56 Beaver Street, Financial District, (212) 509-1144
Getting There: 2,3,4,5 to Wall Street; J,M,Z to Broad Street
Only one New York City steakhouse can attest to be the oldest fine dining establishment in the country. First opened in 1837, Delmonico’s proves however, that unlike fine wine, good steakhouses do not age as gracefully. Situated in the heart of the Financial District, the Delmonico’s name can be attributed to the cut that the restaurant invented, which is known across the country as a boneless ribeye. And while the cuts of meat were in fact savory, Delmonico’s misses out on many of the little things that still make going out for an American steak so very special.
Restaurant Review: Delmonico's
Considering the history of this restaurant, the interior is truly breathtaking, exuding both elegance and class in the most traditional senses of each word. With borders lined with beautiful murals and chandeliers, the décor of Delmonico’s resembles more a 19th century castle, than a playground for carnivores.
The impressive wine list is both extensive and expensive, which one can anticipate when dining in luxury. However, we found the wait-staff to be curt and unfriendly, and to some degree aggressive throughout the course of our meal. With no line of patrons waiting for tables at the front door and with our reservation comfortably in hand, the staff constantly hovered in a pushy, over-the-shoulder fashion, forcing a rushed dining experience, not to be confused with a pleasant attentiveness. Unfortunately the overall meal itself was not of the caliber where the abrasive service could have been tolerated, as it may have been inside other establishments.
The 28 day Aged, Double Porterhouse ($90) aptly ordered medium-rare, was served medium to well on the ends, and both the charred filet and strip portions of the meat lacked the salty, seasoned, crisp explosion which normally accompanies a fine steak. Conversely, the side of creamed spinach ($9), a steakhouse staple, was chopped very fine, but was overly salty, sending some of our accompanying diners gasping for glasses of water. And while the roasted wild mushrooms ($13) were serviceable, it should be noted that the Delmonico Steak (Boneless Ribeye, $44) itself was truly outstanding, combining the juicy, tender beef with a crispy, salted flavor shell, which reflected what the Porterhouse should have been. Draped in crispy onion straws, the perfectly cooked signature steak was a symbol of what we hoped for when dining at Delmonico’s. It was a reflection of what the entire meal should have been, but ultimately, New York’s oldest steakhouse fell short of greatness. In an area of town where a delicious steak is a fixture in every high-end banker’s portfolio, Delmonico’s time, tradition, and experience is clearly under performing.