One of the more humorous episodes in Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential was the chapter entitled "What I know about Meat" in which the author recounts how he was once interviewed by Bobby Van and, unable to decipher the latter's thick Irish brogue, mistook the word "meat" for "me." Thus when asked what he knew about meat, a natural question at a steakhouse, he thought he was being asked about the owner of the restaurant and candidly replied that he knew "next to nothing." Obviously he was not hired because Bobby Van knew a lot about meat, and although retired, the tradition of great food continues at the restaurants that bear his name.
A rather stingy portion of Gorgonzola cheese top a decent, for a steakhouse, mixed green salad. I find most steakhouse salads far too large and over dressed, emphasizing quantity over quality, Bobby Van's is no exception. But who comes here for the salad?
NY strip steak
All the beef at Bobby Van's is dry aged USDA Prime
Hash brown potatoes
Despite the crisp golden shell the interior of the hash browns was creamy and tender. Steakhouse hash browns often end up tasting like butter but these actually tasted like potato.
Porterhouse for two
The porterhouse for two is first rate, equal to what you will find at NYC's other top steakhouses. The beef was expertly prepared, the outside deeply charred, the inside perfectly rare. I generally prefer the strip side of a porterhouse but I was amazed at the flavor and tenderness of Filet.
Creamed spinach. Hearty and satisfying, a classic dish
Bone in Rib steak
The bone in rib steak is my favorite steak on the menu here although I found all the beef to be excellent. Bobby Van's is as good an example of the classic NYC steakhouse as you will find. While the 46th Street location is a rather dreary room the 54th street location is a far more convivial environment. The food is excellent at both locations. Highly recommended.
Beef Aficionado visited:
230 Park Ave.
131 E. 54th St.
(bet. Lexington & Park Aves.)