Porterhouse. Rib Eye. Filet Mignon. Are you hungry yet? From city-style hot spots to down-home dining rooms, here are eleven of the Valley’s best places to find the beef
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Chef John Kees and manager John Lekic in Sapore’s distinctive dining room
1108 Main St., Fishkill
When Sali Hadzi opened this sophisticated steakhouse in 2004, it was something of a departure — he’s best known as the proprietor of Il Cenacolo and Cena 2000, two of the Valley’s favorite Italian eateries. Although he gave the place an Italian name (it means “taste”), this is one of our most Manhattanesque steakhouses. “The idea was to have it be like Sparks,” Hadzi says, speaking of the New York City place described as “the quintessential he-man steakhouse” by Zagat. “The chef and manager is an old friend of mine, so he came up here and we put it together.”
The collaboration resulted in a menu that features USDA Prime meats (including domestic, organic Kobe Prime), as well as a few exotics like buffalo, elk, ostrich, and venison. (Exotic in Fishkill, at least.) Beef is dry-aged in-house for three to four weeks.
The space had been a steakhouse in a previous incarnation, but Hadzi spent generously to “refresh” things, as he puts it, adding tony touches like Persian rugs, paintings, cushy leather couches in the entrance, and a spiral wine display to show off some of the 400 wines on the global list, which includes varieties from Lebanon and Israel. “And I got a special guy from Pennsylvania to rebuild the grills, so they heat to 1600 degrees, very high,” Hadzi reports. (Thirteen hundred degrees is the norm.)
Bone-in U.S. Kobe sirloin is the house specialty; sides are a la carte in the classic tradition. “We keep it simple,” Hadzi remarks. “We do have a seasoning ingredient for the steak, but it’s a secret, so I can’t tell you.”
As for attracting local he-men: “We see a lot of corporate business,” manager John Lekic reports. “But there are plenty of women in business these days, too. We’re not stiff — we have a very social atmosphere.”
Is Hadzi worried about the economic slump? “The best always survives,” he replies.
Crowd pleaser: The 56-ounce porterhouse for two.
Special appeal: The real McCoy, clubby, comfortable, luxe.
The bottom line: From $21 for a Black Angus hanger steak to $64 for the porterhouse.
► Next up: Angelo's 677 Prime