Tag Archive | Steak House

Restaurant Review: TBar Steak & Lounge

T-Bar Steak and Lounge Storefront
Image Courtesy of Lawlor Media. All Other Photos By Gail, Except Where Noted

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.

T-Bar Steak Front Dining Room
Image Courtesy of Lawlor Media

You will feel welcome right away in the the well-lit, open space of the main dining area, though it can get a bit lively when the room is full. If you are looking for a quieter, more intimate dining experience, you can ask for seating in the back room, which has a cozy feel with its recessed, red lighting.

Back Room Interior Shot
Back Dining Room

Flower Vase Interior Shot

TBar also has lovely modern decorative touches, such as these lush flower arrangements displayed in brightly-colored, oversized vases, which help to divide the space.

Olive Bread

While you peruse the menu, be sure to indulge in a slice (or two) of the freshly baked Olive Bread, which is studded with moist, ripe olives and served hot to your table with a selection of other fresh breads.

TBar Cosmo 1

Set the stage for a relaxed meal a with refreshing and potent TBar Cosmo!

Beet Salad Overhead

As an appetizer, my dining companion and I chose to split the Beet & Endive Salad ($17.00) which includes both red and golden beats as well as slivers of crisp apple, creamy goat cheese rounds, and a sprinkling of toasted, lightly candied pumpkin seeds, all tossed with an emulsified vinaigrette.

Beet Salad Detail

I never met a beet salad that I didn’t love, and this one is a palate-pleasing mix of textures, where the hint of sweet nuttiness from the pumpkin seeds really compliments the tang of the apples. This salad is perfectly portioned for sharing.

Plated Filet Mignon

We came to eat steak, and steak is what we ordered, in the form of a thick, 8-ounce Certified Black Angus Filet Mignon ($39), prepared with butter and seasoned simply with kosher salt and black pepper. There are steak lovers who will try to convince you that any cut of beef not served on-the-bone means sacrificing flavor for tenderness, but I do not subscribe to this school of thought. TBar’s filet mignon was absolutely delicious, being tender, pink and juicy on the inside with a flavorful, crispy sear on the outside — perfection! Meat cravings: officially satisfied!

Medium Rare Filet
Medium Rare is The Way to Go!

Steak Sauces

A roasted half-bulb of garlic accompanies the steak, should you feel compelled to dip the tip of your knife into one of the cloves and apply a dab of its mellow goodness to your meat (or try mixing a bit into one of your side dishes). A trio of complementary sauces will also arrive at your table, including the house Steak Sauce, classic Béarnaise, and Au Poivre sauce, that let you change it up to your liking!

Steak Elevation

Sides Overhead View

For our sides, we went with the Mashed Potatoes ($10), which were creamy, buttery bliss, and the Crispy Brussel Sprouts ($10) with thick cut bacon and a balsamic reduction. You can choose to omit the bacon if you prefer. Portions are generous and both sides could serve three people, depending on much food you have ordered.

Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp With Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream

Finally, despite being completely full and satisfied from a delicious steakhouse meal, we could not say no to TBar’s decadent desserts  — the Banana Parfait Mille Feuilles, which serves a party of four ($24), is especially legendary — and our selections did not disappoint! For easy sharing, a great choice is the warm Apple Crisp ($15) drizzled generously with caramel sauce and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This dessert is loaded with tender apples, and so huge it could easily serve three people. (Confession: I took half of it home to eat the next day!)

Lemon Cheese Cake

There was also a special dessert that we could not resists:  Lemon Cheesecake ($12) with a sauce of tart lemon curd and fresh raspberries, which was so light it nearly floated off the plate. It tasted just as good as it looks!

Interior Shot with Boxes

As an aside, TBar Steak & Lounge happens to be located right next door my favorite import/gift/ housewares store, Flying Tiger (really, go there, you’ll thank me).  I noticed when we were seated that the restaurant had placed a selection of Flying Tiger’s navy-and pink-polkadot round storage boxes in the front window as part of their display. The boxes not only looked great, but this action ups the neighborhood-gem vibe that you get from TBar, while saying so much about how this restaurant supports local commerce. Just another reason why I’ll be looking forward to future visits.

TBar Steak & Lounge is Located at 1278 Third Avenue near the Northwest Corner of 73rd Street, NYC. Visit their Website at TBar NYC Dot Com.

Advertisements

Top Ten Things I Love About Bobby Van’s Grill

Bobby Vans Grill Interior
I Love This Place (Photo Courtesy Bobby Van’s Grill)

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.

