Steak is a New York staple, but only a handful of restaurants in the city have the chops to do it right. Among them is Keens, widely considered one of the city’s top steak houses since it opened way back in 1885. Royal 35 Steakhouse, a new spot located a few blocks away from Keens, is challenging the 19th-century chophouse’s supremacy by bringing some serious beef.
Helmed by executive chef Joseph Paulino, formerly of Uncle Jack’s, Royal 35 is a modern take on a quintessential New York steak house. Highlights of the 5,000-square-foot space—a sprawling yet intimate expanse marked by dark leather booths, double-height ceilings, and mahogany-paneled walls—include an upper-level private dining room that can seat up to 30, a wall-mounted electric fireplace, and a prominent glass chamber spotlighting rows of raw beef as it’s dry-aged amid massive blocks of pink Himalayan salt.
The two-page menu features all the usual steak house suspects, starting with traditional soups and salads. Try the signature salad or French onion soup to get going.
For hard-core carnivores, the rich and smoky Canadian bacon—doled out in extra-thick slices—is a must-eat. Be sure to order a piece or two (or three!) for the table to share as a warm-up to the main course.
The stars of Royal 35, of course, are the beef cuts. Most notable cuts are the 8 oz. petite filet mignon, 16 oz. New York strip (aged at least 28 days), and 24 oz. bone-in rib eye (aged at least 35 days)—not to mention the gargantuan porterhouse (pictured below), with portions for two (40 oz.) to four people (76 oz.).
To those who request their meat cooked a grade below their preferred level, thinking it may be overdone, have no fear: Here the steaks are cooked to perfection in an 1,800-degree Fahrenheit broiler and served up sizzling on heated plates. If you still have room for sides, opt for the creamed spinach or sautéed mushrooms. (Pass on the overpriced lobster mac and cheese, which will only fill up valuable steak space.)
The beef bounty is complemented by an assortment of fresh seafood, including crustacean cocktails, oysters on the half shell, and yellowfin tuna tartare. If you’re not a red meat fan, you won’t go wrong with the twin lobster tails or grilled Chilean sea bass for your main. Feeling extremely shellfish? Splurge on the seafood tower (pictured above)—a medley of lobster, shrimp, oysters, and little-neck clams.
And if you’re craving a little of both worlds, split the difference with a classic surf and turf.
Royal’s extensive wine offering—some displayed in glass wall casings—is expertly curated by the restaurant’s general manager, Alfred Cetaj, former wine director at Monkey Bar and Strip House. Craving a tipple? Cocktails are crafted by industry vet Sherif Nezaj, who has nearly 50 years of bartending experience, having poured for Frank Sinatra and Joe Namath. Don’t miss his signature martini garnished with blue cheese–stuffed olives.
And if you still have room for dessert, get the apple strudel or tiramisu—which more than lives up to its moniker, Italian for “pick-me-up.”