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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Peachy Picks Frankie and Johnnie's Our Coverage Sponsored by Stribling and Associates

Beckett Fabbie, Frank Zaravelis, and Peachy Deegan

For over 30 years, Stribling and Associates has represented high-end residential real estate, specializing in the sale and rental of townhouses, condos, co-ops, and lofts throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, and around the globe. Stribling has more than 200 professional brokers who use their respected expertise to provide personalized service to buyers and sellers at all price levels. A separate division, Stribling Private Brokerage, discreetly markets properties over $5 million, and commands a significant market share in this rarified sector of residential real estate. Stribling is the exclusive New York City affiliate of Savills, a leading global real estate advisor with over 200 office in 48 countries. 


If you want to go to one of the best steakhouses of all time in America, you go to Frankie and Johnnie's.  Clearly committed to being a one-of-a-kind singular sensation, Frankie and Johnnie's has top-notch surf and turf, the freshest creamed spinach we've ever seen, some of the most tenured waiters we've met not to mention the nicest and most attentive and guests from all around the world at a limited number of tables that are never empty as far as the eye can see.  People come from far and wide to dine here and if you've never been and you actually live in Manhattan, you are missing out on life!  Make your reservation now.  Frankie and Johnnie's is much more than an altar of  history-it is a place that in the present day is clearly committed to quality all-around led by owner Peter Chimos, who was a delight to speak to on the phone.  We immediately were welcomed by Mario the waiter:

Though Frankie and Johnnie's is old-school, they are by no means stuck in the past.  They're a classic that never goes out of style, and a spot that will earn its place in first your stomach and ultimately your heart because of its true charm and quality of experience.
Peachy could not get there early enough because she was so looking forward to it, and as she came very early, she was able to get a few shots of some empty spots that did not last long.  Frankie and Johnnie's dining room is on the second floor that you walk up a stairway from the bar downstairs to come up to.  We love the iconic black and white tiled floor!  Started as a speakeasy in 1926, Legend has it that to gain access to the original speakeasy patrons knocked on the unmarked door and used the password "Frankie" when a small peephole was open.  If it was business as usual, a confirmation reply of "Johnnie" was heard and admittance was gained.  Following the repeal of prohibition the restaurant became a steakhouse and an institution famous for steak and chops.  Frankie and Johnnie's was first featured in Tasty Tidbits:
and it has graduated to Peachy's Picks with flying colors!
The original location is on 45th's street and that is the one that we visited.  There is also a West 37th location and one in Rye in Westchester but don't be fooled for one minute that this could be a chain.  It totally is not a chain and is so bespoke and loved by us, and you will love it too the minute you start dining.
We had the privilege of working with Frank Zaravelis, who is the quintessential professional when it comes to being a waiter.  He hails from Greece and was a delight all evening, providing helpful suggestions when called for and making us feel at home.  He started at Frankie and Johnnie's in 1985 which is about the time Peachy was busy with her Cabbage Patch kids.  The waiter that has been there the longest we hear is going strong at 35 years at Frankie and Johnnie's and counting. That goes to show you how fantastic a place this is day in and day out-being a waiter at an institution such as this is a definite vocation!
The first culinary item Peachy Deegan fell in love with was the shrimp scampi:

Seared expertly and dancing in a sea of garlicky goodness and lemony refreshment, the shrimps were elegantly butterflied open and presented with total class.  The shrimp were a perfect size and not overdone at all, which can be the case at lesser spots.  Every bite was succulent and fresh and seasoned exactly as it should be.  Peachy sipped on a Basciano DOCG 2007 Chianti to begin with and it was full-bodied and a great solid start to a wine list at Frankie and Johnnie's that is as extensive as a novel packed with quality choices at various price points with absolutely something for everyone.

When you dine at Frankie and Johnnie's you should take advantage of their tremendously fresh and delicious produce.  Take note: though this is a steakhouse, that does not mean that other items on the menu are inferior - which can be the case at steakhouses less committed to quality.  The Frankie and Johnnie's Classic salad boasts lettuce, tomatoes, pimento, mushroom, peppers, onions and cucumbers in a lively vinaigrette that celebrates summer!  It breaks up the appetizer and entree courses in a palate-cleansing way that we'd totally recommend.
Peachy likes some anchovies but not all anchovies.  So, since she hadn't been to Frankie and Johnnie's before and tried their anchovies she thought on the side would be a good start.  Have no fear and go for those anchovies!  They are delicious.
Peachy's most favorite steakhouse test is seeing how the surf and turf measures up - because how are you supposed to decide between Filet Mignon and Broiled Lobster Tails?  That is like saying Trip to Paris or Trip to London?  A black tie gala at The Plaza or at The Waldorf=Astoria?  When life is full of tough choices like these, we like not making the choice and checking both boxes when possible, and surf and turf is possible at Frankie and Johnnie's but it is worded Filet Mignon & Lobster Tail on the menu.  Not only is it possible, but it is practically impossible to top.  The above photo does not do justice to the overall heavenly savory pinnacle of excellence that you will experience with this entree of the culinary Gods.  The Filet was medium just as we asked and the lobster was fresh, flavorful and unforgettable.  Entrees range from this to Lobster Ravioli to Grilled Breast of Chicken to Salmon and Filet of Sole.  USDA Prime Dry Aged Cuts are listed: Sirloin, Rib Eye, T-Bone and Porterhouse for Two.  Note that they even make their own Frankie and Johnnie's steak knives and we like their signature touch!  With her entree Peachy sipped on a winning Louis Martini California Cabernet.
Look at how green these vegetables are.  We do not photoshop these pictures ever.
The color is testament to the meaning of the word FRESH and that is what you'll find at Frankie & Johnnie's.  Seriously, have you EVER seen creamed spinach that green?  Obviously fresh means it tastes far better too and is better for you nutritionally.  It brought Peachy back to the rolling green hills of Ireland of the same hue as above but certainly lacking the cuisine that Frankie and Johnnie's bestows on their guests.
Speaking of Ireland, you know who also has that love of potatoes and let us assure you there is not a way that we know potatoes exist that cannot be found at Frankie and Johnnie's!  They have it all from Cottage Fried to Au Gratin to French Fried to Baked Idaho, the list goes on.  Above are Lyonnais: shredded with onions sauteed together which were reminiscent of home fries you'd have with eggs, kind of like the Breakfast at Tiffany version.  These are potatoes that have diamonds and pearls going on.

