A fine-dining affair

REVIEW: Chop’s Steakhouse, Patchogue

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From the outside world (Patchogue’s Main Street), Chop’s Steakhouse looks dark and closed. But if the red light above the entrance is on, diners are welcome to enter. If you’re then invited behind the red curtains (reservations recommended), be prepared to be transcended back in time to a place where respect, handshakes, and being treated as proper ladies and gentleman are custom.

Patchogue’s John Sarno (owner of several local establishments—The Village Idiot Pub and Drift 82) has truly outdone himself. And if you are so lucky to catch the eye of general manager JP Gunderson, you’ll notice his era-appropriate persona and politeness carry the place.

There’s also a dress code—well fitting for the meal you are about to endure. Jeans or a tee just wouldn’t cut it, though no one will be turned away. The idea isn’t meant to be snooty, but rather to allow you to dress the part. It makes the food and drink just that much more worth it.

The prohibition vibe will make you feel truly brought back to the 1920s—but with drink surely and legally in hand. The sprawling, gorgeous bar is the crowning jewel with over 50 wines, an extensive and exclusive bourbon list, and signature cocktails on tap, all curated by consultant Michael Krohn. Try some of their libations, including the Chops bathtub gin, Hooch Hound or Lavender Chippy. Bourbon lovers will adore the luxury bourbon menu with 10, 12, and 15-year options from batches Krohn promises not to be found anywhere else. The menu also offers aperol spritz, mules, and martinis as well as old fashioned. And not to be remiss, bartender Gavin L. Holroyd is nothing short of an encyclopedia for all things beverage. 

The opulence surrounding the establishment starts from the very minute you walk in and continues to be speak-easy inspired, down to the very last detail of the bathroom, never once breaking the illusion of being taken back in time.

THE FOOD:

The food speaks for itself. Should it have been served on paper, it would have received the same raving review, but rather it is brought on warm plates by courteous servers.

I started with the charred baby lamb chops—worthy of the title of steak itself—in a sweet demi-glaze and herb seasoning; large under 6 per pound shrimp cocktail with house-made sauce, and the showstopping oysters Rockefeller.

Let’s preface this with the fact that this was my very first oyster. That being said, I was outstanded by the buttery smoothness and packed flavor of the creamy parmesan, spinach and bacon. I would order the dish over and over again.

Next up was a lovely wedge salad with just the right amount of blue cheese as not to be overwhelmed, absorbent amount of bacon and fresh crisp iceberg. A classic and perfect prefix to the following.

The menu boasts 21-day dry-aged steaks, including the picture-worthy Tomahawk accompanied by chicken and fish dishes. But who would dare go to a steakhouse for such?

Well, my hand would certainly and shamelessly go up. The bone-in veal chop Milanese, large enough to feed a crowd, was hands down my favorite. A large, pounded, battered and fried chop—ahh there’s where the name comes in to play—topped with beaded olive oil, shredded parm, arugula and lemon. This thing won’t make it home.

The beast of a 20-ounce Tomahawk was tender and beefy. Every bite was worth the $74 price tag. I drizzled mine in the oily-good chimichurri, though it didn’t need it.

I was also fortunate enough to try the wagyu ribeye, which could have been cut with a spoon but also contrastingly had a delightful char, from what I would guess only a specialty grill and one-hell of a chef could provide. I topped it with a rich au poivre sauce—the first I’ve ever had without that outdone peppery taste.

Also, the sides were not overlooked. Whipped potatoes without a lump in sight and spinach-forward creamed spinach. One side of potatoes will not be enough and not because the serving is skimpy, but because you will always need, or rather want, more.

You won’t want to skip the dessert… but you might find trouble choosing from the decadent options, including the apple cobbler, cheesecake, crème brulee, panna cotta, strawberry flambe, bananas foster and class root beer float. I indulged in the bananas foster and crème brulee. I didn’t think I had room but after first taste, I managed just fine.

The lunch menu also holds its own with salmon, filet tips, burgers, salads a raw bar and starters, including beef carpaccio, grilled octopus, lamb chops, crab cakes and even a charcuterie board.

Kudos to the executive chef Louis Juarez and his chef Edwin Hernandez. Sarno certainly knows what he has and should put extra effort in maintaining the two.

The food paired perfectly with the ambiance and company. At no point do you feel rushed, with perfectly paced courses. Little did I know when I was invited to dinner it wouldn’t be a meal, but rather an experience, an experience you’d be a fool to miss. 

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