Quality Meats, I Love You
“Hip” and “Steakhouse” rarely share the same sentence; however, Quality Meats, Smith & Wollensky’s way cooler younger brother manages to transcend typical steakhouse stereotypes and bring a fresh perspective to the stodgy midtown steakhouse concept. Without sacrficing an ounce of quality or elegance, Quality Meats veers away from the old school (and frankly, a bit uninspired) steakhouse ‘look’ and offers a supremely atmospheric experience.
The multi-level space takes inspiration from slaughterhouses, tastefully of course. Soft amber lighting from meat-hook chandeliers and Edison-style filament light bulbs casts a warm glow over the structurally-dynamic space. The ceiling and walls are brown walnut, and a large white plaster cow’s head greets you as you enter. The bar area is decorated with bourbon mash jars and small squares of greenery, perhaps where the cattle are intended to graze.
Quality Meats could not be more obvious with what it intends to provide: top-quality meat. And in this goal, it is successful. All points are covered from a charcuterie bar to butcher’s cut options for two to a list of 5 steak cuts, ribs, veal, and roasted chicken. An extensive oysters menu and seafood bar are also available, as well as salads and innovative small plates like buttered edamame with mint salt. My friend and I started off with a bouquet of parmesan fries – a true decadent treat served with chipotle mayo – and continued with the roasted butternut squash soup and the shrimp cocktail. The squash soup was savory and sweet, rich, with huge bursts of flavor; the shrimp cocktail was worth every penny with multiple dipping sauces and huge, plump and sweet shrimp.
The steak tartare was easily one of the best I’ve ever had – with huge juicy chunks of pure unadulterated meat and the option to add all of your own spices and condiments for your own perfect blend. The 12oz filet mignon arrived as a huge lumbering hunk in the middle of a large plate. It was cooked perfectly to temperature, yet seemed a bit under-seasoned – I would recommend ordering one of the many tasty sides to spruce it up a bit.
Quality Meats proves that you can create a proper steakhouse without sacrificing style. The swank industrial zone-inspired setting only amplifies the meat-focused menu. The food balances classic meat & potatoes steak house offerings with innovative ‘new classics’ to bolster the ‘hip’ factor. A hub for the ‘new guard’ in Manhattan and an excellent place to treat friends, colleagues, and family to a pricey steak dinner, Quality Meats delivers top-notch food in a fresh youthful environment. Not to mention, I would come back time and time again just to gorge on that unbelievable steak tartare.