When the news that Rothmann’s Steakhouse on East 54th Street was closing started spreading around Wall Street, there was no unanimous reaction — but a reaction, there definitely was.
While some former patrons wrote goodbye letters befitting the sadness of losing a serious hang spot, others were all too happy to see the place go.
After all, SkyBridge Capital CEO Anthony Scaramucci had Rothmann’s in mind when he came up with the plans to launch his own restaurant that would be an alternative to Midtown spots, which are “not fun.”
In other words, Rothmann’s was polarising. It’s location, however, is still prime Wall Street stomping ground.
And now that celebrity chef Charlie Palmer has taken over the space — turning it into Charlie Palmer Steak New York — Business Insider decided to check it out and see if it’s likely Wall Street will come to more of a consensus over this new restaurant.
So here’s the deal.
Rothmann’s was an old school joint. Low lights, carpet, dark furniture. Charlie Palmer is a more modern steakhouse. You still have your TVs turned to ESPN and financial news, but the space seems more open and less like the clubhouse. The furniture is more sleek and the lights are brighter.
You can imagine that has its positive points and negative points.
To properly evaluate a steakhouse you need to do the following: Check out the wine list, drink a martini, try some of the raw bar, order an array of sides, and specify (clearly) how you want your steak done.
It’s not rocket science, but it’s not for the weak either.
We started off with oysters and beef carpaccio. The oysters were fantastic, but the carpaccio was over done. The best thing about carpaccio is its raw simplicity. This iteration had too many bells and whistles — sauce, jalapenos etc.
No, Charlie, we came here for the beef.
The drinks were solid, though, and this is key for a Wall Street hang. After a hard day working in capital markets, people need their comfort drink and they need it done right. The Business Insider gin martini (up with a twist) was executed to perfection.
Also, it should be noted that, aside from a moment of flakiness with our sommelier the staff was super attentive.
For our sides we picked up french fries, creamed spinach, and macaroni and cheese. The mac and cheese won everything. It was on the creamier side of mac — rather than the casserole side — and it was on par with some of the best steakhouse macs in the city. The fries were also awesome.
The creamed spinach, however, left a little to be desired. The flavour of the cheese sauce wasn’t powerful enough. You still felt like you were eating something your mum was making you finish.
Now for what really matters — the steak. Technically, it was an achievement. Like most sentient adults, we decided to order our Porterhouse for two medium rare. It was perfectly crispy on the outside, and pink on the inside — all points for technique.
There was a problem, though. The steak needed the green pepper sauce we ordered on the side. It was good sauce, we were happy to use it, but the steak needed it. That should not be.
Sauce should always be optional on a steak — an afterthought that you throw in for a little diversity on your palate through a long steak meal. Your steak shouldn’t need sauce. The sauce is like putting flippers on in a swimming pool — sure, it makes you faster but sometimes you’d rather just lounge around anyway.
Charlie Palmer Steak is delicious, and certainly less stuffy than its predecessor, but it could be simpler.
It will however, do the job.