By Jessica Lee
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse Review
Ben & Jack’s Menu:
Appetizer: Yellowfin Tuna Tartare
Main Course: Prime Rib and Rib Eye Steak
Side Dish: Lobster Mac n’ Cheese
Dessert: Creme Brulee
Greeting/Entering the Restaurant
We were greeted at Ben & Jack’s in a friendly manner upon arrival and seated immediately with absolutely no wait time. If the weather was a bit nicer out I would’ve taken up the offer to sit outside, but when I’m drenched in humid sweat from speed-walking to my dinner reservation, the last thing I want to do is sit away from the AC. I guess you can say I was excited to participate in a glorious meal that could be life-changing. Come to think of it, any meal with the word “steak” is life-changing to me, so let’s just say I was excited to eat. The overall temperature indoors was just right, and the staff was very accommodating.
Ben & Jack’s Dinner Service:
The menus were brought quickly and we were offered an option of sparkling or still water, as well as the option to order additional beverages – I stuck with good ole City water. The waiter offered us additional time to order, and didn’t rush a single thing throughout the night. He was very attentive to detail and consistently refilled our glasses when they were below the ⅔ full mark. His white button-up shirt and black pants were neatly pressed, and the pens in his left shirt pocket were all facing the same direction and clipped onto the pocket – Yes, I was checking out his pocket, and he sure did not disappoint. No stains on his apron or clothing, so I can tell it was a clean place with little mishaps.
Enough about clothes and pens, let’s get into the nitty gritty – the food:
The Yellowfin Tuna Tartare: A cross between tex-mex and japanese fusion comes to mind. The tuna sat on top of a bed of guacamole, and was seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce, a hint of mirin and fresh cilantro. The sauce on the plate enhanced the tuna flavor. No fishy taste and a rich deep red color, so I know it was fresh. Presentation was done with a ring-mold. It came with 2 pieces of cracker, and although it would’ve been nice to have additional crackers to dip in, the tartare tasted great on its own as well.
The Prime Rib and Ribeye Steaks: Grilled to perfection and were not too heavy on the salt, which I was super thankful for. You could really taste the essence of the meat itself and the quality behind the aging. I can’t tell you how many times I go to a regular steakhouse and get annoyed with an overdose of salt. No sir, I would not like some steak with my salt- This place got it just right.
The prime rib cut through like butter and the ribeye had great char marks and flavor as well. The butcher trimmed most of the excess fat, so I don’t die of high cholesterol/blood pressure, but left just enough behind to keep the steak moist and delicious. I can see why this place calls themselves a steakhouse.
The Lobster Mac n’ Cheese: Again, I appreciate the fact that nothing was over-salted here. Quality cheese and decent sized pieces of lobster chunks. Decadent but not overly buttery – these people must have really been concerned about my health tonight, because they kept the salt and butter content low- I love it. You can tell they really care about letting the ingredients shine on their own, rather than trying to mask it with salt, butter and spices.
The Creme Brulee: Now I’m not a huge dessert fan, but I sure did make room for this to close out the meal, and boy was it worth it. The creme brulee was silky and not overly sweet and torched wonderfully to give that signature sugar crust. There were hints of citrus notes – I sensed a very light touch of lime similar to something you might find in a key lime pie, without the sour component.
I would absolutely recommend Ben and Jack’s Steakhouse to family and friends. The experience and staff get a big thumbs up for their attention to detail and friendly demeanor. The wait staff dressed in a presentable manner and the distance between neighboring tables were far enough for a comfortable and “private” feel. The atmosphere included dimmed lights, moderate noise level for conversations and soft music that lingered in the background, but nothing that distracted me for my eating experience. Food came in a timely manner and the waiters understood the importance of not rushing the whole experience. Overall, a great place in a great neighborhood; I would return again.
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse is located at 255 5TH AVENUE NEW YORK, NY 10016.