New York, NY – I don’t know how else to say this, so I’m just going to say it: Last Saturday night I ate dinner at NYY Steak near Rockefeller Center in midtown. How I came to dine at a New York Yankee-owned chophouse is unimportant (my brother has a weakness for groupons and cow flesh), the fact of the matter was that two dyed-in-the-wool Bronx Bomber-haters were about to dine on Yankee-sanctioned vittles not wrapped in a hot dog bun. This could get ugly.
Getting Jacked. They say first impressions are everything, and upon entering Yankee Steak we were greeted with the tired old “Your table isn’t ready yet, why not have a drink at the bar?” routine. Look, you want me to buy a drink before dinner? Believe me, you don’t have to twist my arm. I expect this kinda scam at lesser establishments, not a New York steakhouse. Anyway, we sidled up to the stick and I ordered a Jack Daniels on the rocks. The $15 price tag would have been a lot easier to swallow if the bartender bothered to splash some alcohol in my glass. For 15 bucks I’m expecting a Randy Johnson-size pour, or at least a Michael Pineda. What I got was sub-Chuck Knoblauch. It was more like a Freddie Patek. Strike one.
For Starters. Upon getting seated, the first thing my brother noticed was that two of the three TVs at the bar were showing the Mets/Marlins game. He remarked, “Big Stein would never stand for that.” We mentioned that in passing to our waiter who politely laughed and later proved to have as much knowledge of baseball as my six-year-old daughter. So much all for all of my planned jokes about the steak being tougher than Thurman Munson or as fatty as Steve Balboni. Speaking of the waiter, he was a nice enough fella but was also one of those mental Olympians who didn’t need to write orders on a pad. He was no medalist either, as he forgot our appetizer order so fast that my brother thought he was joking. My crab-cake app (I was feeling reckless) tasted good enough, but arrived with a fistful of cilantro on top of it. That was no joke either.
Remember the Mains. The menu contained no great surprises, though I thought it wouldn’t have killed them to name the lone chicken dish after former Yankee shortstop Fred Stanley or at least thrown a Catfish Hunter on the surf side of the offerings. Anyway, to be honest, the food arrived and it wasn’t that bad. The steak was a small filet cut but packed a hell of a lot more punch than, say, Didi Gregorious. It arrived on a plate emblazoned with The Mick’s #7, which I thought would have gone better with an order of liver and onions. My brother got #9, Maris or Nettles, take your pick. The sides were decent too, though someone went a little nutmeg nuts with the creamed spinach. In all the food was good enough so that you hardly noticed that the restaurant looked like it was decorated by the set designer for Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.
Let’s Get the Hell Outta Here. Towards the latter part of our meal our genial waiter disappeared like Dave Winfield in September. It was no great tragedy, besides we were left with another guy who claimed that he was a Yankee bat boy in the 80s. I didn’t ask follow-up questions because I just wanted it to be true. Dessert, an unholy mess called the Colossal Chocolate Cake, was bigger than Cliff Johnson’s backside and about as appetizing. It would have taken a quart of Pascual Perez jheri curl activator to wash down more than one or two bites. I took this opportunity to repair to the restrooms which were located in what amounted to this joint’s fallout shelter, two flights down. Thankfully I didn’t need to drop a Reggie Bar, only needed to take a quick Pepitone. Not surprisingly, I suppose, there was a photo of The Bambino keeping silent guard over the lavatories. In the shadow of the relief pens is also where I found a curious display case filled with personalized steak knives. Strange place to keep your cutlery. But I suppose if it’s okay for Michael Corleone to grab a pistol from behind a toilet tank, it’s okay for the New York Yankees to keep steak shivs near the sh!tters.
When all was said and done, it was an unusual if not completely unenjoyable experience. Would I go out of my way to dine at NYY Steak again? Don’t be an idiot… well maybe one day when Alex Rodriguez is waiting tables.
Come back tomorrow for some more sports meat and potatoes courtesy of Grinding Ax Walter Hynes.