(photos from the Quality Meats website)
Quality Meats is one of my favorite NYC restaurants. That said, it's a bit noisy with tons of tables crammed in. So you can definitely hear the conversation next to you and maybe even the conversation just beyond that too. So you have to be in a kind of jolly mood. And the later into the night your reservation, the more of a chance that you'll have a long wait for your table. We've had several spectacularly long waits. But the food is excellent and so we keep going back.
We had a 9:00 reservation and waited about ten minutes for our table. The bartender was surly and unpleasant when handing over a $13 cocktail and he declined to transfer our bar tab to our table tab, even though we've had bartenders in the past do it without an issue.
We sat on the second floor in a banquet that faced the stairs. It was cozy and lucky for us, the table next to us left about fifteen minutes after we arrived. So we had a lot of privacy -- more than I've ever had there!
We received bread and our amuse bouche (watermelon and chili powder) almost immediately upon sitting. The service is always excellent at Quality Meats and our waiter was helpful, friendly, and very generous.
We started with a dozen oysters. I don't eat oysters, but my three table companions all enjoyed them and said they were delicious and super fresh. They really liked the selection of local east coast oysters that the waiter had suggested.
I started with Steak Tartare, and I think Quality Meats' version may be the best I've ever had. The chopped raw meat is served in a small bowl with a raw egg on top. A wooden spoon holds a palette of additives: salt, pepper, mustard. And there are butter toasted slices of bread to go along with it. I like to mix in the whole wooden spoon and skip adding tobasco or worcestershire (both served with it as optional add-ins). The taste is fresh, with a little kick, and rich.
I tasted the Clam Chowder, which was fine. It was smooth and not too potato heavy. But I grew up on Legal Sea Foods' Clam Chowder, so it's hard to get me excited about other people's chowders. This was a thinner chowder.
For main courses: John had a Rib Eye, Teri had scallops, and Matthew and I shared the "Porterhouse For Two" special. For sides we had: Corn Creme Brulee, Creamed Spinach, and Gnocchi with Cheese.
John's Rib Eye was perfectly cooked and served with a theatrically large bone.
Teri's scallops were actually on the menu as an appetizer. But the waiter offered to serve it as a main course with four scallops, instead of two. They were large, attractive, and perfectly cooked, and the accompanying bed of corn was delicious.
Our Porterhouse arrived sliced. One side of the plate had the Filet Mignon and the other side the Sirloin. (Porterhouse is the best of both worlds.) Matthew prefered the silky soft Filet and I prefered the flavorful Sirloin. We both appreciated the tasty char on the outside of the meat. Much discussion ensued among us about how to get such a nice char on the outside, but leave the inside so rare.
I don't generally like the steak sauce that they make tableside. It's too sweet. I prefer something closer to A1 when I use steak sauce (rarely). But for some reason I enjoyed it on this night.
The Creamed Spinach was served inside a potato, which Matthew didn't like. Too hard to distinguish what was what in his opinion. Not my favorite iteration of creamed spinach either, but it was perfectly tasty. More spinachy and less creamed. The Gnochhi and Cheese was delicious, though not particularly memorable. Soft gnocchi and the cheese let the gnocchi shine. The Corn Creme Brulee has long been one of my favorites. So spectacularly delicious. It's sweet and savory and so unique. We had two orders. Matthew didn't like it, but he doesn't like sweets.
We missed the time cut off for the ice cream cakes (10:30pm) and so we ordered coffee, tea, and some scoops of ice cream for dessert. It was Matthew and John's birthdays so there were candles and singing and champagne. I was so full by this point that I barely tasted the ice creams. The one truly memorable thing was the chocolate sauce: sinfully good.
All in all a very good, very expensive meal.
- Quality Meats is a great place to go with a small group (hard to hear in a large group).
- Quality Meats is a great place to go when you're in a festive mood!
- The food and service are consistently top notch.
- Be prepared to wait for your reservation.
- The meal does take a few hours. With a 9:00pm reservation, we left the restaurant just after 11:30pm.
- Very good wine list. We had two delicious bottles of wine.
Looking forward to our next visit there!