When the New York Yankees decided to open an upscale steakhouse in their sparkling new stadium in 2009, nobody batted an eye. But the idea to open a second outpost of the steakhouse in the heart of bustling Manhattan, right in Rockefeller Center, was a risky move: would enough people associate the Yankees with great food to make it work? Well it certainly worked (as the nightly crowds can tell you), and the steakhouse, which we had the opportunity to visit at the invitation of the restaurant, fuses everything that’s great about the Yankees with a classic steakhouse experience.
The restaurant itself feels like it could be inside Yankee Stadium’s luxury level: Brushed steel, tan leather, and Yankee blue give the room an upscale clubhouse vibe. And let’s just say that a Red Sox fan would have a hard time dining here: From a display case showcasing steak knives used by just about everyone in the entire Yankee organization to memorabilia and giant framed photographs of great Yankee moments, the Bronx Bombers are everywhere you turn (in more ways than one: Hall of Famer Wade Boggs was hanging out at the bar during one recent visit).
The main dining room is separated into two main sections: a bustling bar area and an adjacent dining room, with an open kitchen beyond it. It’s not a sprawling restaurant, but it’s not exactly cozy, either; it seems to be just the right size for the crowds that descend on it almost nightly. There’s also a private party space upstairs as well as a small “butcher shop” area downstairs where some of their more attractive cuts of meat are displayed.
The menu is classic steakhouse: There’s a raw bar, and appetizers include shrimp cocktail, house-cured bacon, lump crab cakes, French onion soup, and fried oysters, and sides include a loaded baked potato, lobster mac and cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano truffle fries (a Yankee Stadium classic), and a stack of onion rings. It’s obviously all about the steak here: a 12-ounce or dry-aged bone-in 18-ounce New York Strip, 27-ounce long bone ribeye, 38-ounce porterhouse for two, or 16-ounce ribeye are all USDA Prime and sold à la carte. Other specialties include filet mignon in six-, eight-, or 12-ounce portions; a whole lobster, lamb chops, a double-cut pork chop, a “double play” (petite filet and lobster tail), and roasted half chicken are also available. Also make sure you save room for dessert; the slice of chocolate cake in particular is legendarily massive.
The steaks are as good as any steakhouse in Manhattan: nicely broiled with a good char, cooked to the proper temperature, and served with just the right amount of fanfare. The wine list, chosen by beverage director Mike Khorosh, includes nearly 30 wines by the glass, some Yankee-branded wines, and a good value on the ample collection of bottles; Khorosh told me that he tries to choose wines from smaller producers that many people might not be familiar with, but that they’d certainly be impressed by.
Visiting NYY Steak is like watching a Yankee game from a luxury suite. Sure, it doesn’t come cheap, but you’ll be surrounded by a level of luxury and hospitality that the Yankees achieve better than just about any other professional sports team. And, oh, yeah, you’ll also get to enjoy a pretty spectacular steak.