It’s been a while since we were able to post restaurant reviews in this space, and I’m so happy to bring them back with a look at our recent visit to Tasca, a neighborhood gem located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. An ideal destination for a Date Night or any occasion, Tasca offers an elevated, contemporary blend of Spanish and Latin-Caribbean cuisines, paying homage to the traditional recipes and flavors of Spain, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. I have not been to another restaurant quite like it.
One of the best things about the expansion of uptown Q Train service is that it’s now so much easier for downtown foodies to escape their dining comfort zone and visit great restaurants on the upper east side, such as TBar Steak & Lounge! At TBar, you’ll encounter the same high quality steaks served at classic, old-school establishments like Morton’s or Bobby Van’s, but TBar’s sleek, contemporary decor elevates the atmosphere to something a bit more festive, while they also offer a broader menu. Despite the word Steak being prominently displayed in its name, TBar’s also serves expertly-prepared fish, chicken and duck dishes as well as burgers, pasta, and huge fresh salads, so there really is something on the menu for every palate.
It’s been more than a year since our previous review of Bobby Van’s Grill on West 50th Street, so it was a special treat to be invited back again for another taste of what we here at The Gig consider to be the Best Filet Mignon in Manhattan. Just being serious. Here are a few of the reasons why this surely won’t be our last visit to this Midtown gem.
First of all, the place is gorgeous. Bobby Van’s is an old school steakhouse fitted out in warm woods, polished brass fixtures and classic lighting moderated by decorative glass shades. As soon as you enter the restaurant, which is fronted by a spectacular long bar, you feel comfortable and welcome, but also like you are in for a very special dining experience.
A steak house might be described as Manly, Elegant or Down Home, depending on its location, target clientele and the type of image it wants to project. Open for under a month and centrally located just a few blocks west of Macy’s or east of Times Square, Desmond’s Steak House seems to indicate that one Steak House can be all things to all people, within reason of course. Occupying an 8,000 square-foot space (formerly the site an OTB) at 513 Seventh Avenue, Desmond’s is a welcome dining addition to a neighborhood that’s somewhat calling out for a renaissance. Before you even open a menu, the interior of Desmond’s offers you a choice of rooms and dining spaces in which to enjoy your meal, each with subtly different décor to suit your mood, or the size of your party.
Fine Dining in New York City does not have to mean sitting in pretentious surroundings faced with unfamiliar food choices that sound more like works of art than something delicious to put in your mouth. More often than not, the greatest dining pleasures are derived from simple choices, such as a nicely cooked steak accompanied by a few favorite side dishes, and served in the comfort of a warm and classic old school atmosphere.
Bobby Van’s has perfected this approach to earn the reputation as one of the top Steak Houses in the city. At their midtown location, Bobby Van’s Grill, you’ll find all of their steak house and seafood specialties sharing an expanded menu that includes wood fired pizzas and pastas, catering to the tastes of the family-oriented clientele that frequents this Broadway-adjacent neighborhood. When we stopped in to BVG on a recent, seasonably chilly December evening however, we were there for one thing: a delicious steak dinner. We got just what we came for.
We find it is best to stay on the lighter side with starters when a steak is imminent, so we looked for an interesting salad to share. Warm Crispy Artichokes and Fresh Greens ($15.95) surprised and delighted us with its fresh and innovative use of chopped, flash-fried artichoke hearts tossed in a lemon vinaigrette with frisee, diced tomatoes and parmigiano reggiano, topped with a Parmesan crisp. Very highly recommended.
We will never pass up the opportunity to order a fine Filet Mignon and Bobby Van’s, priced at $49.95, is an outstanding value (a petite filet is $43.95, but I say if you are going to go, go all the way). The tasty char seared on the outside of this medium rare baby conceals the perfectly pink center of a buttery meat mountain. The accompanying Béarnaise sauce is a terrific complement, but we also enjoyed dipping alternate bites into Bobby Van’s own house steak sauce, which is the perfect blend of tomatoey sweetness with a horseradish kick.
We’ve come to think of Hash Brown potatoes as a traditional complementary side to a good steak. Bobby Van’s Hash Browns are lightly infused with flavorful bits of sauteed onion and green pepper and browned in clarified butter to ensure that they are crisp but not greasy.
Creamed Spinach: Simple and Classic.
The baked Macaroni and Cheese, made with white cheddar, has become a new favorite (how could we have forgotten the fact that beef and cheese taste so great together?). This dish has a delicious homemade essence but somehow also manages to taste light and delicate. If you are trying not to go crazy on the carbs, I would certainly suggest Mac and Cheese as a suitable potato-side substitute.
All side dishes are portioned generously enough for two and priced to share at $11.95 each.
It goes without saying that there is no room for dessert after such a sumptuous meal, but we were so intrigued by the 21 Layer Crepe Cake that we could not resist on the possibility that we could manage even a single bite. This very light and luscious treat is comprised simply of whipped cream sandwiched between layers of thin, tender crepes and topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry coulis. Point being, even if you think you are too stuffed for dessert, you can likely finish this one as it is lighter than air, yet very satisfying to the sweet tooth.
Our very attentive and enthusiastic waiter also recommended we sample an off-menu special dessert on the night of our visit, the Pumpkin Nuage: a cheesecake with a traditional graham cracker crust whose filling’s texture is somewhat like that of a pie. If you are a fan of cheesecake and pumpkin pie, this dessert will knock your socks off.
For its delicious delivery of our favorite comfort foods in a festive and comfortable atmosphere, Worleygig.com recommends Bobby Van’s Grill for your midtown dining engagements, but especially when you want to have the best.
Bobby Van’s Grill is located 135 West 50th Street (Between 6th and 7th Avenues), New York, NY 10020, and is convenient to many subways including the 1, N and R Trains. Hours are Monday to Friday: 11:30 AM – 11 PM, Saturday and Sunday: 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM. Phone (212) 957-5050 for Reservations.