Dinner was more of a dance party than anything. STK wants to be an experience. Instead, it was just a place where some old masters mates could eat and be merry. Bumping music, red wine, and overblown food induced the desired merriment.
I was almost not hungry it was so late. But I was with foodies familiar with the menu, so decisions were swift and assertive. Only the starters seemed interesting, so my close friend and I greedily decided to share four. In the end, there was a lot of plate passing and seated gyrations.
The two plump scallops were perfect— seared, succulent and lovely. The heat was a welcomed unexpected contrast. The lemon preserve, however, was unappealing. Its bitterness overwhelmed the delicate sweetness of the scallop, casting a dingy shadow on the appetizer.
The two wagyu beef sliders of the downsized Lil’ Burgers appetizer were a three bite take on comfort food. But the truffle oil doused bun did the sliders no favors. It was strong and felt forced, like a mask for the simple favorite to become something elevated.
Topped with moot frisee, served with forgotten crackers and bathed in black truffle aioli, the beef tartar was luxurious but also dirtily addictive. The raw meat flavors were lost in the combative aroma of truffles. Only the chewy texture remained, hinting at what it was meant to be. Though the tuna tartar was lighter, the soy honey emulsion had a similar cloaking effect as the truffle.
We didn’t really want to share the decadent foie gras French toast with our long lost colleagues, but sharing is caring. Sweet, savory, buttery, meaty, rich; the appetizer was a whimsical play on pan prepared foie gras with plain toast points. The airy almond brioche drizzled with sherry gastrique housed a thin slab of foie gras topped with soft tart green apples. The different supple textures echoed the luxurious flavors and the spike of tangy apple.
The shape of the pasta in the lobster mac and cheese was reminiscent of the elbows of memories past, but the mature addition of lobster sweetened the cheesy dish. As many adult mac and cheeses use real cheese (not the bright orange variety from a pouch), this too had a grainy texture that baffled the mouth while the flavors seduced it.
The soufflé-like corn pudding was shockingly appetizing, sweet and pillowy, with a dark decadence that sided with the savory. It tasted like heavenly warm ice cream, interrupted with terrestrial golden corn kernels.
After consuming far too much liver, fancy beef, raw items and truffle (and wine for that matter), we indulged further with the requisite dessert. Each dessert was a playful rendition of a staple or a memory. Like the doughnuts coated in white sugar with white and milk chocolate sauces, served from a paper bag like at a fair with a trendy twist.
Or the birthday cake, a dessert only a princess could imagine. It was a pretty column; a white fondant encased base topped with a spiral of baby pink frosting and crowned with clear candy and floating sprinkles. Beneath the buttery sweet parapet was a thick layer of dense almond cake, which rested on a cylinder of cookie dough ice cream. Sugary like childhood dreams and fairytales, in the end, was just too much.
Many aspects of the Meatpacking eatery were just that, excessive. From the incessant and detrimental use of truffles, to the superfluous layers of flavors and ingredients, even to the heart-pounding music and slinky decor, it was hard to fully enjoy the meal. STK did succeed in creating an “experience.”