Parlor Steak House, New York

September 5, 2008 Updated: October 1, 2015

A truly elating experience; the Parlor Steak House is a refined epicurean establishment on the Upper East Side of New York City. Warmth and coziness emanate from this very elegant and contemporary restaurant.

Everyone from the owner, the chef and the staff go all out to make it a wonderful experience—and from a gourmand’s perspective, the food is heaven-sent.

The menu is divided into four sections and contains something for everyone. The “Raw Bar” with oysters and other chilled seafood on one side of the menu and the “Steak Classics” on the other, with a variety of USDA prime beef served with your choice of various traditional sauces such as béarnaise, horseradish, herb fresh lime and red wine reduction.

In the middle of this simple, yet elegantly designed menu one will find the appetizers, which lists an eclectic blend of fresh produce, fruits and fish from local farmers and fisheries. Among the carefully composed dishes of green, one will find the heirloom tomato salad and the asparagus salad. While the entrees consist of everything from lobster rolls, to burgers, to grilled branzino; and the list goes on.

All dishes are ingredient driven, very simply yet elegantly presented—a feast to the eyes.  

If you’re in the mood, any mood that is; you can enjoy a cocktail. The cocktails here are of such variety that there is something which caters to each and every mood, and all are made from fresh ingredients. Interested in something spicy and hot?  Try the Spicy Cucumber Margarita. Feeling a sense of inner peace and tranquility? Have the Zen Ruby.

The executive chef, Lucas Billheimer (ex Lure Fish Bar and Park Avenue Café) will visit your table at some point during the evening. Lucas suggested that I try the Heirloom Tomato Salad displayed over a combination of mascarpone, gorgonzola cheese and other herbs.

This salad produces a very nice kick, complete with a refreshing after taste that lingers for a while. Lucas suggested the Whole Grilled Branzino for the main course, which is marinated in lime and a Thai spice, broiled to a crisp on the outside while juicy inside, served deboned, whole and displayed perfectly on the plate.

My mother, being the excellent cook that she was, would garnish fish with parsley, coriander, garlic and lemon. I believe Lucas outdid her by adding basil, mint, lime, and a touch of garlic.

Normally I am not someone who enjoys garlic one bit, but this tasted so good that I did not mind it at all. With this full flavored fish, the chef recommends a medium bodied, white, chilled wine with a lot of acid—a Sauvignon Blanc. If you want to splurge, a Taittinger champagne.

In simplicity, there is greatness and cooking is an art. A great chef must love this art. Chef Lucas Billheimer demonstrates this with his wonderful creations by applying simple ingredients with a special touch—love and passion. The way he handles the food and talks about it is a reflection of the outcome—delicious meals.

And now we come to desert. The desserts are served in sets of two, displayed elegantly on a very simple white dish. First up is the Sour Cream Cheesecake made with lemon coulis, brown sugar crumbs, and blackcurrant sorbet. For the chocolate lover you may want to try the Chocolate Ganache cake made with port wine cherries, chocolate crumbs, and vanilla whipped cream. There’s more but this is more than enough to paint a picture of what one can expect.

The menu offers dinner options at different price point and meal configurations so that the Upper East Siders can enjoy Parlor Steakhouse for a light bit, a special occasion, and everything in between. It has a large selection of international wines. The place is buzzing even though it only opened about eight or nine weeks ago. Parlor Steakhouse is open 7 days a week, for lunch and dinner. There is also a weekend brunch (Saturdays and Sundays between 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.).

THE VERDICT: You will leave happy. Truly a neighborhood place to be proud of.

A three-course meal with a cocktail and wine will cost between $56.00 – $90.00 which is lower than most steak houses. There is a three-item lunch special for $23.00.

Parlor Steakhouse is located at 1600 Third Avenue (at 90), New York, NY (212-423-5888). Reservations are recommended.