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Nina C.

Porter House New York

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I dashed through a party at Porter House New York at the Time Warner Center. The chandeliers and red velvet of V Steakhouse are gone, and instead replaced with a clubby cherry wood decor with banquettes and a long bar - not too much to write home about. I only tried a few things, but the burger was unsurprisingly excellent. A sweet brioche bun coupled with juicy beef, approprietly rare in the middle and not too much else. Steak tartare was very light and served on a crispy flakey cracker. Fried oysters and fried mushroom balls were good but not outstanding

All the glitteratti were there and the room was packed.

Porter House is opening in about a week, I think.


Edited by Nina C. (log)

The Kitchn

Nina Callaway

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I dashed through a party at Porter House New York at the Time Warner Center.  The chandeliers and red velvet of V Steakhouse are gone, and instead replaced with a clubby cherry wood decor with banquettes and a long bar - not too much to write home about. I only tried a few things, but the burger was unsurprisingly excellent. A sweet brioche bun coupled with juicy beef, approprietly rare in the middle and not too much else. Steak tartare was very light and served on a crispy flakey cracker. Fried oysters and fried mushroom balls were good but not outstanding

All the glitteratti were there and the room was packed. 

Porter House is opening in about a week, I think.

Partly because he is a good chef, partly because he is a good guy and partly because of his experience with 9/11, Michael Lomanico is one of those guys who deserves to be successful. He seems to have had a bit of a hard time since Windows on the World. I hope his luck has changed for the better.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The restaurant does not open at all until October 3rd, according to the concierge at Time Warner.

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I just made a reservation for Friday. I wouldn't normally post about that, except that the telephone agent was unusually friendly and accommodating —she even asked if we had any allergies, or if it was a special event. Most reservation agents in NYC don't ask those questions.

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Was there last saturday night. Gone are the tacky V-steakhouse decor and in its place a nice clubby 1930's clubhouse feel. The best tables are the ones with the view overlooking Columbus circle. There were enough items on the menu to satisfy this non-meat eater. My dining pals' braised oysters and oysters casino were nicely done. While my Ceasare salad were a bit on the salty side, it was classically prepared, fully of anchovie flavors. Crab cakes were delicious, but the seared scallops were even better. My pals though their steaks were a bit on the dry side, but my salmon with pinot noir sauce and pureed root vegetables was simple and satisfying. Dessert highlights were a supremely addictive pear compote, and an inventive trio of Indian, rice and chocolate puddings. The mud pie ain't too shabby either. Apple pie is a personal preference issue, I like my apples to be soft and mushy, but the one is Porterhouse is on the hard side. And, the pineapple upside down cake would have been so much better if it were warm. As for the coconut cake and the sour cream coffee cake, the portions are so huge, I was simple overwhelmed. If you have room left, don't skip the cookie plate, the chocolate cookies with cream in the middle is to die for and Wayne Holly Brockman can make a bundle from that sdesame cookie if he were ever to market that in a big package.

Considering that it's day two of operation, the service really couldn't be better.


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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According to Eater, Porter House opens today. Follow the link to get a first look at the new décor.

There's a 20% discount through October 8 "while they work out the kinks."

I discovered a substantial kink:

I was excited to go to Porter House last night, their first night open. The staff was welcoming; the restaurant is beautiful; and the food was excellent--the oyster roast succulent, the porter house perfectly done, and the sides very tasty. I sat at the bar and was given astute service by the bartender, James. However, I was sadly surprised when I received my check and found that there was no 20% discount.

I called James over and his response was, "What 20% discount?". I explained to him that it is advertised to be in effect from Oct. 3 to Oct. 8 and I had called earlier to confirm this with the reservationist. He escaped from the bar to investigate and returned stating, "don't worry, we'll take care of you." I told him that it was very difficult to believe that he would not be made aware of such a significant fact. He appeared to attempt to minimize the 'mistake'. I asked to speak with the manager who responded immediately. I asked him how this could happen that his staff is not aware of the discount; and I pointed out that apparently everyone else who had been eating at the bar was not given their discount. He apologized and appropriately offered a complimentary drink (which I thanked him for but did not accept). I told him I was embarassed to have to ask for my discount and that 20% is a lot of money (especially on my $200. tab (I ordered extra food to take home)), so that he was not convincing me that this was simply an oversight. He offered, "I hope you don't think I deliberately withheld this information from my staff." He read my mind (and I'm the one who is the psychiatrist). I thanked him for correcting the tab, told him I would return, and gratefully left a 33% tip.

