The perfect Friday evening starts with watching the sun set behind the Manhattan skyline from a window in your residence at Halcyon on East 51st Street. As you sip on a post-work brunello, dreaming of what you’re going to do for dinner, the smoky notes of the wine will make you crave one thing—steak. While you could prepare a ribeye from Simchick Meats—a top-notch nearby butcher—in your graceful, Poliform-designed kitchen clad in bold, white Calacatta marble, why not put on your finest and go out in search of your neighborhood’s perfect prime meat?
The history of dining in New York City has been intricately linked with the dimly lit, velvety romance of the steakhouse. Businessmen have made deals, families have celebrated, and couples have enjoyed date nights at New York steakhouses for almost 200 years. Luckily, you can join in this grand tradition in your neighborhood because there are myriad options for fine steakhouse dining near Halcyon. Here are four of the best:
Smith & Wollensky | 797 Third Avenue
Food writer and critic Ruth Reichl has said that this iconic restaurant, whose green and white awning has been featured in countless movies and novels, is “a steakhouse to end all arguments,” and we wouldn’t dare to disagree. But who exactly were Smith & Wollensky? As it turns out, this New York City institution is named after two people selected at random from the phone book, but nothing is random about the menu. With an eye on tradition, you can begin your meal with a classic wedge salad coated in a creamy blue cheese dressing, and end with a bourbon pecan pie that’s richer than a Rockefeller. And in between, you’ll of course want to savor a perfect 26-ounce prime rib, accompanied by a glass of excellent Napa cabernet.
212 Steakhouse | 316 East 53rd Street
Why eat Kobe beef anywhere but here? 212 Steakhouse is a relative newcomer to the New York City steak scene, but the restaurant has already earned major credibility with Kobe and wagyu lovers—it’s the only restaurant in the city with an authenticity certification from the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association. That means you get quality Tajima-gyu beef straight from Japan. This tender delicacy is served by the ounce, and sliced on a limestone plate. And the perfectly cooked black truffle mushroom risotto with its musky earthiness is the perfect complement to 212’s steak or its excellent seafood dishes.
Wolfgang’s | 200 East 54th Street
When a longtime Peter Luger waiter decides to open his own restaurant, it’s no surprise that the steak will be called “masterfully done” by a spot-on Zagat reviewer. Before Wolfgang Zwiener and his sons launched their eponymous restaurant, Wolfgang put in his time in Brooklyn for 40 years. Without stealing too many ideas from his former employer, he has managed to introduce a brand new restaurant empire with an old-school feel, and it’s no surprise that he now has restaurants all over the globe. Choose your own surf and turf with tender steak and salty, sweet jumbo lobster. Or if you don’t want to leave the Halcyon, there is a stand-alone take-out menu that will bring the steakhouse to your home.
Sparks | 210 East 46th Street
Once one of the smallest steakhouses in the city, Sparks is now a major midtown chophouse. In 1966, Pat and Mike Cetta, two brothers from Bay Ridge, bought a small pub on 18th Street from a gentleman named Don Sparks. They kept the name, converted the pub into a bustling steakhouse, and, in 1977, moved uptown to a Turtle Bay space that seats over 600. Sparks keeps diners coming back for its succulent steaks and seafood that can be paired with the restaurant’s wine list, offering hundreds of varieties from half bottles to 9-liter magnums.