I’m on the road often (or always) and one of the pleasures in which I indulge is dining out. Lately I’ve been in NYC (along with interspersed trips to Europe and Asia) and with my digs at the Waldorf, Midtown has been the default area of exploration. In the past 3 months, I’ve been a familiar face at every steakhouse within walking distance of 50th and Park; here is the typical experience…
…with an unpredictable schedule and working late nights – I often eat alone, making the bar my dining preference. I judge all places on two food items: the porterhouse and creamed spinach; let’s face it, if the establishment can’t get these right, it’s not worth investigating anything else. I eat the filet side first, and intermittently load some creamed spinach on the plate, just so it absorbs a small amount of the juice – this is repeated until only the bone is remaining.
After months of hard work, I have four Midtown suggestions with winners by four categories: Food, Service, The Experience and Bragging Rights
Hands down, the best steaks – most tender cuts and always cooked to perfection (for me, ‘as rare as possible’). The creamed spinach is deliciously lumpy and actually looks like spinach. George at the bar is old school New York which rounds out the atmosphere nicely.
Steaks are very good but not amazing and same with the spinach. The differentiator for BV’s is the service. Ask for Johnny at the bar – the nicest guy who will give you two half sides and charge you for one whole (add the mashed potatoes please…). I feel like an old friend when eating here.
Smith and Wollensky – of course, the classic NYC steakhouse. Everything about the food is mediocre (by fine steakhouse standards) and I’m not a fan of the creamed spinach. It is the strangest shade of green you’ve ever seen and is so pureed it could be mistaken for baby food. The redeeming value of this place? Impressing the layman by being able to say ‘I’ve eaten at Smith and Wollensky’s’.
I would be remiss to not mention Peter Luger’s, every steak connoisseur’s Mecca. Although my favorite of all establishments, I find the trek to Brooklyn too taxing after a long day at the office. But if I am ever in a position to request a last meal, I hope I’m close enough to Brooklyn that my Luger’s steak is popping and sizzling when it’s served.
*Disclaimer* there are some great steakhouses not represented – don’t worry I’ll get to those soon enough
Kindness of Allie for putting so much diligent effort into the blog, I hope you enjoy the day off. And, if you ever find yourself in Midtown, between 8:30 – 10 pm, try one of the haunts above, you may find me refining my assessment of the porterhouse and creamed spinach.
Allie's two cents: Unlike Babe, my measuring stick is the dessert. I like Shula's for their Chocolate Molten Lava Cake, Morton's Chocolate soufflé and Bern's in Tampa for the sheer amount of dessert offerings and the fact that you can reserve your own private dessert room for indulging. On another non-dessert note, be sure to order the burger if you ever find yourself at Lugers during the lunch hour. Don't want to forfeit the steak? Get it as an appetizer as Babe and I did once upon a gluttonous time. And, thank you Babe for taking time during your abbreviated weekend to rescue me mid meltdown..XXOO