a bit doughy they were still quite good and were packed full of crab. They were also made in-house, which is key to getting crab cakes of quality.

Lots of crab here

The crab cakes were followed up by a rib-eye steak, which was also pronounced delicious and was well-cooked. Note that, as is standard at steakhouses, all the meat here is a la carte, so if you order a steak you'll get just a steak unless you order sides separately.

Big ol' steak on a plate

That's where I came in. I ordered a trio of sides, starting with the grilled asparagus, which was surprisingly delicious, attractively caramelized and drizzled with a bit of reduced balsamic vinegar, which took the dish to the next level. I only wish there had been a few more spears here; seven pencil-thin pieces of asparagus is a tiny bit stingy for $7.50.

Asparagus FTW!

My other main veggie was the sauteed mushrooms, which were also quite flavorful due to their garlicky, peppery sauce. These weren't too greasy, which was merciful, and the portion here was plentiful. Note that these were cooked relatively lightly, which means they retained their spongy mushroomness, so if you're looking for the caramelized, almost-burnt mushroom consistency, these aren't for you.

Lots of different types of fungus here

For good measure, the final veggie was creamed spinach. I took a tiny bite of this, and it was rich and tasty. I'm no creamed spinach connoisseur, but this seemed to do the job.

Green plop

While we were there, the liquor license at WSS was pending, so there was neither booze sold nor BYOB allowed. Once the license comes through, I think the addition of alcohol to the mix will add some festiveness to both the food and the atmosphere. In the meantime, however, the food at WSS is surprisingly good and reasonably priced, and it's worth a try if you're looking for a low-key, genuine meal in the neighborhood.

West Side Steakhouse
597 Tenth Avenue, between 43rd and 44th Streets


Hungry said...

Thanks for this write up. I live in the neighborhood and have walked by many times. I'm going to have to give it a try.

Todd said...

I'm a wine importer and wholesaler and passed by the place on my way to visit another account. I spoke with the proprietor, Nick, who said that he's still waiting for his beer/wine/liquor license as of today.

What's most interesting about his situation is not that he's still waiting for his license (after all, after all the shenanigans at the Harlem SLA office last year and staff reductions, it's no surprise that licenses are taking a long time to get processed), it's the sign on the door stating that customers may not bring their own in the meantime. It explains that by doing so, it may affect his chances of getting the license. This has always been the law (no beer/wine license, no BYO), but this is the first place I've seen actually toe the line. I hope it gets done soon. To go into the fall without a license would be tough.

Sara said...

I stumbled across your blog and am glad I found this writeup.

Nick, the proprietor, is terrific! We've been there several times now and have enjoyed a number of different things from the menu. The wine list isn't huge but is well-designed and well-priced. Since we live nearby, this is sure to become a frequently visited spot!

Felt bad for Nick about the wait on the liquor license and was glad to see Todd's explanation, which matched what Nick had told us.