A Cut Above: E&E Grill House
How do you reinvent an age-old classic like the great American steakhouse? Restaurateurs Eric Perlmutter and Eddie Bergman of the recently opened E&E Grill House in New York City's theater district thought, "Let's make our menu more adventuresome where guests order by the cow part."
It's a novel idea with varying degrees of success. And while the concept may not feel revolutionary, the butcher-style diagram on the menu offers a not-so-gentle reminder that you are, indeed, eating an animal.
The juxtapositions continue, from the modern, sleek interior to the minimalist wine list that hovers at around 40 bottles. The gruff sexagenarian waiters that you might expect at the infamous Peter Luger Steakhouse have been replaced by well-scrubbed starving artists that would probably rather be next door performing in "Chicago" or across the street in "The Book of Mormon". You'd never know it by their service, though, which I found to be friendly and attentive.
E&E Grill House’s menu offers fun facts and descriptions of the various cuts. Classic fares such as beef tenderloin ($36) and bone-in rib-eye ($58) make their obligatory appearances, while dry aged brisket ($26) and beef cheek chili ($23) offer something for the more adventuresome diner.
Executive Chef Eric Simeon, whose kitchen credentials include time under Wolfgang Puck and Terrance Brennan, presents hints of creativity with appetizers that include a smoked baby beet salad and Peekytoe crab fritters, and steak accompaniments that range from cultured bone butter to salt-cured foie gras.
During my visit, Simeon and his kitchen staff’s use of salt was extreme and by the time I left the table, my swollen ankles could barely support by heavily pumping heart. A misstep, yes, but with more ’rehearsal’ and a bit of restraint, E&E Grill House’s menu is bound to entertain as much the neighboring Broadway theaters.
While E&E Grill House’s theater district location attracts the tourist crowd, the restaurant also hopes to become a regular stomping ground for the gentrified Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Beverage Director Tom Dowd-Warren has crafted an accessible cocktail menu that features top-shelf spirits and kitchy concoctions.
For a delicate libation, the Violet Beauregard combines prosecco with elderflower liquer and blueberry puree. The Stormon Mormon pays homage to the Tony Award-winning hit across the street with a zingy combination of Gosling’s rum, ginger beer and fresh lime.
With a slight (tortilla) chip on his shoulder, Warren also offers what he considers "the best freakin’ margarita in the city’, featuring Espolon tequila, Combier (a top shelf triple sec) and agave nectar. A tip of my sombrero, it was pretty damn good. Housemade kettle chips in a variety of flavors are the perfect accompaniment.
Steak it to Ya’
Our top beefy picks from across the country:
Modern Steak, Scottsdale, Arizona
Savor every bite of a Snake River Farms Waygu rib-eye cap topped with butter-poached Maine lobster. ($88)
Cut 432, Delray Beach, Florida
The only side dish that might give the "kobe style" beef tenderloin from Mishima Ranch ($54) a run for its money is the equally decadent truffled mac & cheese.
Finn & Porter, Austin, Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas. Forget about the surf ’n turf and go for the trio of beef tenderloin, soy chili glazed pork shank, and vanilla butter poached lobster tail ($42).
Emeril’s Delmonico, New Orleans, Louisiana
Bam! Broiled at 1,200 degrees, the bone-in rib eye ($45) is a classic only made better by a splash of housemade Worcestershire sauce and followed by cinnamon beignets with chicory coffee anglaise.
Chicago Cut Steakhouse, Chicago, Illinois
Keep your fingers crossed that the 36-day aged bone-in filet is available (market price), but the double cut Châteaubriand ($98) is a not-too-shabby backup plan topped with a dollop of Conlon Farms Maytag bleu cheese fondue.