We also had to have the Garlic Mashed and they are a total dream let us tell you.  They are whipped up like clouds of the angels with the right amount of garlic.
You know by now that is no ordinary steakhouse.
It is simply extraordinary therefore it has its own steaksauce:
Terribly enticing!
You will want to get a bottle to take home.
We highly recommend working with Frank he is such a peach!
The crowd is friendly and these are our new friends from Sweden.  Yes, they came from Sweden to eat at Frankie and Johnnie's, and the others we met came from California.  You are a fool if you live down the street and do not eat here!  

The night was complete with an Old Fashioned Apple Pie (held by Frank in a below photo) and did we see Bailey's Espresso on the dessert menu?!  Yes we did and every sip was the perfect final touch.  Oh we can't wait to see what they do to celebrate their 90th birthday in 2016 and we're really waiting for their centennial in 2026!  Peter, please keep us posted.
Our esteemed panelist says:
It is easy to see why Frankie & Johnnie's has been around since 1926, with fabulous food, wonderful service and old New York feel, it is a true classic. Sitting in the dining room atop 45th street, nibbling on selections from the fresh bread basket and observing the Broadway memorabilia that decorates the walls, we knew we would be in for a special night. Promptly greeted by Frankie & Johnnie's veteran waiter, Frank Zaravelis, the table was in good hands. Frank, who has been with the establishment since 1985, recommended the best of Frankie & Johnnie's,steaks and chops, of course. After perusing the diverse wine list, a lovely glass of Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir, 2010 was selected. From their appetizer menu, loaded with fresh seafood options, the jumbo shrimp & lump crabmeat cocktail jumped out. 

As the massive "lump" of crabmeat and shrimp arrived at the table, a double take was needed, the large portion of beautiful chilled shellfish sat atop a bed a fresh lettuce, accompanied by zesty cocktail sauce and lemon. One bite and we were in heaven, the quality and freshness of both the shrimp and crabmeat made this appetizer a standout. We were expecting good things, but seafood this great had us extremely delighted. A sampling of Peachy's shrimp scampi did not disappoint, jumbo shrimp seasoned, succulent, with the a light crisp, a must in our book.

Already satisfied after our appetizers, we were presented with Frankie & Johnnie's classic salad. This colorful chopped salad was chuck full of lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, cucumbers, pimentos and topped with the perfect vinaigrette. We opted for the anchovies on the side but quickly realized they belonged in the salad as the finishing touch. The salad was beyond fresh, crisp and flavorful, the type of salad you would want to eat everyday and honestly, one of the best we have ever tasted.

Next it was on to the main attraction, with many entree options from steak, chicken and seafood Frankie & Johnnie's has something for every taste. After debate, we settled on the veal chop, accompanied by a great glass of the Terra Rosa Malbec, 2008. The chop arrived at the table and my mouth began to water. 

The large bone in chop took up the whole plate, the thick cut of seared pink meat had a wonderful light brown crust all around, just begging for a bite. Armed with Frankie & Johnnie's emblazoned steak knife, the tender meat came right off the bone, every bite was juicy and rich in flavor. The marvelous quality of the veal chop is far beyond compare, making us wish we could eat here every night. Not to be forgotten, the entrees were accompanied by a great variety of sides, from potatoes to vegetables, you can not go wrong. Especially tasty were the Lyonnaise potatoes, shredded potatoes sautéed with onions, the perfect accompaniment to our meal. Also good, the garlic mashed potatoes, creamy and thick, with just the right amount of garlic, a classic. Let's not forget our veggies, fresh asparagus cooked to perfection and served with a lemon wedge and the best and freshest creamed spinach this side of the Mississippi. Now when we say fresh we really do mean fresh, the picture won't do it justice, savory, a tad sweet, a touch creamy, a side not to be missed.

And just when we thought we couldn't take one more bite, the specialty coffee and dessert menu changed our minds.

A perfect end to a fabulous meal was the Godiva cappuccino and Chocolate Mousse Cake. The Godiva cappuccino was made with cappuccino liqueur, hot espresso, steamed milk and whipped cream, hot, creamy and sweet, it was a dessert in itself. The Chocolate Mousse Cake was the perfect combination of smooth and creamy chocolate mousse & cream, sweet and rich, every bite melted in my mouth.

Nothing is finer than a good meal at a classic steakhouse and Frankie & Johnnie's delivers just that, an all American feast with top notch service. The Big Apple has many to choose from but few can compare to the quality found at Frankie & Johnnie's. As our waiter, Frank announced Frankie and Johnnie's is a "great place, great steakhouse, great people" and we couldn't agree more.

Peachy Picks Frankie and Johnnie's!
Frankie and Johnnie's is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

Frank and Mario

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