Some people believe that there’s nothing quite like a good steak and a potato–Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse, which started out in the 1920’s as a speakeasy at 45th and 8th believes that as well, but takes this basic grub up a few notches to their culinary peaks! Sure, they have every cut of steak imaginable and in HUGE portions that two or three people can share (justifying the $51-$59 price tags) but they have wonderful soups including a highly acclaimed Corn Bisque, killer salads including a super-fresh Burrata And Tomatoes, and sides that include the best creamed spinach I have ever had due to it being well-spiced! The potato styles available are numerous–eight types to be exact from garlic mashes potatoes to potato pancakes that blew off the back of my head? Why, because they are large and resemble zeppoles but are light and fluffy inside with beautiful herbs!
As for the steaks, the kitchen staff would not give up who F + J’s meat purveyor is, but their steaks are top-of-the-line and cooked exactly to your specs. The porterhouse and ribeye come with the bones included, which is something hard to get in high-end eateries–I was thrilled with this fact because I live for the bones on a good cut of me. I tried sirloin, filet mignon, porterhouse and ribeye at my press lunch at the restaurant–all were equally good in different ways. I love the incredible marbelization on the cut of ribeye that Frankie + Johnnie’s uses–I have never had a better ribeye than the one I ate here. Every cut is super tender and this is one of the few steakhouses where I can say that the sirloin is as honestly flavorful, tender and lean as the filet mignon. (It comes to me as no surprise that legendary actor Tom Selleck comes here for the sirloin.) Let me add that there are alternatives to steaks if you have a non-red-meat eater at your table and the French Style Chicken Breasts (which are smothered with a fresh wild mushroom sauce) are stars in themselves. There are plenty of options for seafood eaters here, including broiled lobster tail, shrimp scampi and lobster ravioli.
My press colleagues and I were too full to try dessert but I will be back to do so. I will have to do a doggie bag on my steak, veggies and potatoes to do so. I also plan to order some corn bisque to go. It’s so creamy and satisfying that I put it in my Top Five Soups In New York, possibly all time! The corn used tastes like it was just taken off the husk (and it probably was)!
The new Frankie & Johnnie’s location is in the former spot of B. Smith’s at 320 West 46th Street. Reservations are recommended but not necessary. I consider this an optimal pre or after-theater spot and a wonderful addition to Restaurant Row. There are wonderful $30 lunch specials ($40 if you want a 10 ounce petit filet mignon) and the service is super-attentive as F+J’s is owned by a former waiter there. Website is www.frankieandjohnnies.com and they also have a butcher shop and Westchester location.
Frankie + Johnnie’s has been in business since 1926, and you have to be great to last in a tough market like NYC which has so many steakhouses. You will feel like you are at home when you eat there and feel comfortable asking your waiter for anything from steak sauce to a lobster bib–and they won’t roll their eyes if you ask for one steak well-done and one steak rare (yes, I have one friend who likes to eat both at the same time, LOL)!