Dinner at Benjamin Steakhouse (Midtown East, NY)
When chef Arturo McLeod left for midtown Manhattan after two decades at Peter Luger’s, he was thinking big when he opened Benjamin Steakhouse in 2006. A grand, soaring double-height with a high ceiling, brass chandeliers and rich brown leather on the seats inside the Dylan Hotel. Portions also come big, of course, with hefty cuts of prime rib eye, filet mignon, and New York sirloin, plus porterhouse prepared Luger-style for two, three, or four. The beef is dry-aged for at least 28 days in the house’s special aging box. The steak comes lightly seared, its subtle savory seasoning the perfect complement to the tender meat.
In ways, this restaurant is similar to Peter Luger but it’s different in regards to experience, at least when we were there, the staff is not gruff and generally much younger compared to my experience at Luger’s two years ago. (I mean this in a good way.) And they accept credit cards.
We started out with lump crab cakes ($22.95) and baked clams ($15.95). When we ordered these dishes, our waiter was enthusiastic about us ordering the crab cakes and for good reason, they are really good. The cakes were loaded with moist, sweet, large flakes of crab meat with very little filler.
When I inquired about the baked clams he did play it off gently saying, “it’s good,” and you should listen to him. The clams were good but not as great as the crab cakes. While the clams had the desired sweet, briny flavors with the savory, bread crumb and herb topping was a little too much in ratio to the twee clam meat.
When we moved to the main course, the meal reached its peak. My rack of lamb ($46.95) was expertly seared to a medium-rare and covered the small mound of sauteed spinach with garlic. The lamb was super tender and flavorful and not at all gamy. I adored the caramelized crust of seasoning on the lamb in contrast to the soft lamb meat.
The porterhouse steak for two ($99.50) was the star of the show and it was delicious. The steak was juicy and tender. The seared crust of seasoning added a smoky, salinity hint to the steak. Words can’t justify how good the steak was. You just have to order it and share it with a friend or two.
We did balance the meal out with a touch of greens — a side of sauteed asparagus with sliced garlic. The asparagus was cooked to a nice al dente. Not too crisp and not over cooked. It did its job nicely.
We didn’t have the space to have dessert since we were stuffed with delicious aged cuts of meat but we still enjoyed the experience of dining at Benjamin Steakhouse. The staff is friendly yet efficient. The food, especially the meats, were seriously good.
To view photos of this visit, please CLICK HERE for the full photo set or view the gallery below:
Location I dined in:
52 E 41st Street
(between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
New York, NY 10017