Enter Ben & Jack’s Steak House and you will be received warmly and welcomed by either one of the owners—Ben or Jack (of course). The congeniality adds to the quality culinary experience that satiates your palate.
But it's not just a steak house, there is plenty here for everyone.
The setting is a creative blend of East and West—a reminder that it was a Chinese restaurant before Ben and Jack took over three and a half years ago.
They kept the original dark wooden panels, the wooden doors with delicately etched glass panels, while adding old style Western accessories, such as the chandeliers and the dining tables. Open doors accommodate large parties of about 200 people, and closed doors accommodate private, small gatherings without destroying the charm.
The fresh food ingredients are a sure reason for paying a visit to Ben & Jack's. Only the best U.S.D.A. prime beef is served, dried, and aged for up to 28 days—aged in house in their own aging box. Ben handpicks the meat and fish from local markets.
Vegetarians can also enjoy the side dishes from the deliciously prepared eclectic selection of vegetarian side dishes. While the wine list is comprised of 200 wines carefully selected from different parts of the world with prices ranging between $55 and $5,000 per bottle.
The portions are hefty, satisfying, and very tasty—serving Luger-style porterhouse for two, three, or four, prime rib eye, New York sirloin steak, and filet mignon. The steak is subtly seasoned and cooked according to your desire. An alternative to steak would be the lamb chops.
If you are not in the mood for red meat, of course there is a wide selection of seafood. Starting with appetizers such as shrimp cocktails; Maryland crab cakes; fresh oysters or little necks on half shell, a seafood platter, or for the main course a nice selection of fish—Chilean sea bass, grilled Norwegian salmon, grilled yellowfin tuna, crab cakes and, if you are really hungry, a four-pound lobster is also available on the menu.
With this classic fare, nice complementary side dishes are available, such as the creamed spinach, sautéed mushrooms, and potatoes prepared in many different ways—German potato is one of their signature dishes.
My friend and I started with one order of mixed green salad with the house dressing ($9.95). The salad was fresh, crispy, and refreshing. The vegetables were very fresh, and the dressing was not overpowering with a nice balance of oil, herbs, and vinegar. For those who like to indulge, especially in a place like this, I highly recommend the prime rib ($39.95). It was served the way I like it: marinated in light seasoning and slightly smeared on the top giving a mixture of texture—crispy on the outside and tender and juicy inside with subtle flavors. My friend, who is more health conscious, ordered another favorite of mine—the Chilean Sea Bass ($33.95) that was out of this world. It was deboned and broiled to perfection. Sweet, delicate, rich, and delicious is how I would describe it. I would have ordered it, had I not been feeling decadent that evening. With those two dishes, we shared a platter of onion rings and cottage fries ($11.95) and creamed spinach ($9.95), which I thought was one of the best I had. Small amount of cream with the spinach and, of course, the German potatoes ($10.95) and sautéed mushrooms ($12.95).
There was no room for dessert. All desserts are traditional and served mit schlag (with whipped cream). A nice variety of tea and coffee are also available.
Ben & Jack's Steak House is a place to escape to with friends, for business, or for a meeting of the minds. It is located at 219 East 44th Street, New York, (212) 682-5678, and is open 6 days a week for lunch and dinner. Sundays open for dinner only. Dress code is semiformal or nice casual. Credit cards accepted.