Steakhouse is one of the main staples of New York dining scene, but it’s hard to find places that actually serve the meat that is worth $50 and above. Wolfgang’s has always been the go-to option for me if I have a serious craving for steaks (which actually hasn’t happened too much lately given how varied my diet has become over time while living in NYC and now I appreciate a restaurant more when there are seafood and vegetable dishes that I haven’t seen or tasted before). I’ve never been to Quality Meats before, though, and I was certainly intrigued when the same team opened a more affordable version in Greenwich Village. Can a “budget” steakhouse actually work, with the way meat is getting more and more expensive? If someone wants to open one, I think Quality Eats will be an excellent blueprint.
Quality Eats is not an ordinary steakhouse only because its steaks are cheaper. There are some really interesting twists going at the kitchen. After the predictable endive and cambazola salad, I had to try the bacon, which came (gasp!) with peanut butter and jalapeno jelly. I mean who combines bacon with this ingredient (I didn’t even know peanut butter and jalapeno can co-exist together)? But lo and behold it worked out magnificently, with awesome texture and the jelly somehow enhancing it despite its potential to totally kill the meat. I was in love with this dish and wanted even more.
Now onto the main course. One of my dining companions wasn’t really feeling steak, and ordered branzino with artichoke sauce vierge. It was pretty well-cooked although I think it could’ve used less salt. What about the steaks? I don’t think the lower price compromised their quality. Yes, you don’t get a steak for $19 in most places, but the bavette cut was just priced as such. It was a solid steak for its price certainly. The better (and pricier) one is the filet mignon called the Don Ameche (still fairly priced at $29), which had excellent texture without overpowering seasoning. I would absolutely get this over most other steak dishes priced at $50 or above. Don’t skip the side dishes at Quality Eats. Both the scalloped sunchokes and cacao e pepe orzo were excellent sides that I couldn’t stop digging even though I was beyond full while devouring the steaks.
For desserts, I loved the birthday cake with chocolate malt ice cream and vanilla icing, as well as bar snacks consisting of pumpkin stout ice cream, sriracha peanuts, BBQ potato chips and beer caramel and pretzels. Neither looked particularly fancy, but the combination of ingredients and the delightful sweetness of flavor were enough to give me a smile at the end of the meal.
Getting a reservation at Quality Eats could be really hard (who wouldn’t want to eat good steaks for half the price of most other steakhouses?). While the restaurant does seem to set aside tables for walk-ins, my suggestion is to book as early in advance as possible. I really liked the dining room at the back of the bustling bar, too, a cozy, modern space that is perfect for a date. The restaurant has a full bar with some interesting cocktail and wine selections (lots of “blend” wines on the list, and I did enjoy the Rhone blend on the glass). In a way, Quality Eats could really be a trailblazing institution in NYC; it’s the first restaurant that I know that proves you can have a cheaper steakhouse that is actually really good at having a pleasant dining experience.
- Creativity: 7.5/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 19 Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY 10014
Telephone: (212) 337-9988