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“Almost perfect”
Review of Stage Left Steak

Stage Left Steak
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Ranked #12 of 201 Restaurants in New Brunswick
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$41 - US$80
Cuisines: American, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: George Street
Transit: The restaurant is located a few minute walk from the New Brunswick train station, on the New Jersey Transit - Northeast Corridor line.
Description: Restaurateurs Francis Schott and Mark Pascal operate two of New Jersey's most storied restaurants. Stage Left Steak -- celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017 -- is famous for its wood-grilled steaks, award-winning wine list and pioneering cocktail program, and has been an incubator for many of the NY region's top chefs and mixologists. Serving Brooklyn-Italian style fare, Catherine Lombardi opened in 2005, paying homage to the cooking of Mark's grandmother. Executive Chef James (J.R.) Belt presides over both kitchens. Ricky Stevens is Chef de Cuisine of Stage Left Steak. Schott + Pascal bonded over their shared love of food and drink upon meeting at Rutgers. For more than 8 years, the duo hosted the podcast, The Restaurant Guys, chatting with esteemed culinary guests from Gael Greene and John Mariani to Ruth Reichl and Chefs Eric Ripert and Grant Achatz.
Reviewed 30 March 2014

Our party of 6 chose Stage Left for its proximity to the State Theater where we had tickets. Food was good to excellent but two hours was barely enough. We paid the bill and hustled out and could have used the Half hour it took to get our round of drinks. The steak off the day, which you finish cooking on a salt block at your plate was excellent as was the 48 oz porterhouse. I am a prosciutto fan and the Spanish equivalent ham, which I had only read about and never tried and can't recall or pronounce the name, was exquisite. Nobody at the table was even mildly disappointed. The round of varied deserts including the gelato and sorbet sampler, chocolate lava cake, and apple strudel made us wish we had more time to linger. Overall excellent marks for food and ambiance, very friendly and attentive service but it could have been a bit quicker at the start to win perfect grades.

Thank Grumpy_Old_Man848
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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75 - 79 of 164 reviews

Reviewed 19 March 2014 via mobile

My wife and I visited stage left while we in town for business. My wife had the special flank steak and loved it. It came with a heated salt block and she got to cook it to her liking. I on the other hands got the ribeye. Keep it mind that this is a $42 steak that doesn't include the sides. I also ordered truffle mashed potatoes. I ordered the steak medium rate (as they recommend) and it came medium to medium well. They apologized and promptly made me a new one, even tough it was a bit under cooked. I decided to just eat it, although I did let then know. They took the entire steak and potatoes ($51) of my bill.

Thank Abraham A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2014

Stage Left used to be my go to place when I wanted a special meal out. But that was over 10 years ago. I stopped going when I started to hear about chef turnover and that aside from it's drinks and wine list, it had fallen a few rungs in quality. And it's a thirty minute drive from my home. When plans to go to another restaurant destination fell through this past weekend, I made a reservation at Stage Left. After all it was centrally located for all the folks we planned to get together with and had some good reviews. Boy, am I glad I did. I must say that the experience was among the best I've had in central New Jersey in a very long time. The place is nicely decorated, the tables are not crowded together, you can talk comfortably with your dinner companions without raising your voice and you can read the menu and see what's on your plate without supplemental lighting. The service was generally good, but there was a blip -- we waited 20-25 minutes for an Irish coffee. However, realizing that there had been a problem, the drink was comped. The food was sublime. From the mushroom soup, through the quail with foie gras infused lentils (sounds over the top, but very tasty), the flatiron steak served on a hot block of salt (sounds gimicky, but tasty it was), the interesting assortment of cheeses offered before dessert and on through the sticky toffee cake, it was a memorable experience. I dined with foodies and nary a negative word was heard. Believe me, it won't be years before I return. Actually, I'm checking my calendar right now....

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2  Thank GSM1111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2014

My wife and I decided to have dinner at Stage Left, it had a good reputation and it was next door to the State Theater where we were attending a show.
Two years ago I had a bad experience, I ordered an expensive wild Alaskan salmon and received an overcooked salmon with no flavor or texture.
I decided to give it a second chance. The ambience is good, they have a good size room with a fireplace and it’s not too loud, you can have a good conversation.
After looking at the menu I asked if they would recommend the Scottish Salmon or the NY strip steak, the curt response was “well the Salmon is a fish, it’s light. The steak is… a steak”. This didn’t help me but I went for the steak and I ordered a medium rare NY strip.
They brought me a steak that was seared and completely uncooked. I asked if they could please cook it a little more to reach medium rare not rare, they came back in a couple of minutes with the same level of doneness, they just seared where I cut the steak.
I politely remarked that and asked to make it medium at that point. They came back with the steak burnt on the outside with no change in the inside. One of the waiter made me notice that in high end restaurant that’s what is considered “medium rare”. He said in a manner as if I have never been in a nice restaurant and it was my fault.
I am a pretty good cook myself, a food enthusiast and I ate in several high end restaurants across the country and internationally, blaming the customer for a self-evident bad meal was not a winning point.
The conclusion: good décor, good quality ingredients, bad cuisine, poor customer care. High prices for an overall mediocre dining experience.

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Thank Fernando M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2014

We happened upon the Stage Left Restaurant at 5 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick, NJ because we were going to the theatre next door. We had no reservation and less than an hour before the start of the show but we managed to get served a delicious meal with great service. It's pricy but very good.

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1  Thank Alexander M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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