Review -- Mark Joseph Steakhouse (261 Water Street, 212-277-0020)
I had a midweek dinner at this spin off from Peter Luger. The ambience is typical power broker steak house and the decor is about as expected. The tables are well spaced; there is certainly room to discuss business privately without feeling the table next to you is eavesdropping. I thought the service was good in the technical sense of getting you the food properly, but its a crew of veterans who know every trick in the book to pump up a dinner tab. They fill up every wine glass to the brim, even the non drinkers, and then bring out more bottles. Seafood apps and sides are also pushed heavily.
The wine list and stemware are both surprisingly weak and commerically oriented. This is no Sparks or Del Frisco in the wine cellar.
That being said, the food is great. We started with some lump crab cocktail which was plump and delicious. Then we moved onto colossal grilled shrip with melted butter, followed by king crab legs. They were both very solid. Then came "lollipop" lamb rib chops, which were quite yummy with their mint sauce.
I liked those so much I had the double lamb chops for the main course, passing on the porterhouse which they rest of the group shared. It looked pretty typical of this level of steakhouse, i.e. one which can consistently source prime beef and age it. The chops were pricey but great. They were from Colorado and generally I think American lamb is better than Australian/New Zealand.
To go with all this we had a few bottles of a raspy 03 Barbaresco. Their list is pretty disappointing and mostly tilted toward commerical Californian large production offerings. I guess that makes it easier when they run out of a vintage!
We were bushed by the time dessert was proffered so just had a little fruit to go with some port. Like most top New York steakhouses it was expensive, especially when you tack on wine and liquor -- we came in at $140 per head.
Ouch. The location is kind of a headache too unless you work downtown, or have a car and are coming from Queens/Brooklyn. It was fun, but not sure I need to repeat the experience, especially if I had to pay for it.