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A steak commands center stage with sides to its upper left.
A steak steals the attention from sides like onion rings.

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A Queens Butcher Shop Where Steaks Are Cooked to Order

Woodside’s F. Ottomanelli is a bargain compared to Manhattan spots

Steakhouses are not necessarily the most pleasant places to dine. The decor is often dark and retrograde, made to look like a men’s private club from the 19th century, with ponderous wood-paneling, overstuffed leather furniture, pictures of horses or cows, and waiters prone to clattering plates and acting gruff and bored. And let’s not forget the steaks are likely to seem overpriced.

Well, here’s an alternative to steakhouses that’s cheaper and lots more fun. S. Ottomanelli is a butcher shop founded in Woodside in 1960 by immigrants from Bari, Italy (not affiliated with the one in the West Village). In 2012, it spun off a hamburger stand called F. Ottomanelli just down the street at 60-15 Woodside Avenue, near 61st Street, named after the founder’s son, Frank Ottomanelli. In 2019, the butcher shop moved into the basement of the burger joint, with a retail counter upstairs, setting the stage for a less common style of eating steak.

A long glass refrigerated case with bottles of wine on top.
F. Ottomanelli’s steak counter.
A man watches a steak being weighed at eye level.
Weighing-in as Frank Ottomanelli watches.

The place may remind you of Hamburger America: a setting like a retro hamburger stand, with a counter that looks into the kitchen, where patties sizzle on the griddle. Sure, the burgers are great, though these are big lush contraptions made from brisket and chuck that put smash burgers to shame. But beyond burgers, steaks beckon in the glass butcher’s case to the right of the griddle.

The other day the selection included flat irons, sirloins, skirts, bacon-wrapped filets, bone-in rib-eyes, and Delmonicos, as porterhouses hung in a separate cabinet. Frank Ottomanelli himself presided behind the counter, as he helped a friend and me select a steak we’d share.

A well-marbled rib-eye weighed in at 1.5 pounds. “That steak is prime grade and dry-aged 30 days,” he tells us. The cost was $51, and there would be no charge for cooking it. (Compare that to the smaller 14-ounce rib-eye at Hawksmoor for $71.)

Our steak was spirited off to the kitchen, while a friend and I took our places at a butcher block table in a sunny window. The steak came with a basket of rolls and butter, but we had to pick (and pay separately for) the sides. Most were $6 or $7 and included french fries, baked potato, and sauteed mushrooms, but we went for the onion rings and creamed spinach. Even on a plain white plate, the steak was a thing of beauty: heavily seared on both sides while still rare to medium rare in the middle.

A bone-in steak well seared on a white plate.
A steak from F. Ottomanelli.

Our beverage choices included beer and wine, but we went for club soda since it was early. The steak was fantastic — enough for two with leftovers. The onion rings were great, while the spinach was just so-so.

The entire experience took 45 minutes. If you’re prone to linger over your steak, this may feel rushed. But the steak was perfectly cooked and juicy, we tore through it, and promised ourselves to return soon to try some of the cheaper steaks like the flat iron, which was $1.69 an ounce.

F. Ottomanelli

60-15 Woodside Avenue, Queens, NY 11377 (718) 269-6260 Visit Website
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