2004_08_vsteakhouselights.jpgIn celebration of a good friend’s birthday, Gothamist went steppin’ out on the town at the new V Steakhouse in the Time Warner Center. Yes, it is located in what is, ostensibly, a mall, and yes it is indeed a steakhouse, but this is not your parents’ steakhouse. The red velvet opulence is immediately striking, if not somewhat out of place. Gilded fixtures and a sea of chandeliers are tempered by a friendly and helpful staff.

The bar at the front of the house is small, and really just enough for a quick drink while waiting for your table. Reservations are recommended. However, Gothamist was there on a Friday night and there were a few empty tables to be had. We were seated immediately and had our coats, bags, umbrellas, etc. taken and checked before we knew what was happening. Is the Gothamist crowd that unused to high-class treatment? Possibly. But the ambiance really was quite impressive… almost impressive enough to make you forget that you were in a mall and about to spend two week’s grocery money on this evening’s dinner.

2004_08_onionsoup.jpgThe philosophy behind the menu at V is your typical steakhouse, only deconstructed into its parts. Dishes present the basic flavors one is expecting, but are composed in a novel way. The French onion soup appetizer is served as a cup of onion broth, a pot of melted cheese and an abundance of croutons (pictured, left). The diner assembles it to his or her liking. Keeping with this theme of individuality, V offers a wide range of homemade condiments. Gothamist was lucky enough to try them all. The sour cherry compote and papaya mustard are especially fantastic. The homemade ketchup, unfortunately, bore a striking resemblance to canned tomato paste.

2004_08_vsteak.jpgThe appetizers and entrees were generous and lived up to rather high expectations. The steak (both the NY strip and the filet mignon) was tender and perfectly cooked. Gothamist recommends the steaksauce or the creamy béarnaise to compliment the meat. There are a large number of sides from which to choose, roughly six types of potatoes alone. The fripp, a large tempura-battered French fry, was a great accompaniment to the steak. The croquettes were also good, though a bit heavy. The spinach and mushroom sides were fine, but uninspired. Many of the sides are large enough to be shared, and at $6 each, Gothamist recommends getting several. Most importantly, be sure to save room for dessert!

2004_08_carrotcake.jpgGothamist was particularly impressed with the dessert menu, and particularly fortunate in that we sampled five of the selections. First, the profiteroles, a new take on an old treat. The ice cream was incredibly creamy and perfectly paired with the profiterole fritters. Gothamist was a little disappointed when the plate was put down at first, because there didn’t seem to be much chocolate. However, when a fritter was split open, it was filled with a rich dark chocolate. Excellent. The chocolate cake was good, but nothing outstanding. The cheesecake was truly delicious, being very creamy, but not heavy. It is served with a berry sauce on the side. (Note: Gothamist was informed by a chef at V that is meant to be sipped through the straw between bites, though pouring it over is acceptable as well.) The carrot cake was the most creatively presented. It consists of two separate layer cakes and multiple flavor drizzles. Another creative dessert is the lemon meringue pie. Much like the onion soup, the lemon meringue is DIY. Each of the separate parts of a traditional pie is presented on a plate, to be mixed and swirled. The lemon meringue was light and an excellent closer after a heavy meal. Also, it was fun to eat and share.

The V Steakhouse is a great ‘special occasion’ restaurant. The staff is friendly and attentive. The food is interesting and well prepared. The chairs are round backed and comfortable. Bring a group and stay a while! Gothamist’s final decision – a must eat.

2004_08_cheesecake.jpgThe V Steakhouse in the Time Warner Center is the newest of Jean George Vongerichten’s eight restaurants in New York City: Jean Georges, JoJo, Vong, Mercer Kitchen, Spice Market, Lipstick Café and 66. It is located at 10 Columbus Circle, on the 4th floor. Entrees range from $28-$62; sides are à la carte.

- Reviewed by Margaret Harper

- Bluejake's photographs of the V Steakhouse
- Frank Bruni's review in the NY Times
- eGullet on V Steakhouse
- Jean-Georges Vongerichten's site