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72nd Bar + Grill's Global Comfort Food; Scene Over Steak At STK

Victoria Pesce Elliott says that 72nd Bar + Grill chef/owners "have come a long way since 2007, when they launched the more ambitious and recently closed Alta Cocina just around the corner." VPE says that although the menu is "similarly long (six pages), they seem to have narrowed the focus to a melting pot of international comfort fare." The sea bass was "nearly perfect," Elliott writes, and the tuna was "gorgeous." Veggie curry with "succulent curry broth" was "top notch," and fettuccine was "tight and tidy" and served "in a restrained wild mushroom ragout with plump shrimp." Salads were "large, fresh" and "classic," and while lamb burgers were "tasty," sliders were "juicy" and "aggressively seasoned." Pizzas were "well tended," but the "crust could use more chew and snap." Speaking of snaps, what didnt work were "a dried out split artichoke," "gummy calamari," "bubblegum-pink orb like tomatoes," "a menu marred by typos," few desserts and "young, good-looking staffers who have much to learn about the food." At least they're good looking. Bottom line? Two and a half stars. []

Lee Klein thinks STK's tag line should be "Not your granddaddy's steakhouse." And although the steakhouse is "late to the party," "If traditional steak houses share attributes with traditional old red wines . . . STK is like a spritzer: cool and bubbly, a frivolous sip not to be taken seriously. In fact, with a DJ spinning oldies that in most cases are actually goodies, it's fun, fun, fun till Daddy — or not Daddy — takes the T-bone away." About that T-bone or strip loin, rather. "It tasted as though purchased at Publix, oversalted, and cooked on a back-yard grill." Mac and cheese was "saltier than the steak," but "salvation came via sweet corn pudding--AKA creamed corn--that is insanely rich and crazy delicious." Accidental loin chops "arrived so tasty," but black grouper was "slightly rubbery." Signature Lil' Big Macs "brought big flavor." The "special sauce" on the Wagyu sliders was "something like HoJo's special sauce but spicier." Missing from the Shrimp Rice Krispies was that "pop of excitement," but grilled octopus "was, as Tony the Tiger might say, greeeat!" After a so-so salad, Klein surmises that "executive chef Todd Mark Miller and chef de cuisine Alberto Cabrera can execute better than this." So can, apparently, the staff. "Hostesses were snooty, and waiters were too pushy . . . There just didn't appear to be anybody who truly cared about our dining experience--or anyone else's." Desserts were "Barton G.-esque," and enough to inspire Klein to return, albeit for "s'more of STK's lively lounge scene. When we want a great steak, we're gonna stick with Daddy."[MNT]