Last week, my dad came to visit me and my brother for a couple of days. Since my dad is a huge fan of steak, I decided to make reservations at Sparks Steak House. I read a couple of favorable reviews and I hadn’t been there myself, so I thought it would be a good blogging opportunity. Sparks might be most famous for two mobsters being killed in front of the restaurant after dinner (according to Wikipedia, Gambino crime family boss Paul Castellano and mobster Thomas Bilotti were gunned down near its entrance before having dinner in 1985 under the orders of John Gotti):
David ended up eating with our coworkers since it was someone’s last day at the company, but tagged along since we were eating with our dad. My dad just spent the day at Columbia University and I had spent the entire day working and snacking, so we basically had one person that was hungry and two semi-hungry people. We started off with the bread:
The bread was actually served warm, something I haven’t experienced much at steakhouses, which melted the cold slabs of butter. David cut me off after one piece, saying something to the waiter about my carb intake (not funny, David).
The menu was incredibly large (size-wise) and really difficult to handle at the small table, but in the majority of the reviews, I read that the NY Strip steak is the piece of meat to order. Not wanting to look at the menu too long because the menu was so large and uncomfortable for me to hold, my dad and I ordered a strip steak (medium rare), lamb (David’s choice), and mushroom buttons. Everything came out on a little cart (dim sum style):
NY Strip steak on the left, lamb on the right
The strip steak was kind of disappointing; the charring on the steak made pieces inedible (pieces were actually so blackened that when I bit into it, it just disintegrated in my mouth). The lamb, on the other hand, was very tender, well cooked (also medium rare), and very juicy and meaty. My dad was a little disappointed with the steak, but also really liked the lamb. For once, David didn’t like everything (he’s not a picky eater); David liked the lamb and we all agreed that the steak was not that great.
The mushroom buttons:
Originally, we wanted to order the creamed spinach, but David is deathly allergic to spinach, so we went with the mushrooms instead. The mushrooms were meaty and cooked very well, but nothing to write home about.
I usually don’t order dessert at restaurants because I love going to Pinkberry after meals, but David was in the mood for ice cream, so we ordered some chocolate chocolate-chip ice cream:
Three scoops in one order was definitely enough for the three of us (I don’t know how anyone can eat a full order of steak AND order dessert. The ice cream was rich, dense, very chocolately, and well-liked by all of us. The three of us after dinner:
A few things that annoyed me about Sparks and that will make me stay away from the steakhouse in the future:
1. For our 8pm reservation, they weren’t ready and made us wait at the bar. I understand that sometimes reservations aren’t ready if the restaurant is really busy, but there weren’t that many people in the restaurant. I really dislike it when restaurants push you to the bar to get pre-dinner drinks because I don’t drink and just end up standing at a bar waiting for my table that is obviously ready.
2. Their menus were super large and difficult to place anywhere. This is such a small issue, but their menus really made me cringe – why do you have to have a menu that is half my body size when you only serve 7 or 8 things?!
3. Their food just isn’t that great. With so many other steakhouses to choose from, Sparks is definitely not a place I’d recommend to any of my friends, families, or readers. I’d rather go to the Striphouse than Sparks (and that is saying a lot since I got deathly ill after my dinner at the Striphouse).