There are people who collect everything from stamps to seashells. George Korten collects restaurants. So far he has eight of them: six on Long Island, including the George Martin’s Group, and two in Hanover, Maryland. These eateries serve steaks, burgers, Italian food and much more.
Korten’s latest, the recently opened George Martin’s Club Steak in Rockville Centre, replaces Grillfire and completes a circle that started 27 years ago with the original George Martin’s in the same village. It specializes in steaks and small plates. The menu makes sharing dishes an easy practice. The five steaks on the steak boards (from $25-$34) are a natural mesh with the small plate and bowl options (from $10-$18).
We sampled three of the latter. An avocado shrimp toast dense with a mix of shrimp bits, cilantro and chilies ($12) from the boards, toasts and croaks section and exemplary, tender, lightly coated garlic touched calamari ($12) under the plates and bowls portion of the menu. It also yielded a small, moist, cooked-to-perfection cedar planked wild salmon ($17) eaten as a main course and a hearty, though disappointing iron skillet shrimp taco dish ($14) burdened with too much cheese and containing overcooked shrimp. It was strictly a quantity over quality offering.
A chili pop lobster tail dish ($22) given some welcome, but not overwhelming snap by its sweet and spicy sauce, though rather expensive for a starter and small for an entrée, is nevertheless enthusiastically recommended. So too are steaks served with horseradish and cocktail sauces. Both the signature 20-ounce Angus beef club steak ($38) and an equally impressive 16-ounce square cut rib eye ($34) will more than satisfy red meat lovers. The juicy, dry aged bone-in New York strip club and the substantial, though soft, tender rib eye are steakhouse standards done to perfection here. But don’t neglect the lamb porter house chops, a steal at $17.
Two desserts ($9) will be especially attractive to chocolate lovers: the robust flowerless chocolate cake and the more sophisticated Nutella crepe.
George Martin’s Club Steak Restaurant is a convivial, crowded, happy bistro-like spot of paper-over-bare tables, mirrors, bricks and candles. It’s barely illuminated by Mason jar light fixtures that make flashlights or cell phones useful, even necessary for reading the menu.
Weeknights rather than the very noisy bedlam of weekends are the best days to visit. Yet, service during both periods is extraordinarily friendly and consistently outstanding.