In New York City’s dining scene, it is now difficult to find new steakhouses, perhaps because the whole luxurious (read: expensive) experience has somewhat fallen out of favor with the discerning dining community (although tourist magnets like Peter Luger and the Wolfgang’s continue to draw crowds). For that reason, what HolyGround, a new restaurant in TriBeCa neighborhood, is experimenting with could be quite ground-breaking. It has all the ambiance of an old school steakhouse with chic and jazzy décor, but you don’t see any 50-year old immaculately dressed servers with mustaches. Moreover, in addition to the traditional chops, Holy Ground also features various BBQ-style meat dishes that you would otherwise encounter at casual joints like Mighty Quinn’s, but in a more elevated format. I was quite intrigued with the proposition of Holy Ground and had been looking to check out the restaurant with a larger group since there is only so much that my wife Jun and I can handle. On a recent Friday double date night with another couple, we finally visited Holy Ground. Overall, there was no bad dish but couldn’t say the restaurant was an absolute winner.
With a party of four, the optimal portion seems to be to order one of the large meat dishes and one of the smaller ones, to be accompanied by some starters and sides. Everyone in our table was a huge fan of the beef rib (one of the smaller selections, although only in a comparative sense since the single rib that came was quite massive). I thought the texture of the meat was excellent with perfectly moist temperature, and the sauce for the rib was not overpowering to kill the texture either. Add a side of smoked savoy cabbage with miso and herbs, as well as charred broccoli with chive, and you are already in a happy territory. Then came what was supposed to be the highlight of the night, the ambitiously named “thousand dollar steak” of dry aged bone-in ribeye. While Jun was generally approving of the meat, I thought it was surprisingly tough. The seasoning for the meat was overall balanced without using a ton of salt, so I lamented that the texture of the ribeye wasn’t quite too my liking. For a steak dish costing $130, I certainly expected a more satisfying piece of meat. The desserts at Holy Ground were pretty delicious, though, especially the “black & blonde” dessert with white chocolate bar, toasted meringue and candied hazelnuts that was decadent not in a bad way. Dulce caramel pudding with banana brulee and espresso crumbs was also delightfully sweet.
Getting a reservation at Holy Ground wasn’t overly difficult, but the crowd quickly filled up in the course of our meal so I would still suggest booking in advance. As noted above, the vibe of the dining space is one of the positive aspects of dining at the restaurant, as you will feel transported to an old school New York without all the pretense that goes with it. There is full bar, and some of the cocktails are served by bottles (enough for four or more people); the one cocktail that we ordered that is drawn from the inspiration of Old Fashioned was quite potent and complemented our meal well. What Holy Ground is showcasing could bring a fresh take on the steakhouse experience that you don’t normally see at other chop houses in the city. I just wish that thousand dollar steak tasted a little bit better than I had on our double date night.
KenScale: 7.75/10 (Jun’s Score: 8.0/10)
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 7.5/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
- Value: 7.5/10
Address: 112 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013
Telephone: (646) 882-0666