Most of my favorite steakhouses look like…steakhouses. And while there’s nothing wrong with that look, there are times when one might wish to enjoy a perfectly cooked steak in an atmosphere that is…well, romantic.
Softly lit at night, with dark wood furnishings and a well-dressed upscale clientele that matches the sophisticated space and the upscale East Side location, TBar Steak and Lounge is such a place.
Executive Chef Ben Zwicker, previously of the Four Seasons, Aureole and Petrossian, has created a menu that features both classic steakhouse fare and his unique takes on other classics. For example, Angel Chicken Wings have a tamarind glaze, while the classic kale salad is uplifted with apple and sesame and a chili-lime vinaigrette.
Though I was set on trying the steak, there were other temptations in the form of the signature Crusted Tuna served with soy, wasabi rémoulade and seaweed salad and the roast duck.
My companion succumbed to the duck’s temptations; I held out for the certified Black Angus filet mignon with Béarnaise Sauce and mashed potatoes, my idea of a perfect meal. (Also available on the Steak Bar section of the menu are the Aged NY Strip, Aged Bone in Rib Eye and Black Angus Porterhouse for two.)
The duck was deemed “the best in years,” while I savored every bit of the perfectly cooked steak and the sublime Béarnaise Sauce. Though the side of mashed potatoes was generous enough to share, I did not offer to do so, for they were as good or better as any I ever made at home. And, I reasoned, the duck came with sweet potatoes that were also deemed “excellent.”
In fact, the list of Chef Zwicker’s side dishes is perfectly balanced, with sautéed haricot verts with garlic and roasted brussel sprouts with shallot to add a “healthy” component to such satisfying carbs as the mac and cheese and the glorious potato, served fried, baked or mashed.
The listings on the dessert menu made choice difficult; all were designed to be shared and all could easily be described as “decadent.” We chose the Banana Parfait Mille Feuilles with coconut and caramel sauce, which turned out to be insanely rich and intensely satisfying. For the time it took to consume this confection, there was silence at the table, except for the occasional crunch of the caramel.
T-Bar has a well-curated wine list that includes gently-priced bottles alongside distinguished vintages and a good variety of wines by the glass. The full-service bar offers contemporary specialty cocktails as well as the classics.
T-Bar Steak and Lounge, 1278 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10021, 212-772-0404, open for lunch Monday through Friday, brunch Saturday and Sunday, and every night for dinner.