Have you ever been to a Fry’s Electronics store? Back when I was in high school, Fry’s was a place for geeks to stock up on computer parts. The typical customer was probably a single dude who liked to play Counterstrike in his spare time and did not have a girlfriend and probably did not care about that. To me, Ikinari Steak in the East Village is like the Fry’s of steakhouses. You’re essentially surrounded by a lot of single dudes who are happily eating their reasonably priced thick-cut steaks while standing (there are no seats at Ikinari, although they recently added a few booths). Some of them might get aggressive and even order two steaks each, like the two men next to us who essentially had a Louis CK-style dinner bang bang and ate four steaks total and did not give a crap about anyone witnessing the gluttony.
Ikinari’s angle is that they serve high quality cuts of meat at reasonable prices, which they’re able to do by doing away with real seats, having a pretty limited menu and needing less staff so that they can focus on sheer turnover. And that probably also explains why the steakhouse attracts a lot of guys. Standing while you’re eating and having your clothes absorb meat smells isn’t appealing to most women.
The way the ordering process works is you line up at the counter and pick out the cut and size of meat that you want. You can choose from a ribeye, sirloin and a filet, and if the average size of meat is 12 ounces, then the total price of your steak will range somewhere between $30-$37. That’s not bad considering a 10 ounce filet mignon can easily fetch $50 at a BLT or Wolfgang’s. The meat is of a very good quality, so what you’re getting is comparable to something at a well-known steakhouse, but the trade-off is that you’re most likely standing while eating your steak and you’re surrounded by Counterstrike fans having dinner bang-bangs. If you like your meat a little more marbled and flavorful, then the sirloin is the way to go, while those who like leaner cuts obviously should stick with the filet. Ikinari recommends that you cook their steaks rare, but I found that my medium rare filet tasted just fine. Pair it with a side of garlic pepper rice and a beer, and you’ll have a perfect meal for a guys’ night out.
90 E. 10th St (between 3rd and 4th Ave)
New York, NY 10003