Which brings us to  service that is exceptional on every level. Our waiter and additional wait staff were all friendly and attentive, but also confident and invested in making sure each customer has a memorable meal at Bobby Van’s. General Manager Paul Modica even stopped by our table to make sure we were being taken care of. Paul, who has a professional background like something out of a movie, also entertained us briefly with engaging stories of his impressive career in the restaurant business, which began when he was just 14 years old. Paul is the coolest.

Warm Crispy Artichoke Salad

Among an exhaustive list of tempting appetizers and salads, the Warm, Crispy Artichoke Salad ($15.95) stands out — served as a portion generous enough to split with your dining companion, but also hearty enough to satisfy as a main dish at a lunch visit. These lightly battered and quick fried, tender artichoke hearts mixed with frisee greens are tossed with tangy Parmesan cheese and then garnished with another slice of cheese. This is a very special salad the likes of which I’ve not encountered at other steakhouse restaurants.

Brussels Sprouts

When it comes to choosing your accompanying vegetable side dishes you will not have an easy time of it, as there are so many good things to try. On this visit we opted for the Brussels Sprouts, which are sauteed in garlic, rosemary and olive oil before being lightly braise and crisped  with a quick trip to the oven, for an elegant presentation.

Creamed Spinach

And if you’re going for Classic Steakhouse Meal sides all the way, their Creamed Spinach cannot be topped.

Mac and Cheese

Look at this Macaroni and Cheese. Just look at it. Bobby Van’s serves an authentic baked Macaroni and Cheese, created with two different kinds of White Cheddar (English and American) plus Parmesan cheeses and topped with bread crumbs and seasonings. This dish is culinary perfection in a white ramekin.

Filet Mignon

Here it is, the star of our show: The Filet Migon! You can see the masterful result of perfect cooking in the lightly charred and caramelized crust on the filet’s exterior, which reveals a perfect, juicy medium pink inside (medium rare is also recommended, depending on your preference). At approximately 16 ounces pre-cooked weight, this steak is a bargain at $49.95.   Bobby Van’s signature Filet is so flavorful, buttery tender and outrageously delicious that it tastes perfect on its own, though a side of rich Bearnaise sauce comes with the entree. You may want to also try…

Bobby Vans Steak Sauce

Bobby Van’s Original Homemade Steak Sauce, just to change it up and keep your palate amused. A little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, so so so good.

21 Layer Crepe Cake

OK, it’s time for dessert and that means just one thing: 21 Layer Crepe Cake! Trust me, this pastry treat tastes even better than it looks — and it looks pretty great! You can see in this photo how whipped cream-like custard is layered between stacks of tender crepes to create a dessert that is both decadent and yet light. While Bobby Van’s does procure these cakes from an outside vendor, they prepare it their own with garnishes of mint leaves, fresh sliced Strawberries and tart Raspberry Coulis. This cake is a must have on any visit and is perfect to share after an indulgent meal.

Finally, we love the value of a visit to Bobby Van’s Grill. Considering the high quality, consistently delicious food and generous portions of all their dishes, the prices are quite reasonable, and the menu is so extensive and varied that you can find dining choices to suit  any budget. We recommend that you consider Bobby Van’s Grill to be a desired destination for all celebratory events as well as just a rewarding weeknight  break from the grind!

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.

Desmond’s Steak House Offers a Tailored Dining Experience

Desmonds Globe Lighting Front Entrance
Interior Photos By Gail. Food Photos By Anne Raso.

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.

Front Bar

Entering on 38th Street just east of Seventh Avenue, you’ll notice the restaurant’s ground floor meat locker, stuffed with cuts from Strassburger Meats (which also supplies steaks to Keen’s and Sparks) before ascending a glass block-encircled staircase featuring suspended deco globe lighting – very lovely and unique! At the top of the stairs a gorgeous, marble-topped wraparound bar welcomes you.

Desmond's Bar Area Seating

The front of the restaurant features tufted-leather booths that separate the bar from a private dining area – done in lighter finishes with distinctive architectural features like brick arches, fieldstone and porthole-like faux windows – that’s ideal for hosting a special event.

Private Dining Area

Private Booths

Follow the bar around to the right and you’ll pass a row of private booths perfect for a romantic dinner for two, before entering the massive, clubhouse-like dining room overlooking Seventh Ave – an open setting suited for anything from a family get together to a business dinner. No matter what the occasion, you’ll feel comfortable at Desmond’s.

