Tag Archive | Ribeye Steak

The Derby: Southern-Inspired Dining on the Lower East Side

Front Door Signage
All Photos By Gail

The choice corner lot that formerly housed Tiny Fork Oyster Bar (RIP) is now home to a bright and casual Southern-Inspired bar and dining hall called The Derby. While this lower east side neighborhood has its share of up-and-coming eateries boasting a farm-to-table ethic, as far as location goes, you probably couldn’t ask for a better spot to enjoy an early summer evening dinner. Weather permitting, the front room keeps the doors and windows open to the street while the rear dining area remains flooded with natural light from its east-facing span of tall windows. The vibrant yellow-painted metal chairs, dark wood tables and antique bistro lighting (possibly left over from the space’s previous incarnation) add to The Derby’s welcoming vibe. Of course, the people watching is excellent.

Derby Dining Room

Vodka Lemonade

We started off a recent visit with a tall, refreshing Vodka Lemonade, but if you are a Whiskey fan, The Derby has an excellent selection of unique choices to enjoy in one of their house specialty cocktails or on its own.

BBQ Brisket Tacos

As a starter, we shared the BBQ Brisket Tacos ($12), stuffed with tender and flavorful dry rubbed meat, pickled onions and cabbage slaw and served with side of horseradish cream for topping them off. The crispy corn taco shells add a satisfying crunch to the appealing mix of textures going on in this great little plate.

Chopped Salad

We also shared the Carolina Chopped Salad ($12), featuring crisp romaine and a mix of delightfully diverse ingredients including hearts of palm, fresh sliced strawberries, pancetta, and abundant fresh herbs, dressed with a shallot-thyme vinaigrette. Salad offerings also include the Southern Living Lettuce Salad ($12) where bacon lardon, blue cheese and candied pecans steal the show!

Chicken and Waffles

Two house specialties at The Derby include their excellent Southern Fried Chicken entree ($16) and a Breakfast All Day dedicated menu section that includes three hearty Southern brunch entrees. We opted to enjoy a bit of both worlds with the Chicken and Waffles ($18) which did not disappoint! Loaded with three plump pieces of juicy chicken and a plate-sized waffle, this is a hearty entree that you could easily share. Fried Chicken has become a bit of a Thing in NYC recently, but this is exceptional. Having grown up with Southern grandmother who made the best skin-free fried chicken on the planet, I’d swear that The Derby’s is just as good (sorry, Grandma).

Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles
Here’s another “Elevation Shot” of that awesome Chicken, where you can see the herbs and seasonings in the light, crispy batter.

Rib Eye Steak

My dining companion indulged in the Cast Iron Ribeye Steak ($32), a huge slab of perfectly marbled, grass-fed beef served with an oven roasted garlic bulb! Marbling is what makes the Ribeye cut taste so special, but sometimes it can be a bit excessively fatty. This steak was expertly trimmed and, trust me, she ate every succulent, well-seasoned bite. This dish is very highly recommended for steak fans — it even surpasses the Ribeye we enjoyed at The Black Tree (just up the block) a week earlier. Round out your entree with a variety of fresh made sides (all $6) such as the Maple Smoked Cheddar Grits, Bourbon Yams or Yukon Mashed Potatoes. A daily choice of fresh Market Vegetable ls also offered.

Chalk Menu Board

We were actually too full to order dessert (which almost never happens) so we will have to make a return trip to The Derby for that. You can see by the above Chalkboard Menu on display out front that there are many other tempting dishes left try.

The Derby is Located at 167 Orchard Street (South West Corner at Stanton Street). Hours are Monday – Friday 4:00 PM -11:30 PM and Saturday – Sunday 12:00 Noon-11:30 PM. Phone 212-777-8469 for Reservations.

Corner Table

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Desmond’s Steak House Offers a Tailored Dining Experience

Desmonds Globe Lighting Front Entrance
Interior Photos By Gail. Food Photos By Anne Raso.

A steak house might be described as Manly, Elegant or Down Home, depending on its location, target clientele and the type of image it wants to project. Open for under a month and centrally located just a few blocks west of Macy’s or east of Times Square, Desmond’s Steak House seems to indicate that one Steak House can be all things to all people, within reason of course. Occupying an 8,000 square-foot space (formerly the site an OTB) at 513 Seventh Avenue, Desmond’s is a welcome dining addition to a neighborhood that’s somewhat calling out for a renaissance. Before you even open a menu, the interior of Desmond’s offers you a choice of rooms and dining spaces in which to enjoy your meal, each with subtly different décor to suit your mood, or the size of your party.

