TBar Steak and Lounge

by Susan on June 24, 2008


From afar, TBar Steak and Lounge could easily be mistaken for a cruise-wear retail store; its orange awning glows brightly on an otherwise muted stretch of Third Avenue.

The space was called The Lenox Room before a renovation last summer. An updated interior with soothing green tones, patterned upholstery, dark wood, and the flamed-colored awning calls to a younger clientele. The makeover was a success as TBar is usually packed with stylish Upper East Siders.

Despite the hipper interior and increased noise level, Chef Ben Zwicker still delivers a diverse menu of solidly prepared food. In a city where steak houses often translate into stark atmospheres, limited menus, gruff service, and mostly-male patrons, TBar has carved out a niche for itself that couldn’t be more aptly suited for the UES.

A raw bar selection, salads, and seafood dominate the Appetizers. Classic Chopped Caesar was elegantly topped with a fried, wonton-like chip, but the lemony taste would not have satisfied someone craving a more creamy dressing. Black Angus Steak Tartar, formed into a hefty square, had just the right balance of mayonnaise, capers, and seasoning.

Lighter dishes, including a handful of fish options and the T-Bar Chopped Salad that can be topped with chicken, NY Strip, or grilled shrimp, are tempting meat alternatives. The shrimp atop freshly cut lettuce and vegetables was laced with charcoal flavor and conveniently cut into bite-sized pieces. Veal Schnitzel Holstein and Rigatoni Alla Bolognese will also have their followers.

In the Steak Bar part of the menu, the usual suspects are available, as are a Veal Chop and Berkshire Pork Chop. The 48 oz. Porterhouse for two was excellent. A charred and well-seasoned ring of flavor encased the tender and flavorful beef. It could easily compete with its brethren at other NYC steakhouses.

While the succulent Berkshire Pork Chop was well-cooked, its blackened salt crust was too thick. Too many bites were overpowered by the brininess.
Similar to any respectable steak house, side dishes are also available. Slightly bitter Broccoli Rabe was sautéed with garlic and olive and oil. Too much salt ruined an earthy mélange of mushrooms.

The first three items on the dessert menu – the Strawberry Sundae, the Banana Parfait, and the Chocolate Sundae – seem like pricey options at $14 each, but their cost is commensurate with their size. Served in fish bowl equivalents, you’ll need at least three diners to devour one of these gargantuan confections. The Strawberry Sundae, with shortcake, meringue, cream, and strawberry ice cream, was sweet and refreshing.

TBar Steak and Lounge’s descriptive moniker makes good on all its promises. If you live nearby, it might make your semi-regular rotation, and if you find yourself in the neighborhood, it can be worth a visit.

TBar Steak and Lounge
1278 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10021

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