75 Hillside Avenue, Williston Park
(516) 213-0019, tbbgny.com
The Butcher’s Bar & Grill is a helluva restaurant. It’s a sleek, sophisticated spot with an up-to-the-minute look. It sports big windows, a massive mirror, white-washed wooden tables, a glass fronted beef display, open kitchen, candles and mounted butcher’s cleavers and meat sketches.
More important than this décor are the staff and owners who are as sharp as the surroundings. Oscar Martinez, the executive chef and managing partner has cooked at some of Manhattan’s elite restaurants, the last twelve years of which were at the esteemed Old Homestead, the City’s oldest steakhouse. Another alum of the Old Homestead is managing partner George Theodosiou, formerly the maitre’d there who lured Mr. Martinez to BBG.
About now you might be wondering how much all this luxury costs, especially if you’re mindful that there are no inexpensive prime steak houses on the Island. You’re right. Bring money. USDA prime beef is butchered in-house and grilled on natural oak coals, not broiled under a gas flame. The least expensive steak, a petite filet mignon goes for $33; the most expensive, a prime filet on the bone, costs $46. Non-steak entrées are in the high twenties. The most moderately priced bottle of wine costs $38 and the lowest priced glass of wine sells for $10. But these prices earn unsurpassed food and silken service.
The first salvo here, savory roasted garlic bread bars atop a warm artisanal cheese fondue base (complimentary), give more than a hint of what’s to come. Next is an impeccable, fresh Maine lobster bisque ($10) with four or five nubbins of floating lobster meat and enough sherry essence to make it altogether delicious. The three other appetizers sampled were a wedge salad replete with crumbled blue cheese and a welcome slice of crisp bacon ($13); too many cubes of stone rubbed grilled octopus ($17) to eat as a starter despite their lovely sweet red onions; and slightly greasy shoe string zucchini fritters with fresh lemon and a Greek touch, tzatziki sauce ($13).
Seven grilled rosemary baby lamb chops ($38) were tender, tiny and terrific. Their dill-tzatziki seasoning was another plus. Pan roasted Chilean sea bass with charred baby artichokes and ladolemono ($29) was an inventive concoction of vegetables and fresh fish.
But steak is the major player at a steak house and it’s anything but ordinary here. Try the substantial, gutsy, 20oz. bone-in rib eye steak ($42) or better still is the 16oz. prime filet on the bone ($46), a thick upright piece of beef that looks as though it will be difficult to cut through, but is buttery tender.
Finish with a skyscraper wedge of 24-layer chocolate cake that is in the Best I’ve Ever Had category.