Bronx, NY 10471
“There aren’t steak restaurants. There are steakhouses. Steak gets a house.” I recently read this quote from the book Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. As you can imagine, I can make a number of text to self connections with this book. I relate very closely with the author. But I especially agree with this observation about steak. Steak demands respect. A steak restaurant? NO. It’s a steakhouse. And one of my favorites, is Jake’s. I usually try to reserve a trip to Jake’s for special occasions, but when my friend Jenn randomly suggested that we go I just couldn’t resist. (Girl, I know you been waiting for that shout out.) The last Thursday in January seemed like an incredibly special day to me anyway, so why not? They offer free valet which is a huge plus because parking isn’t always easy around the restaurant. The only drawback to this, which would normally be considered a perk, is the shame that later fills me. You know as a result of having to hand over the keys to my car and claim ownership of it. My car… sort of looks like it is on the wrong end of an abusive relationship with the curb, tight parking spots, other cars, inclement weather, small animals… small children…you get the idea. IT’S HURT. (Note to self: buy a new car instead of extravagant meals.) But this time we took my friends car. Riding in her car is slightly less shameful when facing the valet (and now I can drink more.)
As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the hostess. We made reservations, again through OpenTable.com, because talking to people face to face, or even on the phone… is really just too much for me. She seated us immediately, and it also feels imperative to include, that she stated how fabulous both our hair and outfits looked. SO true. Obviously. Clearly, she is a smart girl.
Bread was placed on the table as soon as we sat. White bread, wheat bread, some flat crackers type deal… You really can’t complain about a basket of assorted carbs with a side of butter. We ordered a bottle of the house Sauvignon Blanc (because we’re basic), L’Escargot, which I was already familiar with. It’s light and crisp just the way I like my wines. I know you’re supposed to drink red with steak, but I’m just crazy like that. Plus, I had planned on ordering some seafood too, so that was a good excuse right?
We started out with clams oreganata which really hit the spot. They were hot, well seasoned, crispy on top and buttery throughout. As we sipped our wine, we chatted and purveyed the scene around the dining room while we waited for our main course. Jakes was pretty busy and almost every table was full in the dining room on the top floor (there are technically 3 floors.) There was another group of girls seated next to us. There was a man with a couple seated behind us who was clearly a little bizarre and seemed to be saying strange things to the waiter. Diagonally seated from us was a group of four men. One of them had a gun on his hip which made me think they were probably detectives. (Hopefully?) I felt like another man at the table was staring at me through the entire meal. I wish I could say it was a look of lust but I’m pretty sure the butter and frizzled onions dripping down my chin can allow me to rule that out. It was most likely because he’d recognized me from a precinct issued wanted sign. Either way, I just really hate when people stare at me while I eat.
We both ordered the surf & turf. I know a ribeye is a popular choice due to the high amount of marbleization in that cut, and that you can’t beat a porterhouse… while I may enjoy both from time to time, filet mignon is simply my favorite. With a lobster tail on the side of course. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium-rare which you would expect at a steak house but it always makes me especially thrilled because I am so serious about how my meat is cooked. I basically grew up my entire life thinking that I hated red meat because I was so used to having it well done (which I personally find disgusting.) Jakes holds a special place in my heart because this was the first place that I realized I love steak. And I do mean, love. It happened naturally. I accepted an invite to dinner with the Maddens (my crew, my dogs.) The patriarch of the group, Bill, looked up at me from across the table and said, “you eat steak, right?” YES! (No???) Of course. (Not??) I love steak. (I hate red meat.) But if Bill says I like it, you bet your ass I like it. OK, so I’ll have what CJ’s having because I have no fucking clue what to do here, and uhhh yea, however he’s having it cooked. I was shocked when I tasted my dish and found it to be easily one of the best things I had ever eaten. Medium rare was a life changing temperature for me. As it turns out garlic cream sauce was life altering too, because we’d apparently ordered the surf and turf which unbeknownst to me meant it was a combination of steak and lobster, which I’d certainly never eaten before either. And now, I will never stop. Ever. So. Thanks to Bill for footing the bill for the extravagant meal I didn’t even know I was ordering, and also to Chris for turning 21 and giving us reason to celebrate that night.
Well, that went off topic, huh? You probably don’t care. Anyway, our entree was delicious. The steaks are served ala carte as they are at most steakhouses. We ordered the garlic mashed potatoes and frizzled onions on the side. Clearly we had no plans to get any that night. They were both amazing. I love how thin the onions are. The potatoes were super flavorful but not in an overwhelming way, and a perfect whipped consistency. Another popular dish amongst my friends is the Jake’s filet, which is covered with a red wine sauce and topped with bleu cheese and frizzled onions. If you like your steaks dressed up like that its a great choice. For dessert (we don’t skip any courses,) we went for the broadway brownie. It’s your basic brownie served with vanilla ice cream. Normally that combo would make me weak in the knees. It was good but nothing out of this world. It had chocolate chips on it and I’m like the only person on earth who loves chocolate but doesn’t like chocolate chips much unless they’re melted. I’m so weird. I know. Another friend just went to Jake’s for a Valentine’s dinner on Friday and said she had the creme brûlée which she would highly recommend. So next time, I’ll probably give that a try. Overall, Jake’s is a home run. I’ve been here for big family dinners, small celebrations, a ridiculously large birthday dinner, a casual lunch, etc. and it’s always great. The service is impeccable and the food is consistently good. I swear I’m not only saying that because I know a few people who work there and I’m hoping they might pay me off to throw that in. But I mean if they did, it wouldn’t hurt.
*I’d like the dedicate this post to William Madden for bringing steak and lobster into my life, and giving me yet another expensive addiction (also because I don’t want to play favorites and I dedicated the last post to mom.) PS- I’m still working on getting those signs changed from “Gabinetti” to “Men’s” and “Women’s.”
Pictured: Lobster tail smothered in a garlic cream sauce, served with clarified butter on the side. Please excuse the poor lighting for all these pics. What makes for good ambiance does not make for good pictures.