Every morning, I make the same trek across town to my office at Where New York magazine. I get out of Penn Station at 31st and Seventh Ave., then walk down to 29th Street, at which point I start strolling east. And every morning, as I cross over Fifth, I glance over at Ben and Jack’s Steak House, sitting on the east side of the street. Being both carnivorous and curious, I decided I had to try the joint: Ben and Jack’s is one of the few steak houses I have not been to in the Big Apple. So, on a recent mild Tuesday afternoon, I made my way over for a midday red meat treat. The restaurant’s front window is dressed with red and gold-fringed drapes, the window lined with wine bottles. The restaurant inside feels like a classic meat palace: plenty of dark wood, mirrored walls, antique wall sconces and lots of businessmen. I sat at the bar and immediately eyed a couple who ordered identical cheeseburgers, delivered so plump they had trouble biting in to, accompanied by well-done thick-cut steak fries. Tempting as that was, it was the prix fixe lunch I was veering towards as a genuine New York City bargain: $27.95 included a mixed green salad or soup, a choice of 13 main courses, all accompanied by potato and vegetable, dessert and coffee or tea. I opted for a 12-ounce sirloin off that menu, along with a salad starter and espresso finisher. My starter greens were generously portioned, simply tossed in a tasty oil and vinegar dressing. The 12-ounce sirloin comes with the bone, but thoughtfully already cut away from, in thick slices to dig into. The meat was juicy and flavorful, the broccoli fresh, and the final test—my espresso at the end of the meal—was delivered with just the right amount of froth. The dinner menu, with a porterhouse steak for two, three or four motivated me to plan another visit soon.
Important note: as a woman alone at the bar, I felt completely comfortable and well-looked after. Another great steak notch on my steak house belt!
>> Ben & Jack’s Steak House, 255 Fifth Ave., 212.532.7600