Midtown West below 42nd street can be a little dicey. There are a lot of bodegas, a few apartment buildings, and – out of nowhere – a grandiose steakhouse out of another era.
Uncle Jack’s is a real meat emporium, It is big, it is dark, and it has fancy steak knives on the table. This is a place that you come to announce your promotion to your parents or have dinner with your boss. It’s a serious, traditional restaurant.
But it doesn’t have to be all about the meat – which some of us can’t eat at lunch if they want to avoid an afternoon nap.
Nothing new here, nothing you can’t get somewhere else…but this is done superbly. A huge portion of icy cold lettuce, crisp and fresh. Thickly crumbled bacon, smoky and salty, gives way to pungent shreds of red onion and juicy beefsteak tomatoes, spilling their acidic seeds. The dressing, creamy and clean tasting, comes with creamy clumps of Stilton cheese. It is sharp, funky, and adds a certain heft to the salad. Like I said, this isn’t new, but it is perfect.
Mahi Mahi with lemon beurre blanc and sautéed spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes
Fish in a steak restaurant?! Really? Who does that? If you are smart and dining at this restaurant, you will. This mahi mahi is delicious. It is soft but not mushy, flaky but still moist, and has charred parts where it touched the grill. The beurre blanc balances richness and acidity well, and the vegetables are especially notable. The spinach is so minerally and meaty, the tomatoes are so sweet and juicy, and the mushrooms are so umami and garlicky that they are worth ordering on their own. They work well with the salinity of the fish and bring another dimension to the dish.
Uncle Jacks’ probably has great steaks. They certainly looked and smelled delicious, arriving at tables all around us. But they also have other wonderful lunch entrees that are a little lighter but just as tasty. The restaurant isn’t cheap and the service is a little stiff and brusque, but the food is really well done. Come here when you have a bachelor party or an office affair, and everyone will be satisfied, – and carnivores alike.