R5 Restaurant Review: Morton’s, The Steakhouse

Setting Steaks in White Plains

A haven for steakhouse lovers has opened in the county seat with sizzling results

 

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White plains is intent on going big-time. The boldface names keep alighting:  Fortunoff, Whole Foods Market, Legal Sea Foods and now, Morton’s, The Steakhouse. Is the county seat ready for a $42 porterhouse and $33 crab cakes? I fasted for most of the day, pulled
on loose-waisted linen and got set to find out.

 

Being a city girl, I’m still not used to entering restaurants through a shopping mall corridor, but if it works for Time-Warner, I guess it’s time to adapt. We navigate the fluorescent maze off the new Fortunoff The Source garage, still raw with the scent of disinfectant and new carpet, turn a corner, and the mahogany-glazed doors and carriage lamps of Morton’s beckon like the gates of Oz. Inside, it bustles like Oz: a lively bar, open kitchen and nearly filled dining room.

 

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We’re seated in a leather booth. The bread is warm and onion-crusted, Sinatra is crooning romance, and a very nice wine list is in our hands. Our waiter hauls over a cart bearing Texas-size hunks of USDA aged prime and painstakingly explains the merits of each. We’re ready. So in Texan parlance, bring it on.

 

My husband is in a take-no-prisoners mode and makes short work of a cayenne-spiked lobster bisque, lush with sherry and cream. The rest of us cautionary types nibble greens, though there’s a dizzying array of appetizers to choose from, mostly crab, shrimp and scallops in gussied-up guises. The fine Caesar salad has the right garlic-lemon kick, though my friend Aileen derides its drab, dry croutons as “out of a box.” An Everest of chopped salad has an ingredients list worthy of the Whole Foods next door and a well-balanced, if overdressed, Dijon vinaigrette.

 

We’ve done our vegetarian penance and survey the gleaming heft of our steak knives. I grasp my dagger with the fervor of Aragorn facing Mordor’s legions (yes, I have pre-teen sons), when our beef arrives, thick and gorgeously charred. I’ve ordered my 16-ounce ribeye from the “Slightly Smaller Steaks” list, and it’s slightly extraordinary: perfectly rare, deeply flavorful and expertly salted. The au poivre heat of the excellent New York strip partners well with a glass of full-bodied Groth California merlot, not as well with its overly sharp peppercorn cognac cream sauce.

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The shrimp in Aileen’s colossal shrimp Alexander are colossal in size, miniscule in taste. The two side dishes weren’t much help: a soupy, nutmeg-rampant creamed spinach and an oily, bland hash brown disc pleading for salt.

 

Redemption awaits in our pre-ordered soufflé and warm Godiva chocolate cake, but alas, our waiter forgot to put in the order, and we make do with a vibrant house-made Key lime pie and creamy heft of cheesecake. His profuse apologies are nice, the molten Godiva cake he manages to filch from a private party, nicer.

 

Will Morton’s work in Westchester? There’s no doubt that Morton’s recipe for success is tried-and-true. Big portions? Always. Big flavor? Usually. Big name? Definitely. Big price? Unfortunately—but this is Westchester County. What do you expect?

 

MORTON’S, THE STEAKHOUSE

9 Maple Ave., White Plains

(914) 683-6101

 

HOURS:  

Lunch, Mon. to Fri. 11:30 am-2:30 pm

Dinner, Mon. to Sat. 5-11 pm, Sunday 5-10 pm

 

PRICES:

Appetizers: $9-$16

Entrees: $22-$84 (porterhouse for two)

Sides: $4-$9

Desserts: $8-$14

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