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According to Eater, Porter House opens today. Follow the link to get a first look at the new décor.

There's a 20% discount through October 8 "while they work out the kinks."

I discovered a substantial kink:

I was excited to go to Porter House last night, their first night open. The staff was welcoming; the restaurant is beautiful; and the food was excellent--the oyster roast succulent, the porter house perfectly done, and the sides very tasty. I sat at the bar and was given astute service by the bartender, James. However, I was sadly surprised when I received my check and found that there was no 20% discount.

I called James over and his response was, "What 20% discount?". I explained to him that it is advertised to be in effect from Oct. 3 to Oct. 8 and I had called earlier to confirm this with the reservationist. He escaped from the bar to investigate and returned stating, "don't worry, we'll take care of you." I told him that it was very difficult to believe that he would not be made aware of such a significant fact. He appeared to attempt to minimize the 'mistake'. I asked to speak with the manager who responded immediately. I asked him how this could happen that his staff is not aware of the discount; and I pointed out that apparently everyone else who had been eating at the bar was not given their discount. He apologized and appropriately offered a complimentary drink (which I thanked him for but did not accept). I told him I was embarassed to have to ask for my discount and that 20% is a lot of money (especially on my $200. tab (I ordered extra food to take home)), so that he was not convincing me that this was simply an oversight. He offered, "I hope you don't think I deliberately withheld this information from my staff." He read my mind (and I'm the one who is the psychiatrist). I thanked him for correcting the tab, told him I would return, and gratefully left a 33% tip.

Robert, thanks for the report and welcome to eGullet!

Unfortunately, I find that if there is a discount available it is rarely applied unless it is asked for. I'm not sure that it is wrong to doit that way, however, when asked for it should be readily forthcoming.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Have a reservation for tonight. Very excited, but I hope they don't forget the discount!

Don't hesitate to remind them. :wink:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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So we had

apps:

1 of each oyster - fresh, but boring

scallops - very nice

entrees:

porterhouse for 2 - good, but nothing that i couldn't have made at home

veal chop - this was very delicious

sides:

onion rings

mashed potatoes

both were fine

dessert:

pineapple upside down cake

cookies

both very disappointing

The porterhouse was fine, but not better than other top steakhouses. Service was exceptional. The veal chop was the highlight of the meal - I could have this every day. I was very disaapointed by the desserts. The pineapple cake was so dry and the cookies were very plain. $10 for each 0 imo not a good value at all.

Overall, the food is fine, but I don't consider it a top restaurant at all. I would return, only to sit at the bar and have a veal chop. The veal chop really was that good.

Oh, and no problems with the 20% off.

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porterhouse for 2 - good, but nothing that i couldn't have made at home

......

The porterhouse was fine, but not better than other top steakhouses.

The thing about a porterhouse, and indeed most steaks, is that there's not a whole lot of creativity. If Porter House is making the porterhouse about as well as the other top steakhouses, then the restaurant is doing its job—at least as far as that dish is concerned.

By the way, if you can do that at home, I am very impressed. The appeal of the best steakhouses is that you can't do it at home. Most home kitchens don't have the aging facilities or the special-purpose broiler that the steakhouses have.

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So we had

apps:

1 of each oyster - fresh, but boring

scallops - very nice

entrees:

porterhouse for 2 - good, but nothing that i couldn't have made at home

veal chop - this was very delicious

sides:

onion rings

mashed potatoes

both were fine

dessert:

pineapple upside down cake

cookies

both very disappointing

The porterhouse was fine, but not better than other top steakhouses. Service was exceptional. The veal chop was the highlight of the meal - I could have this every day. I was very disaapointed by the desserts. The pineapple cake was so dry and the cookies were very plain. $10 for each 0 imo not a good value at all.

Overall, the food is fine, but I don't consider it a top restaurant at all. I would return, only to sit at the bar and have a veal chop. The veal chop really was that good.

Oh, and no problems with the 20% off.

Is there a top steakhouse that would repeatedly draw you back? It sounds like the only real disappointment was the dessert. If the oysters are fresh it is difficult to ask for more than that - at least for people who love fresh oysters.

Steakhouses are not generally known for their creativity. What they should be doing is providing excellent meat, reliably well prepared along with fine accompaniments. They need to do this in a consistant fashion to satisfy those with a craving for that product.

