DH and I headed to Club A for dinner tonight to take advantage of their deal with Savored.com. They have a ton of really positive reviews on Yelp, etc., but most of those are people who have bought meals through Living Social or Yelp that are like $80 for two people but require you to order off a set menu, so I wasn't sure they were accurate reflections of the quality of the menu overall.
Our first impressions were generally good - the first floor dining room is nice, dimly lit, and the jazz duo they had playing was a nice touch. Tables were a bit close together, though, and it resulted in waiters jostling our seats more than once as they rushed past. There seemed to be much more hustle and bustle than strictly necessary.
They delivered a bread basket with the menus, which was actually pretty good - a soft onion roll that I really enjoyed, decent baguette and some cranberry nut bread that was too sweet for me (but DH loved it). However, the butter was cold and difficult to dig out of the cup in which it was served, which is always annoying. We decided to try the "Canadian" bacon appetizer, a bone-in ribeye (cooked rare), the red wine braised short rib, and the "German-style" hash browns, truffle mac and cheese and creamed spinach for sides.
The bacon came quickly - they were kind enough to split it into two portions for us - and WOW. This is some SERIOUSLY good bacon - it puts Luger's to shame, IMO. It was at least a half-inch thick, meaty, fatty, salty, tender, smoky - just AWESOME. I don't know why they call it "Canadian," though, since it is definitely NOT Canadian bacon (aka cured pork loin).
Anyway, on to the mains. DH's ribeye was beautifully rare, with a cool red center (just as he likes it). However, they offered a choice of sauces on the menu, and even though he requested Bordelaise he received only a cup of their house steak sauce (which was too sweet and ketchupy for my taste). The meat was flavorful enough but it's pretty obvious they're not doing the serious dry aging that Luger et al do - I could easily have bought a good ribeye at Costco and had an equally good experience.
My short rib was impressively presented, with the meat removed in one large piece from the long bone, and came with gnocchi in a pool of braising liquid. Unfortunately, the short rib itself was a bit tough and dry, and the braising liquid quite bland. The gnocchi were the type you get in the frozen section of the supermarket. I made red wine braised short ribs myself a couple of weeks ago, which were far more tender, with a much more interesting and intensely flavored sauce.
Of the sides, only the hash browns were a winner - they were heavly flavored with black pepper, greasy as hell, crispy, salty and addictive. If you don't like greasy potatoes, though, you should avoid them. The spinach was gloppy and bland, and the mac and cheese was only ok - it was very creamy (it's a loose, stovetop-style recipe that they top with cheese and broil briefly, rather than a baked casserole type), but there wasn't much cheese flavor to speak of.
Portions were generous and we were much too full for dessert, but they sent us a fruit platter on the house, which was a very nice gesture. The owner stopped by while we were nibbling it to ask how we'd heard about them and whether we'd enjoyed our meal. Service overall was friendly and professional (with the exception of one snooty woman at the hostess stand).
Anyway, though there were some good things about our meal, we won't be in a hurry to return - and if we do, we'll probably just get the bacon. Way too many good steakhouses in NYC to repeat one that was only ok. BTW, the prices here were more or less the same as they are at any other NYC steakhouse (porterhouse for 2 was $47pp, sides are around $10 each, etc. - about the same as Luger or Keens), but I felt the quality of the meat was not up to par, and had I not gotten 30% off I would have been quite disappointed. They are clearly going for volume and filling the restaurant with these Living Social/Savored type deals, and while they do bring the price down substantially, in this case I wish we had just paid the extra $30 and gone to Keens or Peter Luger.
Club A Steakhouse
240 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022