If you can get past the fact that it’s owned by Michael Jordan and is called Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. (what?), this place is actually a decent steakhouse with atmosphere that beats the usual Harvard-crimson carpeting and gold-lacquered everything. My boyfriend and I talked casually about visiting The Steak House every time we spotted it overlooking Grand Central Terminal, but it took seeing Chef Michael Vignola on an episode of The Food Network’s “Chopped” to make us seriously consider a reservation. On the show, the chef was super-creative–quite the opposite of what we expect from someone just cooking steaks and lobster all day–and we were excited to see what sort of avant garde creations he was pushing out with Michael Jordan’s blessing. But alas, The Steak House’s menu mirrors every other one we’ve seen.
Never overestimate the power of assorted breads when it comes to getting an extra donut in your rating from me.
I’m just starting to get into lobster after years of hating seafood, and this was just the right dish for a newcomer. It was lightly-dressed enough that the ocean flavor came through but included enough other ingredients that I was sufficiently distracted from the idea of eating, as my boyfriend says, the insect of the sea. The cabbage helped keep it fresh, while the spicy mayo on the side gave it a kick. Also: potato chips. Yeah.
Obviously this dish totally cheated by dressing itself with roasted corn. I didn’t particularly care for more cabbage slaw, but I suppose they don’t expect you and your date to be gluttons who order multiple apps on top of their filet mignons. I did particularly care for the lemony sauce the crab was swimming in, and the filler factor was slim to none in the cake.
filet mignon, macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach
The mac & cheese is listed as Michael’s Macaroni & Cheese on the menu, which only furthered our belief that he would pop out of the kitchen at any moment in his tall chef’s hat, giving us a friendly “bork bork bork!” a la the Muppets’ Swedish Chef. But no. Both of the sides were oversalted to my boyfriend’s taste, but I’m a freaky saltfiend who likes to make the waterboy come over every two minutes to refill me, so they tasted great to me. The mac & cheese was definitely the better of the two, though, almost certainly because it’s Michael’s.
As for the steak–it was well-seasoned and cooked to my liking. It wasn’t Peter Luger quality, but it wasn’t Outback, either. (Sorry, Outback.) The problem is that the prices are more Peter Luger (and actually even higher than that) and less Outback, which means I was expecting the same quality.
I love the view over Grand Central location so much that I’d forgive the lesser quality if it wasn’t for the higher price. I’d recommend The Steak House for impressing out-of-towners, clients, or anyone who hasn’t been to the city’s top-notch steakhouses like Peter Luger and Keens (which itself isn’t nearly as good at Luger, as you’ll see in my review). Come for the classy black-and-white action stills of Jordan hung on the walls and the menus that feel like the skin of a basketball, but don’t come expecting the best-quality steak.
Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C.
23 Vanderbilt Avenue (inside Grand Central Terminal)
New York, NY 10017 (map)