2011-09-14 / Restaurant of the Week

Lucas Steakhouse

A fter two successful years and a brief closure to undertake renovations, Lucas Steakhouse is proud to celebrate its Grand Re-opening. This sophisticated, yet affordable steakhouse sits handsomely on the corner of 35th Avenue and 32nd Street in Astoria. The sleek, comfortable interior features rich, wood plank floors, exposed brick walls, leather banquettes and chairs with warm lighting from retro style fixtures. One wall is cleverly decorated with racks of wine bottles and another with a cow’s hide. Owner Johnny Koljenovic, who also owns “Locale” just down the street, knows how to deliver a memorable dining experience. A meal at Lucas Steakhouse is a treat, with prices that are within reach.

The lovely staff extends gracious hospitality and service to guests and so you’ll feel very welcome here. Jessica, the kind manager, suggested some wines that would pair well with the various courses we would be eating. There are bright whites and red wines from their well-stocked cellar that include a crisp chardonnay and petit shyrah from California, pinot noir, cabernet, fruity merlot and Malbec from Argentina, at prices from $9/glass. Domestic and imported beers are also available.

Our friendly, professional waiters brought house made dinner rolls, warm from the oven, while our appetizers were being prepared. First a platter of fresh Beausoleil oysters was brought to us, nestled in ice with cocktail sauce and lemon. Their fresh, mild flavor was perfectly matched to the white wine pairing. Steamed mussels in an aromatic broth and their signature lump crab cake are also excellent choices, but this time we tried the shrimp salad served with sliced avocado and dressed with mango sauce ($13). It had a fresh and vibrant flavor and looked beautiful on the gleaming white plate. From the land came a plate of applewood smoked bacon, thick cut and perfectly grilled ($12). Next time I’ll try the hand chopped filet mignon tartar, perfectly seasoned and supremely tender. The house chopped salad and the roasted beets are also tempting, and sized to share.

Lucas is proud to be Astoria’s only source for grass-fed steak, USDA prime, and dry aged in-house for 28 days to impart a unique flavor and texture that will make your mouth water. Non-aged cuts are also served and you may choose one or more of their house made sauces: red wine, classic béarnaise, brandy peppercorn Au Poivre, horseradish, and coffee barbecue. The characteristic “aged” flavor and texture is notable in their signature 46-ounce Porterhouse for two, cooked to order, allowed to rest, and sliced upon request on sizzling hot plates. It cuts like butter and tastes like steak should, with a wonderful texture and juicy finish. This mammoth steak can be cooked to two temperatures, so that each diner has his or her steak cooked the way they like. My dining companion and I shared the 24- ounce, dry aged-rib eye steak that was cooked to perfection. Though this steak needs little more than a sprinkling of sea salt, you ought to try some of the sauces. My friend deemed the au poivre sauce his favorite, while I am still undecided! If you prefer non-aged meat, the Black Angus petite filet mignon or grass fed boneless sirloin strip will surely satisfy you.

For those eschewing red meat, fear not; there is always a nightly fish special and this night it was a seared cod fillet, perfectly cooked, flaky and moist. Whole roast lobster is a real treat, available on weekends only. For the ultimate in comfort food, try the oven roasted organic chicken au jus ($19).

Side dishes are ordered a la carte and include delicious roasted “hen of the woods” mushrooms, glazed organic carrots, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and classic creamed spinach. The Mac-n-cheese is exceptionally good, made with al dente fusilli pasta and light béchamel cheese sauce ($7).

Chef Jesse Davis, who was trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, makes everything on the premises, from the dinner rolls to the sauces to the desserts, which are impossible to skip. Even if you can only share one, choose among moist carrot cake, peanut butter pannacotta topped with a dollop of chocolate ganache or a gorgeous strawberry shortcake in a glass. Finish with a dessert wine such as moscato or port, a steaming cup of coffee and then bask in the splendor of an unforgettable meal. Make any night special or celebrate a special occasion at Lucas Steakhouse. They can accommodate small parties for life’s good times. Lucas is open seven nights a week for dinner only, from 5pm until 10:30pm on weeknights and 11:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. 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. Even their Website is chic; visit it for menus, information and gorgeous photos. Come to Lucas Steakhouse for a meal that’s a cut above the rest.

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