Would a former New York Mets star dine in a Yankees themed steak house in a casino in Coconut Creek? This is the question my dinner guest and I mulled over for the latter part of our meal at NYY Steak in the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek on Thursday night. For the record: if the mustachioed man seated in the back of the swanky lounge portion of the New York based micro-chain wasn't former first baseman and Seinfeld alumnus Keith Hernandez, it's a testament to the deceptive powers of low lighting and suggestive setting.
It doesn't seem a stretch to imagine movers and shakers of a certain ilk -- particularly those with NYC leanings -- gravitating to the newly opened steakhouse in the casino which recently underwent a $150 million expansion.
The lighting is a notch below soft, muting everyone's faces together in an amber wash. Low-backed navy leather chairs, dark wood accents, and large-scale black and white prints of Yankees legends sort of meld together. The focal points of light and energy at NYY Steak are the two action stations: an on-site butcher "shop" and the open kitchen.
In a true case of "meet your meat," diners walk through a set of glass doors and come immediately face to face with a glass-encased butcher's room with cuts of meat lined up like so many pairs of shoes, grade and variety helpfully identified with brown nametags stabbed through the flesh. If you're lucky, you'll catch the artist at work, slicing and, not to much dicing, as carefully carving up the signature cuts.
The butcher-shop dishes are the focal point of the menu, naturally, and the staff do what they can to steer you in that direction. When we nodded our ascent to our server's inquiry about this being our first visit, she cheerfully launched into a short story about the quality and lineage of the USDA prime steaks and chops.
The $23 14 oz. chopped steak is the lowest priced item on the highlighted section of the menu and comes served atop a bed of crustini. Paired with the "Oscar" addition -- asparagus, Hollandaise, and crab meat -- from the add-on menu the dish came to $32. Bigger appetites can try the 28 oz. porterhouse or 20 oz. New York strip steak on for size. There are a few seafood specialties and a raw bar, plus the requisite steakhouse salads and sides (lobster mac and cheese, creamed spinach, au gratin potatoes, and so on).
Ozzie's spinach salad ($14) is a thick bed of baby spinach topped with a blend of savory (smoked bacon, peppery cherry vinaigrette, pine nuts, shaved asiago) and sweet (dried cherries, pine strips of yellow peppers).
It's worth noting that when we visited, the prices on the online menu at the Seminole Casino's site didn't match the prices in the restaurant. The aforementioned salad, for instance, is listed as $11.50 online but showed up as $14 in-house. The steak, however, was 75 cents less. Either way, it can be a pricy night out, a fact that may or may not hinder your ability to hit the casino floor before or after dinner.
NYY Steak is split into a small lounge and a much larger main dining area. If you'd prefer the dining room, it's a good idea to make reservations. We didn't and were seated in the lounge where dueling pianists started their routine about ten minutes after we settled in. The volume and banter were fine with us -- and the table of gentleman who called out song requests like "New York State of Mind" seemed to enjoy it -- but certainly not the right environment for an intimate dinner date.
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