The most astonishing aspect of an evening at Angus Club Steakhouse is witnessing the sheer expanse of the space. It is one of the marvels of this city--one minute you are gasping for air amidst crowds of restless commuters, and the next you find yourself in what can only be described as a mansion, right in the heart of Midtown East.
While Angus Club Steakhouse, as the name hopefully suggests, is no place for anyone with even remotely vegetarian proclivities, it is an undeniably swanky refuge for people who spend large portions of their day dreaming about tucking into enormous platters of meat.
It would be easy for a steakhouse positioned in such an extravagantly large space to be gaudy and garish, but Angus Club manages to exercise decorative restraint for the most part. Rather than opting for the glorified man-cave aesthetic of many other steakhouses, Angus' designer, Zimmerman Design Associates, pulled from a background in architecture of billionaire homes. Apart from a slightly alarming painting of a cow behind the bar, the tones in this art deco-inspired restaurant are understated, and flashy accents are kept to a minimum, making way instead for subtler (if enormous) art deco pieces. As a result, the space feels more akin to a warm modern mansion than, say, the Palace of Versailles.
The food at Angus Club follows a similar principle to the decor: staggering scale, uncompromised high quality, and signature style. The steaks are juicy and definitely on the rare side, and their full flavor comes not from seasoning but from a 30-35 day dry-aging process. Whether you go for a Porterhouse, Colorado Lamb Chops, or a classic Bone In Ribeye, every meat here is selected and prepared under the meticulous eye of Chef Edward Avduli to have maximum flavor and texture without excessive handling.
If you're not opposed to the concept of a shamelessly carnivorous salad, the Angus Club Salad, with fresh iceberg lettuce, shrimp, green peas, tomatoes, onions, bacon, and roasted red peppers in house vinaigrette, is almost worth a visit to the restaurant in and of itself. Angus Club's thick-cut bacon, like its other meats, unseasoned but packed full of savory, fatty flavor while somehow side-stepping any greasy sensations. Should eating this salad cause you to break out in a full-on bacon frenzy, you can even order a slab of Canadian bacon on the side for $5.
The standard steakhouse sides, including potatoes and sauteed mushrooms, fulfill their dual purpose of complementing the meats and giving you the pretense of eating vegetables. The low-cream approach to creamed spinach will feel welcome after consuming a months worth of cholesterol in 20 minutes, and despite its lower dairy content still feels appropriately hearty. On the other hand, the macaroni and cheese with truffle oil, while tasty, is much airier than the richer, more textured sides.
If you can make it to dessert without passing out, it’s vital to get your hands on Angus Club’s creamy, rich cheesecake. For such a quintessential New York dessert, it is surprisingly difficult to find places that serve versions of it that aren’t depressing, so taking advantage of the opportunity here is worth the extra 3-5 pounds you’ll gain as a result. Don’t worry; for mid or post-meal exercise you can always take a walk down the grand staircase outside the upstairs dining room to visit the wine cellar, downstairs dining room, or 4 private dining rooms.
Angus Club Steakhouse, located at 135 East 55th Street, is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner 7 days a week. They offer a happy hour with ½ priced cocktails on weekday afternoons and expect to begin serving brunch in the spring (assuming spring does occur at some point).