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Steak done right is considered a special kind of delicacy by amateur and professional chefs alike.
And it is — when the right marinade meets a perfectly cooked piece of meat — always a memorable meal.
But for all its fanfare, steak is an approachable dish on the plate (once one gets past the price tag on the menu). There often isn’t much garnish, save for a sprig of something.
It’s a form of comfort food, whether the temperature is warm or cool.
To make the perfect steak, the chef must strike a balance between sophistication and simplicity.
On Long Island, a select few restaurants have raised the stakes on red meat. From a Gold Coast mainstay in Roslyn to a bank-turned-carnivore haven, these spots have diners saying “holy cow” from first bite to last.
A lively bar and noted steak make Pace’s a popular place for the after-work crowd and large parties celebrating something special. But the dimly lit dining room keeps it date-night worthy. There’s an option to order the porterhouse steak for two, but the portion for one is hefty as it is. As for the meat itself, it’s tender, juicy and never overcooked like so many at-home porterhouses. The petite filet mignon is 7 to 8 ounces of charbroiled perfection and a favorite of diners who don’t arrive hangry. The sides are standard fare — baked sweet potatoes and the vegetable of the day — but the devil is in the details, and Pace’s is known to get those right. Even the mac and cheese gets a refined twist with a blend of cheddar, gruyere, gouda and truffle oil. You can also check out Pace’s Dockside when dining here on the North Fork.
Teller’s | An American Chophouse, Islip
Set in a former bank, this stylish spot serves steaks worth their weight in gold. The Tellers Delmonico, made with truffle butter sauce and crispy onions, is a tender, flavorful delight, and a side of mashed sweet potatoes takes an unexpected turn with the addition of marshmallows. Beer and wine make for quintessential pairings — and the staff will happily talk diners through the deep wine list — but guests would be remiss if they didn’t consider a cocktail. The vodka martinis are worth at least toasting with as an aperitif.
Rare650 Prime Steak and Sushi, Syosset
This modern spot manages to be sophisticated but not stuffy. Outdoor voices are sometimes needed at the large and boisterous bar area, but the wine room, complete with bottles from floor to ceiling, is considerably more intimate. The main dining area boasts plush seating and the white tablecloths you’d expect from a premiere steakhouse. Unlike other steakhouses, Rare650 diners tend to call the prices reasonable and portions generous. The steaks and chops are dry-aged for 45 days and the classic porterhouse steak can be ordered for two or four. Consider dressing it in truffle foie gras butter for a rich, delicate twist.
This polished bar opened in 1986 and has stood the test of time in a location where getting to the city is easy, disposable incomes are large and expectations are high. The meats are aged on-site — and ordering red meat is practically a must, particularly for first-time diners, but the seafood hooks people in too. Consider starting with a shrimp cocktail or the sweet, slightly creamy Maryland crab cakes. As for the steaks, the rib-eye is crispy on the outside and bleeding on the inside, and the ample prime rib is marinated for nearly a week and masterfully tender. It’s all served in a polished space replete with a dark wood interior and marble accents.
On the North Fork
Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi, Smithtown
This upscale steakhouse and sushi bar epitomizes a special night out — and not just because of the notorious prices that creep into the triple digits. Inside, a wine display, red accents and statement hanging light fixtures allow guests to forget they had to take 347 to get to the restaurant. The food is top-of-the-line‚ which at high-end prices, it better be. The filet mignon is so tender, the steak knife becomes more of a decoration than a utensil. Like many steakhouses, sides are a la carte. Though the ambiance is fancy, classic comfort food like mashed potatoes and mac and cheese still taste just right (the mac and cheese has lobster in it — it’s still Insignia, after all). The rich dark chocolate molten mocha marshmallow cake and the praline stuffed warm chocolate chip cookie served with vanilla ice cream and topped with dark chocolate and caramel sauce, make for indulgent conclusions.
It’s possible to get lost in this resort-like restaurant. There’s the intimate wine room perfect for private dining or a special night out for two. There’s also outdoor waterfront dining in the summer, a happening wave bar and lodge with a fireplace that defines cozy. But as much personality as the ambiance brings to the table, Prime, like the rest of the Bohlsen Group restaurants, is defined by getting the basics of exceptional food and service down to perfection. And it’s staked its claim in surf ’n turf fare. The tender petite filet mignons, which come in 8- and 12-ounce portions, can take a hearty turn when enhanced with melted blue cheese or parmesan crust, and the New York strip’s flavor lingers long after the last bite.
Blackstone Steakhouse, Melville
This wood-accented space’s Melville address and cool vibe make it a prime spot for power lunches. The interior is brick, wood and dimly lit by large hanging lights and a trio of floating candles on each table. Red-meat lunch favorites include the Waygu roast beef sandwich, which warms the stomach and soul on a chilly afternoon, and the beefy marinated skirt steak makes for a scrumptious mid-day meal. There’s also a 500-bottle wine list and lively bar scene for those aspiring to be Don Draper.