Dining Out: Embers Steakhouse, a timeless delight on Third Avenue

A Bay Ridge institution, Embers Steakhouse on Third Avenue has –quite literally—been feeding generations of Ridgeites exquisite, no-frills meals coupled with quality service since 1985.

It’s a place where locals – many of whom frequent the steak joint during happy hour (Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with half-price appetizers at the bar) – can walk in, give a warm greeting to Tom the bartender (an 18-year Embers fixture) and settle in for an evening of familiar, feel-good comfort           .

“We’re seeing children of our long-time customers come in here so we have generations that are showing up,” said Tom, who prefers to be called by his first name. “It was all started by the man who owned the butcher shop next door and not much has changed in those [30-plus] years.”

The classically crisp white tablecloths, dim lighting and artwork throughout the restaurant speak to just that – almost a nod to the steakhouses of old New York and the ambiance they perpetuated.

At a cozy table for four, we tried a round-up of some of Tom’s recommendations – who better to ask, right?

We started off with some appetizers, the Sautéed P.E.I. Mussels ($12) and an Ember’s Maine Crab Cake ($14). The undeniably fresh mussels, swimming in a delicious white wine and parsley sauce, were little bites of heaven. It wasn’t too long before the plate of them was gone and we found ourselves dipping bread into the remaining, too-good-too-waste sauce.  The crab cakes were unanimously some of the best we’ve ever had, with fresh, soft crab tucked inside of a fried, crispy shell.

For our entrée, also a Tom recommendation, we tackled the restaurant’s buzzed-about Porterhouse for Two ($77) with some Ember’s Potato Pie ($7) and Creamed Spinach ($7). If we could dream up the perfect meal, this marriage of dishes would probably be better.

The porterhouse, cooked to a chef-recommended medium rare, was as mouth-watering and tender as they come. With the perfect, flavorful sear on the outside and a melt-in-your-mouth bite, you better believe all the hype. The potato pie, stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella, was the perfect, flavorful starch to sit beside the porterhouse and the creamed spinach just set the meal right over the edge with its silky, smooth texture and salty flavor profile.

Before we could wave our white flag of euphoria, the restaurant’s co-owner, Omar Garcia – who owns Embers alongside his brother Fernando Garcia – insisted that we try some dessert. We couldn’t say no to the restaurant’s Tiramisu ($8) and a little creation called Chocolate Chip Pie ($8) – basically a warm, ooey gooey cookie baked in a crispy pie crust and topped with vanilla ice cream.

“We’re very family oriented in here,” Tom said. “I’ve lived here all my life and I [just want people to] come in, have a good meal and walk out happy. That’s what we’re striving for.”

MONDAY – THURSDAY: 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
FRIDAY: 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY: (Brunch 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.) 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.

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