Sept 24-30, 1999
Bryant and Cooper distinct from the pack
It's damn the cholesterol and full speed ahead along a stretch of
Northern Boulevard, that has become steak house alley. It's getting
so confusing that you can't tell one steak house from another without
a score card. Great Neck is the epicenter of the red meat enclave with
old-timers like Peter Luger and the North Shore Steak House, new-
comer Burton and Doyle and the soon to be opened (early next year)
Morton's of Chicago. Then there's the recently opened Charles
Rothmann's just down the road in East Norwich and Bryant and
Cooper in Roslyn.
Despite all the competition, Bryant and Cooper was jammed recently
on what is usually the slowest night of the week...Monday. Having
visited all the other steak restaurants, a number of them recently, I
wasn't surprised. Simply stated, Bryant and Cooper, at 2 Middleneck
Road (627-7270) is the best of the bunch.
Don't get me wrong, there are no weak sisters in this new old cluster of big beef emporiums, but only Bryant
and Cooper excels in every department: food, service, selevtion, comfort, noise level, atmosphere and attitude.
Burton and Doyle generates headache inducing noise. The North Shore Steak House boasts warmth and some
outstanding dishes, but lacks Bryant and Cooper's polish and panache. Peter Luger, despite its longevity and
great reputation, has a limited menu, accepts only its own credit cards and has been known to keep people
with reservations waiting. Charles Rothmann's, an excellent new entry, is still whipping its sometimes erratic
wait staff into shape.
Bryant and Cooper serves superior versions of classic steak house favorites. It offers a wide variety of non
beef dishes, a seasoned staff of veteran (and often rotund) waiters, a tolerable noise level, good seating, large
portions (and prices), agreeable surroundings, a welcoming attitude and a small on-premises retail market sell-
ing the same cuts of prime steaks and chops available in the restaurant.
It is a masculine, traditional, white table cloth American steak house with wooden floors, fireplaces, soft
lighting, black boards, flower arrangements, decorative jumbo wine bottles and a large, lively bar. This is a
restaurant on its way to becoming a Long Island legend.
In addition to all the usual steak house standards (steak, prime rib, veal and lamb chops, lobster, etc.), patrons
can order Dover sole, a sensational sesame tuna, various chicken breast perparations, salmon, sword fish,
lemon sole and shrimp sautéed, fried or francaise.
But steak, especially the signature porterhouse, is still and always will be the centerpiece, the major attraction
here. The porterhouse for two, three or four big eaters (at $29) and the tender filet mignon ($16.50 and
$26.50). The only other steak on the menu is a tasty, slightly chewy rib cut ($26.50), but T-bones and sirloins
on the bone are frequently listed as black board specials. No matter what cut is chosen, expect a simple straight
forward, not a fancified, rendition. Bryant and Cooper is not for those who seek marinades or exotic spices or
rubs. Those seeking surprises or cutting edge cuisine should go elsewhere. Order hearty, homey American
mainline favorites and you won't go wrong.
That's as true for appetizers, side dishes and desserts as it is for entrees. If the crab cake ($12) starter is among
the black board specials, grab it. This isn't the usual dull cliché, but a delicious golden brown disc filled with
shards of crab perched on a bed of corn salsa and accompanied by a clump of fresh greens.
Also target the very special Bryant and Cooper salad ($9.50), a refreshing, chopped amalgam of shrimp,
bacon, onion, pimento and lettuce. Old standbys like pristine oysters on the half shell ($7.50) shouldn't be
forgotten either. The usual array of sides (hash brown, cottage fries, french fried onions etc.) are all on the
menu. the smooth, lumpless mashed potatoes ($4.50) and rich, memorable creamed spinach are excellent
stand alone choices and even better when combined.
The dense velvety cheese cake ($4.50) here rivals those at Juniors in Brooklyn and the original Lindy's. It's a
must at a steak house. Nor should humble, down home sweets like rice pudding ($4.00) be neglected. It's
heavily studded with raisins, lightly laced with cinnamon and as creamy as they come.