A couple weeks ago, a marketing company contacted me regarding a new steakhouse, Ben and Jack’s, that recently opened. I was slightly intrigued because I love steak (see my reviews of Peter Luger’s, Dylan Prime, The Capital Grille, Del Frisco’s and Striphouse) and the two owners, Ben and Jack, used to work at Peter Luger’s. I didn’t do anything with the e-mail, but a week later, I received an invitiation to dine at the steakhouse (from the same marketing firm), so I rounded up the troops (David and Joe) and arranged for a dinner at the restaurant:
The restaurant is walking distance from Madison Square Park and is quite large (it’s two floors and 10,000 square feet) – quite different from Peter Luger’s, but kind of similar to Del Frisco’s. I knew exactly what I wanted to order (for all three of us, actually). The waiter started our meal off with some onion rolls:
The onion rolls were served with cold butter – I wasn’t that big of a fan, but I think it’s because there weren’t enough pieces of onion in the bread (something Luger’s has mastered). Well, I didn’t want to fill myself with bread, anyway, because our appetizers came out really quickly. What did we order, you wonder? Sizzling Canadian bacon:
I absolutely LOVE bacon (who in their right mind doesn’t?) and the pieces at Ben and Jack’s were AMAZING. I mean, MUCH better than the pieces I’ve eaten at Peter Luger’s. The bacon was leaner, juicier, and had a great smokey flavor. We all wanted to order more pieces (at $2.95 a piece, it’s kind of hard not to over-indulge, but I had to remind everyone that we were getting a lot of dishes so we should save room for the awesome food to come).
For our main courses, David and I shared the steak for two (although in all seriousness, I probably could’ve eaten the majority of the steak myself):
and Joe ordered the Strip steak (although we all shared everything so it wasn’t a big deal):
I also ordered two sides – the creamed spinach:
and the German potatoes:
A photograph of the three of us with all of our dishes:
The steak for two was served on a hot plate with sizzling butter and was tender, juicy, and cooked very well (medium rare for all the steaks we ordered). The meat was marbled very well and dry aged (in house). The waiter served us our first portions for everything and was very attentive – I felt like my plate just refreshed itself with steak, creamed spinach, and potatoes! The strip steak was also juicy (I almost think it was better than the steak for two!). Here’s a picture of David enjoying his meal:
David wanted me to mention that he really liked how the beer was served in super chilled glasses so the beer stayed cold the entire time. Here’s a pic of Joe using some of the signature sauce from Ben and Jack’s (similar to a cocktail sauce and I really disliked it the first time I had the sauce at Peter Luger’s, but for some reason, it just tastes right):
And me with a huge plate of food (the first plate of many):
A close-up of my plate:
The creamed spinach was also really delicious because it tasted more like spinach than heavy cream and butter (I didn’t OD on it this time like when I ate so much of it at Striphouse that I ended up violently ill). Our other side dish, the German potatoes, was another good choice – the dish is almost like and order of hash browns with onions and great pieces of slightly crisped potatoes.
After we finished our steaks, spinach, and German potatoes, David and I were still in the mood for something sweet. How did we fit so much food in our stomachs? I have no idea, but I was seriously in the mood for dessert, so we decided to share the chocolate mousse cake:
The mousse was very soft and fluffy and even though Joe said he didn’t have enough room for dessert, he probably ate the most.
Overall, we had a really enjoyable meal at Ben and Jack’s Steakhouse – the food was excellent and the service was attentive and not overbearing (and, to show that the owners have really put a lot of effort into the opening of their new steakhouse, Ben and Jack were both at the restaurant).
How did you spend the 4th of July? I organized a picnic in Central Park with some friends and Pirate’s Booty sent over a ton of delicious snacks for us to enjoy:
Some of my favorite flavors were the aged cheddar (naturally) and a new favorite – Wisconsin cheddar smart puffs that are absolutely AMAZING. My favorite little girl, Faire, was especially fond of the Pirate’s Booty:
Here she is with my brother, David, discussing their favorite Pirate’s Booty flavors:
David tries to convince Faire that Bermuda Onion is the best flavor, but Faire likes all of them equally:
I love this picture of Faire – she lost her balance but continues to have a tight grip on her new snack:
Faire had a great time at the picnic with David because David kept feeding her Pirate’s Booty and cherries:
This girl has the healthiest appetite:
Want some FREE Pirate’s Booty? I’ll send you a treasure chest filled with 6 different types of booty if you leave a comment and let me know what you did to celebrate the 4th of July. I’ll pick a random winner on July 14th at 5pm!
