The sun is finally out. Shorts are the attire du jour and flip-flops are in fashion. There is no better time to fire up the gas grill, mosey onto your porch and throw a slab of beef over the coals.
The problem is that most New Yorkers don’t have a grill—or a porch.
Relax. Chef Admir Alibasic has it all under control.
Alibasic is the self-starter behind the hugely successful restaurant Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse. Manhattan Digest has covered their location in Nomad, but recently, we ventured a bit north to their newly renovated original spot on East 44th between 2nd and 3rd avenues. This location opened in 2005 but closed for a five-year renovation. Once again it is open for business, much to the delight of regulars and business folks alike.
One might not instinctively equate Midtown East with al fresco patio dining, but it, in fact, exists. With sunny days on the horizon, there’s really no finer place to enjoy it than here. Best of all, it’s not going to break your bank.
Alibasic and his fine team have created the ideal prix fixe lunch which includes a generous entrée, salad or French onion soup, potato, vegetable, dessert, and coffee or tea. And it’s only going to cost $32.95.
Meat fiends can choose between a petite filet mignon or sirloin steak. Slightly less hungry guests have the option of two chicken dishes, veal, or lamb and seafood lovers also have some delicious picks. Carb-ivores will also take refuge in one of their pasta-centric dishes.
If food is art, consider Ben & Jack’s the DaVinci of dining. Alibasic works with the finest purveyors in the city to ensure top quality beef. If it isn’t good enough for him, it isn’t good enough for you. But he won’t stop there. Everything that emerges from his kitchen is prepared with the utmost care. From the carefully and lightly dressed Caesar salad to the side of golden brown German potatoes, there is nothing mediocre being served.
The ambiance leans in the direction of a traditional steakhouse, complete with white tablecloths and plenty of oak furnishings. Even the wait staff is neatly uniformed and clad in dark suits. Still, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. In our current news cycle– where the only certainty is unpredictability, comfort food like this forces us to slow down. It convinces us that—for the moment—we should take pleasure walking the line between gluttony and nourishment.
The outdoor patio offers a cozy haven to escape with one of their endless wine and cocktail options.
With an option like this at your fingertips, it’s wise to echo fashion editor Nina Van Horn from television’s Just Shoot Me. Answering the urge to leave work early on a Friday, she leans over the desk of her boss’ assistant. “Tell Jack that I’m taking a long, long lunch which may lead into an early weekend.”
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse is located at 219 E. 44th Street between 2nd and 3rd Aves. NYC. For reservations and information, visit here.