One of the perks of manning the Juniper Berry mailbox is that you get invited to all sorts of interesting events. When my presence was requested at a renowned Manhattan steakhouse, I knew I just couldn’t resist. So, our trusty photographer, Steve Garza, accompanied me to the press tasting at K Rico in early August. The restaurant is located in the trendy Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan at 772 Ninth Avenue near West 52nd Street.

The décor of K Rico is clean and modern, and there is a cheery outdoor seating area for those who prefer to dine al fresco. The hostess greeted us warmly and escorted us over to the press table where we were seated with three interesting personalities: Bruce Lynn, the event’s publicist, Jerry Du, Consumer News Reporter for Sing Tao Newspaper, and Andrea K. Castillo, author of the music, fashion, art, food and culture blog “A Life in the Day of Andrea.” Restaurant reviews usually don’t mention dining companions, but their company certainly enhanced our experience.

And now let’s talk food. The starters all featured seafood. There were arepas topped with chimichurri, queso fresco and shrimp which were addicting. Next up were New Zealand mussels stuffed with roasted peppers and chive oil. The spice mix used was tasty. The gravlax was the most visually appealing. The salmon was topped with roe and sat on a bed of cream cheese atop slices of cucumber. Sausage and peppers with spicy pickles served K Rico style was exotic and fun. Finally, there were the roasted blue point oysters featuring quesa de carba, bacon and creamed spinach. This was a total flavor explosion and my favorite appetizer.

K Rico calls itself a South American steakhouse because the spices used to season the meats and the cooking techniques come from a variety of South American countries. But they serve 100% USDA Prime beef. The reasoning for this, says co-owner John P. Greco, III, is because American raised beef is considered the most desirable the world over. The restaurant only purchases beef from 2 ranches – one in Cody, Wyoming and the other in Billings, Montana. The restaurant employs two techniques to age their meats – Dry-aged beef is hung in the air to dehydrate at a temperature just above freezing for an extended period of time, whereas in wet aging the beef is vacuum-sealed and refrigerated so that natural enzymes can tenderize the meat. The steaks we sampled were filet mignon, sirloin, porterhouse and tomahawk. I had never seen a tomahawk steak before, and the size of it before it was cut up and served (72 oz) was definitely massive! The steaks were the type you could cut with a butter knife – soft, juicy and packed with flavor. We were also treated to two tasty sides – brussels sprouts with bacon and cauliflower malanga mash. Delicious.

The last course was dessert – espresso flan, chocolate mousse ganache and tres leches cake. Presented beautifully and just the right amount of sweetness to not make you feel guilty.

Overall, this was a great experience and we felt honored to be invited to such a fantastic event. The food was on the house, which I of course want to be up front about, but I know you won’t be disappointed if you choose K Rico to be part of your pre or post-theater night on the town.

Tuesday through Sunday
4pm – 12am
Bar open at 4pm; Dinner served from 5pm

K RICO South American Steakhouse
772 9th Ave
New York, NY 10019
(212) 757-9393