Long time Upper East Siders might still remember The Lenox Room, but Tony Fortuna has carved out a niche at the T Bar Steak and Lounge on Third Ave. at 73rd St. in Manhattan, since opening in the same space in 2007.
Given its location, this Midtown-style restaurant can’t depend on the tourist trade to keep seats filled. It has to go one step further with a far more demanding clientele–local residents.
That means the service must be good and the food a cut above to keep diners coming back for more.
Executive chef Ben Zwicker has overseen the kitchen from day one and strives to maintain consistency across the menu.
T Bar avoids the pretentiousness of big-name Midtown steak houses, while its steaks and chops hold their own against most of New York’s best.
It’s a la carte menu features its signature prime beef along with a mix of grilled fish, chopped salads and pastas.
Zwicker personally oversees the dessert menu, which includes the famous Banana Parfait Mille Feuilles with coconut and caramel sauce. It’s similar to, but slightly different from a traditional Napoleon’s vanilla and creme custard.
At T Bar, it’s always good to start with the steaks.
It serves a 14-ounce NY Prime aged Black Angus strip, a hearty 8-ounce Filet Mignon for $42, a 24-ounce Prime Aged Rib Eye for $65 and it’s signature 40-ounce Black Angus Porterhouse for $115.00. Don’t be scared off by the price, it’s enough to feed up to three people.
Seafood, veal, free range chicken and its grilled Berkshire pork chop round out the main menu.
From the ocean, entrees include Irish Salmon, with zucchini, honey mustard at $33;, crusted tuna with soy, wasabi and seaweed salad for $39; Chilean Bass with bok choy, giner and soy glaze for $43 and an herb-grilled Branzino (European Sea Bass) with fennel agrodolce, tomato and parsley.
T-Bar goes beyond the usual steak and seafood menu with a full chilled bar that includes chilled seafood salad $24 with shrimp, calamari, octopus and clams; a tiger shrimp cocktail $24; Market fresh oysters at $24 a half dozen; a jumbo lump crab cake, with sweet chili, pickled onion and cucumber for $21 and crispy sushi yellowfin tuna tartar for $24.
And to top things off there’s also a full compliment of salads.
There’s a lot of competition on the UES for Cavatelli pasta dishes. The small pasta shells from eggless semolina dough that look like miniature hot dog buns can be served infinite ways. T Bar offers a Cavatelli “Antonucci,” with veal ragout and parmesan for $27.
The roasted free range chicken with mashed potatoes and roast carrots is $29 and the Soba Noodle Chicken Salad with carrots, ginger, sesame Oil, miso Vinaigrette
The sandwich bar includes a to-die-for prime aged angus burger, with lettuce, tomato and pickle, or you can opt for a Colorado lamb burger. Both are $24. The Turkey Club Sandwich, with bacon, mayo and tomato is $18 and there’s also a Natural Amish Turkey Burger for the diet minded.
T Bar’s wine list is also a cut above. Wines go for $11 to $22 by the glass.
As always, an owner on the premises always shows an attention to detail that diners appreciate. And it shows in T Bar’s immaculate dining room.
The 100-seat dining room is bright and contemporary with an Art Deco flair. No dark heavy paneling here. The bar is well lit and offset by the softer overhead lighting.
The atmosphere is dressy casual.
Perhaps the only downside is you’ll pay Manhattan steakhouse prices for most entrees. But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
T Bar serves brunch, lunch and dinner and offers prix fixe menus as well.
TBAR STEAK AND LOUNGE
1278 Third Avenue at E 73rd St.
Website: T Bar Steak and Lounge