Main Dining Area

Grilled Slab Bacon

To start our meal, we selected the Grilled Slab Bacon appetizer ($15), which was noticeably less fatty than the usual steakhouse pork belly, and the edges had a tasty crispiness. This dish is served with a smooth applesauce whose sweetness makes an excellent accompaniment to the tender, smokey meat.

The menu says that all meats are grain fed and aged 50 days, and as far as selection of prime cuts, all bases are covered. Red meat fans can choose from a NY Sirloin (which is their strip, available in 12oz and 16oz cuts), a T-bone (20oz), a Porterhouse (48oz, portioned for two), a Boneless Ribeye (20oz), a Cowboy Ribeye (bone in, 24oz) and a Filet (in 8 or 14oz portions). If steak is not your thing, they also have selection of delicious-sounding seafood entrees as well as a raw bar that we heard patrons seated near us raving about.

My dining companion and I chose to share the 14-ounce filet ($50). Served with a choice of five specialty sauces, we selected the Horseradish Cream. The generous portion of meat arrived with a perfectly pink interior, and was buttery tender with a flavorful, crispy sear, but we had a bit of an issue with the (unexpected) bone-in presentation.

 Filet with Sauce

It’s no secret that cooking meat on the bone enhances flavor, and while this is generally preferred with, say, a pork chop or fried chicken, on a filet it was just a distraction. I doubt anyone would argue the point that a filet is among the most consistently tasty cuts of beef available, and a fully trimmed cut would certainly not suffer for having the bone removed. Being as Desmond’s has an on-site butcher, perhaps they could consider offering a trimmed version of their filet in addition to the bone-in presentation. Since it is considered inappropriate to gnaw on a bone in a fancy restaurant, much of the delicious meat was lost to us – definitely the only disappointment of the evening.

Grilled Veal Chop

As a second entrée, we selected the Grilled Veal Chop ($40) served with Horseradish Potato Puree and topped with sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms. This grilled-to-perfection chop was thick, juicy, lean and scrumptious – qualifying as possibly the best veal chop in the city. My dining companion especially loved the Horseradish Potato Puree, declaring it to be the best she’d ever tasted.

Creamed SpinachMashed PotatoesExotic Mushrooms

For sides to share we chose the naturally sweet Creamed Spinach ($11), Mashed Potatoes ($9) and the sautéed Exotic Mushrooms ($11). I would say that each side serves 2 – 4 persons, depending on how many sides you order and individual appetites. The portions are definitely very generous!

Vanilla Panna Cotta

We finished off a hearty meal with couple of small but satisfying sweet treats from Desmond’s enticing Dessert Menu. Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberries Three Ways ($8) was sweet and light with the best fresh raspberries I’ve ever tasted. The Warm Chocolate Cake ($9) has a delicious milk chocolate flavor but it virtually dissolved when we tried to divide it between us, so I’d advise you not to do, that unless you don’t mind the mess, which we did not.

Service at Desmond’s is top shelf and our server, David, was especially friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. We look forward to exploring the menu further on a future return trip.

Warm Chocolate Cake

Desmond’s is located at 513 Seventh Avenue (enter on 38th Street), New York, NY 10018. Phone (212) 391-6900 for Reservations or visit their website at Desmond’s Steakhouse and Grill.com.

Bobby Van’s Grill: Fine Dining Made Easy

Bobby Vans Interior Shot
All Photos By Gail Unless Noted

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.

Artichoke Salad

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.

Filet Mignon

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.

Hashed Browns by Anne
 Above Photo By Anne Raso

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
Creamed Spinach: Simple and Classic.

Mac & Cheese

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.

Crepe Layer Cake

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.

Pumpkin Nuage

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.

Bobby Vans Steak Sauce
Bobby Van’s delicious bottled steak sauce is sweet but spiked with horseradish for a tasty kick. 

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.
Bobby Vans Bag

Christos Steak House: A Steak Lover’s Paradise

Full Feast Perspective Shot at Christos Steak House
The Feast Awaits (All Food Photos By Naomi “Natalie” Markewitz)

The greatest discovery any foodie can make is finding a local restaurant where you just know when you sit down at your table that anything you could order on the menu will be delicious. This is not the same thing as having a favorite restaurant where you really love the Cheese Enchiladas or the Green Coconut Curry. I’m talking about a dining establishment that not only serves your favorite dish, but a place where the quality of what you already know you love is so amazing that you’re encouraged to try things you might not have otherwise. It is from such circumstances that true Food Adventurism is born, and that just makes life more enjoyable. Because dining out is awesome.

