NYC Steak: Angelo & Maxie’s $20.99 Lunch Special is Lackluster

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NYC Food Guy likes steak. Unfortunately, steak doesn’t fall within the Food Guy’s budgetary constraints — until today. Enter Angelo & Maxie’s $20.99 Lunch Special, served Monday through Saturday, 11:30AM to 3PM, and comprised of three courses: 1) Soup of the day or Caesar/House Salad 2) 11 oz. NY Strip, 8 oz. Filet or Filet Au Poivre, 10 oz. Broiled Salmon over roast veggies, or Herb Roasted Chicken 3) Fruit plate, cheesecake or ice cream. Sounds great, but does a good price mean a good meal? Read on to find out…

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French Onion Soup, 11 oz. NY Strip, Marble Cheesecake w/ Raspberry Sauce

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Once you’ve tasted the best…

For those of us who have eaten great steak, this meal is going to disappoint, especially if you’re not willing to spend much more than the original $20.99. Keep in mind, the lunch special comes with no sides. What’s a steak meal without some potato, fried onion or creamed spinach? Unfortunately those will each cost you $7.95 for “small” sized portions. We’ll talk more about sides later, right now it’s steak time.

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Looks Can Be Deceiving

I went with the 11 oz. NY Strip over the Filet because the latter is devoid of fat and therefore flavor. I was pleased with the size of the cut and the puddle of juice on the plate. My first cut into the meat spelled trouble. Very tough. This was surprising considering my medium rare order (red and warm) was delivered upon. Unfortunately, the steak just wasn’t very tender. I made sure to cut against the grain, but still, chewy and a little tough.

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Naturally I still finished the entire piece, the outer char and inner beefy flavor were nice although they were not enhanced by the watery and bland steak sauce. Once you’ve had Peter Luger’s steak sauce, brimming with horseradish punch, it’s hard to enjoy another.

Although the Filet Mignon looks tender, my cousin said it was overcooked and flavorless.

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Can You Mess Up Bread?

If the answer’s “yes”, then you know the meal’s in trouble. In regard to this bread basket, the answer was “slightly.” The onion rolls were stale and cool, a big disappointment, but the house roll was tasty and slightly warm and the flat crackers, dotted with bits of garlic and caraway seed, were fresh and crisp. Everything tasted a little better with the standard butter.

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Go Green Instead

Soup of the day was either Split Pea or a $2.50 step up fee for French Onion Soup. Go big or go home right? French onion soup it is. The result was lackluster. In my mind, there can never be enough melted cheese on a French onion soup.

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This version was more of a cheese yarmulka, barely overtaking the edges of the bowl. Inside, the requisite bread was a soggy variety of who-knows-what swimming in an over-peppered broth filled of sweet onion. It was edible but my cousin’s Caesar salad, crowned with two anchovies, looked much tastier.

Standard Sides… With One Exception

I was dining with both of my cousins, who can generally pack in as much food as the Food Guy, so we ordered three sides at $7.95 each: Onion Strings, Hash browns and Creamed Spinach. The onion strings and hash browns met the minimum steakhouse expectations, simple and moderately effective, but the creamed spinach was some of the worst I’ve had.

The onion strings were the best of the three sides. Crispy, light and plentiful, they tasted fresh and weren’t overly greasy.

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The hash browns did what they were supposed to, provide the necessary potato aspect of the potato-onion-steak bite. Salty and bland, these hash browns merely sufficed; a crisp outer shell hid chopped potato, onion and pepper. Maybe we should have opted for the shoestring fries we spied on a neighboring table, they resembled a poor man’s Houston’s fries.

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The creamed spinach was awful. It was salty, congealed almost instantly after hitting the plate and didn’t taste like spinach at all. People fall victim to ordering this side because it’s known as one of the steakhouse “basics.” I can honestly say it disappoints more often than not. The best I’ve had is probably at Rothmann’s Steakhouse in East Norwich, Long Island. There’s also a NYC Rothmann’s on 54th b/t 5th Ave & Madison.

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When It Comes to Cheesecake, Quality Matters

Just like the steak, the cheesecake looked good but lacked star quality. The raspberry sauce was the saving grace for what was obviously a generic wholesale marble cheesecake. It was creamy but lacked the delicate quality that separates good cheesecake from medicore. The “marble” aspect was more decorative than flavorful and in the end, I left half the slice over. Should have went with the ice cream (chocolate or vanilla), you can’t mess that up.

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Save Your Money For a Real Steak Meal

As they say in Vegas, the house always wins. I ended up spending $45, including a beer and tip, on a filling but lackluster meal which started at $20.99. The company of my cousins, one of whom was celebrating his 21st birthday, was the best part of the experience.

In the end, there’s no cutting corners when it comes to steak. Save your money. Go to a real steakhouse like Luger’s and become one with your inner carnivore. Your stomach and integrity will thank you.

Angelo & Maxie’s

Park Avenue South at 19th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 220-9200
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7 Responses to “NYC Steak: Angelo & Maxie’s $20.99 Lunch Special is Lackluster”

  1. Dan Says:

    Word. agreement all around, it was a nice lunch, and the company was great, but if i’m boasting more about sitting three tables away from John Leguizamo then the steak itself which I thought was too salty, then you know you’ve been had. The recession has not only brought hard times to Wall Street, but to Angelo & Maxie’s as well. Thanks for the shout out cuz.

  2. Phil Says:

    hmmm that’s VERY disappointing. I would think it would be quite difficult to ruin that meal, especially considering that this is a fairly well known steakhouse, but I guess not.

    Food Guy, have you ever had Ben & Jack’s on 44th between 2nd and 3rd? I would be interested to get your take on the place since it is the most blatant luger’s knock off on earth.

  3. Charlie Says:

    major bummer. i’m almost happy i don’t eat steaks.

    that said, have you reviewed a Luger Burger lunch special?? that is special. truly.

  4. The Dirty Nord Says:

    have you tried the steak night at Gallagher’s in Queen?

  5. Lil NYC Food Guy Says:

    Now I’m not so angry I missed that meal anymore. John Leguizamo? Really? You didn’t tell me that. Nothin worse than a chewy piece of steak.

    Charlie- to save big bro some time, here’s the link to the Peter Luger Burger review. Second only to BK Diner in my mind, the Luger Burger has gotta be one of the tastiest pieces of beef I’ve ever had. Unfortunately the last two times I went I ordered medium rare and it came medium well.
    http://nycfoodguy.com/2007/12/19/peter-lugers-cheeseburger-luxury-at-lunchtime/#more-176

    I was home in NYC for the weekend, and after eating Binghamton food for a month straight, my first meal was Adrienne’s Pizza Bar down by Wall Street. Unbelievable first meal back, that pizza is amazing. Anyone who hasn’t gone yet should make the trip…make sure to get the old fashioned style (Sicilian pie, not round)

  6. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Dan,
    Well said Dan, well said. Where’s our next stop?

    Phil,
    Even though Angelo & Maxie’s is well known it’s low end when it comes to steakhouses.

    I have not been to Ben & Jack’s but I am going to Luger’s Friday so maybe after I hit Luger’s this week, we can do it up and check out Ben and Jack’s some time before or after Thanksgiving. Where’s your #1 steak?

    The Dirty Nord,

    Gallagher’s steak house or Gallagher’s strip club? What’s the deal?

    Lil NYC Food Guy,
    I second your motions all around. Adrienne’s is ridiculous, I’m going to put up a review on that real soon. Gotta address a certain BK Pizza Tour first…

  7. Chicago Steak Says:

    Thanks for the info. Looks like my quest for the best steak is not over

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