I will go to a steakhouse occassionally and I enjoy them when I do, but I will rarely do so in NYC or similar locales because I do like creative cuisine that much more and I get to these places too infrequently to use up one of my visits on a steakhouse unless it happens to be one that is particularly great and a great value. Rays the Steaks in DC is an example of that. Wjhat is the value like here aside from the dessert?


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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There are two kinds of steakhouse in New York. There is the traditional steakhouse, following a model you can predict in your sleep. In this category are Peter Luger, Wolfgang's, Sparks, Bobby Van's, Del Frisco, Old Homestead, Mark Joseph, and dozens of others. Of course, there are variations between them, but 80% of the menu is totally predictable, and the only question is how well it has been executed.

In the second place, there is the haute steakhouses—following the model part-way, but also adding significant original touches. In jest, I also call them the "chick-friendly steakhouses." In this category are BLT Steak, BLT Prime, Craftsteak, Dylan Prime, Quality Meats, and STK. Mayby I missed one or two, but there aren't very many more of these. The late V Steakhouse, which Porter House replaced, was clearly in this space.

Bond Girl's review seemed to place Porter House very much in the second category; cchen's review in the former. I think the latter is what the restaurant is aiming for.


Edited by oakapple (log)

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Went last night with two other people. Service was excellent, with a few tiny timing issues. We waited a bit for menus, and there was some confusion when we wanted to order single malts at the end of the dinner. 20% discount appeared on our bill without our requesting it. The room is really lovely and comfortable. They are definitely going for Haute, not Traditional Steakhouse.

We had to start:

Shrimp Cocktail: fine, good shrimp. Acceptable Sauces

Oyster Pan Roast: delicious

Clams Casino: flavorful, could have been hotter, good ratio of clam to breading

Chopped Salad: didn't taste this, dining companion loved it

The two gentlemen I was with shared the Porterhouse, Medium Rare. It was cooked perfectly. They loved it. My husband eats at a huge number of steakhouses for work reasons, thought it was good, but not the best Porterhouse he has had in NY.

I had the NY Strip on the bone (also mid-rare, also perfect). The charring was terrific. It was the best NYC steak I have had (I do not eat at many steakhouses, but have been to Lugers, Sparks, Smith and Wollensky, and Maloney and Porcelli).

The sides are not enormously huge. We ordered too many, but managed to get through a lot of the following. We split for sides:

Ginger carrots: tasty, maybe a bit too much ginger. But beautiful multi-colored baby carrots cooked through but not mushy.

Garlic Spinach: very good

Fries: Superb. fluffy and cispy all at the same time, like good fries should be.

Mac and Cheese: not the best I've ever had, but a very fine tangy cheesy, crunchy rendition.

Onion Rings: very very good rendition.

Dessert:

Coconut Cake: this was a beautifully textured and frosted cake. I couldn't eat much of it, but it was very good.

Cheesecake: Unmemorable

Devils Food Cake: very very chocolatey (too much so for my taste).

I would absolutely go back. The combo of the service, good bar (I had a drink there pre-dinner) with a spot to watch sports and really terrific steaks will make it a welcome addition on what I consider the outer reach of my neighborhood.

Edited to change husband's opinion of his steak and cheesecake, since I got them wrong. Probably due to too much wine last night. :huh:


Edited by Mulcahy (log)

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Is there a top steakhouse that would repeatedly draw you back? It sounds like the only real disappointment was the dessert. If the oysters are fresh it is difficult to ask for more than that - at least for people who love fresh oysters.

Steakhouses are not generally known for their creativity. What they should be doing is providing excellent meat, reliably well prepared along with fine accompaniments. They need to do this in a consistant fashion to satisfy those with a craving for that product.

I will go to a steakhouse occassionally and I enjoy them when I do, but I will rarely do so in NYC or similar locales because I do like creative cuisine that much more and I get to these places too infrequently to use up one of my visits on a steakhouse unless it happens to be one that is particularly great and a great value. Rays the Steaks in DC is an example of that. Wjhat is the value like here aside from the dessert?

On that point, you're right. A steakhouse is what it is. What I meant in my post was while everything was fine for the most part, it wasn't special. Even if the desserts aren't creative, I would expect (at this level) for them to at least be executed perfectly, which they were not.

As for prices, the scallops app was $17, and the oysters were $16 for a half dozen. Speaking of the oysters, just because they're fresh doesn't mean they're good. The porterhouse for 2 was $78, and I believe the veal chop was $35. The sides were $9 each. Desserts $10 each.

