Bobby Van’s Overall Score: 78
Tonight Johnny Prime gave the old “in-out, in-out” to Bobby Vans’ west 50th St. location. Not a bad meal overall, but not stellar by any means. I think I enjoyed the Bridgehampton location better, even though those douche bags didn’t offer a ribeye when I went. Check out the breakdown, assholes:
As usual, I had the ribeye (because I have a dick and balls between my legs, not a vadge). It was nice looking, bone-in, probably around 22oz., but it was a little overcooked from the medium that I ordered it. Also, it bled out a slight bit underneath the meat. It wasn’t too hot or anything, but I think it wasn’t dry or crusted enough on the outside to lock in all the liquids. I was going to give it an 8 here, but with so much stiff competition in the area, I had to go with a 7. I’d eat here again, don’t get me wrong, but perhaps if I was shopping for a spot in this particular area, I’d just wander a few feet over to Tad’s (just kidding… I mean Del Frisco’s). By the way the steak sauce that came in the little tub alongside the steak here was pretty good too – a little boozy actually. I like that.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
They have the basics here: two sizes of filet, “sirloin,” porterhouse for sharing, and ribeyes. They also offer a gorgonzola steak, but I am not sure what sort of cut it is. On special they had an additional beef item – a cowboy steak with shitake mushrooms. The cuts cover all the essential bases and the quality was good (just not exceptional).
Portion Size & Plating: 8
As mentioned above, I think my ribeye was about 22oz. This is on the good and generous side in terms of size. They did some fancy plating with my scallop appetizer, though there were only two pieces per order.
Everything seemed a little overpriced here. At $50 a pop, the steaks aren’t that great of a deal when you figure in the quality level. Sure, I’ve had better for the same price, but I also realize that not every place is going to have the best steak in town, and chefs have their good days and bad days. As you see below, everything is expensive. In particular, $22 for two bacon wrapped scallops sitting on a bed of sliced mushrooms and cabbage, to me, is ridiculous… and I’ve eaten at some of the most explensive places in NYC, and at over 40 steakhouses in the area. OH – I almost forgot to mention the $18 martini (see the bar section below for the breakdown).
My martini was made perfectly dirty; just the right amount of olive juice in there. But at $16.88 after tax ($15.50 on the bill), it came to $18 with the tip. This is by far one of the most expensive standard issue drinks I have ever had (obviously this doesn’t include a nice scotch at dessert, or a glass of expensive port wine). There are free fried bits of chicken at the bar, but does that make up for the cost of booze? They were great, crispy, and juicy (the ones I had anyway – my wife said her piece was dry). There is a big marble-topped bar, and it’s long (like Lex Steele). There was also a good crowd festering around for a hot summertime Friday; I guess everyone wanted to cool off with expensive drinks before getting on the expensive train to head out to the expensive beach towns for an expensive weekend.
Specials & Other Meats: 9
They offered a bunch of specials when we sat down: three different soups, two fish items, a shellfish app, and a beef item. We tried two of them (see below for the verdict). They also had a pasta item on special. You will notice a huge pasta, regular type entrée, and pizza selection on the menu here. WHY? What are they trying to be a fucking diner? Anyway… Aside from beef they have lamb and veal on the chops section of the menu as well, and chicken and pork chops in the entrée section. You can go ahead and order those if you are an asshole. I would drop a 10 here if I was completely satisfied with the special items we had, but there was just a bit lacking there, so I took a point.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7
We tried the cold cucumber and melon soup and the bacon wrapped scallops to start. The soup was cool and refreshing, and it was poured over a cream of some sort that you picked up with each spoonful. It was nice. The scallop dish was a little on the pricey side. In addition, it was a little heavy on the rosemary flavor, though it did have a good char on the outside. The bacon was nice and crispy, but at the cost of a slightly overcooked scallop underneath. Lots of times this happens when you (stupidly) wrap shit with bacon. Bacon is fine on its own. There is absolutely no need to go wrapping it around shit, especially if that shit can be overcooked and ruined. But listen up assbags; when you try cook both at the same time you lose. In order to properly cook the bacon without ruining the scallop, you need to halfway cook the bacon, catch some of the fat, then wrap the bacon around the scallop (while still rubbery and flexible) and baste the fat over the scallop as it finishes to impart the bacony smoke flavor into the scallop. In any case it was also a little too hot when served; I had to be careful not to burn myself. The plating was nice though, but instead of a bed of mushrooms and cabbage, I would have rather had another scallop or more bacon. On the side we had some creamed spinach. It was light but not lacking flavor. No complaints, but no accolades either; it was exceptionally average. Also at $12 for a dish it was pricey (though certainly enough for two to share). We passed on dessert this time.
Seafood Selection: 8
This would have been a 10, but they had NO OYSTERS and NO CLAMS. Other than that they did have lots to choose from. The specials were halibut and swordfish, and they were in addition to the standard menu items like lobster, seabass, tuna, crab cakes, and salmon. My wife had the lobster. It was a bit overcooked and chewy in parts, but it did have lots of the brains, guts and roe, which she likes. It was also chock full of meat, and the waiter pried most of it out of the shell for us tableside. OH – and the lobster came with a bowl of fresh corn as well. I can’t wait to see it polka-dotting my shit later.
Service wasn’t bad here, but our waiter kinda disappeared halfway through the meal. As a result, we didn’t get the birthday dessert thingy that they were going to bring over to us (probably a slice of cake or something). The host asked us if they did as we were walking out. Oh well; not such a big deal considering we were stuffed. Otherwise service was okay aside from the absentee waiter. He nicely de-shelled the lobster tableside, which is always fun to watch. If you are wondering, I tend to celebrate my birthday for a month or two in either direction of the actual date, because I am that awesome.
It’s nice inside, but it doesn’t seem genuine, if that makes sense. Gallagher’s felt genuine, Lugers, etc. Sure: Bobby Van’s isn’t old style like them, but I even get a genuine sense out of the more modern joints like Del Frisco’s, Quality Meats, or Primehouse. I suppose it has something to do with being in a tourist and corporate zone (and serving up too much pizza and pasta), because the Bridgehampton location felt WAY more “real steakhouse” as opposed to “restaurant.” Anyway, it rocks some nice dark hardwoods, high ceilings, a big beautiful bar… but slightly small tables, and a somewhat cramped dining space (despite having huge, empty private dining rooms right there in plain view). An interesting thing I noticed was that the waiters all had similar style jackets to the one’s worn by the guys at Ben Benson’s; almost like a fancy, outdoor sport jacket, tan in color.
135 W. 50th St.
New York, NY 10020