Funny enough for a place named STK (that’s pronounced es-tee-kay, BTW), the best things going on here have nothing to do with meat. This despite a poster of a well-muscled model in red stilettos holding a bloody carcass in one hand and a cleaver in the other with the words “Not your daddy’s steakhouse.” The promo is prophetic in a way: STK is thick with more mini-skirted girls than I’ve seen at cheerleading competitions. I guess it’s no surprise they’ve figured out that steakhouses have more single guys per square inch than any venue outside a boxing match. If nothing else, STK knows its demographic. Though STK makes much of the claim that it’s not old-fashioned, the menu is full of items — beef tartare, iceberg salad, shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell and all manor of beef — that your daddy’s steak house would most definitely serve. And the cooking, while clearly competent, relies heavily on butter and salt for flavor.
Ambiance: The soundtrack blasts the dressed-up crowd of 30- and 40-somethings back to the ’80s with Sting, David Bowie, The Outfield and Gary Numan. (Remember “Here in My Car”?) More nightclub than restaurant, the gorgeous double-decker interior glows with highly glossed wood tables, plush white and gray leather chairs, strategically placed pin lights and lots of shimmery black paint and mirrors.
- A cast-iron skillet full of steaming popovers glistening with herbed butter
- Succulent and nicely rare Wagyu “Lil Big Macs” resting atop soft, black-sesame seeded buns, topped with ripe tomato and spicy pickles and slatheredwith a superbly tart and chunky thousand-islandy dressing
- Fresh and well handled (albeit salty) red snapper in a lovely mix of uniformly diced cremini, oyster and enoki mushrooms
- Cutesy shrimp “Rice Krispies” with velvety lobster bisque taking the place of milk
- Parmesan truffle fries
- Creamy macaroni and cheese made with perky little ditalini
- Perfectly bronzed handmade potato chips
- A well-marbled, juicy and aggressively seasoned dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye
What Didn’t Work
- Lump crab salad with a blah, mayonnaise-based dressing and less-than-fresh chunks of melon
- A “positively scary” petite filet mignon served with a pallid exterior and dry, sour, metallic interior
- Disconcertingly gray steak tartar
- A pair of fruit flies circling our plate
- A $16 glass of warm Newton cab
- Desserts appropriate for the kindergarten set – a sickly sweet trio of cheesecakes on lollipop sticks, cotton candy, s’mores and tiny ice cream cones
Bottom line: A meal at sexy STK isn’t at all bad. It’s just that at steak house prices, it ought to be a lot better.