Front Bar

Entering on 38th Street just east of Seventh Avenue, you’ll notice the restaurant’s ground floor meat locker, stuffed with cuts from Strassburger Meats (which also supplies steaks to Keen’s and Sparks) before ascending a glass block-encircled staircase featuring suspended deco globe lighting – very lovely and unique! At the top of the stairs a gorgeous, marble-topped wraparound bar welcomes you.

Desmond's Bar Area Seating

The front of the restaurant features tufted-leather booths that separate the bar from a private dining area – done in lighter finishes with distinctive architectural features like brick arches, fieldstone and porthole-like faux windows – that’s ideal for hosting a special event.

Private Dining Area

Private Booths

Follow the bar around to the right and you’ll pass a row of private booths perfect for a romantic dinner for two, before entering the massive, clubhouse-like dining room overlooking Seventh Ave – an open setting suited for anything from a family get together to a business dinner. No matter what the occasion, you’ll feel comfortable at Desmond’s.

Main Dining Area

Grilled Slab Bacon

To start our meal, we selected the Grilled Slab Bacon appetizer ($15), which was noticeably less fatty than the usual steakhouse pork belly, and the edges had a tasty crispiness. This dish is served with a smooth applesauce whose sweetness makes an excellent accompaniment to the tender, smokey meat.

The menu says that all meats are grain fed and aged 50 days, and as far as selection of prime cuts, all bases are covered. Red meat fans can choose from a NY Sirloin (which is their strip, available in 12oz and 16oz cuts), a T-bone (20oz), a Porterhouse (48oz, portioned for two), a Boneless Ribeye (20oz), a Cowboy Ribeye (bone in, 24oz) and a Filet (in 8 or 14oz portions). If steak is not your thing, they also have selection of delicious-sounding seafood entrees as well as a raw bar that we heard patrons seated near us raving about.

My dining companion and I chose to share the 14-ounce filet ($50). Served with a choice of five specialty sauces, we selected the Horseradish Cream. The generous portion of meat arrived with a perfectly pink interior, and was buttery tender with a flavorful, crispy sear, but we had a bit of an issue with the (unexpected) bone-in presentation.

 Filet with Sauce

It’s no secret that cooking meat on the bone enhances flavor, and while this is generally preferred with, say, a pork chop or fried chicken, on a filet it was just a distraction. I doubt anyone would argue the point that a filet is among the most consistently tasty cuts of beef available, and a fully trimmed cut would certainly not suffer for having the bone removed. Being as Desmond’s has an on-site butcher, perhaps they could consider offering a trimmed version of their filet in addition to the bone-in presentation. Since it is considered inappropriate to gnaw on a bone in a fancy restaurant, much of the delicious meat was lost to us – definitely the only disappointment of the evening.

Grilled Veal Chop

As a second entrée, we selected the Grilled Veal Chop ($40) served with Horseradish Potato Puree and topped with sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms. This grilled-to-perfection chop was thick, juicy, lean and scrumptious – qualifying as possibly the best veal chop in the city. My dining companion especially loved the Horseradish Potato Puree, declaring it to be the best she’d ever tasted.

Creamed SpinachMashed PotatoesExotic Mushrooms

For sides to share we chose the naturally sweet Creamed Spinach ($11), Mashed Potatoes ($9) and the sautéed Exotic Mushrooms ($11). I would say that each side serves 2 – 4 persons, depending on how many sides you order and individual appetites. The portions are definitely very generous!

Vanilla Panna Cotta

We finished off a hearty meal with couple of small but satisfying sweet treats from Desmond’s enticing Dessert Menu. Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberries Three Ways ($8) was sweet and light with the best fresh raspberries I’ve ever tasted. The Warm Chocolate Cake ($9) has a delicious milk chocolate flavor but it virtually dissolved when we tried to divide it between us, so I’d advise you not to do, that unless you don’t mind the mess, which we did not.

Service at Desmond’s is top shelf and our server, David, was especially friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. We look forward to exploring the menu further on a future return trip.

