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08 September 2011

Tonight's Episode: Steak and a Handshake

           When was the last time you were met at the door to a restaurant by the owner, who looks you dead in the eye, shakes your hand, and genuinely thanks you for taking the time to stop by his restaurant? Doesn't happen nearly as often as it should. Hall's Chophouse prides itself on this and a million other small personal touches to show you at this family steakhouse, you are part of the family.
         The first thing you notice about Hall's is the vibe. This is a very traditional New York style steakhouse. Rich dark woods, thick leather, and a wall-to-wall crush of sharp suits and sexy dresses. The bar at Hall's seems to be a great place to stop in for a quick cocktail before dinner.
         After a short wait, two fingers of scotch, and some people watching, we are lead to our booth on the second floor. If you were to walk into this room and see Frank Sinatra at a table, you wouldn't be surprised. The 1950's feel exudes cool and is a far more relaxing setting for a steak than the more pretentious Grill 225.

             Glancing through the extensive, though not intimidating, wine list I settle on a glass of Row "11" Vinas 3 Pinot Noir, a wonderful full bodied red, with flavors of cherry pie and balsamic. I went with the Row "11" for its easy adaptability to any main dish. The Girl settles on a glass of the finest l'eau glacée.
         A great feature of Hall's is the steak plate. This is a serving dish stacked with an example of the different steaks and cuts available. You have everything from filet to cowboy cut ribeye. It's always nice to see what your meat looks like in precooked form, especially to see the wonderful marbling.

          This being restaurant week, Hall's offers a 3 course for $40 menu in addition to it's normal menu. The Girl went this route starting off with the She Crab Soup. I have zero complaints about this soup. Rich, creamy, and silky without the cloying sweetness most versions exhibit. I went to the classic menu for my starter, choosing the Bacon Steak ($10). Our extremely competent and genuinely friendly waiter CJ informed us that this dish is exactly as it sounds, a thick steak of bacon. Served in three strips topped with heirloom tomato, this is a decadent dish of smoky crisp bacon easily an inch and a half thick. As much as I loved the stack of bacon, I would have loved a sauce to accompany it, perhaps a sweet bourbon reduction. Served as is, I think I would only order as a shared plate as the saltiness does get slightly overwhelming without a sauce to cut it.
           For the entrée, The Girl went with the Allen Brother's Filet Mignon, served with sauté summer squash and mashed potatoes. Cooked to a perfect mid-rare, this is a bright beautiful steak. Seasoning was spot on. I have tasted better steaks, but not many. The sauté feels slightly out of place, though it is delicious. I'm excited to return for a long-bone Tomahawk ribeye, Pittsburgh style.
          For my main, I chose the cedar plank wild salmon ($29), with tomato, cucumber dilled yogurt sauce on the side. I actually ate the sauce as a side item, it was so good. Tight, small mince of cucumber and tomato are brought forward with the fresh dill. What can I say about the salmon? I have honestly NEVER had a better cooked piece of fish. The crust was flaky and lightly spicy, with a wonderful smoke to it. The meat of the fish was juicy and rich, firm and evenly cooked. Man oh man, that is how fish should be cooked!
            For dessert The Girl chose the Chocolate Paté from the Restaurant Week menu. For my dessert, I choose half of The Girl's Chocolate Paté. This turns out to be a thick slab of creamy, rich chocolate topped with fresh berries, a berry sauce, and whip cream. The texture of the chocolate is thick and mousse-like, and very pleasing. The chocolate itself is just to the good side of too rich. The berries give a brightness that accents the chocolate. We both would have preferred a little less of the sauce, letting the chocolate speak a little stronger on its own. An excellent dessert overall.
         Throughout the dinner members of the Hall family make sure to circulate through the restaurant, reminding you that as long as you are in here, you are family. The old jazz standards drifting up from the piano downstairs help seal the deal for the classic atmosphere. The wait staff is as friendly and helpful as can be. There is something just classically American about a steak and a handshake. Encore performance soon to come.

The Scores:
Ambiance: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Food: 8/10
Value: 3/5
Overall: 21/25 An excellent New York style steakhouse whose high prices don't mean fussy service. Halls Chophouse on Urbanspoon


  1. Doing Halls Chophouse tonight for January CRW, looking forward to it even more after reading your review. Doug @ From The Land of Palm Trees

    PS I have added your blog to my blogroll

  2. Doug, please enjoy. Great service and fantastic food!



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