As chronicled on Free Williamsburg, the dry-aged and char-grilled steaks at DeStefano's Steakhouse are cut "as thick as the last Harry Potter book" before they're served atop heated plates. Executive chef Alex Golovin approaches the entire menu with an old-school sensibility that highlights classic cuts alongside houses take on chicken cordon bleu and seafood pasta dishes. These plates pair with a compact list of cordials, brandy, and scotch, as well as nearly 100 international red and white wines.
Owner Joey DeStefano is deeply committed to his area's history, courting "more of an old-school neighborhood crowd" than Williamsburg gentrifiers. But wherever you come from, Joey will try his best to make you feel like family. The familial atmosphere comes naturally, due to the fact that the restaurant inhabits the former home of Joey's mother and still houses several of his childhood sleds, each named Rosebud. Outside the brick building, old-fashioned lettering and a neon sign proclaiming "Dee's Corner" welcome guests inside, where family photos line the walls and a fireplace casts its glow on a pressed-tin ceiling.
When Lucas' meateor of a menu cruises into the night sky, diners take up jumbo lump crab cake ($16) binoculars or tuna tartar ($16) telescopes to better greet the meat. Saddle your tongue with a juicy, au poivre covered hangar steak ($24), or try a 9-ounce petite filet mignon with the house steak sauce ($31). For an avian option, hunt an oven-roasted Cornish game hen, served whole with roasted vegetables ($19). International wines, such as a glass of Italian pinot grigio from Veneto ($9) or a warming draught of Argentine Malbec ($11), perfect any plate.
Seen from afar, the food crossing the counter at New York Pão de Queijo might convince you that the bright, tiny storefront is a typical burger-and-shake shack. It's the details that tell you something else is going on—namely, Brazil's wildly creative, colorful take on the American burger and its accessories.
More than 10 beef, veggie, and turkey patties come gussied up with a kitchen sink's worth of fixings, including corn, potato sticks, sausage, house-made Brazilian cheese, banana, and pineapple. Smoothies attempt to balance out the towering feats of indulgence with nutrient-dense combos of papaya, passion fruit, peach, açai, and oats. The kitchen's commitment to snackery is also evident in the signature pão de queijo, a yuca-based bread puff filled with deliquescent cheese. Among other treats, The Daily Meal has praised its traditional bauru ham sandwich and its "great quick snacks" that can easily be downed while playing a typical soccer match.
In Carioca Grill's open kitchen, skewers of sirloin, sausage, and short ribs roast in the fiery churrasco. Steam rises from a nearby buffet, forming stratus clouds above hot dishes including fried yucca and shrimp stew. At the back of the dining area, a cashier weighs fare by the pound after taking off its shoes. Though the restaurant has a minimalist, casual vibe, its food brims with complex flavors and tropical ingredients prevalent in Brazilian cooking.
The chefs’ mission at Favela Grill is more challenging than it may seem: take simple ingredients and transform them into the flavorful bites that characterize Brazilian cuisine. To attain this goal, they have spent years playing with combinations that achieve surprising harmony, such as grilled, marinated salmon with a passionfruit reduction and shrimp sautéed in palm oil and flavored with coconut milk. But according to Time Out New York, “it’s the beef that lures the crowd,” be it served carpaccio style with capers and shredded parmesan or in the Costela Bam-Bam, a signature entree comprising slow-roasted Prime beef ribs served over cassava. In the kitchen, top sirloin, skirt steak, and sausages rotate on spits before being served churrasco style in the romantically lit dining room. While surrounded by colorful paintings, exposed-brick walls, and three-dimensional artwork, diners pair their seafood stews and grilled chicken with Brazil’s national cocktail—the caipirinha—or wines from France, Italy, California, Argentina, Chile, and, of course, Brazil. On Fridays and Saturdays, the sound of live Latin-style guitar permeates the room for a bit of authentic flair.
Peter Luger's is to steakhouses what Babe Ruth was to baseball—a dominant champion beloved by New Yorkers. The restaurant has been named the best steakhouse in New York by Zagat 28 years in a row, and it was even a charter member of that publication's hall of fame. Seated across from the long wood bar, one gets the sense the Babe would have approved of the restaurant's mighty meals, which typically consist of a porterhouse steak for two, three, or four (the sparse menu also includes lamb chops and fresh fish, but the steak is clearly the star). The owners of the restaurant are taking few risks in maintaining its superior status: they personally select the meat on daily visits to wholesale markets. The loin is then dry-aged in the restaurant's aging box, a process that makes it surprisingly tender, like a bully who suddenly realizes other kids need their milk money to buy candy. After it's broiled and doused in house steak sauce—a sauce the restaurant now sells online due to popular demand—the meat is ready to be devoured. It all adds up to the kind of meal that attracts actors, athletes, and the occasional covert lieutenant governor inauguration.