Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Fall 2013, Seasonal Chef Preview: Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse


Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is almost here! The anticipation is building in the Hudson Valley with a long list of restaurants offering cuisines to fit everyone’s taste. The best part: lunches are only $20.95 and dinners $29.95. How can you go wrong? If there were ever a time to venture out to a place you’ve been dying to try, now is the moment! Recently I stopped in to Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse. It’s an authentic steak house, right in our back yard. Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse is a family owned business with two other locations in NYC. The one I visited has been in Rye, NY for the past 15 years.

Frankie & Johnnie's Rye


Frankie & Johnnie's Rye

From the moment you walk through the smoky glass doors you feel transported. Wrought iron, dark wood and glass come together and give it a stately feel, yet modern.

Chef Steve Contis, Frankie & Johnnie's Rye

Chef Steve Contis (pictured with front of the house manager Fran Dolan) has been at the helm since they opened their doors. He is a self-taught chef, with an eye on keeping things seasonal and delicious. I happened to be there a few hours before dinner service, so I got to peek in and see the kitchen. I’m always amazed when I see kitchens like this … so tiny, yet, big enough for four chefs to produce hundreds of dinners. (It’s all about being organized and efficient.)


Quality and organization is key to Chef Steve. Everyday he oversees all the ordering of their beef and seafood. He personally checks every order and returns anything that isn’t up to their high standards. Evening specials are created only after he has approved all ingredients.

Nothing is pre-packaged or pre-portioned at Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse. They maintain a true Steak House philosophy. They receive whole shells of beef that are aged and they portion all to order. The same goes for seafood; whole fish are portioned every morning.

For those of you living in Rye, you are probably familiar with the Rye Farmers Market on Sundays. You might find him out and about looking for special vegetables there. Not only does he pick ingredients there but he also heads up to North Salem as well.

One of their most requested dishes on the menu, and one that will be on the HVRW menu next week, is their Surf and Turf. I’m fond of saying that sometimes you just need to abandon all the fancy things and just go simple. If you have an outstanding ingredient it will sing on it’s own. That is exactly what this filet did. Just a sprinkle of salt, pepper and a blend of special spices that Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse uses, was it. Seared to a perfect rare and I was in heaven. The outside had a crisp crust and the inside like butter. Served with the filet were gorgeous tender shrimp, bathed in a sauce of butter, garlic and shallots; not over done, just perfectly balanced.

Frankie & Johnnie's Rye, Salmon

If someone at your table is in the mood for seafood they have you covered. Here is one of the offerings on next week’s menu: Seared Salmon over Crisp Vegetables. Again, simple and delicious!

If you’ve always wanted to give Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse a look, now is the time. My advice: go for the steak, you won’t be disappointed!

Buon Appetito.


About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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