Maloney & Porcelli overall score: 85
I had heard wonderful things about this place from a friend and coworker - specifically about the signature pork dish - so my wife and I decided to go here for our Christmas dinner. I'm not sure if it truly qualifies as a steakhouse, but I am treating it as such based on the menu, which is clearly beef-heavy.
1) Flavor: 10
This place was incredible for the entrees. I ordered a ribeye, and my wife ordered the crackling pork shank. The steak was cooked perfectly from end to end, it was juicy, well portioned, nicely seasoned and delicious. The pork is really something special though. The skin is so crispy and the fat underneath just melts in your mouth. Some of the best eating I've had in NYC right there.
2) Choice of Cuts & Quality available: 8
This place has a great selection of beef. First, they have five different styles of filet and two different sizes for each: classic, cajun, au poivre, roquefort crusted, and oscar. Add to that a "bone-in" filet (the conundrum) on special. Impressive... but if you are ordering a filet it may as well be a filet of flounder in my eyes. Man up and get a real cut of beef, pricks. Next, they have porterhouse for two, a ribeye (two sizes), and a sirloin (also two sizes). There is a braised short rib as well. I took points off because there is no porterhouse for one, and no proper strip steak. All the meat is prime quality though, so that is a feather in the cap.
3) Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions are big. My ribeye was on the order of 22-24oz (bone-in), and the pork shank was certainly enough to feed two. The scallop appetizer portion was a little on the small side, but the sides were enough for two or more, so it evens out.
4) Price: 8
The price point is about right for NYC steakhouses. It could even be considered a bargain considering that this place is semi-legendary among NYCers, and is usually packed out on any given night. It is $48/pp for the porterhouse, filets range from $42-$52 depending on preparation and size, the sirloins are $43/$48, and the ribeyes are $45/$50. The martini is $14.
5) Bar: 7
The bar is a little bit shabby. It is an island set-up, but a bit on the small side. Maybe enough room for 10-15 people to stand/sit around it. Not the kind of spot you want to hang out in after work; one for space reasons, and two it is just not the right ambiance. They do make a good martini, and they use castelvetrano olives with the pits still inside as garnish, which is a huge bonus as they are my favorite kind of olive (bright green, ample brine, and meaty but not too firm). One cool thing about the bar area is that there is a row of bar stool seats that face into the kitchen. Essentially the kitchen is open view to the public. You can sit and nurse your drink or order bar menu items and watch the cookery in full swing.
6) Specials and Other Meats: 10
Roasted chicken, rack of lamb, and braised short rib are all on the regular menu along with the big daddy - the crackling pork shank with firecracker applesauce. This place is famous for that dish. On special they also had plenty to choose from, apps and entrees alike, so this place definitely gets the full till on this category.
7) Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7
We had a bunch of stuff here. First, an order of east coast oysters (6) - blue island and malpeque. They were delicious. There were one or two shell shards, but nothing to deduct points over. Next we had a sea scallop appetizer and the plate of blood sausage and sweet breads. The scallops were on the small side. There were two on the plate for about $16, and they were half the side that a normal scallop should be. They were closer to bay side than sea size, if you catch my drift. They were also a bit overcooked, which was a shame. The hints of fennel were nice, and otherwise they tasted great. The sweet breads were crisp outside and creamy inside. A little buttery, but I didn't mind so much. The blood sausage was nice and mild in flavor but small in portion size. However there was a nice "stuffing" that accompanied the items to make up for it. On the side we had creamed spinach and the "signature balls." Sounds delicious, right? PICK A NEW NAME FOR THE BALLS M&P! The spinach was a bit watery and not so creamy, but the lack of cream was not unwelcome considering how rich everything else was in the meal. The balls were essentially potato hush puppies, supposedly filled with cheese, though I didn't get much of that flavor inside. They definitely tasted like chive though - they were just mediocre. For dessert we had a variety of creme brulees. There were six flavors (chocolate, key lime, banana, almond, coffee and vanilla). They were neatly served inside empty egg shells in a porcelain egg holder. Very cool, and a bonus point on plating! It was fun to taste them all.
8) Seafood Selection: 10
They offer several preparations of lobster, salmon, tuna, trout, red snapper, and even a roast whole fish. For the vagina of your dining party, this place certainly has a great selection. From what I hear, the quality and taste is fantastic; especially the trout. They also have the standard apps, like lump crab meat, shrimp cocktail, lobster cocktail, clams, and a variety of east and west coast oysters. There were seafood specials too, both under apps and entrees.
9) Service: 8
Our waiter(s) were a bit impersonal. They didn't seem as attentive as other places we have been to and that I have rated. In fact, they served us our apps and forgot to take our entree order. My wife had to call the guy over to take our entree order when we were nearly finished with the appetizers. They made up for this though by giving us each a complimentary glass of champagne at dessert. Nice touch. The table breads were warm when they came to us; a loaf of pretzel bread served with a mustard seed butter. Very innovative and fun. They also serve this extremely flat, crispy item that almost looks like a tortilla or some kind of flatbread cracker. We didn't have any in our basket, but other diners did. What up wit' that?
10) Ambiance: 8
The look is early to mid 20th century, but it isn't as authentic as other places feel. There is a wrap-around upstairs that encircles the outer perimeter of the restaurant and looks down over the main dining area and bar. We sat up there. Everything looks nice and is clean. The music was crooner stuff and tin pan alley, which I liked. The bathroom was big and clean, and they had stacks of individually folded cloth hand towels for drying off. Nice.