TBar Is the Anti-Steakhouse That Serves a Mean Ribeye

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TBar Restaurant & Lounge on the Upper East Side has unusual décor, serves wings, and is decidedly not an ‘old boys club’

The color scheme screams “early ‘70s romper room” but the steak cuts are practically perfect.

The typical steakhouse experience, particularly in a large city, evokes images of dark wooden furniture, rich upholstery, overstuffed chairs, and men guffawing while smoking cigars. TBar Steakhouse & Lounge on the Upper East Side seems to have purposefully turned these tropes on their heads and gleefully abandoned them. Walking into TBar feels like Alice entering a carnivore’s Wonderland where up is down, wings and pizza are served on a pricey steakhouse menu, and cool mahogany is replaced by a dull chartreuse color scheme that jars the palate.

The overall experience at TBar takes some getting used to. It seems somewhat implausible that a restaurant which decorates joyfully for Easter and displays an array of hobby horses on the ceiling could serve classic steakhouse dishes with refinement and finesse. This is not to say that the atmosphere at TBar is offensive or unwelcome, but it adds some unique seasoning to a steak meal that would rate somewhere above average were it served at any other run-of-the-mill pricey steakhouse.

I regret declining to order the oddities that were sprinkled throughout TBar’s menu, including their housemade “angel wings” and shareable pizza. Nonetheless the shrimp cocktail was fresh, the octopus appetizer was well-seasoned (if a bit less charred than I usually prefer) and the shareable dessert — which TBar seems to be well-known for — was probably one of the better brownie sundaes I’ve ever had, covered in a thick layer of melted milk chocolate that surpassed the usual Hershey’s syrup topping.

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The star of the evening was, of course, the steak. The twin rib eyes were cooked perfectly to the customers’ requests (that is, medium rare was suitably pink inside), and were topped with a complex crust that added some earthy flavors to the tender meat. The meat itself was unfortunately too fatty, but the beautiful piece of beef made up for the inconvenience of slicing away small chunks of fat.