8289 Jericho Tpke. Woodbury, NY 516-367-7300
This moderately priced steakhouse that holds its own with favorites like New York sirloin, barbecued spare ribs, creamed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes and apple crisp for dessert.Hours: Lunch, Monday-Saturday: Noon-4 p.m. Dinner, Monday-Thursday: 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday: 4 p.m.-Midnight Sunday: 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Like prime beef or fine wine, some restaurants need to age before they can be fully enjoyed.
It was more than a decade ago when I first visited the value-priced Majors Steakhouse in Woodbury. All I can recall is overcooked meat and clueless service. I didn't rush back.
It took the urging of a food-savvy acquaintance to motivate a belated return. "There's a reason the parking lot is always crowded," he told me. The parking lot at Applebee's is always crowded, too, I thought, proving only that good marketing can work wonders.
As I found out, though, there's more than marketing behind the success of Majors. These days, this mid-priced purveyor of red meat (under the same ownership as the more upscale Bryant & Cooper steak house in Roslyn) is running smoothly.
When a member of our group ordered a Porterhouse steak very rare, he got it exactly as our waiter described it -- red and cold at the center. The mammoth cut of beef was tender, smoky, juicy, with a fine char on the outside. And while this wasn't a transcendental steak palace experience, it was satisfying and reasonable at $26.95 for a 24-ounce entree.
If you're considering this kind of red meat debauch, you might want to skip appetizers, especially since every table gets a bowl of pickles and sauerkraut. While the jumbo shrimp cocktail was fresh and sweet, it came on a watery bed of ice chips. A Caesar salad was respectable, clams oreganata garlicky and herbal.
Although I was unable to finish my 16-ounce New York sirloin (very rare, precisely as ordered), I was pleased with every juicy bite. The friend who requested his filet mignon medium-well got it just that way. Any meat cooked to that degree of doneness is beyond my appreciation, but he gobbled it up. I was impressed, though, with the slab of boneless prime rib, rare, tender and full of flavor.
A rack of barbecued spare ribs was infused with a deep-down smokiness. The only misfire was a grilled swordfish steak with a strong fishy flavor. But Cajun blackened salmon, a special one night, was crisp and fiery on the outside, its interior moist and savory. Majors makes a fine, fat burger, crusty on the outside, oozing juices. It outclasses its dry, ordinary bun.
Rich creamed spinach, a steak house requisite, is a bright emerald. Oniony home fries, pleasingly greasy, are preferable to the limp, stringy French fries. I liked the smooth solace offered by the garlic mashed potatoes.
On the dessert menu is a peach of a Key lime pie, tart and creamy. Homestyle apple crisp is fragrant with cinnamon, just made for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Warm and gooey pecan pie, from an out-of-house baker, holds its own. These days, so does Majors. --Joan Reminick (1/14/05)
Burgers: This moderately priced steak house serves up a dandy burger, its exterior nicely charred, the meat endowed with a good, mineral-rich flavor. The bun, in comparison, is dry and pedestrian.