Great pre-Valentine's meal at 212 Steakhouse (NYC Midtown East)

Our Valentine’s Day tradition is to go out for steak the day before or after Valentine’s Day since going out on the 14th in NYC is utter insanity. We decided to try a new-to-us steakhouse this year, lured in by their claim to fame as the only restaurant on the East Coast that is allowed to import genuine Kobe beef from Japan.

The restaurant is located just east of 2nd Ave., so slightly out of the way for the typical midtown corporate crowd. The atmosphere was much more chic neighborhood spot rather than old school steakhouse, which was a nice change. Service was a bit slow, especially given that there were only a handful of tables, but friendly and attentive. The wine list wasn’t huge but had a nice variety of options under $100, which was nice given that Kobe beef is insanely expensive, and the sommelier guided us to a lovely bottle of Barbaresco.

Neither of us had ever sampled Kobe before, so we decided just to order a small portion as an appetizer and have a dry-aged Australian wagyu ribeye for our main. They offer Kobe ribeye, strip or filet by the ounce ($28 per oz, 3 oz minimum), and we chose the ribeye, cooked rare. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I was underwhelmed when they brought it out, because visually it basically just looked like any old steak. It cut like any old steak, and the cut sides also just looked like any old steak. However, at first bite, it was obviously not just any old steak. Wowza. Incredibly tender and basically just an explosion of pure fat in your mouth. Not a lot of beef flavor, even - just juicy, tender fat.

DH is a huge fat lover and could easily have eaten an entire plate of Kobe, but for me the small appetizer portion was just enough - it is VERY rich and would have gotten overwhelming quickly for me. The waiter mentioned that if one wants to eat a full portion of Kobe, he recommends the strip because it is slightly leaner and more “meaty” than the ribeye. Anyway, we moved on to the also-excellent wagyu ribeye, which was well-seasoned, nicely charred on the exterior and perfectly rare inside, and fantastic sides of creamed spinach and Brussels sprouts (which needed salt but were otherwise very good - braised in beef fat with onions and cherry tomatoes).

No room for dessert. Aside from the Kobe, prices were about what you’d pay at any steakhouse. Very enjoyable meal and we will definitely be back!