Restaurant review

Bavette From Laurent Tourondel

Skirt Steak offers a single menu consisting of salad, steak and fries.
Photo: Lanna Apisukh

“Feels like we’re having an early dinner at San Francisco airport,” said one of the assembled steak loons as we huddled around the corner of the crowded square-shaped bar at bib, which former beef impresario Laurent Tourondel opened last fall in a busy dining space downstairs from a Kimpton hotel on Sixth Avenue and 29th Street. It was 5 p.m., which is definitely time for dinner at the airport if you’re flying to the East Coast, and the menu (a well-dressed salad and a charred, savory piece of skirt steak, plus all the fries you can jam down your throat for $28 before tax and tip), as well as the woodsy, utilitarian decor — “Your local CrossFit gym meets Cracker Barrel,” noted one of the loonies — looked an operation designed to facilitate as many covers as possible, spaced out in 45-minute increments.

Inside, I immediately thought of the great Parisian one-stop-shop steak chain Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecotewhich operated a downtown outlet for many years on Lexington Avenue (“temporarily closed”) as well as one very briefly in Soho (permanently closed) and is also known for a tangy mustard dressing, the quality of its fries and a mysterious steak sauce with butter and cream made deliciously delicious, according to the French newspaper The world, with a nasty infusion of chicken liver. There’s also a signature steak sauce here, served in little cream cups, although we agreed it tasted more like a version of American airport bearnaise than the original Entrecôte, which was served around the long tables of Lexington by a mostly female staff. dressed in black skirts and frilly white aprons.

Dessert is optional.
Photo: Lanna Apisukh

Service at Skirt Steak was efficient and friendly, and we all agreed that the corn-fed American beef, which arrived sizzling on hot cast iron racks, was perhaps a little too charred but better than the old Seared Entrecote cut, which was $24 with all the trimmings the last time I went over a decade ago. The salad here is better too, and the fries, handed out in large copper bowls by waiters wielding large silver tongs, are of Parisian quality, which you’d expect from a French cook who started his career there. decades as a chef for an admiral in the French Navy. As you might expect, you can pay lots of dollars more for the ‘American Wagyu’ beef option, although I’d save the money for the well-buttered peas mixed with bacon bits and the excellent “cheesy potatoes,” which are sliced ​​and sizzled under a crisp blanket of melted cheddar.

“It’s what my grandfather called ‘a good, honest meal,'” one of my guests said as we looked around the room, which was packed, like a diverse and crowded airport restaurant. , tourists who had wandered from Times Square, young couples taking advantage of the affordable prices and, because it’s New York, hordes of influencers are busy retouching their dinner photos.

The line to get in starts forming at 4:30 p.m., the bartender said, and by the time we walked through the door it was twice as long as when we arrived (although that might have been a bit changed from restaurant open for lunch). Once you’re allowed in, you can of course enjoy a variety of solid wines with your beef and fries, and like at your local Cracker Barrel, beers and cocktails start at $10. For that same price, you could add a strawberry pie or a good slice of lime and meringue pie from the passing dessert cart, but none were as satisfying as that other great Relais de Venise specialty, profiteroles, which used to accompany many hot dishes. chocolate sauce and melting scoops of vanilla ice cream.

The restaurant’s limited menu is reminiscent of global chain Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte.

The house sauce is a béarnaise with black pepper.

Fries are optional.

The showcase features six different desserts.

Skirt Steak opens for dinner at 5 p.m., but the line starts to form even earlier.

Photographs of Lanna Apisukh

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