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Rothmann's Steakhouse, East Norwich

A look a the dining area at Rothmann's

A look a the dining area at Rothmann's Steakhouse. (Feb. 19, 2010) Credit: Yana Paskova

The big restaurant at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Route 106 has had different names over the last century. But it's remembered mostly as "Rothmann's," which locals used even during the say-a-little-prayer, Burt Bacharach era. Currently: Rothmann's Steakhouse, which says everything. You go for shellfish cocktails, a porterhouse, plenty of potatoes, creamed spinach.

In the past six months or so, moving beyond the red-meat basics, however, has turned into a riskier proposition. Overall, it's less consistent than the Chas. Rothmann's of a decade ago. But the bar scene explodes on high-decibel, beyond-buoyant Thursdays, set to amped-up, live music. Your call.

THE BEST

Rothmann's means porterhouse, sirloin, filet mignon, rib - all first-rate and generally cooked to order. Just remember that it's always wise to veer closer to rare than to higher temperatures. Overdone happens. Pair your cut with the savory creamed spinach, sauteed onions or with roasted-garlic mashed potatoes. Precede it with either the shrimp or crabmeat cocktail; or a bracing shellfish bisque, with nuggets of lobster and shrimp. Alternatives include the fundamental combo of tomatoes and onions; and the chopped "Chas." salad, with shrimp, bacon, onions, green beans. You can stay contentedly carnivorous with a tender starter of Kobe beef short rib, on a mound of head-clearing, wasabi-spiked mashed spuds, in a portion that could double as a lunch main course. Good sesame tuna. And the dependable dessert is Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

THE REST

Very overcooked Dover sole meunière; and dry, stuffed lobster, which looks like it collided with a crab cake. The crab cakes themselves need more crab; onion soup gratinée, more seasoning. Skip the pasty bacon-Cheddar croquettes; harsh barbecue sauce with the Kansas City sirloin, and the bland "au poivre" with any other steak. Standard cheesecake, routine Key lime pie. Boston cream pie: dense baby food. Anyone expecting a souffle from the warm, chocolate "creation" will find one more molten-center cake.

BOTTOM LINE

Medium

Chas. Rothmann's Steakhouse is located at 6319 Northern Blvd., East Norwich, 516-922-2500

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