[review] We are constantly on the quest for the perfect steak. In New York, the restaurant scene is ever changing…but still, the true ‘powerhouses’ of the steakhouse world remain few and far between. Many can try to imitate the Peter Luger’s of the world, but so often an element is missed and you leave craving a certain je ne sais quoi.
After more than 35 years in the meat preparation business, executive chef Arturo McLeod partnered with fellow Peter Luger alumnus Benjamin Prelvukaj to create Benjamin Steakhouse, a little kept secret for local New Yorkers and those in the know. You can see — and taste — the Luger family resemblance in Benjamin’s juicy, sizzling porterhouses, sized for two, three or four. There are the expected and extremely satisfying staples, the wedge salad with Canadian bacon as thick as your palm—or just the bacon, sans lettuce and dressing. There’s really no better way to start your meal than with a perfectly seared thick slab of pork belly…and a glass of sparkling rosé.
The service is down to earth and friendly—no pretense here, just the knowledge that the food is of the utmost quality and every option on the menu is a good one. Take a client here for a decadent two hour lunch or just treat yourself on your next evening off. Benjamin departs from the typical ‘steakhouse’ atmosphere with a more elegant setting, sophisticated cuisine and a pricey check that’s worth every penny.
Start big and work your way up—a super fresh platter of oysters, lump crab meat and jumbo shrimp tastes like Maine and is an amazing start to the meal. The crab cakes are simple and smart, no fillers with just a thin layer of bread crumbs and oh so delicately seared. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition of elegance and honest pure ‘steakhouse’…the plates all have slight chars to the edges, as if to say they’ve carried their fair share of filet before and the wine list boasts bottles you’d do anything to get in your cellar.
All the USDA beef is dry aged in-house, with the exception of the fresh cut filet. Nothing prepares you for the tantalizing bubbling plate of family style porterhouse that looks like it could feed a small family, even if it’s just for two. The steak comes lightly seared, its subtle savory seasoning the perfect complement to the tender meat. Chops are a popular alternative, both lamb and veal served in double-thick, extra-heavy cuts. On the side, spinach comes extra creamy, and home fries are a classic combo with a few drops of decadent blue cheese. Do not skip dessert—the classic New York Cheesecake, Apple Strudel and Pecan Pie are all scrumptious…you’ll be surprised to find that you still have plenty of room for them.
Hungry yet? You should be. Don’t miss a visit to this classic steakhouse…it has all the traditions of a chophouse with a few updated sophisticated twists. One block from Grand Central and there’s no reason not to visit with your company card and a hearty appetite.
Photography by Jenna Davila