Bobby Van’s Steakhouse
135, West 50th Street
New York, NY
New York City has a plethora of eating options but for some reason, steakhouses come top of mind for me. From old school style establishments to the hip and trendy, steakhouses in this city seemingly have something for everyone seeking out a piece of grilled meat.
Having spent the greater part of the day flying to the east coast, further extended by the weather delays into the airport, I was in a glum mood trudging along the streets of midtown Manhattan in some windy and rainy conditions. With a hockey game on the tele that I was missing, I knew I had to find a place to eat that was showing the game. As we came upon the doors of Bobby Van’s (I couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony of the name of this place and the Canucks misfortunes), I could make out a long white marble topped counter bar, a packed house and some overhead screens, one of which was showing the end of the Montreal-Philly game.
Catering to an older crowd, mainly 40 and 50-somethings in expensive suits befitting the local banking crowd at the bar, the open dining area populated with a few women and men who’d all seen at least their 30th birthday. The place had a classic feel to it with the warm wooden motif, dark colored chairs, high glass chandeliers, antique-looking mirrors mounted on some walls, and of course the white table cloth covered tables scattered across the floor.
Without a reservation however, we could only be seated at an empty table in the private dining room area that had its French doors swung open on this night. With the game nearly over, I figured it was fine. Inside this secluded area already was a party of eight well-dressed British gents, seemingly there to celebrate one of their mates birthday, and clearly all were in the plus 50 range.
Complimentary, un-warmed, bread was brought out in a basket after receiving the menus and meeting our server. I opened with a French Onion soup, passing on their other soup of the day specials. Not too salty, an even layer of melted Gruyère cheese on top, and not over populated with soggy croutons.
As a main, I chose from their entrees selections, going with a plate of two, inch-thick cut roasted pork chops, drizzled in a buttery, black truffle sauce. Broccolini (a green vegetable that looks like broccoli but but has long, thin stalks reminiscent of asparagus) and roasted fingerling potatoes completed the plate. Asked for medium rare and getting it done so, the slabs of pork were tender, juicy inside with a touch of pink. Colored lightly on the exterior, they perhaps could have used a bit more browning to give it a crispier texture. The fragrant scent of truffles added a wonderful earthy element to the hearty pork.
Before walking into Bobby Van’s, it struck me as an expense account kind of place. Looking at our modest bill of meal plus drink, I saw that being true. But getting good cheap eats in this part of town is hard to come by…