Steaks are big business: Sparks, famous for its strip steak and even more famous for a certain mob hit, posts revenue in the multimillions. But because the best beef is already so expensive, steakhouses don’t actually make much profit on the cuts they serve, especially when it comes to dry aged steaks, which shrink during the aging process. As a result, these musky meat temples hope diners will pad their bills with wine and, of course, side dishes. Potato hash and creamed spinach are steakhouse mainstays, but many establishments have updated their offerings in recent years to include things like seasonal produce and even additional steaks (that’s right, steak as a side dish).
Here, to go with our list of the 10 best steakhouses in NYC, are our five favorite chophouse accompaniments.
5. Mashed potatoes at Christos Steakhouse, (4108 23rd Avenue, Queens; 718-777-8400) Astoria steakhouse and butcher shop Christos takes a YOLO approach to mashed spuds, cleverly folding in atypical ingredient combinations like blue cheese and bacon, wild mushrooms, or cheddar, chorizo, and spicy chili oil. But our favorite of the bunch channels the restaurant’s Greek heritage with smoked feta and parsley. The cream and smoke balance each other out, making for a smooth puree that could almost earn a spot on the restaurant’s coveted mezze platter, along with other addictive dips like skordalia and taramosalata.
4. Goose fat potatoes at The Strip House, (13 East 12th Street, 212-328-0000) Next to Peter Luger’s German potatoes, these might be the most famous starchy steakhouse side in the city. Essentially a deep fried mound of chopped potatoes, they’re exactly what you’d hope for, with a golden brown crust; a soft, seasoned interior; and just a hint of avian perfume from the bird fat. The audible crackle heard when a serving spoon splits open the burnished exterior elicits enough drooling to label this plate the gastronomic equivalent of Pavlov’s bell.
3. Grilled vegetables at St. Anselm, (335 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-384-5054) The spinach gratin and pan-fried mashed potatoes served at Joe Carroll’s laid back steakhouse are fine enough, but it’s when chef Yvon de Tassigny turns his attention to market vegetables that things really get cooking. Spring onions, cauliflower, and seasonal specials like ramps and long beans all enjoy ample char from the grill. Every steakhouse cares about the provenance of its meats, but how many pay mind to their produce?
2. Yorkshire creamed spinach at Quality Meats, (57 West 58th Street, 212-371-7777) Quality Meats is the glitzy midtown steakhouse from former Smith & Wollensky owners Michael and Alan Stillman (dad Alan helped found the recognizable, beefy brand). Together with chef Craig Koketsu, who oversees all of the Stillman’s restaurants as a partner in their group Fourth Wall Restaurants, they’ve managed to create a modern meatery where, occasionally, the side dishes outshine the steaks. There’s velvety corn crème brûlée and celery root disco fries. And although it’s not much to look at, the dish of creamed spinach, oozing forth from the gaping yaw of a browned popover, might be our favorite rendition in town.
1.Beef butter at M. Wells Steakhouse, (43-15 Crescent Street, Queens; 718-786-9060) What’s the best steakhouse side in the city? Why, another steak, of course! Leave it to creative Canadian chef Hugue Dufour to hide one of the tenderest cuts of beef — a modest slab of Kobe strip loin — alongside equally decadent sides like pommes aligot, foie gras gnocchi, and escargot with bone marrow. For your menu ferreting, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous fat-capped slices sitting in blood and butter that cost less than half of what you’ll spend on the rest of the wood-fired cuts.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 15, 2014