BB1 2-6-2013

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A Traditional New York Steak Dinner at Bull and Bear

So, it’s a celebratory date night. You want it to be something special, something memorable and let’s face it, a reflection of your elevated taste and knowledge of fine dining. A true New York steak dinner if you will. And what better option than a night at the Waldorf Astoria’s steak house, Bull and Bear?

Bull and Bear back in the day.

Influenced by the stock market from its name to the decor (there’s a stock ticker running along the far side of the bar’s wall and Fox Business Happy Hour used to be filmed there), the iconic restaurant first opened it’s doors in 1931. Frequented by the good people who keep the trading floor running, you’ll still see the post-work crowd enjoying a stiff cocktail or two in addition to their meal. Needless to say, its also known for its steak, and we at Rogues & Gentlemen wanted to know why.

Hungry for knowledge and thirsting for New York steak house best practices, our illustrious OR&G editor grilled the culinary director of the Waldorf, Chef Garcelon, for his thoughts on all things rare and tender. The following is near priceless advice, from the man who knows best, packed into a short guide you may conveniently access via iPhone while waiting for your date to finish up in the powder room.

•    For starters, order a classic drink. One that won’t overload the palate, such as vodka on the rocks or scotch. If the lady prefers wine, go with a trusty Bordeaux. When you’re ready to order appetizers, consider a new world Pinot Noir that works well from starters to steak. Or champagne, the drink that goes with everything. If you’re in a steak house you’re most likely celebrating something to begin with, so why not order the proper accoutrements.

•    Now for the sides. As a rule, always order one side dish per person because your steak will be arriving solo. This is not T.G.I. Friday’s and it won’t come with an unexpected order of curly fries (although Bull and Bear house fries were a crowd favorite on our visit.) Creamed spinach and mashed potatoes are always two classic go-to staples that you and your date will both appreciate.

•    Getting to the meat of the matter: the difference in steaks. The dry aged beef is a Bull and Bear specialty and truly a New York institution. It’s the time-honored way to age beef and it tenderizes and enhances the flavor giving it a unique, nutty edge. There are three types of cuts you can order, the filet mignon is the tenderest, the strip-loin is in-between and the rib eye has the highest marbling, i.e. fat or flavor. Any chef would take the rib eye, regardless of the inevitable presence of small clumps of fat. (If there were ever a time to declare YOLO, this is it.) You and your date would each choose your preferred cut of steak off the menu, or if you feel like sharing try a Porterhouse, which is a larger cut similar to the rib eye, built for two.

•    Dessert? Of course. When confronted with a long menu, trust the classics. For example, the Waldorf made red velvet cake famous, and it would be a disservice to yourself, nay your entire night and everyone involved, if you were to pass on such decadent fare. It’s completely all natural as well, given its signature red stain from beet juice.


After devouring all this information we were curious about the man behind it all, Chef Garcelon, given his cool demeanor and propensity for two of our favorite things (meat and drink.) Thankfully the mastermind behind these culinary delights graciously subjected himself to a few more questions on matters we take very seriously:

Q: Bow Tie or Regular Tie?
A: Regular Tie.

Q: Button-down or Spread?
A: Regular Collar.

Q: Daniel Craig or Sean Connery?
A: Sean Connery for the same reason I work at this hotel.

Q: Pleated or Flat Front Pants?
A: Pleats.

Q: Neat or On the Rocks?
A: On the Rocks.

Q: What book is on your bedside table?
A: Neil Young’s biography, I really like it so far.

Q: If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
A: I’d rather be on a boat in the tropics.

Q: Where is home in your heart?
A: Canada, it’s where I’m from.

Q: How long have you been a chef?
A: Nearly thirty years now.

Q: What do you cook to relax?
A: Whatever is in season, I love to improvise.


Chef Garcelon

Many thanks to Chef Garcelon and the entire Waldorf Astoria and Bull and Bear team; you’re truly a prime piece of New York City.

Visit Bull and Bear at the Waldorf Astoria the next time you’re in New York City.
Make a reservation here.

TAGS: Brooks Brothers | bull and bear | chef garcelon | date night | of rogues and gentlemen | the waldorf astoria | traditional new york steak dinner | valentines day | what to order at a steak dinner

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  • avatar
    Great steak and great cocktails... they make the perfect Gibson!
    24 months ago | Report abuse |
    • avatar
      The Editors
      We'll vouch for both...
      24 months ago | Report abuse |