I'm not quite sure how suitable the name Arlington Club is for a steakhouse, but the Upper East Side is seriously starved for a decent filet mignon joint. Eater.com names it one of Manhattan's 12 Hottest New Restaurants, so we decided to go on a field test for our pre-Thanksgiving dinner. An OpenTable reservation in hand, though for the not-so-prime time of 615pm, we marched into the Arlington Club's two-level space that looked straight out of the '50s (or what I imagine the '50s looked like) and were ushered upstairs to our table.
We got started on our Vina Sastre Crianza 2009 bottle of wine and marveled at the restaurant's luxurious interiors, waiting expectantly for our food. (What can I say, we bought into the hot restaurant hype). The appetizers - ahi tuna tataki and crispy kobe beef struffle - were quite good but not exceptional. Portion sizes were more than expected though, about six pieces for each order. Oh, however I'd be remiss in not mentioning the complimentary cheese popovers that were placed on the table, and instantly devoured. Those were the bomb.
The fun part started when the steaks arrived. My medium-rare sirloin steak was anything but, and looked more like medium-well. Ditto for my friend's bone-in filet mignon. The manager apologized and said they were still working on "temperature and timing issues" and rightly offered to replace them, so we waited a little bit more and downed most of the wine. In fairness, another member of our party who ordered the branzino seemed to enjoy it tremendously, as did our fourth person whose steak was perfectly to his liking.
The replacement steaks were brought over, and alas suffered from the same maladies as the original ones. The manager's IPhone flash light was working overtime to gauge the pinkness of the meat, and we all agreed that these were still too well-done. He offered to remove them from our table's check, much to my delight. (It seemed churlish to ask him to throw in another bottle of the excellent Ribera del Duero we consumed). Both steak sauces I tried - jalapeno chimichurri and the house Arlington steak sauce - were excellent, with the former on the spicy side and the latter a tad sweet.
We lingered for just enough time to watch the group of three women at an adjacent table return their porterhouse steak for the same reason, and their waiter (who was our waiter also) express the same apologies. They seemed content when the new porterhouse steak came out, so probably no freebie for them. However, since the Arlington Club is offering a 20% discount anyway on all checks as part of their soft opening, everyone gets a reward for acting as guinea pigs.
Here's hoping they get their act together soon. I don't doubt it, given the pedigree of the restaurateurs behind this joint.
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