I’ve been meaning to get to more steakhouses, lately, so when I received an invitation for a meal at Atlas Steakhouse, I was pretty excited to check them out. I looked up their website (Atlas Steakhouse) and was interested to find that they call themselves, “the best Brooklyn Steak House”… that’s a pretty bold statement, if you ask me. Jason and I headed over last Friday night for our meal.
Atlas Steakhouse boasts a pretty comprehensive menu. They even have a vegetarian pasta option which I thought about for a nanosecond, and then came back down to earth. Their menu is standard, with some safe appetizers and salads, and all of the cuts of steak and meat that you’d expect to find at a steakhouse.
The restaurant itself is very pretty, with just a touch of gaudy. Chandeliers and silver decor isn’t my style, but it definitely does work for a lot of people, and the decor was modest enough to not distract me. The place was empty when we arrived at 5:00, and only a few other people came in over the course of our meal. It feels haphazardly located in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, and doesn’t entirely fit in in the neighborhood. But the space was comfortable and elegant. Music was good, and low enough that it still allowed for quiet conversation, which I like.
First, the drinks. The menu had a handful of specialty cocktails that seemed appealing. I thought they could have had a nicer variety of spirits behind the bar, but they did have the essentials. I did a Manhattan (I subbed out the Makers Mark for Woodford Reserve) and Jason did the Margarita. Both drinks boasted a sour cherry preserve which intrigued us, and both were nicely done. The Manhattan was sweet but not syrupy, and I did taste a subtle sourness to it which was nice. I think they could invest in some nice Luxardo cherries instead of the stemmed maraschinos; I’m very picky about my cherries. Jason’s Margarita was good… a touch too much cointreau (orange liqueur) for his taste, but that’s really a matter of preference. I really, really wish it didn’t come in a cactus glass. For such an elegant feeling restaurant, I don’t think the cinco de mayo cocktail glasses fit in.
For appetizers, we went with the Caesar salad, escargot, oxtail Moroccan cigars, and lobster bisque:
There were both pros and cons from the appetizer portion of the meal. The first and biggest con, in my opinion, was that all four appetizers were brought out at the same time, along with the bread. I think any good restaurant should take your order and, at the very least, offer or suggest a coursing that makes the most sense and helps the diners pace their meal well. It would have been a really nice touch, too, if the salad and soup dishes were split, as we told our waiter that we’d be sharing everything. Instead we found ourselves awkwardly passing a bowl of soup back and forth. Jason and I started with our salad, but felt rushed through it because we didn’t want all of the other food to get cold waiting for us.
The salad was okay. The dressing was far too safe for my own preference (give me more anchovy) and the croutons tasted store bought. There was really nothing wrong, but I’ve had far better Caesar salads in my lifetime.
The escargot was another “blah” dish. It was good. They were cooked well (although I’ve never had an escargot that I thought was cooked poorly). The jam packed buttery sauce that traditional escargot are served in fell completely flat. Jason said he found hints of brown sugar in the butter, but to me it completely lacked flavor. That buttery goodness at the bottom of an escargot dish is usually so delicious that I need to douse my bread in it, but this version tasted like plain melted butter to me… It needed salt, garlic, and/or some herbs to liven it up.
The oxtail Moroccan cigars were excellent. The meat was super flavorful. And although they were fried they were somehow completely not greasy. I really liked these.
The lobster bisque was also very well done. There were nice chunks of lobster meat throughout the generous portion of soup. There was something glorious in the soup, too, that I couldn’t identify. They were like melty, salty, cheesy bits that I got every once in a while in a bite. Every time it happened I was thrilled. And the strands of saffron throughout the dish were really special too.
The bread was warm and yummy, with a nice herbed butter. I actually preferred the herbed butter over the melted butter from the escargot, as it had a touch more salt to it.
As we got ready for our main course, we asked the waiter for his recommendation on a wine, and he brought us the Medoc. It was pretty delicious, but then again, I’ve never met a wine I didn’t like. I thought it paired very well with the steak and veal chop we had next.
For our entrees, Jason and I shared the 32 oz Veal Chop, the 24 oz Porterhouse Prime, and a side of the creamy spinach with baby bella mushrooms. The prices for these huge portions of meat were really unbeatable for New York City. And the quality was really quite good for the low prices. Granted – I am not going to say that these were the best cuts of meat that I’ve ever had in my life. But when you live in New York, and could easily spend twice or triple the price on a steak, it’s a good value. The veal chop was peppery and very tender. Jason noticed that the chop wasn’t allowed to fully rest before it was served, so you can see that fatty film on top that could have been easily avoided. But the flavor was great, and the meat was tender. On the porterhouse, you could really taste the aging on the filet side of the steak… it was a nice smokey/woody flavor. The strip side was tender and juicy, with a slightly milder taste. We asked for rare and got what I would consider medium rare, but I like my steak practically raw, so I’m a weirdo. I wish instead of unnecessary mixed greens, that they’d put a broccoli or spinach on the side of the meat dishes. The greens just seemed like they were in the way and the real estate on the plate could have been used more efficiently.
The creamy spinach was delicious… you can’t see the mushrooms well, especially not in the photo, but you definitely taste them. It’s a bowl of complete comfort food.
For dessert we took our waiter’s suggestions and did the mixed berry tart and mango mousse:
The mango mousse was yummy, but super sweet. Jason and I both agreed that there should be something to cut the sweetness like a salty graham cracker or something boozey. Alas, to our surprise, at the bottom of the cone shaped dish that the mousse was served in, there actually was a booze soaked sponge cake, but it was difficult to get to, and we almost missed it. I think the dessert would be better served in a flat dish, like a creme brûlée ramekin, so that you can get that sponge cake with each bite, as it balanced out the sweetness perfectly.
The mixed berry tart was very good, too. The berries were fresh tasting and the cream filling was light and sweet.
Overall, Atlas Steakhouse was a solid, tasty meal. I do think that their claim of being the best in Brooklyn is a bit extreme, but you definitely get much more food for a much smaller bill than you’ll find anywhere else in New York. And the food you do get is pretty delicious. The lobster bisque and oxtail cigars were the favorites from the appetizers, and the meat entrees we chose were both great. I’d be curious to try some different steaks to compare them. The service was good, our waiter was certainly attentive, helpful, and friendly. But they could have done better with the coursing and splitting of our appetizers so that we could enjoy the meal more and feel a little less rushed. The cocktails were good, and the wine recommendation was solid, too. Desserts were yummy. Atlas Steakhouse earned a three star Baconboozer rating.