Sunday, September 19, 2010
Name: The Beef Restaurant
Location: 62 Leroy St., Binghamton NY 13905
Phone: (607) 722-9732
Cuisine: American Steakhouse
Price: $60+ for two for dinner
Formerly known by the clever name "What's Your Beef?" the newly revamped "The Beef Restaurant" (new owner, new menu, renovated space) is located on Binghamton's lovely west side on Leroy street on small commercial strip that includes the infamous Leroy Package Store as well as a few other small businesses. Dan and I had visited this restaurant years ago when it was under its former moniker and while we enjoyed our meal, we had not been back since due to the fact that we often forget that it is there. Usually we associate restaurants with what other restaurants are nearby and since there is really nothing else near The Beef, it gets neglected. However, while discussing dinner plans yesterday afternoon, my desire for steak brought it back into our minds and we decided to go back to see what changes had been made.
The first thing you notice when you walk into The Beef is that you are faced with a choice between two doors. The one to your right takes you into the small bar area and the one to your left will take you into the dining room. One small issue with the set up is that there is no proper hostess stand to check into and wait at - granted the dining room is small enough that someone will see you and seat you quickly, but there are still a few awkward moments when you are left standing around not knowing what to do. We were seated and given a menu and wine list to peruse. This was a bit tough because it was very dark inside - so much so that we were not able to take any pictures of our meal. Bummer, but I think most people can visualize a steak. The wine menu runs the gamut from dry rieslings to more bold fare. I actually broke my usual white wine precedent and opted for a red since I knew I would be getting a steak. Who wants to go to a place called "The Beef" and order chicken? Not me. Dan went with an Ithaca ale and we were both very happy with our drink selections. For our meals, I went with the house cut (9 oz) delmonico with baked potato and a house salad while Dan opted for the house cut prime rib with house potatoes and a bowl of french onion soup. Each dinner comes with bread, a choice of soup or salad and a choice of side. I should note that there were other options besides steak which included chicken, pasta, and other dishes which I'm sure are all good.
While we waited, I noted the dining room. It was on the small side, but did not feel crowded. Each table had lit candles and some soothing music (think unplugged versions of popular songs) played in the background. As I said, it was dark, which made the reading of the menu difficult, but which I didn't mind as much during the meal. It is a nice little space, very open and not at all stuffy. You could tell that it had been updated with new tables and wall decorations as I remember it being a bit more weathered looking the last time I was there.
We did not have to wait long to receive our salad, soup and a small loaf of bread with butter. The salad was a salad - I got the house italian and it was nothing special, certainly not as awesome as the house italian at Cacciatores. Dan enjoyed his french onion soup although it was extremely hot and probably should have sat for a few minutes before being brought out. He also noted that it was not your standard french onion soup - the onions were different and it didn't look as if the cheese had been baked over the top of the bowl. At any rate, I think we were both happy with our starters but not blown away.
A short time later we received our beef. Mine was perfectly cooked (medium well) and had far less fat than other delmonico steaks that I have had at other places. My baked potato was served with sour cream and it complimented the steak. One issue I had was the absence of a vegetable - yes, I realize that potatoes are vegetables, but they usually do not serve as such - usually one can get a potato AND a vegetable, preferably a green one to add some color to the plate. The waiter had told us that the vegetable of the day was green beans and I was stoked because they are my favorite. So, I was a smidge disappointed to see only meat and potato on my plate. A minor point, but one worth commenting on.
Dan's prime rib was cooked to his specifications (medium rare) and looked very juicy - a little too juicy for the plate as it turned out. The plate was not deep enough to accommodate the prime rib juice, so Dan had to take extra care when cutting to avoid being splashed. The house potatoes he received were baked slices that had been sprinkled with seasoning and were also served with sour cream. Overall, I think we were both pleased with our steaks - he also noted that his prime rib had far less fat than he expected.
For dessert, we split a slice of cheesecake - made on the premises. It was very good, not too heavy, but rich and the right note to end the meal on. Our waiter was really good - attentive without hovering and he paced the meal perfectly - never did we feel rushed or wait too long for anything. It was a very nice meal that Dan and I were pleased with.
At the end of the day, did The Beef deliver the best steak I've ever had? No. Was it the best piece of beef that I have had in Binghamton? No - that honor goes to the greek tenderloin at Number 5/Lampy's. However, The Beef delivered a nice steak and potato dinner in a nice, comfortable space with a nice waiter serving us at a nice pace. It was not a cheap meal - $70 for the two of us with drinks, dinner, dessert, tax and tip, but I would not say that it was overpriced. All in all, I would definitely go back to The Beef anytime for a laid back steak dinner.