Three former Peter Luger servers—brothers Jack and Russ Sinanaj, along with cousin Ben—are behind Ben & Jack’s, a Luger-like spot that spares free-spending carnivores a taxi to Williamsburg and an extra trip to the ATM. But Ben & Jack’s differentiates itself by its interior; the place is bursting with retro touches—oak, mahogany and frosted glass—like an old hotel. The spot will be notably appealing to anyone hosting a private party or stealthy business meeting that requires closed doors, thanks to the addition of a half-dozen private clubby dining rooms that flank the main room. Ultimately it’s the food you come for, and chef Burim Bajrami (another Luger veteran) prepares torpedo-shaped onion rolls, jumbo black tiger shrimp, thick slices of tomatoes and onions, and, of course, a “house” red horseradish sauce—a remarkably reverse-engineered version of Luger’s concoction, right down to the molasses, eschalots and anchovies. But the communal porterhouse is the main event. The meat here is presliced, colored plastic forks denote how well your steak is cooked, and the platter is propped up at an angle so grease can collect and be lovingly ladled back onto the steak. A terrific char covers the outside, and on the inside, the strip tastes like strip and the filet tastes like filet. Soft and tender, the pieces near the bone peel off like high-grade sushi. Ben & Jack’s sides and desserts don’t veer from the standard steakhouse formula, but this is often what people want at a midtown steakhouse. The wine list is short but smart, led by top California producers such as Kistler and Ridge. And the hot-fudge sundae is lovingly served with more sauce than ice cream, plus a bowl of schlag (Lugerese for whipped cream).
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse
|Venue name:||Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse|
219 E 44th St
|Cross street:||between Second and Third Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Fri 11:30am–10:30pm; Sat, Sun 5–10:30pm|
|Transport:||Subway: 42nd St S, 4, 5, 6, 7 to 42nd St–Grand Central|
|Price:||Average main course: $38. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V|