New York City steakhouses usually fall into two categories: classic or cliché. Quality Meats, a swank spot with AvroKO-designed digs in midtown Manhattan, is neither.
The vibe skews young and trendy, terms largely absent from steakhouse-related conversations. It has a sister location in Miami Beach and is related to a trio of Manhattan restaurants called Quality Eats, which serve meat-centric menus and cocktails in buzzy spaces. Another offshoot, Quality Italian, has branches in New York City and Denver.
Industry veteran and champion multitasker Bryan Schneider is the beverage director across all Quality properties. He’s an alum of Brooklyn’s Clover Club and Daniel Boulud’s fine dining temple, Daniel. We caught up with Schneider to discuss desert-island hydration, and a ride-or-die NYC dive bar.
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1. What’s your desert-island drink?
Coconut water. There’s a palm tree on the island right? Gotta stay hydrated.
2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
I vaguely remember splurging on a glass of Johnnie Walker Black Label. I was drinking Johnnie Walker Red up to that point.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your final drink?
I think I’m supposed to say a Last Word here? How many other people gave that as their answer? [Editor’s note: Schneider is the first, and it’s a really good answer.] Not my favorite drink, but fitting enough.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
Blue and Gold [in NYC], but only if they still have a pool table and their jukebox.
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
My best and worst bottles are one and the same: A fifth of Buckfast tonic wine. I specifically requested that someone bring me back a bottle from the U.K. I’m saving it for a special night.
7. What cocktail will you never order again?
I suspect I won’t order Buckfast again after said night above.