New York’s Charlie Palmer Steak, in a New Location, Is as Good as Ever
The New York City outpost of Charlie Palmer Steak is one of the city’s most underappreciated steakhouses (as previously discussed), based on the high quality of the steaks served as well as the many other creative and surprising dishes coming out of the kitchen; it’s one of the rare steakhouses that pays as much attention to non-steakhouse menu items as to the steakhouse staples, and chef Ryan Lory puts local, seasonal ingredients to very good use. The restaurant’s space proved to be a challenge for them for several reasons, though, so late last year the operation moved into the Archer Hotel on 38th Street just north of Herald Square (in the space previously occupied by David Burke’s Fabrick), and it’s a decided upgrade from the low-ceilinged, staid previous dining room.
We had the opportunity to check it out for ourselves recently, and while the menu maintains its format, everything else feels newer and fresher. The restaurant’s stylish bar is integrated into the new hotel’s lobby, and the dining room beyond is bright and spacious. It’s decorated in shades of cream, royal blue, and tan, and a couple gunmetal gray pillars lend it a slightly industrial-chic vibe. An overhead skylight lets in plenty of natural light, and there are a few large tables, a few romantic nooks, and a high-top that seats 12.
As mentioned, the menu hasn’t changed much (no more than it usually does, on a seasonal basis), and that’s a good thing. Littleneck Clams Casino are topped simply with a slice of applewood-smoked bacon and garlic butter and served alongside a charred lemon, letting the flavor of the clams shine. A lobe of fresh burrata is served on a pool of bright kale pesto (since switched to ramp pesto for spring) and topped with twists of prosciutto, microgreens, cape gooseberries, and aged balsamic. Tuna tartare is diced into large cubes, similar to poke, simply dressed with citrus ponzu, pickled ginger, and sesame crisps, and arranged atop puréed avocado. Charred Spanish octopus is served with a hearty Spanish-inspired mélange of chorizo and white beans and drizzled with smoked chile vinaigrette, and is tender enough to eat with a spoon. One of the two seasonal pastas always on the menu, fresh mezze rigatoni with chunks of housemade Berkshire sausage and a creamy Parmigiano-Reggiano-based sauce (above), is hearty enough to warm you up on a cold winter night.
And that’s all before the steaks! The kitchen brought out two of their large-format steaks, a porterhouse for two and a tomahawk ribeye, and they were both perfectly cooked to medium rare and given a deep char from the ripping hot broiler. Served sizzling on cast iron platters, these were absolute showstoppers, and were full of that rich, beefy flavor you look for in a well-aged steak (these are dry aged for 30 days). For dessert, we were able to muster a little additional stomach space for a fresh-baked sticky bun topped with cream cheese frosting and salted caramel ice cream. And as for the wine, sommelier Amanda Streibel has assembled a stellar 400-bottle-strong collection of steakhouse favorites as well as some unexpected surprises; we discovered a premier cru Burgundy that was surprisingly very affordable.
Charlie Palmer Steak got a new lease on life when it moved into this new space, and this is only the beginning; Palmer has taken over all culinary operations for the hotel, including a rooftop bar. If you’re looking for a steakhouse that delivers the goods, is fresh and modern, and doesn’t give short shrift to menu items that aren’t steak or the traditional accompaniments, we’d highly suggest keeping this place on your radar.