By Lisa Loverro
When you think classic New York City Steakhouse, you think Peter Lugers. But when the owners of Benjamin Steakhouse left the iconic steakhouse for midtown Manhattan they had big plans to create a truly memorable dining experience in the heart of the Big Apple.
From the moment you enter Benjamin Steakhouse, the massively long corridor leading to the immense dining area will have you wondering if you’ve stepped into a chapter of Gulliver’s Travels. And if the visually appealing décor isn’t enough to pique your interest, the welcoming staff will win you over before you even arrive at the table. The leather seating and oak paneling gives a somewhat masculine feel to this restaurant while still exuding a classy and sexy ambience. The menu is what you’d expect to find at any steakhouse, but with an emphasis on large. Hefty cuts of dry-aged beef including a porterhouse prepared Peter Lugers style stands out on the menu as a must try. There are chops and seafood here, too. From shrimp cocktail and crab cakes to extra thick veal and lamb chops, the items on this list are not for the meek; this menu means business. Their Canadian Bacon is a must-order and the creamed spinach is the perfect side dish to compliment the beef. In addition to all this exceptional food is a wine list offering various price points.
52 East 41st Street
The perfect compliment to Benjamin Steakhouse is their sister restaurant, The Sea Fire Grill, conveniently located in midtown Manhattan on 48th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues. The space is sleek, sexy and romantic. There is a faux waterfall lining the corridor and a cozy fireplace in the main dining area that illuminates the elegantly styled wine racks made of dark walnut. The seafood is seasonal, locally sourced (when possible) and prepared in a Contemporary American style ranging from a roasted whole Branzino to an American Red Snapper with Chimichurri sauce.
The Sea Fire Grill is one of those places that consistently delivers on fresh seafood. There is beef here as well, dry aged a la Benjamin Steakhouse. You can’t miss with the restaurant’s Surf and Turf or the Alaskan King Crab legs served with drawn butter (are you drooling yet?). Their raw bar is just as impressive serving East and West Coast oysters, chilled lobster, and their Seafood Sampler including clams, shrimp, oysters, and lobster.
The cocktail list is perfectly crafted with gin, vodka and tequila libations along with a Pisco Sour that’s not standard on most bar menus here in Manhattan, but nice to see nevertheless. Come hungry and be sure to leave room for their Meyer Lemon Tart or Gala Apple Upside-Down Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream.
The Sea Fire Grill
158 East 48th Street