Restaurant Review: Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse

A traditional, old-fashioned satisfying steak house in Rye 


Classy & Classic

A traditional, old-fashioned satisfying steak house in Rye 


Let’s get one thing straight right away: Frankie & Johnnie’s is a traditional New York steak house, albeit a high-class one. That means large, unadorned portions of costly prime, dry-aged steaks and plain-Jane potato and vegetable sides. Think shrimp cocktail and seared sirloin, not rabbit with huckleberry sauce and jalapeño polenta cakes.


Also think of 1926, when the first branch of Frankie & Johnnie’s opened, on West 45th Street in Manhattan. Now the chain includes three other locations: another in Manhattan, one in Hoboken, and a fourth in Rye, the last of which opened in 1999. Yet, despite its growth, Frankie & Johnnie’s is in touch with its roots. All four locations offer an old-fashioned yet satisfying menu, taking us back to the days before dishes included 10 flavors each and warranted descriptions the length of poems.


At the Rye location, right in the center of town, you will instantly get a sense of old-time glamour. The restaurant is housed in a former bank building, complete with huge doors and a soaring ceiling adorned with decorative molding. To get to your table, you’ll pass my favorite spot in the place: a cozy seating area that has plush couches and a fireplace and plays host to chatting friends sipping glasses of wine. Next comes the mahogany bar with its large-screen television and, overhead, a massive Hopper-esque painting of a New York City restaurant.


If your table is on the second floor, you’ll have the privilege of ascending the winding grand staircase. Unlike in too many restaurants, the tables here are spaced an adequate distance apart from one another, so it’s possible to have a completely relaxed private discussion as you dine.

There’s also the comfort of not needing to wait too long for your food. The efficient service means quickly assuaged hunger. Unfortunately, it can also result in rushed meals. During my first visit to the restaurant, at 6 p.m. on a Saturday, the check landed on the table along with the chocolate soufflé. Before even five minutes had passed, our waiter returned for our credit card. When we told him that we weren’t yet finished, he didn’t encourage us to take our time but, instead, raced off. And he was back soon enough. The entire three-course meal lasted only one hour, a bit quick for an experience costing $158.


Lucky for the restaurant, its food warrants little criticism. To all Atkins-adherents: The restaurant’s breadbasket, brimming with soft and yeasty garlic sticks, caramelized-onion focaccia and pumpernickel rolls, is worth ditching the diet for, many times over.


Also worthy of praise is the dry-aged prime steak. Frankie & Johnnie’s offers four different cuts: sirloin, porterhouse, rib-eye and T-bone, simply seasoned, and cooked to the diner’s specification. The sirloin and T-bone my dining companions and I tried were delicious—generously proportioned and a pitch-perfect medium rare. Accompanied by a single rosemary sprig and a bottle of the chain’s sweet and spicy steak sauce, they couldn’t have been simpler—or better.


In comparison to other famed steakhouses, Frankie & Johnnie’s offers a surfeit of non-steak entrées, a boon for non-red-meat eaters. Diners can try, for example, broiled salmon, pork chops,  and grilled chicken breast with a tangy and sweet honey Dijon sauce. These can be accompanied by potato and vegetable sides, both of which come separately, as is traditional at steakhouses. Frankie & Johnnie’s can confidently claim to offer more potato preparations than other restaurants of its caliber: eight all-together, including cottage fries (homemade potato chips), French fries, hash browns, potato pancakes and more.


Ironically, even though the steak is the main draw here, the other dishes shine just as much. For example, the crab cake appetizer, sporting mostly crabmeat and corn kernels, was perfection. The velvety lobster ravioli, with a creamy pink vodka sauce, was addictive. And the chocolate soufflé, French cheesecake brownie and rice pudding were all at the top of their class. The wine list, oriented toward California bottles, is extensive, as is the menu of after-dinner drinks and dessert wines, including single-malt scotches, ports and muscats.


With its classic menu and classy atmosphere, the Rye Frankie & Johnnie’s will surely live on, just like the West 45th Street original.



77 Purchase St., Rye

(914) 925-3900




Tue. to Fri. 11:30 am-3 pm


Tue. to Thurs., 3-10 pm,

Fri. 3-11 pm,

Sat. 5-11 pm,

Sun. 5-9:30 pm



Appetizers: $9-16 (lunch), $10-$17 (dinner)

Entrees: $10-$18 (lunch), $19-$55 (dinner)

Desserts: $8 (lunch and dinner)



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