This is Another Groot Experience
Yes, David Grutman and his ever-expanding Groot Hospitality empire are behind this beefhouse, so expect at Papi Steak a parade of celebrities (Michael Bay, Drake, French Montana and the occasional Trevor Noah) and aspiring nightlife fixtures hoping to gain some of the Groot magic simply by being in Dave’s presence.
The music is loud, the air conditioning is set to a permanent arctic chill, and if you don’t get a cushy booth, you are relegated to tiny two-tops placed precariously in the middle busy food runner traffic. By 9pm the 8-seat bar is jammed with gawkers. Good luck.
The humble acorn of inspiration upon which this tower of steak now rests is David Einhorn aka Papi, a member of Grutman’s inner circle, and apparently an enthusiastic grill man. His actual livelihood is unclear (“I think he does real estate in New York…” a publicist offered), but one thing is apparent – DJ Khaled loves his meat and if that alone isn’t enough of an endorsement to build an entire restaurant upon, I don’t know what is.
The $225 Papi Steak is Good But Don’t Sleep on the Latkes and Wagyu Pastrami
Some of the menu is influenced by classic Jewish home cooking, which is understandable given that Papi Steak namesake Einhorn grew up in a religiously observant Jewish home in Brooklyn. And the 32-ounce Flintstones-esque slab of the Papi Steak itself, with it’s Yom Kippur-like awe-inducing price tag is actually a kosher cut of ribeye. But while we loved the steak, we were also digging the perfectly-fried latkes served with homemade apple sauce, and that richly-marbled wagyu pastrami. The massive chicken schnitzel for $32 (ie: it’s a deal) could probably feed a Hasidic family of five (but let’s be honest here – no self-respecting Hasid has only three kids).
The fact that all this Semitic bounty is made by a former Fontainebleau Stripsteak chef who sparked national controversy after he was seen wearing a shirt bearing the logo of Proud Boys is deliciously ironic. Regardless of Crandall’s politics, the man knows how to cook great Kosher food and it shows.
Stick With the Cocktails
Don’t even try to ask for a wine pairing, because the waiters can barely hear you and there’s no need to have a sommelier (if there even is one? We didn’t meet any) wax poetically about how a California cab is going to go great with your 12-ounce calotte de boeuf, because that’s irrelevant to the show here. Pass the cornbread with popcorn butter (which is phenomenal btw), and sip your vodka soda as you watch the entire room rubber-neck every time someone new enters the dining room. Let’s hope it’s Foodgod!
This is not the place to launch your food-focused Instagram account. The lighting isn’t great for taking food shots and the plating is not museum-worthy. But if you want that Look-at-me-at-Papi-Steak-nana-nana-boo-boo social post, better to take an easy photo with the perpetually-chained Papi David, because hey, he’s friendly and totally happy you’re here. He wears Le Labo and smells absolutely delightful. With him, by proxy you’ll be a mere degree removed from Drake and Lenny Kravitz. That alone is worth the price of valet.
Bring Your Wallet (And Be OK With It)
Yes, Captain Obvious, the bill will be hefty. But leave the magical Land of Papi with your belly full and head held high. You’ve just dined at the hands of a modern day master. Sure, it’s only food. Just like the Mona Lisa is only paint. And at least you didn’t go to Nusr-Et.
Images courtesy of World Red Eye