If you work in midtown west (or you’re in NYC on vacation), head over to the Time Warner Center tomorrow for free food! The event runs from 12 – 2pm and the cast of Hair will perform at 12:45 – sounds like a super fun event (and who doesn’t love free food!):
Guests will receive free gourmet tastings from five top NYC Restaurant Week eateries — db Bistro Moderne, Spice Market, Tribeca Grill, Porter House New York, and Bice Ristorante. The famous chefs behind the dishes will be on hand to greet guests.
The delicious dishes include: grilled Mahi-Mahi and traditional Moroccan couscous; shaved tuna with chili tapioca and coconut lime broth; Manhattan seafood cocktail; Arborio rice pudding with berry whipped cream and assorted petits fours.
Chefs Daniel Boulud and Olivier Muller from db Bistro Moderne, Anthony Ricco and Ellie Rodriguez from Spice Market, Stéphane Motir from Tribeca Grill, Wayne Harley Brachman from Porter House New York and Jose Liriano from Bice Ristorante are expected to attend.
NYC Restaurant Week will run from July 12–31, excluding Saturdays (select restaurants will include Sundays.) The price is $24.07 for three-course prix-fixe lunches and $35 for three-course prix-fixe dinners (excluding beverage, tax and gratuity.) Visit www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek to make reservations.
While I was out of town last weekend, a foodie friend of mine, Athena from Finance Foodie attended the Fancy Food Show. Here’s her recap of the event.
“Spice up your life…”
This past Sunday can only be described in one word: gluttonous. Why gluttonous? Three words: Fancy Food Show. Over 2,000 exhibitors with over 250,000 gourmet food products to sample – enough to make any foodie break down into tears of joy.
Here are a few items that caught my eye.
Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but these tasty chocolate gemstones from Choclatique are friendlier to your wallet.
Bacon lovers unite! J&D Food’s bacon flavored mayonnaise, salt and lip balm. Because you can never have too much bacon in your life. Or in your mouth.
Tony Chachere’s Qui-duk-ken (a duck wrapped in pheasant wrapped in quail). What an incestuous but tasty bird!
Three Little Pigs sausage. Made in the House of Bricks (located in Brooklyn). I guess the big bad wolf would be the consumer then?
That’s a lot of cheese….
…And bread. Time for a sandwich. Or Two. Or thousand.
Sweetened wild hibiscus flowers…obviously floral and surprisingly delicious as an ice cream topper or in a cocktail
Orange clogs not included, thankfully
Beware of friends (or enemies) suddenly bearing gifts of Jelly Belly jelly beans. Because Pencil Shavings flavor looks identical to the normal Banana flavor.
Beautiful display for a beautiful drink.
One word: Awesome
Remember how I went to Co and said that their pizza tasted really homemade and hearty? Well, last night, I created THIS:
I recently purchased Michael Ruhlman’s book, Ratio, and have been really excited to try out his recipe for pizza dough (the recipe is also found on his blog) I used half whole wheat flour and half regular flour (just to make it a little healthier) and the crust turned out really well. Josh and I went grocery shopping at Chelsea Market and Whole Foods for all of the vegetables – we bought A LOT so we could figure out the toppings once we started cooking. I used roasted fennel, crushed tomatoes (I crushed them with my OWN HANDS), sausage, and parmesan cheese (to recreate Jim Lahey’s roasted fennel and sausage pizza). I forgot some of the ingredients (red pepper flakes, red onions, and mozzarella cheese) but there’s always next time! The pizza crust was a good basic crust, but I preferred Company’s more (well, Jim Lahey does specialize in bread and it was my first time making pizza dough, so I’ll give myself a break)
Here’s Company’s sausage and fennel pizza had red onions, red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, roasted fennel, and sausage:
Josh also created a pizza (with a thinner crust):
Josh’s pizza had caramelized onions, crushed tomatoes, sausage, roasted eggplants, and goat cheese:
Both pizzas were really delicious (Josh’s pizza had a thinner crust and didn’t have any huge air bubbles like mine). I can’t wait to experiment with more toppings tomorrow night!