Morton’s Steakhouse Happy Hour is Far From Pimpin’ (Even Though They Hold Wine for Xzibit)

f you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.

Morton’s, the upscale steakhouse based in Chicago with outposts in Manhattan and Brooklyn, is by no means a Midtown Lunch. The burgers start at $23 and a Double Porterhouse Steak for two is a whopping $108. I would never consider this a happy hour destination but when I saw they had a $6 bar menu I reconsidered. Could it be that an expensive steakhouse might have a ML worthy happy hour deal? It’s not unheard of. Beacon has an amazing burger, fries and double drink special, Del Friscos used to have a hidden steak deal at the bar (until they caught on and raised the price), even City Lobster’s $1 oysters and a beer special is a welcome surprise in the usual corporate expense account joints. Fancy filling feast or a wallet draining disappointment? I put the call out to the contributors, who would man up?!

Morton’s bar room is a top to bottom business guy hangout, with three aging suits to every middle aged woman –this is not your hot pick up joint. There are lockers holding secret wine stashes both at the entrance and at the bar, each engraved with names of patrons on brass plates. One in particular stood out: XZIBIT. Which begot the question: Would Morton’s pimp our happy hour?

On hand were UltraClay, Blondie, Brownie and guest commentator Adam. Clay was the first to arrive and put his name down for a table because as of 5:30pm all the bar and cocktail seating was already full. Soon after Blondie, Brownie (with her newborn) and I showed up. Drinks were ordered, yet sadness ensued. No strollers were allowed in the bar room, understandable, but still a disappointment as the little one just shy of 8 weeks old, as quiet as can be, and sleeping deeper then your grandma after her box o’ wine.

Prices have gone up within just the past week, from $6 to now $7. You can still get iceberg wedges with dressing or french fries for $6 (and there is a new salmon pizza for $7) but somehow we resisted the urge to order any of those. All refreshments are expensive. Budweiser is around $7.50 and most others are $8.50. We are not talking draft pints, these all are just bottled beers. Cocktails are outrageously priced. One signature drink costs as much as you would spend on a full lunch ($13 and up.) Beers seemed to be the better choice for those that must imbibe, wait, what the f*#@k am I saying? Of course you need a drink!! We opted for Dogfish Head IPA and Blue Moon ale.

The most delicious $6 bite was the chicken goujonets . Don’t know what a goujonet is? It’s a fancy way of saying “chicken fingers.” Even our waiter set the plate down and said, “here are your chicken nuggets.”

Crunchy and golden on the outside and tender white meat on the inside, it was a pleasure to sink your teeth into. On the side was a creamy aioli that had no distinctive flavor but got the job done, though I would have liked something more in the line of a honey mustard, ranch or blue cheese. Hey, we’re talking nuggets here!

Next up were two orders of cheeseburger sliders that came with American cheese, onion, lettuce, mayo and tomato on a brioche bun.

Though the toppings increased their height the actual meat and bun amounted to two bites worth. One order would hardly be enough food to share. Blondie noted that the patties were over seasoned.

The steak sandwiches came in ensconced in billowy sesame seed bread sliced into four finger pieces. The only topping was mayo, again. Each single thin-as-a-deli-slice piece of steak was rendered flavorless due to the excessive bread and dressing. I ended up just pulling out the steak and eating it alone.

Lastly were two orders of crab cake BLTs. I love crab, I love bacon, how can this go wrong? Just as tiny as the sliders, they didn’t really feel like a $7 meal. The meat was flaked crab, not lump, not breaded and only browned on the griddle. Again mayo was the only condiment and the crab had a strong fishy flavor to it that you usually don’t get with crabmeat. I would have liked it better if there was at least some tartar sauce or a chipotle aioli, instead of more mayo.

I expect more from a steakhouse like Morton’s. The bar bites are an afterthought meant to be cheaply assembled and presented with the sole purpose of luring someone in and having them pay $14 for a cocktail or $8 for a domestic beer in a bottle. Sadly, even I, as just a home cook, would have added a chipotle anoli, a side of pickles, mustard for godsakkes or even a little side of fries. $7 dollars for 3 mini sliders at an over crowded pretentious steakhouse makes me just want to head over to Blarney Stone. Unless you really want to roll like Xzibit, I would advise you to park your ass somewhere else.

The Plus + (What a cheap lush would like about this place)

  • The meat used in the sliders is quality, fresh ground beef
  • Prime spot for business lunches or expense account splurges
  • Got a thing for bald executives? You’re soaking in them at this bar
  • Service was very attentive and friendly

The Minus – (What a cheap lush wouldn’t like about this place)

  • For that same $7 slider, $8.50 drink, plus tip you could have had an enormous meal at any of my other ML approved happy hours
  • $8.50 for a domestic beer and not even on draft!!!
  • That is the most pathetic steak sandwich I’ve ever seen
  • Seriously, what is up with the liberal use of mayo? Must everything be slathered in it?
  • I just realized now, as I looked over my receipt that I got charged for an extra beer I never ordered –Lame!

Morton’s of Chicago, 551 5th Ave (At 45th St), (212) 972-3315UltraClay has a badass camera


Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.