Porter House New York

In honor of restaurant week I wanted to test another restaurant, this time during lunch with a coworker. I've just come back from Porter House filled to the brim. The $24 prix fixe restaurant week lunch menu has excellent offerings. The menu is three courses with three options available for each course. I also discovered that the restaurant offers a very similar prix fixe menu all year round that they have coined the park-view lunch. So there really is no rush to take advantage of Porter House now during restaurant week.

The restaurant fits perfectly into the Time Warner Center, exuding an ostentatious largeness. I do find the restaurants on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center to be imposing. For one reason they overlook Columbus Circle and Central Park, but for another, they are out of the average person's price range. Here I mean Per Se and Masa with their $250- and $400-priced per person menus respectively. Porter House is also out of an average-salaried person's range, but the lunch menu is completely affordable. I can honestly say that I didn't even bother to look at the rest of the menu.

Expecting to see a lunching business crowd, I was surprised to see average-looking people like us along with a smattering of foreign tourists. Maybe they heard it was restaurant week, but then again the prix fixe menu is permanent. I guess they know more than me. I'm sure the restaurant management uses the prix-fixe lunch menu to make up for usually slow business at lunch time.

To finally delve into the food, I begin with the first course. I had the Belgian endive salad with bleu cheese and walnuts tossed in light vinaigrette. There was also available the butternut squash soup or a Cesar salad. For the main course I had skirt steak au poivre and pomme frites. I ordered my steak medium rare, but found it much rarer and purple, but it was still delicious. Other options included the salmon with carrots and leeks or the grilled chicken paillard with spinach. For desert I chose the key lime pie with coconut crust. The slice was a bit too small and only the crust edge was coconut. There was also devil's food chocolate layered cake or raspberry sorbet. I usually go for chocolate, but the waitress recommended the pie. It was not a bad choice but I wondered about the chocolate cake. To accompany our lunch we chose the Rosenblum petite sirah and immediately noticed that sirah was misspelled on the menu. We mentioned it to the waitress, but when she came back with the bottle she was happy to prove us wrong. Later I learned by way of Wikipedia that this is in fact a type of wine. Some misgivings included a few unclean utensils and very fast service. It was as if everything was prepared ahead of time. There was hardly a wait at all. But this was all beneficial, because we did have to get back to work on time.

I must say that I enjoyed the entire meal with little objection. The service was good and the waitress seemed willing to join my coworker in snarky banter. I would recommend Porter House to anyone who wants to have a quick lunch with friends. It's also great for the business lunch, but for a dinner or a special occasion I would not recommend it. The food is not spectacular or plated uniquely, but it is good and hearty.

Porter House New York
Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle at 60th St., 4th fl.
New York, NY 10019
Open daily for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and for lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Appetizers and salads range in price from $10 to $16 and entrees
from $17 to $52.
The park-view lunch is available all year round for $24, including choice of salad, entree, and dessert.