Bobby Van's Grill: A Decent Restaurant for the NYC Tourist

Bobby Van opened his a steakhouse in Bridgehampton, New York in 1969. The Long Island eatery gained popularity with its local residents, whom most were the creative types. Bobby tended to his restaurant for 20 years before losing interest in managing the establishment. He eventually sold his business to four restauranteurs; today, Bobby Van's Steakhouse has six NYC locations, two locations in Washington D.C. and another two in Long Island, New York. Intrigued by the steakhouse's staple meats, I wandered to the restaurant's West 50th site to give it a try. Bobby Van's Steakhouse is your classic Americana restaurant- from the location to the dark wood interiors and the decorative adornments to the menu items. The vibe was lively- sounds of people chatting, wines cascading and knives scraping occupied the very after-work atmosphere. The restaurant was busy with a lot of diners already seated while more groups arrived. My guest and I were promptly settled and the wait staff hastily tended to our table.

I was surprised by the restaurant's beer menu- most establishments like this typically don't offer  lot of craft beer options. In addition, I was also happy to find good ones: Hoegaarden, Brooklyn Lager, Goose Island Matilda to name a few. My guest decided to go with Delirium Tremens but they were out of it. One of our few waiters was quick to suggest another beer. He came back with the Belgian beer Blanche De Bruxelles and it was delightful. When we asked for a dark amber beer, the same waiter brought us Anchorsteam which was another good one. I began the evening with Riesling, which was okay. I didn't have the chance to completely survey the wine menu. I would have chosen a different drink if I hadn't felt rushed by the wait staff.

Dinner started with a typical bread basket which included a variation of breads, a few bread sticks and a side butter. It was a decent portion for two people. We decided to start dinner with the Colossal Lump Crab Cocktail and the Sweet Chili Tossed Calamari. The crab cocktail was decent and came with a dipping sauce that was good but forgettable. The calamari was cooked well but it was saturated with sweet chili sauce; it was difficult to really taste the main ingredient. It was also served with an amazing sweet and nutty sauce on the side which I did not understand. The calamari was already drenched in the sweet chili sauce; an additional sauce was unnecessary.

My appetizer was followed by a cocktail, Metro-Cosmo. The concoction is made with Figenza Fig Vodka, Cointreau, red cranberry juice, and a dash of fresh lime juice. It was served in a martini glass and a lime wedge for garnish. I was really curious how the fig vodka would fuse with the triple-sec, it wasn't terrible but it wasn't good either. It's the kind of drink you order to feel sophisticated because it's what you think you should be drinking when you're in a $$$$ restaurant.

Second course was the Chilean Sea Bass which was great. The dish was presented beautifully- it was served with mushrooms and greens with broth underneath. Its exterior was crispy yet it was light and tender inside. The broth was fantastic- it wasn't creamy yet it also wasn't watery and balanced the texture of the fish well. It was nice to get the taste of the sea bass- the broth was a great sidekick.

Dinner wouldn't be complete without trying one of the steaks. For the main course, we decided to split the Bone-in Ribeye Steak. I was happy with the amount of side choices for the steak: mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, broccoli rabe, mac and cheese, hash browns... We opted for a side of asparagus. I appreciated that the side of vegetable was served separately. The asparagus were flavorful and tender. The ribeye was garnished with greens. We requested for it to be cooked medium well. When it was served to us, it was leaning more towards medium rare. However, rather than sending it back, we decided to give it a try. The steak was seasoned well and definitely was a celebration of its natural flavors.

I wasn't able to try any of their dessert items but the banana split for two caught my eye. The dessert is served in a big martini glass- definitely something that the average joe would bite into. Bobby Van's Steakhouse is where you go to if you want to experience New York City the way it's portrayed in mainstream movies. It makes a decent first time New York venture.