Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Four Seasons - The Best Steak in NY?

"The best steak in NY" is a claim one expects to hear from a waiter at any of the dozens and dozens of NYC steakhouses. But when the claim comes from a waiter at The Four Seasons, well that sounds like a challenge to someone that has eaten at dozens and dozens of NYC steakhouses. Its not that I am skeptical that The Four Seasons can provide a wonderful steak, especially given its $55 price tag its just that there are so many establishments who specialize in beef and nothing else and who have for decades had a lock on the best Prime beef on offer that I question if they can be surpassed.

I can think of no other room that is quite as beautiful as that of The Four Seasons, it is truly breathtaking, minimalist yet warm and inviting. The service matches the room, a consummately professional staff are precise and effusive, almost the point of being obsequious.

The steak tartar at The Four Seasons is quite rightly well regarded. It is a wonderfully blended and refined incarnation of the dish, served with Osetra Caviar it certainly provides all the luxury commiserate with its price and surroundings. Having said that it was served at a temperature that was a tad cooler than was perhaps optimum to fully realize its flavor.

Osetra Caviar

The NY strip steak is dry aged USDA Prime. I guestimate that it weighed in at around 12oz, a decent size for rational appetites but certainly much smaller than the same cut at your average chophouses , the steaks at the latter usually weigh in at between 16-18 oz. While the steaks at steakhouses are served a la carte The Four Seasons version comes with some onion strings and a perfectly cooked vegetable medley.

There was a problem with my first steak however, it was ordered black and blue as is my custom with USDA Prime steer, but unfortunately it was served closer to medium rare. The replacement steak was much closer to ideal, a wonderful charred crust, blacker in fact than that of the grills of many chophouses, gave way to a delectably cool center. The flesh was very tender and quite flavorful, although in absolute terms it did trail behind the likes of some of my favorite steakhouses - Lugers, Smith and Wollensky, Primehouse etc. Of course none of these chophouses offer cuisine that is on the level of what is on offer at The Four Seasons.

The best steak in NY? Ultimately not, but never the less a very, very good one and the rest of the meal, the service and the room itself all add up to a sumptuous, decadent and wondrous dining experience. Highly recommended for the well heeled.

The Four Seasons
99 E. 52nd St.,
New York, NY 10022
212 754 9494


jonathan said...

Love the pictures and commentary as usual. Curious when you plan to do a discussion on aging (ie dry vs wet, number of days, dry AND wet aging beef, aging at home, etc, etc). Always amazes me how much top-prime steer you consume. Cheers.

Nick said...

Thanks Jonathan. I have tried on occasion to come up with an article on aging etc but it is hard to strike a balance between being informative without being pedantic as well as avoiding simply regurgitating what is available elsewhere online. Having said that I'll take another stab at it. Cheers.