Grazing Meaty Heartily at 'V Steak House' in New York
Jean-Georges Vongerichten has featured in previous 'Grazing' reviews and is a prolific restauranteur with a string of 'Vongs' across the world, 'jo-jo', 'Lipstick Cafe', 'The Mercer Kitchen', '66' and 'Jean-Georges' in New York as well as 'Prime Steakhouse' in Las Vegas.
I have great pleasure in reporting on Mr Vongerichten's latest showcase of the "Arte of Steak" at 'V Steak House' on the 4th floor of the Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle, NYC, New York.
I thought this was a brave move on his part, taking on the Americans by serving steak in the heart of the 'Big Apple'!
V Steak House
The entrance is rather discrete and one could easily miss it amongst the panoply of culinary temples in the building. The foodie concept is a "Grazing Mall", bringing in acclaimed chefs like Jean-Georges, Thomas Keller, Masa Takayama, Gray Kunz, Noriyuki Sugie and Charlie Trotter to showcase their signature dishes.
Bar and Reception
I had to be discrete with the photography without flash. After a long business day in Manhattan, what could be more relaxing than a 'perfect' gin martini?
AMUSE BOUCHE: Crudites with Blue Cheese Dip
Regular WFEDders know of my aversion to any "fromage bleu" and will be even more surprised that I tasted this! The vegetables were just crispy and the dip has a salty, creamy tang without overpowering the delicate MTF tastebuds. Perhaps my aversion was "in my mind" all along?
I had time to check out the "Las Vegas Style" ambience. Is it really like this at the Bellagio?
Golden Canopy of Trees
With a little more wine, one could imagine dining outdoors, looking up at the 'stars' and branches..... well, maybe more than a little more wine was required!
STARTER: Seafood Platter
Kumamoto oysters were creamy and good as befitting their reputation.
Shrimp and scallops were equally fresh and delicious.
I was a little disappointed that the Crab Claws and Clams were fresh but not in the top rank for taste.
I really only used the soy and vinegar sauce for most of the seafood and the classic shallot and cider vinegar dressing for the oysters.
Justin Lorenz was my genial sommelier
We pondered for a while over the choice of wine for a single diner in a steakhouse.
WINE: Pommard Leroy 1983 Cote de Beaune, Burgundy
This aged burgundy was a light russet colour but still with berry fruit on the nose and a hint of damp hay. The texture was light but not watery and the taste could be described as "complexed" and changing throughout the meal.
The initial sips with the seafood was an interesting experiment; the mellowed tannins and frutiness complimented some of the sweeter and meatier seafood, but eventually the tannin 'build-up' in the mouth suited the steak better.
STEAK: Yama Range 'Wagyu' Sirloin Beef
This acclaimed US-farmed Japanese breed of beef was well marbled with fat but not to the extent of native examples. Personally, I think the super-fatty native versions are really suitable for 'teppanyaki' grilling in bite-sized pieces but not so good as a slab of steak. So, I was pleased with this example used by V Steak House.
Served with a herb salad and soy dressing, the side dish of wild rice and mushrooms, ubiquitous 'steak sauce' and a most agreeable 'chili & garlic' sauce completed the accompaniments.
Deeply charred outside but tender rare-medium inside or "black & blue" steak was simply - "delicious". No further description necessary.
DESSERT: Lemon Méringue Composition
No - this is not the BEFORE photo but the FINISHED product! Described as a deconstructed dessert, the platter contains shortbread biscuit crumbs, cream fondant, lemon curd, meringue and coconut flakes. You just assemble 'your' favourite composition on the spoon and ..... well....swallow! A light finish to a heavy meal.
DESSERT WINE: Saracco 2003, Piedmonte
Lemon and citrus fruits are notoriously difficult to pair with wine. Until this meal, I thought that only a buttery champagne seemed to cope but here is an alternative suggested by Justin Lorenz. This sweet, fizzy and acid Moscato d'Asti with persistent fruit of moscato grape stood up to the task very well.
DIGESTIF: Calvados Pays d'Auge, 25 years aged, Christian Drouin
This is one of the best houses - mellow apple brandy.
The cherry liquer chocolate truffle seemed a final indulgence, which tipped me over the overindulgent scale! Espresso coffee was required for my recovery.
Some of the Team V Steak House
L - R: Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Chef Patron), two delightful ladies (Reception) and Denis Bouron (Maître d'hôtel)
Alas, my genial waitress, Ginny, was too busy to join the photo session as I was leaving.
Compliments to 'V' and his team! I was very appreciative that Chef took time out of his busy kitchen to chat a little. I was also relieved that upon sighting my wine choice on the table he said, "Nice wine".
'V Steak House' simply does steak well. Add to that, the knowledgeable and efficient staff, elegant surroundings and good wine list - et voila:
Two thumbs UP and cheering hoof!
I was so glad that these statues were not spotted until AFTER dinner. They could have put off the intrepid dieter.......
Text and photos Copyright Melvyn Teillol-Foo, 2004.