October 30, 2006 | Insatiable Critic

Porter House New York

        If V Steakhouse in this space was a wanton woman in a velvet bustier, Porter House, its successor in the Time Warner “collection,” is an impassioned missionary—still of the steak faith, though. Chef-partner Michael Lomonaco and his designer Jeffrey Beers have gone for cozy country-club neutrals in cherrywood with leather booths. No gold-leaf shtick, no thrills, other than that stirring view across the park. The menu is a pledge of allegiance to American steakhouse familiars—some of them sensational: outsize lumps of fresh crabmeat delicately bound into a spicy cake. Luscious oyster pan roast with smoked bacon in a puddle of tarragon cream. Elegant baked clams (just a bit too salty). Flavorful monkfish “porterhouse” on the bone, wrapped in pancetta. And tonight’s sensational chile-rubbed rib eye. Unhappy with the steak oven he inherited, Lomonaco went to Vulcan in Baltimore to test the replacement. Yet both the smartly seared sirloin strip and our porterhouse are lacking in flavor. Clearly, Lomonaco is still finding his pace. I’m not sure why he wants to charge $2 for sauces, but I could make a meal of the sides, the faintly sweet carrots that taste barely an hour out of the earth, and the macaroni and cheese, a lush melt of four cheeses. Happily, Wayne Harley Brachman does Americana desserts: classic New York cheesecake, butterscotch pear cobbler under a swirl of whipped cream, and better-than-Mom’s pineapple upside-down cake.

10 Columbus Circle at 60th St. 212 823 9500

Patina Restaurant Group