Lucas Steakhouse...A Cut Above
Lucas Steakhouse is proud to celebrate its first anniversary, perched confidently on the corner of 35th Avenue and 32nd Street in Long Island City. The sophisticated interior features wood plank floors, brick walls, leather banquettes and tufted chairs with soft lighting to cast a warm glow. The overall look is chic, yet comfortable and allows for sophisticated dining at prices within reach. I’m already planning my next visit to this very special restaurant.
Owner Johnny Koljenovic runs a tight ship led by Alfred, the congenial manager, and an expert wait staff. Our waiter, Max, could not have been more pleasant and accommodating as he assisted throughout the evening. First, he brought a sampling of red wines from their well-stocked cellar that includes a bright pinot noir, cabernet , fruity merlot and an outstanding Malbec from Argentina, at prices from $9/glass. Domestic and imported beers are also available.
Lucas takes the classic steakhouse and adds some modern touches such as fresh vegetables that are made into soups and side dishes, all prepared without unnecessary fats or seasonings to allow the natural flavors of the fresh ingredients to come through. The chef’s special soup of the evening was a creamy spring pea soup, made without a drop of cream. This delicious soup was light and flavorful, bursting with the snap of sweet, verdant peas. We enjoyed perhaps the best crab cake ever, with the emphasis on crab and not on cake. This tender crab cake was replete with sweet, succulent lump crab meat and seasonings and lightly pan fried with a
crispy pancko breading for extra crunch and flavor. One crab cake offers plenty to share, as you’ll want to save room for those juicy steaks. It takes supremely fresh tuna to make tuna tartar and Lucas doesn’t disappoint. Clams casino and ocean fresh oysters are other appetizers that I can’t wait to try on my next visit.
Roasted beet salad rests on tender watercress along with goat cheese, pecans and chives drizzled with honey lime vinaigrette ($12). The chopped house salad is chock full of colorful vegetables while the classic “wedge” salad is made with iceberg lettuce, pecans, bacon and three-peppercorn gorgonzola dressing. Juicy beefsteak tomato slices are wedged between creamy buffalo mozzarella, interlaced with fresh basil and balsamic dressing for the perfect summertime salad ($14). Vegetarians and those eschewing red meat will find several options here. Besides these delicious salads, there are other dishes, including a grilled vegetable platter, which is available for the asking, made from the market’s freshest vegetables.
Now for the main event…steak. All the beef served at Lucas Steakhouse is prime meat, with most cuts dry-aged for 28 days. This special process of dry-aging not only imparts a unique flavor to this high quality meat, it also gives it a distinctive chew that meat lovers enjoy. This characteristic flavor and texture is notable in the 24-ounce ribeye steak that we devoured. Cooked to order, allowed to rest, and sliced upon request, this steak is what meat is supposed to taste like. Served with the chef’s own steak sauce or your choice of au poivre peppercorn sauce, red wine demi glace, or classic Bernaise sauce, this steak needs little more than a sprinkling of sea salt, but go ahead and try one. The house favorite is the Porterhouse for 2, which is 48 ounces of heaven, served piping hot and sliced. The T-bone and New York strip steak are excellent choices too. If you prefer non-aged meat, the black Angus hangar steak melts on your mouth, topped with au poivre sauce and a salad of watercress and red onion ($24). There’s also a prime filet mignon at 12 ounces or the petite filet at 9 ounces. Indulge in surf and turf by adding a lobster tail to your filet mignon.
Guests who don’t fancy red meat will love the oven roasted Cornish hen au jus with roasted vegetables, grilled Yellowfin tuna or grilled prawns marinated in garlic and parsley and served with a julienne of fresh vegetables ($23). On Fridays and Saturdays there are fish specials featuring the day’s catch and the chef’s skills. Don’t forget to order a side dish of creamy mashed potatoes, sautéed baby Brussels sprouts, wild mushrooms, hash browns or the obligatory creamed spinach.
One would ask, “But how could I have dessert after all that?” I would answer that you have to try the carrot cake, so chock full of moist carrots, raisins and nuts, it’s practically a salad! Warm semi-sweet chocolate cake has the texture of a soufflé and the pumpkin cheesecake is light and creamy. Finish with a dessert ice wine or port, a steaming cup of coffee and then bask in the splendor of an unforgettable meal.
Lucas Steakhouse makes any night special and makes a special occasion memorable. Lucas is open six nights a week for dinner only, from 5pm until 10:30pm on weeknights and 11:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. They are closed on Mondays. Lucas is so easy to get to by public transportation. Just take the N or W train to the 36th Avenue station. Walk one block to 32nd Street and one block north to 35th Avenue. Even Manhattanites can find their way. Visit their sexy Web site for more information and photos.
34-55 32nd Street / Long Island City, NY