If you find yourself cordoned behind police barriers in the vicinity of 52nd Street and Sixth Avenue during this Wednesday night’s Rockefeller Center tree lighting, take refuge at one of three bars tucked inside the bi-level dining room at Mastro’s (1285 Avenue of the Americas, 212-459-1222), a West Coast steakhouse carving inroads in Midtown West’s newly transformed landscape of expense-account meat lockers. The former McCormick & Schmick’s space now houses a more upscale Landry’s venture that’s been eyeing a move to Manhattan for the past two years.
The executive chef here is Aaron Albrecht, who previously held that title at Capital Grille, then Dean & DeLuca, and then toured the celebrity-favorite Beverly Hills and Malibu outposts of the Mastro’s chain earlier this summer.
“I ran a larger venue at Capitol, but this is a bigger echelon,” Albrecht says of the more than 8,000 square feet of space his team works at Mastro’s. The restaurant is attempting to cater to a bicoastal clientele. Besides steak, it serves weighty seafood dishes, including heady black-truffle-garnished sashimi and lobster tempura rolls, and nine potato side dishes, like a serving bowl of mashed potatoes sown through with hulking chunks of lobster meat and king-crab-garnished gnocchi.
Garnish is a thing here, too. “We have parsley on everything,” Albrecht says. “It adds a little West Coast color to it.”
And it does show up everywhere, blossoming from the pebbles of ice chilling a shrimp cocktail and coating a 28-day wet-aged Tomahawk rib eye. Served here on a frenched bone, the steak of the moment — already so popular downtown at Marc Forgione’s American Cut and Michael White’s Costata — is finally making an impression uptown.
“It’s ostentatious,” Albrecht says, acknowledging the appeal to the finance crowd working upstairs from the restaurant. “It’s the piece of meat that gets put down on the table and has everyone looking at it, knowing when they take it home the bone’s going to stick out the box. That bone adds a tremendous amount of flavor.”
Also adding flavor to the menu? Butter. Nowhere is it more prevalent than in the signature warm butter cake, an oozing goo of rib-sticking sweetness.
This isn’t the only upscale steakhouse Landry’s is bringing to midtown this fall. This week, Morton’s Grille brings its modern concept and oversized small plates to the former Vic & Anthony’s space on Park Avenue South.