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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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