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"Ben & Jack's" - Manhattan's almost-Luger's

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"Ben & Jack's" - Manhattan's almost-Luger's

newsjoke | Sep 18, 2005 06:28 PM

As a huge fan of Luger's (and highly disappointed one-time patron of Wolfgang's-- Manhattan's first started-by-ex-Luger's-employees Luger's knock-off), I was hesitant to try this place. However, a positive review in this week's "Time Out NY"-- in which the reviewer also raved about Luger's and wrote disparaging things about Wolfgang's-- convinced me to give it a try. (I figured, based on the love for Luger's and dislike for Wolfgang's, that he must know what he's talking about or, at the very least, know what *I'm* talking about.)

So we popped in there today for a quick meal-- sampling only the meat, the rolls, and two sides, and here's the conclusion:

The rolls: the onion roll is as good as Lugers, but the "salt stick"-- my favorite Luger's bread item, wasn't as good.

The meat: absolutely melt-in-your-mouth tender (like Luger's), without quite as much char, and ALMOST as flavorful, but not quite. (I wish I knew why, because the quality of the meat itself was tremendous-- every bit the equal of Lugers-- so I suspect it has to do with either the oven or the preperation.)

The sides... We tried two non-Luger's sides: "peas and onions," which was delicious, despite the fact that the peas had a kind of "from the can" olive green color, and "sauteed mushrooms & onions," in which I found the onions to be somewhat flavorless and too greasy, but the mushrooms to be pretty good.

Unfortunately, we didn't have room for dessert today (having already eaten twice earlier), and I can't vouch for any of the appetizers either, nor, for that matter, the potatoes or the creamed spinach (the latter of which was panned in the "Time Out NY" Review).

The staff was warm and friendly (but then, contrary to popular opinion, I've found the same thing at recent visits to Luger's).

Conclusion: this is probably the best steak I've had in Manhattan, with a tenderness equal to Luger's and a flavor that's close-- but not quite-- there.

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