By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
You have to worry that a place with so much attention to short skirts will forget about the food. But then our entrées came. A flurry of tie-clad waiters scrambled to deliver plates as hot as a campfire.
George got the eight-ounce filet ($35), a fist-sized number with a crusty char and purple center. The crust tasted of charcoal and maybe nothing more than salt and pepper; anything more would hide the godly flavor of aged beef. That piece of meat could help a Buddhist find enlightenment.
Randall's 24-ounce porterhouse ($55) is what you'd imagine they serve in a bank executive's boardroom. It takes George's filet and adds a strip steak, with a flavor-inducing bone running in the middle. Serve that steak to your daughter's boyfriend and he'll propose right there.
Josh's 12-ounce New York strip ($38) came with a char black like a Louisiana beach. "This is a bitter burn," Josh said. He took to scraping the outside with his knife, but that sear went into the flesh. He ordered it medium rare, and the center was as pink as a Valentine's Day card. But there was something wrong with that char. "If you weren't paying," he said to me, "I would've sent it back."
I'm no executive, so perhaps that explains my odd-looking entrée in the company of manly steaks. I ordered the lobster Wellington ($42) simply because it sounded so strange — there's no better test of a restaurant than the oddest item on the menu. It came sitting alone on a white plate, a simple rectangle of puff pastry.
"What did you order? A Pop-Tart?" Josh asked.
The waiter added the béarnaise sauce from a ladle, creating a shallow pool around the pastry. Cutting into my breakfast-looking dinner revealed sautéed spinach and large chunks of lobster tail and claw. Decadent. Delicious. And the best thing on the table.
"Wow," Randall said after sampling a slice. He looked a bit stunned, especially since it seemed to outshine that amazing hunk of meat in front of him.
There's not much to say about the sides that we ordered à la carte. The mushrooms ($9) and the spinach ($9) both were sautéed lightly, with maybe some garlic and lemon; they were fairly unremarkable. The giant bowl of onion rings and strings ($9) sat mostly uneaten by the end of the meal. Why eat any mediocre side with steaks and lobster as good as this?
Talk turned, as it should in a place like this, to expense accounts. The bank doesn't allow them, Randall and George explained. Neither does Josh's business. But it's OK to expense lunch for a big client, they all agreed — another reason it's so odd that Rare doesn't serve it.
"Do you know how many times I've seen Wayne Huizenga at YOLO?" George asked. "There's just nowhere else to go around here for lunch."
As the desserts arrived, George told his story about calling Huizenga's name from across the room at YOLO one day. " 'Wayne!' " he said, as if he knew him. The former Dolphins owner came up thinking George was an old friend. When he got there, Huizenga looked pissed, reluctantly shook George's hand, and nearly sprinted to get away.
We laughed like captains of industry as we dug into the cheesecake ($11), flown in from the Carnegie Deli in New York City. If you plan to ever eat cheesecake, it should be this one. Don't ask me how, but at the same time, it's light and dense, sweet and yet savory, filling and also something you want to pull in front of you and refuse to share. We also got the dessert sliders ($12) — vanilla ice cream stuffed between halves of profiteroles and covered in melted chocolate. We made it through only two of those creative little sandwiches, and I was tempted to stuff the third one in my pocket for later.
We were leaning back with after-dinner cocktails — ports and bourbons and espressos — when a woman in a pantsuit approached the table. She clutched a Gucci bag, smelled of daisies, and gave cheek kisses to a couple of the guys she knew. Yeah, that's how dinner at Rare is supposed to end.
Outside, we talked more about the failed Manhattan cocktail, those well-aged steaks, the radiator-hot plates. "I picked up a marine company today," Josh announced. I didn't know what that meant, but it sounded like the kind of thing you should say if you've just finished an excellent steak at Rare.
The steaks are cooked to perfection, the women are hot and the drinks are strong. What more would you want?
I think they're losing enough money without serving lunch. Timpano, Big City, Yolo and Cheesecake are more than enough restaurants for lunch. What's needed is a pizza parlor or a burger joint; a place for the bank staffers. There aren't enough high rollers around; most of them are in jail or in hiding.