Well, I came up to LI for Thanksgiving to visit family. The night before we decided to go out for dinner. Figured we'd go to Rothmann's Steak House in East Norwich. Well let's just say that's the last time I'd go there to eat.
We arrived at 7:30 for a 7:30 ressie. We were greeted and seated immediately upon arrival. Which was a great sign even considering how busy they were for this normally packed night of dining. The place is very nice, has a ton of staff. Except for the annoying (read bad lounge-type singing act in the bar), the place had the right ambiance for a nice dinner.
Upon perusing the wine list, I was shocked and dismayed at the wine list pricing. Now coming from New York, I know you're gonna pay a decent markup for wine, but my goto wine the 2002 Duckhorn Merlot was listed at $165 for a bottle. I travel for a living and order this wine in many establishments throughout the country and the average price I pay is about $120-$130. So seeing this wine (which normally retails for $65 in a wine shop) marked up 260% was quite a shock. But hey, if people are willing to pay this, the good for them. However it was interesting to note that I did mention the high price to the manager John. And I was amazed at his response. He basically, looked at me like I had two heads and challenged me that I must be "mistaken" that the wine I was requesting normally sells for much less elsewhere. I thought even more interesting that he challenged me on the pricing structure or my experience. Rather than just taking note, he was slightly confrontational.
Moving to dinner orders. The appetizers were very good, and so were the salads. However the problem came with the entree order. I ordered the Petit Filet and asked for it to be prepared au Poivre (which shouldn't be too difficult for a premiere steak house), and was told "No Problem".
Upon receiving my steak, I was shocked to see the naked steak on the plate, no encrusted peppercorns, no au Poivre sauce...just naked. I inquired to the waiter for the au Poivre portion, and was told it would be brought out "on the side".
I was then brought out a watery, yellow sauce (with zero pepper in it) as my au Poivre. I tasted it to be sure and was met with an obvious beef broth based cream sauce, completely lacking any peppercorns, pan drippings, etc. I was then told that it is customary at Rothmann's and most customers prefer their sauce on the side so they prepared it on the side. Now as a person, that loves to make au Poivre, I fully expected a premier steak house on LI to prepare au Poivre properly, and not serve an inadequate imitation.
When I pushed on this preparation, the same manager from earlier (John) was brought over and he again confirmed that my preparation was normal. However, after pushing for what I ordered, he did offer to make the sauce again. I informed him that no proper au Poivre sauce would be prepared "on the side" and would greatly prefer mine to be prepared by traditional methods. My steak was removed and in about 10 minutes I did receive a close to normal Filet au Poivre. But by this time, everyone had finished eating and the shared sides (mashed potatoes and onion strings) were cold. I inquired about a fresh batch and they did get me fresh in a few minutes.
Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed in the way my steak was prepared, the way the manager handled both situations (the wine and the food) and that I was still charged full price (this was later adjusted upon questioning). I honestly do not expect a highly rated steak house to mass prepare au Poivre... especially when paying those prices.
Overall, I was not impressed with the whole evening... one of my dining partners thought his steak special, a 26oz KC Bone-In Sirloin, was not 26oz and was extremely tough.
So if you want an overpriced dinner, complete with a snooty manager then head to Rothmann's otherwise head to one of the other many great steak houses on LI.
6319 Northern Blvd, East Norwich, NY 11732
PO Box 164, Thendara, NY 13472
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