I feel like the apps, sides, and desserts are way overpriced. The entrees are priced about right.

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Thanks for the follow-up.

You are right that a fresh oyster is not necessarily a good oyster, although freshness usually goes a long way in assuring that it is good. You didn't say they were bad, though. You called them "boring". Did they say what kind of oysters they were and where they were from. For $16/half dozen they should be premium oysters of a pedigree. Still, the price isn't that bad, as decent oysters go for about $1 each unshucked and a little more shucked at retail depending on where one buys them. Given usual steakhouse markups, that really isn't a terrible price for good oysters. I assume the prices mentioned are before the discount?


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I believe they were malapeque, blue point, kumamoto, and another I can't remember. By not good, I didn't imply bad per se. They were just bland, hence boring in my book.

And yes, the prices are before discount.

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I believe they were malapeque, blue point, kumamoto, and another I can't remember. By not good, I didn't imply bad per se. They were just bland, hence boring in my book.

And yes, the prices are before discount.

Please do not take this as an attack or criticism of your post in any way. I appreciate your willingness and frankness of your replies and enjoy reading your posts. I am simply trying to understand your critique and correlate it to my own sensibilities and preferences. Since you considered those oysters as "boring" and "bland" despite their "freshness", are there oysters that you find otherwise and ifso, what makes them more interesting to you? I ask this because, raw oysters with lemon happen to be one of my favorite foods and I am trying to determine if you simply aren't a huge fan of oysters or whether this is just not a good place to order them for whatever reaon. I apologize for harping on this.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Let me first say that I love raw oysters. I personally prefer an oyster that is very briny. An example would be the Peace Passage Oyster at Yasuda. Out of all of them, the kumamoto was the best. I didn't find that any of them in particular had much flavor at all. They didn't have any taste of the sea, which I feel all oysters should have, regardless of their origin.

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Let me first say that I love raw oysters. I personally prefer an oyster that is very briny. An example would be the Peace Passage Oyster at Yasuda. Out of all of them, the kumamoto was the best. I didn't find that any of them in particular had much flavor at all. They didn't have any taste of the sea, which I feel all oysters should have, regardless of their origin.

Thank you. That helps clarify things for me.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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My friend and I visited Porter House on Friday night. The restaurant was busy. One one side of our table was a family of seven celebrating a birthday. On the other was a family of three, including a young child, out for a casual dinner. Neither one would have chosen Sparks or Peter Luger. While Porter House is far more conventional looking than V Steakhouse was, it has an unassuming atmosphere that will appeal to families, couples, or business patrons alike.

The menu, however, is not all that creative. There are a few more seafood entrées than you see at some steakhouses, but for style points it has nothing on BLT Steak or Quality Meats. I ordered the smoked salmon to start, my friend the clams casino—both standard steakhouse dishes. The salmon came with a clever garnish of tomato, avocado and chickpeas.

My friend is partial to the ribeye ($36), so we both had that. It was served off the bone, and although cooked to the correct temperature and nicely charred, the marbling was uneven. Overall, it was well off the pace of the city’s better ribeye steaks. Side dishes were priced mostly at $9. I enjoyed creamed spinach with bacon, but my friend thought that french fries had been left under a heat lamp for too long.

Service was not unfriendly, but has a long way to go. Food took a long time to come out. At the table of seven next to us, one diner got his steak long after everyone else. Two side dishes came out (with profuse apologies) after the meal was almost concluded. At our table, the lemon from my friend’s appetizer course was left behind after the other plates had been cleared. The spinach came without a serving spoon. Mid-way through the meal, our waiter just disappeared for about half an hour.

The wine list is mostly American. It is about as expensive as you’d expect for this kind of restaurant. We were able to find a red that pleased us for around $60, in a peculiar category called “Interesting.” I didn’t know there was a grape by that name.

I think Porter House will do well, as its informality serves a definite need. Judging by the crowds, it has already caught on. But judged in the cold light of day, Porter House is not the creative tour de force of a BLT Steak or BLT Prime, and as a classic steakhouse it’s not preferable to either Wolfgang’s or Strip House.

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Thanks for the report, Mark. At least some of the service issues can hopefully be ascribed to the restaurant's newness as they work out their kinks. You compared this restaurant qualitatively to other steakhouses of the creative or traditional modes. How does this one compare price or value wise forgetting about the service issues for the time being?


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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