Second Bite: Butcher & Singer

It’s been months since my last review visit to Stephen Starr’s second steakery, Butcher & Singer, and after hearing reports that the restaurant had worked out some of the first-few-months kinks I had written about, I thought it might be time to check up on the place. It’s still one of the city’s prettiest new restaurants, and the service is still up to the Starr standard — but here’s what I thought of the food on my recent revisit.

Caesar Salad
Then: Back in January, I was less than impressed with this dish. It lacked the assertive jolt of anchovies and garlic that distinguishes the best Caesar salads, and the cheese had a waxy, food-service, pre-grated quality.

Now: While the same basic problems persisted (lack of bold flavor, suspicious cheese), the salad seemed a bit crisper and the dressing better seasoned. The saltiness suggested anchovy without fishy flavor — probably agreeable to many diners, but real Caesar salad fans know that anchovies are the most important player.

Steak Diane
Then: This retro dish seems like the perfect match for this dining room, but back in January the twin pieces of filet on the plate did not match one another — one was very overcooked, the other much rarer. I did like the mound of creamy mashed potatoes, the earthy mushrooms, and the savory sauce.

Now: This time the pieces of steak were cooked to different temperatures again: one piece a nice medium to medium rare, the other rarer; a far better combo that my previous experience, but still a little strange. As before, the mushrooms and mashed potatoes were tasty, and the dish overall seemed better seasoned this time around.

Stuffed Hash Browns
Then: Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this dish during my winter visits, it didn’t make its way to the review (it’s never possible to describe everything I’ve tried). One reason for the omission was that it seems to me impossible that a dish that combined crispy fried hash browns, tender chunks of spuds, and a heavy dose of sour cream could be bad. You don’t need me to tell you this is going to be good.

Now: Still awesome.

The Verdict
In general, my most recent meal was similar to those I experienced over the winter (good service, great vibe). Though some dishes have been refined to good effect, other basic issues persist.