Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 1228 - Uncle Jack's Steak House

You want me to pay how much for a steak?

Uncle Jack's Steakhouse
Image Credit
Last night after the Toy Fair Derek decided he might like a big juicy steak for dinner.  We eat steak two or three times a week back at home and we haven't had one since we've been in The States, so it seemed like a good idea.  He'd spotted a steak joint on his trip home from the Javits Center so we thought we'd give it a go.

We headed for Uncle Jack's Steak House. By the time we got there I was absolutely starving and extremely tired. I had rung and made a booking for 8.00pm to be sure we got a seat so I expected to cruise in order, eat quickly and leave.

I'm not sure what we were expecting, but in my mind we were going to a "typical" American themed place along the lines of Planet Hollywood or Hog's Breath. I mean, there was a man climbing out of the sign above the front door so I figured it had to be "themed" in some way.  Which usually means it's a family restaurant. Which usually means it's quick and affordable. When we walked in we noticed that it all looked quite regal.  It didn't occur to me to check the prices or serving time though because I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people, including those waiting at the bar for their seats which is where we ended up as well (despite the fact that we had a reservation).

Inside Uncle Jack's Steakhouse in New York
Every single chair was filled when we arrived with people lined up at the bar.
Image Credit
After around 20 minutes we were finally taken to our seat and I was able to observe the sheer size of the place.  There were balconies full of people upstairs, there were little private corners, booths, tables and cubby holes.  It was really very impressive.  The waiter handed me a wine menu which was made of wood and could well have been the secret chronicles of some lost world.  I thought "I wonder if they have my Killawara strawberry infused champagne" but quickly realised that may not be the case given the bottles of wine in there ranged between $45 and $1300 a bottle.  It STILL didn't occur to me to check the prices of food nor how long it would take to give my the T-Bone I was hankering for.

We ditched the wine and chose to drink sparkling water and then scanned the menu.  I'm not sure how I missed it but there was an enormous blackboard menu on the wall at one side of the room, plus another one above the bar.  I guess they did this to say LOOK AT THE PRICES PEOPLE BEFORE YOU ORDER. WE ARE NOT CHEAP! Remember I was tired and overwhelmed by the crowd.  Nothing prepared me for the cost of steak in New York City.

Now, before I go any further, Derek and I aren't exactly scrooges. We'll pay what we need to pay when we need to pay it.  But it helps us if we are prepared. And we don't like to be taken for a ride. We're not much into labels and paying extra for popular or "famous".  If we can buy a kilo of porterhouse steaks at home for around $25, we don't expect to walk into a restaurant and get charged over $90 for two 250gm steaks.  I kid you not.  $90!!  We could have chosen a Japanese cut of Kobe for $250. Derek wanting a reef and beef could have had his desire for $65.  Hey, I could have had chicken for $30 or a pork chop for $25 which was pretty much what we decided to do. We came to terms with it all and were ready to order, but then discovered that our sides were separate.  To order a side of broccoli OR asparagus OR mashed potato OR fries would cost us anywhere between $8 and $13 a side serve.  Still affordable but by then we were feeling a little "put out" by the whole thing. All we really wanted was a whopping big T-Bone with a plate full of assorted vegetables.

Look, I get it.  We were in a posh restaurant with quality steak.  I understand that people who can't get this stuff from the local supermarket on a daily  basis would love to go to Uncle Jack's.  It's probably the best cuts of steak you will ever eat complemented with the best wine in the world.  It's just not something we were ready to indulge in after taking every cent we own and traipsing across the world to take a crack at introducing our product line to the USA.  It was an indulgence we were choosing not to afford. And I was HUNGRY! I needed to eat immediately and then go straight to bed.  This was a great restaurant but it wasn't the right restaurant for us at the time. 

So I did the only thing I could.  I doubled over in pain faking an illness, said our apologies and bolted before the sparkling water was delivered.  I thought about doing a fake vomit in the gutter once I got outside but figured that may be overdoing it.  We walked two blocks and ate Thai food instead and the total bill cost a similar amount as it cost us to drink at the bar at Uncle Jack's while we waited for our table. Plus the food was handed to us within ten minutes. Win/Win.
As I finished typing this I know I sound like a complete redneck without an ounce of culture or decorum or appreciation for the finer things in life. I guess I was just looking for a quick feed to satisfy a grumbly tumbly and would have been satisfied with a $3 slice of pizza.

Uncle Jack's is a lovely place.  In fact it would be perfect for Valentine's Day.Just be sure you are a little more prepared for it than we were.

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