89 Conselyea Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Cards: All major
Hours: Sun-Thurs 5pm-9pm, open until 9:45 on Fri & Sat
Booze: Full bar
Subway: L to Lorimer St. or Graham Ave., G to Metropolitan Ave
Williamsburg hipsters aren’t really prime contenders for steakhouse dining, but DeStefano’s courts more of an old-school neighborhood crowd anyway. Family photos line the walls, a fireplace heats up cold winter nights, and the tin ceiling already looks worn in. The real cred, however, comes from owner Joey DeStefano: He’s lived in the neighborhood for years, and the restaurant is located in his mother’s former house. Steaks as thick as the last Harry Potter book arrive on hot plates, Luger-style. Dry-aged porterhouse has a pleasantly salty char but isn’t pink enough in the center, while filet mignon gets a moisture boost from a side of Tuscan beans simmered with sausage. And though cottage style fries are too dry and broccoli rabe too soggy, other non-beef options, like the chipotle-spice crab cakes and delicate pistachio-crusted lamb shops, impress. And the fluffy ricotta cheesecake gives another Brooklyn institution, Junior’s, a real run for its money. Though steaks make an admirable stand, lamb chops and cheesecake are the surprise menu champs. Sides let down their meaty main attractions, especially the dry-as-a-bone fries. The mostly Italian wine list offers something for every budget ($30 to more than $100).
A B-Burg steakhouse that’s not Peter Luger’s–could it be? While the decor at DeStefano’s Steakhouse invokes the aura of steakhouses past, this is by no means an old man’s restaurant, especially once you look at the menu. Starters included short rib spring rolls and Japanese eggplant, and salads include a roasted beet tower and pear mixed with pancetta and arugula. Lamb chops are crusted in pistachios and the steak frites features a pomegranate sauce reduction. Enjoy a stiff martini from the list as you admire the classic pressed tin ceilings and that subtle ode to Brooklyn in the framed Saturday Night Fever and Red Skelton posters. So it might look it, but this isn’t your Dad’s steakhouse at all–he has no clue what a beet tower is. Do you?