Sometimes New York’s best treasures have been hiding in plain sight for years. Such is the case with Club A, an intimate and cozy steakhouse nestled on East 58th street in a neighborhood whose classification toggles between Midtown East and the Upper East Side.
In 1978, Albanian born immigrant Bruno Selimaj poured his dreams and ambitions into the culinary scene by opening a restaurant that carried his namesake. For years, it thrived, specializing in cuisine from Northern Italy. In 2008, he re-branded the place and turned it into a steakhouse. It has survived 9/11 and the Covid-19 shutdown and continuesto be a favorite spot for tourists, locals, and business heavy hitters alike. This October, it will celebrate 45 years in business.
Selimaj drew inspiration for the new name from his three sons: Agron, Arben & Alban, each of whom currently assist their father with running the restaurant, which has some of the highest quality food you’re liable to see in any other New York City steak joint. Since it is fully family owned and operated, it has an intimate feel and a hands-on approach that can’t be found in corporate dining establishments.
Steak is obviously the star here, with standard cuts including Filet Mignon, Prime selections of Porterhouse, Ribeye, NY Strip, or Double Eagle Strip, and Hangar Steak. Salmon, Sea Bass, and Branzino appeal to seafood lovers and Lamb Chops can also be enjoyed.
A recent visit began with a crisp and fresh Caesar salad, gently dressed with a balanced anchovy dressing, and sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese and cracked pepper. The light salad paired well with a generous slab of thick cut, smoked Applewood bacon.
The piece de resistance of the meal? A Porterhouse for two, prepared medium rare, with excellent marbling and melt-in-your mouth goodness. Club A buys the finest meats from Master Purveyors, another family owned, New York City business that began by Holocaust Survivor Sam Solasz and is currently run by offspring. Clearly, family is an important characteristic for Club A, both through their business deals and in the way they treated their guests.
Every table, including our own, was pampered with friendly service from the waitstaff. An excellent, live jazz band greeted hungry diners and softly played as they conversed with one another. When they took a break between sets, the speaker system pumped out classic tunes, but never to the point where it overpowered conversation.
Delicious sides accompanied the meal: Whipped mashed potatoes, with generous dollops of butter and cream, provided a simple, but perhaps best serving of restaurant mashed potatoes that has ever been consumed. Baked from scratch macaroni and cheese also delighted the senses with a great crunchy crust on top and a warm, gooey pasta beneath. Both were served piping hot in cast iron dishes.
A vast and generous wine list selection, along with specialty cocktails are sure to appeal to those both looking to unwind or to celebrate a festive occasion.
An ample dessert selection includes tiramisu, carrot cake, cheesecake and other sweet-tooth temptations.
The décor carries some age but does not look worn. Rather, it is a rustic, warm, and inviting space. Downstairs offers dark red walls plastered with family photos and various celebrities. Those seeking a more romantic setting, can opt for upstairs dining, a relatively spacious area with street facing windows bring intimate ambience to those looking for a quiet date night. To the family’s knowledge, this is the only steakhouse in New York that was once brownstone apartments. This, no doubt, adds to the feeling that you are dining in the home of long-time friends who are happy to serve you. Club A also offers a private room, ideal for corporate gatherings and celebrations.
If staying in for the night and letting someone else cook is a better plan for you, there is great news: Club A delivers to those in the neighborhood.
According to Open Table, it would take New Yorkers nearly 23 years to eat at every restaurant establishment. It would be wise not to wait that long for Club A. Instead, put it at the top of your list and you’ll understand why so many google and yelp reviewers sing the praises of Bruno Selimaj and his family’s fine establishment.
Club A Steakhouse is located at 240 East 58th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, NYC. For information and reservations, visit their website.