[all photos by Conor Rose]
Midtown Manhattan is a tough one when it comes to deciding where to eat. Known as a land full of chain restaurants and tourist traps, it’s overwhelming to just think about the neighborhood – but among the insanely bright lights and massive crowds, you’ll find Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, a restaurant that has defined itself as a key player in the NYC steakhouse scene. It has drawn comparisons to other NYC steakhouse titans such as Peter Luger, which should come as no surprise – Ben & Jack’s was opened by immigrants who landed entry level positions at Peter Luger, rose to the ranks as managers, and eventually took their experience and (literally) their tip money and opened up their own restaurant.
Executive Chef Admir Alibasic helms the kitchen with a solid grasp and a wealth of hands-on and technical knowledge, starting as a prep cook while also getting his degree in food science – so you know he knows his stuff. Sorry, vegetarians – Ben & Jack’s is a carnivore’s dream, with every cut in every size to accommodate whatever steak situation you desire.
We hear you can’t go to any good steakhouse and not start with bacon, so we went for it, ordering two sizzling, hefty cuts of Canadian bacon, glistening with melty fat and touched with the right amount of crispy char – in other words, the meat snack of our dreams. Not wanting to overdo the meat before we even got to the steak, we also opted for seafood to follow – Ben & Jack’s offers a selection of East and West Coast oysters and a yellowfin tuna tartare with avocado and seaweed salad, two cool, fresh dishes to complement the meat to come.
Now, for the star of the show. Chef Admir sources all the USDA prime steak from top purveyors in the city and has them dry-aged in-house – they’re then sliced on the plate, braised in the broiler, and, once tableside, the meat is basted in its juices. The porterhouse for two was prepared to our exact specifications, even though we were at opposite ends of the “how would you like it cooked?” spectrum. Piping hot and still crackling from sizzle, half the steak was prepared on the rarer side of medium rare, and incredibly juicy, flavorful, and still cooking on the plate, while the other half was perfectly well-done, satisfying both of our preferences.
We paired our meal with a side of creamless creamed spinach (not sure what replaced the cream, but definitely sure that it tasted just like the real thing) as well as the German potato for two – potatoes sauteed with onions until extra crispy and super addicting. We rounded out the evening with a margarita and an old fashioned from the bar’s list of classic cocktails. Service was, of course, impeccable, with friendly waiters happy to accommodate in any way possible. If you find yourself in Midtown and are looking to indulge at a classy, yet welcoming steakhouse, Ben & Jack’s has your back.
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse is located at 219 East 44th Street in Manhattan. This meal was provided by Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, however all opinions are our own.