We recently went on a food adventure (outside the borough of Manhattan, even) to a wonderful Greek Steak House called Christos, where we ate the Best Steak of Our Lives, and also enjoyed various other delicious foods that put us into a satisfying food coma. We are going to share that experience with you now. Please settle in.

Dining Room Detail at Christos Steak House

Located in Astoria Queens, half a mile from very last stop on the Q or N line, Christos is everything a classic steak house should be while also offering a distinctive Greek touch to their dishes. The interior is warm and unpretentious and you can choose to have your meal in the front room, well lit with natural light from the street, or a more intimate area towards the back, which would probably be good for a larger, private party. If you’re on your own, or prefer a more casual seating area, there’s plenty of space and extra tables in the bar area.

Interior Bar Shot at Christos Steak House

Service is friendly and very accommodating, so you really feel welcome and that your patronage is appreciated. The menu is quite extensive and as long as you have brought along your heartiest appetite you should find it challenging on what to choose, as every item looks so amazing.

Select Appetizer Trio at Christos Steak House
Signature Appetizers: Crab Cakes, Lamb Cigar, Fried Cauliflower

Christos has the Surf and the Turf fully covered. For fans of Oysters, there’s an impressive Raw bar, and their menu of Signature Appetizers, (Priced $10 – $19) includes a wide variety of seafood options including fried or grilled Calamari, Charred Octopus, Mussels Aegean (White wine, garlic, plum tomatoes, feta) and two varieties of Baked Clams. Diners can also sample smaller portions of Christos‘ specialties by choosing the Trio Appetizers ($15), to mix and match three selections from a generous list of meat, vegetable and seafood delicacies to whet your appetite. With a wish to be adventurous while leaving room for big a fat steak, we chose a sampling of tiny Crab Cakes in lemon remoulade, one fillo wrapped minced Lamb Cigar with roasted pepper yogurt sauce (the best lamb cigar we’ve ever tasted) and the barely-battered crispy Fried Cauliflower. The flavorful and meaty crab cakes are fried in clarified butter at a high temperature that makes it possible to use virtually no breadcrumb coating (this is one of chef Mina Newman’s secrets, which we are sharing with you now!)

While Christos also serves a succulent center cut Pork Chop ($22) and Lemon Thyme Brined organic half Chicken ($19), we came to eat a big steak. Once we saw this in the front window:

Raw Filet Displayed at Christos Steak House

We quickly decided on Christos’ 10 ounce Filet at $36 (a 14 oz is available for $45). All of Christos beef (except for the filet) is carefully dry aged for 21 days in their temperature controlled cold aging room to achieve peak flavor and supreme tenderness. Steaks can be paired with select sauces or crusts to further enhance the flavor ($6 – 8). My dining companion chose the Roquefort Cheese and Red Wine Garlic Sauce, while I opted for a sauce of Wild Mushrooms in port wine sauce called Mavrodaphne. The Port reduction added a distinctive sweetness to the rich sauce that I really enjoyed, though it might not be to everyone’s taste. Most importantly, the filet was absolutely perfectly cooked medium, with a pink center and crisp sear, melt-in-the-mouth tender, juicy and flavorful. Best. Steak. Ever. That is all.

Gails Steak and Feast at Christos Steak House
Featured Sides, Center: Creamed Spinach, Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes, Truffle French Fries With Parmesan

Sides are out of control and include twelve different, mouth watering vegetable dishes (we could not do without the Creamed Spinach, cooked to perfection and topped with crispy fried onions, $8) and nine varieties of mashed potatoes, all $8.00 and portioned for sharing (our selection: Sour Cream & Chive). Truffled French Fries with Parmesan Cheese were an off-menu special that night, so we had to have them as well. Because, Truffle Fries.

Baked Astoria Dessert at Christos Steak House

There is little chance that anyone will have room for dessert after indulging in such a feast, but we forced ourselves to order the Baked Astoria, a take on the classic Baked Alaska created by Christos by sandwiching cookies and cream ice cream in between layers of chocolate and red velvet cakes, covered with Meringue peaks and flambéed — a over-the-top ending to a magnificent meal. We shall be returning to Christos for further Food Adventures.

Christos is located at 4108 23rd Ave, Astoria, New York 11105 (Take the N or Q Train to the last stop, Astoria/Ditmars, turn left on 23rd Avenue and walk 10 blocks up to Christos – so easy!). Visit Christos on the web at This Link to view the complete menu or to make reservations.