Warm Chocolate Cake

Desmond’s is located at 513 Seventh Avenue (enter on 38th Street), New York, NY 10018. Phone (212) 391-6900 for Reservations or visit their website at Desmond’s Steakhouse and Grill.com.

A Visit to Prandial Means a Memorable Meal

Prandial Bar
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00 PM (Interior Photos By Gail. Food Photos By Anne Raso).

NOTE: This venue has closed as of August 2013

In the twenty five years I’ve lived in Manhattan, I’ve never known there to be a dearth of inventive new restaurants popping up in the trendy Flatiron District. Of course, there’s always room for one more, especially when that place does everything as impressively as Prandial. This American Bistro flaunts an interior that’s a perfect balance of rustic and elegant, and a kitchen expertly helmed by Executive Chef Pierre Rougey (formerly of Raoul’s) – a man whose firm handshake is as memorable as his cuisine.

Prandial Booth Seating

Old World New York charm abounds in a mix of Industrial materials (check out the iron railings along the perimeters of the raised dining area) combined with vintage decorative flourishes (mirrors, clocks), soft lighting and both table seating and comfy booths. I was a fan before we even ordered. Once I tasted the food, however, it was love at first bite.

Artichoke Salad

The menu offers a full page of enticing starters, so it was hard to chose, but we settled first on the Artichoke Salad ($12), a very creative way to do a green vegetable salad. In addition to frisee, arugula and the promised tender artichoke hearts, we also discovered asparagus, fennel and hearts palm (decoratively shaved into spiral ribbons) all nesting on our plates. A sprinkling of parmesan highlights an emulsified, lemony French dressing that’s a refreshing break from traditional vinaigrette.

Pork Belly

We were also tempted by the crispy, luscious Pork Belly ($15.00), served with Haricots Verts, Beet Salad and Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms (Chef Rougey does all of his own pickling and canning in house). Assuage any feeling of caloric guilt by splitting this dish with a dining companion!

Roasted Chicken

They say that you can tell a lot about a restaurant by how it does Roast Chicken, and Prandial’s Roasted Chicken ($23.00) earns high marks. Served in its natural jus (accented with a hint of Rosemary), with Broccoli and a generous portion of Potato Gratin on the side, the skin on this chicken is so crispy you would swear it had been deep fried. The secret, according to the Chef, is just to close the oven door and keep it closed. Basting, he offered, is the worst thing you can do to a roasting bird if you want a crispy skin that will seal in the natural juices. Remember that when Thanksgiving comes around!

Grilled Ribeye

Red meat fans will also flip over the Grilled Ribeye ($35.00), a massive slab of tender beef served with House Fries and Watercress Salad and accompanied by a side of mild Black Peppercorn Sauce. The creamy sauce is Chef Rougey’s way of Americanizing the black peppercorn crusted Au Poivre preparation which, he says, many diners find too peppery for their taste. We suggested that a bit more black pepper could safely be added to the sauce without fear of offending any delicate taste buds. Alternately, you can always ask for a twist or two of cracked black pepper, if that is how you roll.

Caluiflower Gratin

A side of Cauliflower Gratin ($8.00) baked in an iron ramekin with light béchamel sauce and swiss cheese arrived at our table near-bubbling with an appealing oven browned top. This portion is generous enough to share with a dining companion.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

It is not easy to “make room for” dessert after such a feast, but we did our best to sample two of Prandial’s sweet treats (all desserts are $9.00). We were surprised by the decadent deliciousness of the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, served in a canning jar with a sweet Berry Gelee at the bottom and topped with Port Wine-poached Berries. This rich and creamy Italian pudding has a tangy-sweet flavor (think: cheese cake) and a slightly less custardy texture, which we enjoyed very much.

Banana Upside Down Tart

If you are looking for truly unforgettable dessert, order the Banana Upside Down Tart, a phylo pastry and Bananas Foster amalgam topped by bruleed bananas, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream and garnished with a white chocolate straw. This dessert is huge and, again, perfect for sharing (possibly with several people) after the type of rich delicious meal you are going to be enjoying at Prandial.

We are currently dieting for a return visit.

Prandial is Located at 31 West 21st St. (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), New York, NY 10010. Visit their Website at This link or Phone 212-510-8722 for Reservations.

Prandial Tables