Location: 255 5th Avenue
Cuisine: American/Italian Steakhouse
Best Dish: We highly recommend the porterhouse for two. It was filling and tender, the way a good steak should be. For a lighter meal try the seafood pasta. The sauce is decadent and the seafood is well done.
Overall: An easy going yet sophisticated eatery with great service and a delicious menu. Asfar as steakhouses gom it is one of the very best in the city. The owners pride themselves on their amazing hospitality and a well-executed menu.
Last week, we had a splendid dinner in one of New York City’s top steakhouses. Ben & Jack’s Steak House is a popular venue for beef-lovers founded by the Sinanaj family. Cousins, Ben, Jack, Russ, and Harry, moved to the U.S. from Albania more than 20 years ago and from their humble beginnings as busboys, the family now owns 2 steakhouses in NYC. We visited the 5th Ave location on a Monday evening. It was a beautiful clear night, but we opted for seating inside instead of their bistro style seating out front. The large dining area is warm and inviting, as is the pleasant staff who welcome you with bright smiles and a helpful attitude. The staff’s friendliness is a direct reflection of their leadership as Jack is often at the location and is equally hospitable. During our visit he mingled with the other diners and even shared a joke or two, the perfect host.
We started our meal with a round of cocktails I had a Cosmo and my companion had a delightful French Martini.
For our first course, we went for a surf and turf combination of Canadian bacon and baked clams. The bacon is cured in-house and served fresh from the grill, piping hot. We love all things bacon and this was a special treat. The meat was tender and juicy with a nice ratio of fat to protein. The bacon is served in big thick slices, and though the slices are big enough to share you may want to order one for each bacon lover at your table, after the first bite sharing will no longer be an option. It was sensational!
The baked clams feature a soft buttery bread crumb crust. The clams are cooked perfectly and each bite was delicious.
Once we were done with our entrees, we turned our attention to a sumptuous pasta dish. The seafood pasta features a medley of seasonal options such as lobster, shrimp, clams and the fish of the day. For our visit the fish of the day was bass and it was tasty. The pasta was al-dente and tossed with a beautiful red tomato sauce. Guests also have the option of having white sauce instead.
Lastly, you cannot enter a steakhouse and not have a steak! We simply had to order the Porterhouse for two. The steak is dry aged using an in-house aging box. The meat arrived on a sizzling platter, we were instructed not to touch and we did as instructed the platter was obviously hot and not meant for our delicate fingers. We allowed a few moments of cooling before finally digging in and enjoying the pre-cut morsels of beef. The meat was succulent and tender. Man can’t survive on meat alone so we ordered a trio of sides to go with our steak: German potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and creamed spinach. Sides at a steakhouse are almost always a la carte which is a great way to create a customized tasting of several different options.
Ben & Jack’s Steak House is one of the best restaurants in the city. It is not only popular with locals it holds a special place in the hearts of several celebrities whose pictures and autographs grace the front entrance. Rachel Ray even featured the space on her daytime talk show. The staff is a major part of their success as they treat each table with same respect and dignity the establishment deserves. The fabulous service may be a reason to visit, but the food is why you will return. Each dish was prepared well and presented with a flourish worthy of your hard earned cash. If we have any regret about our visit, it would be that we simply had no room left to enjoy any of their tempting desserts. The portions weren’t enormous, but they were filling. In fact, we even took some home and it was almost as good, if not just as good the second day.