Written by Hulda Lawrence
There are steakhouses and steakhouses, but Rothmann's Steakhouse and Grill at 3 East 54th Street (212) 319-5500 is one of the best I have ever visited. It definitely is a "man's place" with an emphasis on large portions, but there is an air of friendliness about it. The service and presentation are superior and the level of food, especially the steak, cannot be beaten.
At a recent lunchtime visit, and there were many more males than females in attendance, but everyone seemed to be eating well and having a good time. Our waiter, Brahim from Morocco, was most helpful. We began with a Cosmopolitan for me and a Dirty Martini for my companion. Our appetizers were Colossal Lump Crab Meat Cocktail and, as a hot choice, Mussels Meuniere. The portions are large and tasty. Other choices are clams or oysters; shrimp cocktail; homemade mozzarella with beefsteak tomatoes; or Shrimp Wilson, shrimp and avocado salad. Among the hot appetizers are Fried Calamari, Shrimp and Scallops skewered with double-cut bacon, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake and Ricotta Stuffed Ravioli with Prosciutto. Appetizers are priced from $10 to $50.
There are soups and salads for those who prefer them. Shaved Filet Mignon with mushroom and barley soup and Rothmann's Salad are two popular dishes.
For our entrees we selected Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Crust at $42. It was marvelous and came "bleu" as ordered. Along with this huge and delicious piece of meat came fine onion rings, fries and bacon Asiago Potato Croquettes. The sides start at $6.50 for Baked Potato. Other choices are $8 each. We also shared "Steakhouse" Scampi which were great and quite large at $32.
The wine list is extensive, with vintages from around the world. There is also a selection of wines by the glass. My companion enjoyed a Chardonnay, Jordan C. Sonoma 2003, and my Côte du Rhone was exceptional.
In addition to sirloin, porterhouse steaks are available serving two, three or four diners. Also available are lobster, lobster ravioli, roasted loin pork chops, steak sandwich, jumbo Wagyu Burger, Lamb Shank, Sesame Crusted Tuna, Grilled Salmon and whole Roasted Sriped Bass. Prices are $21 for the steak sandwich to $168 for Porterhouse for four.
Although we had eaten heartily, we opted for dessert when we heard that all the pies, cakes and cookies are baked on the premises. General Manager Pat Felitti brought us a platter with small slices of the New York Style Cheesecake, Country Style Pecan Pie and Florida Key Lime Pie. Each was delicious. Then he gave us a variety of cookies which were also superior. With cappuccino it was a fine ending to an excellent luncheon. There also is a complete menu of dessert wines, single malt and blended scotch whiskey, bourbon, ports, cognacs, cordials, armagnacs and liqueurs, and grappas. Jazz is presented Monday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 10pm with no cover or minimum. Monday and Friday Alex Leonard plays piano with a bassist and Saturday night Jeff Elder plays piano with a bassist.
Only a few months old, Nizza (Italian for Nice) has drawn diners who appreciate the foods of Liguria and the Italian Riviera and can enjoy them in a friendly atmosphere at 630 Ninth Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets, (212) 956-1800. Executive Chef Andy D'Amico and partner Robert Guarino have created an attractive but informal setting for some good food with an amazing "cellar" of 100 wines by the bottle and 30 wines by the glass. Wine bottles are an important part of the décor. The chef whose food we appreciated at Marseille is lending his skill to this new endeavor and has achieved some fine results.
From the special cocktails we chose a Peach Bellini Martini for me and a Negroni Traditzionale for my companion. Other cocktails include Amaro Sour, Lampone Frizzante and Americano della Casa.
As we sipped, we glanced at the menu which is divided into Antipasti, Salumi, Soups and Salads, Specialties, Pizza and Panini. We tasted Focaccette, a delicious fried ravioli filled with creamy Crescenza cheese, and Burrata with Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes. We also had Roasted Beets with Gorgonzola, Almonds and Rosemary Honey. Other choices include Swiss Chard Torta, Warm Calamari and Potato Salad, Prosciutto Crostini with Sheep's Milk Ricotta and Balsamic Syrup. Tapenade also is available at $5; the antipasti are $6 to $8.
We tasted an excellent Tomato Soup flavored with orange zest topped with fresh ricotta.
Our waitress, Leah from Chicago, was most helpful and from the specialties we selected a marvelous Crab Ravioli done with butter, fennel, parmesan and tomato; and Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak with shallots, capers, anchovy and vinegar sauce. It too was very good. Other specialties include Wild Boar Lasagna, Branzino Fillet, Pansotti and Pasta al Pesto.
With our entrees we had glasses of wine. For my companion white Falanghina, Mastroberardino, Campania 2005 and for me a red Cannonau, Riserva, Sella e Mosca, Sardinia 2003. Both were great accompaniments to our food.
Although we could not try the pizza or panini this time, the variety of both will attract us back for another visit. Among the panini are Kobe Beef with Roasted Tomatoes, Red Pepper remoulade and Onion Rings for $13 and Prosciutto Mozzarella with pesto and tomato. The panini start at $8; the Kobe Beef is $13. Among the pizza choices is La Mia, with taleggio cheese, pancetta, chili flakes, red onion and parmesan. Pizzas are $9 to $11.
Our desserts were Pine Nut Semifreddo Affogato, which was fine and not too sweet, and Chocolate and Orange Crostata with a thin crust. My cappuccino was hot and good.
This restaurant has been created to provide food and drink in a casual fashion.
Hours: All day menu 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.