Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
When I got invited to Ben and Jack's Steakhouse, I was really excited. I know that place as I went there already, enjoying their delicious pieces of meat dry aged for 32 days. My excitement was not just for the food, but also because I got to meet Executive Chef Admir Alibasic.
Chef Admir is truly passionate about what he is doing, working tirelessly to make sure his customers will have the best experience. He explained to me the dry aged process in a scientific manner, that is not surprising considering he has a degree in science.
I am sure lots of people would think this is gross, but I can tell you that this process allows for the meat to be so tender and tasty. But we will see later. First, let's talk about the rest of the food. I should definitely mention the steak sauce. Ok, lots of steakhouses make their own and Ben and Jack's is no different. However, this one stands out from the fact that it has the right balance of sweetness and nice tones of molasses and citrus.
Of course, my first taste of the sauce was when they brought some bread at the table. Yes, no butter for me, just the steak sauce.
More original, Chef Admir Alibasic uses Ben and Jack's Steak Sauce for anything and, during the Holidays, he created a steak sauce eggnog martini that was apparently very successful, as well as a steak sauce chocolate cheesecake lollipop. Unfortunately, I did not go for the Holidays and did not get the opportunity to try the cocktail, so I ended up with a glass of pinot noir, my favorite with steak.
For the appetizers, Jodi decided to go for the Caesar salad, a dish that is normally a pretty safe choice, except that it is sometimes overdressed. Well, not at Ben and Jack's: the sauce was light and it was perfectly dressed.
On my side, I of course ordered a slice of Canadian bacon. I smothered the bacon with the steak sauce and literally inhaled it. Eating it, I was wondering why I did not order a second slice...
The reason why I only ordered one slice is because I also wanted to try their crab cake. When I go to a steak house, it is my first choice in terms of appetizer. It was a fairly thick cake and when I cut it, I was a bit disappointed not to see large lump of crab meat. But that disappointment fade quickly as I thought it was delicious, the crab being the star and the dish not being packed with fillers. Well, you should not judge a book by its cover...
After we finished the appetizers, they cleaned the plates and brought us new silverware. Nothing special you would think, if it was not for the size of the steak knife. I am so used to steakhouses bringing large knives that I was surprised to see one more on the lighter side. Was it enough to cut the meat and a way to convince their patrons their meat is so tender a small knife would do it? We will see...
Then came the steaks and it was the highlight of the meal as I was really looking forward to it. Jodi went for a filet mignon, ordered medium, that was so tender and delicate, whereas on my side I went with the bolder ribeye, ordered medium-rare. The ribeye was huge, between 26 and 28 oz, with a very appetizing smell emanating from it. It was phenomenal: very tender, juicy, with just enough fat. And that first bite was divine. It was so good, that, this time, I did not even think using any steak sauce! What I liked is that it was not smothered with any spices, herbs or whatever: simply kosher salt, enhancing a bit the flavor of the meat.
With the steaks, we decided to order mac and cheese, as well as half cottage fries and half onion rings. The mac and cheese was gooey, but I admit that I did not like it so much and preferred the fries and onion rings that were crispy and not greasy at all. I thought it was a great idea to propose such a dish as I always want to try few sides when I am at a restaurant and by doing this, the serving size allows for it.
Last was desserts that I enjoyed with a decaf espresso. We had the key lime pie as well as the cheesecake, served with schlag that is whipped cream. Know that these desserts are homemade. I liked all of them and Jodi had to stop me from finishing everything! The schlag was thick and perfect to accompany the pie or cake that were thankfully not too sweet. The cheesecake was dense and a true NY cheese cake, made with cream cheese, with no addition of ricotta, and with a perfect crust that was not too thick. The key lime pie was also very good, with a nice graham cracker crust.
We had a great time at Ben and Jack's and Jodi needed to roll me back home after such a feast: not only this place serves some incredible steaks (they have been working with the same meat purveyor for years), but this family business has a nice vibe, far from the stuffy steakhouse that cater more to business men and women, than your average Joe. When we went, it was in the middle of Winter restaurant week, where they offered a nice menu, perfect for people who want to try a place for a good price. They are also proposing for Valentine's Day a menu ($95 for a glass of champagne, an appetizer, a salad, an entree, a potato and vegetable and dessert) where not only that succulent ribeye is served, but also a porterhouse for two that the table next to us ordered and that I wish I could have dipped into. Well, probably next time, because I will for sure go back there.
Enjoy (I surely did)!
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