Steak at the Green Arch, Cortland NY
Lets face it, we all can grill a steak at home better than 99% of the restaurants out there, for less than half the price (assuming you know a good butcher). There are very few places I'll go to pay someone to cook a steak fror me. One of the few is the Green Arch in Cortland, New York. My neighbor and friend John Michael Discenza is the latest in a line of Discenzas to cook the steaks at the Green Arch, its been in his family for around 50 years.
The restaurant is a classic Central New York spaghetti joint /steak house. The decor is green upholstery with back lit scenes of Italy ringing the room. There's a great bar that features manhattans and martinis (nothing trendy mind you, they just never went out of style here).
The menu is basic; a variety of pasta dishes, most featuring a rich sauce. There is chicken parm and veal parm, and a white clam sauce so rich it'll stop your heart. The steaks are usually two choices, New York strip or porterhouse. John Michael makes his own cuts, they are typically huge. He also has pork chops, and sometimes lamb chops (both come with two huge chops).
I usually order the strip steak, medium rare with a side of spaghetti, a green salad (note: John Michael rarley overcooks a steak, a medium rare will likey show up rare, which is really the way I like it). I'm pretty sure the steaks get a coating of butter before they hit the broiler. The salad, like most local joints is iceberg with a salty, garlicy oil & vinegar (light on the vinegar). I like to dip my steak in the spaghetti sauce (I'll have to ask him to make me a steak pizzaola sometime). I usually go home with enough steak and spaghetti for a steak and egg breakfast and spaghetti lunch.
There is always a plate of celery, radishes and olives, and in the fall a cucumber, onion and tomato salad. You can order garlic toast which is cooked in the same broiler as the steaks rendering a most wonderful flavor(its great to sop up the salad dressing with). Unfortunately, I can't comment on the soup or dessert...we never have room to try them.