With its crisp white tablecloths, glimmering chandeliers, and elegant banquets, the American Dream Steakhouse exemplifies the classic American steak house. A soaring photograph of Lady Liberty watches over the dining room, where nimble servers balance trays of fine steaks, juicy burgers, and sizzling chilean sea bass. Diners clink wineglasses over slices of new york cheesecake drenched in fresh berries and clouds of whipped cream.
The epicurean curators at Cachacaria Boteco cultivate hearty meals of traditional Brazilian fare and drinks served beneath soaring ceilings and a chandelier of exposed bulbs. Servers bear morsels of pao de queijo, or cheese buns, and kibe, or fried meatballs, across the black-and-white checked floor during fast-paced games of human chess. The sugar-cane-rum blend of caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, flows as freely as the orange curtains that frame potted palms and flat-screen TVs.
Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar's hibachi chefs pull double duty, acting as entertainers in addition to grillmasters. They captivate large groups of diners with whirling knifework, dynamic spatula twirls, and the occasional spout of flame at tableside hibachi grills, flipping hot portions of lobster and chicken directly onto waiting plates. Behind the bamboo-finished bar, the sushi chefs move more slowly as they carefully seal colorful combinations of veggies, seafood, and vinegar-anointed rice within sheets of delicate seaweed. Like a poltergeist beauty pageant, not all of the talent is visible to the eye—the culinary team makes some of the restaurant's most exotic dishes, such as kobe beef sliders and wasabi-crusted filet mignon, behind the closed doors of the kitchen.
Though still a young man, William Degel can trace his life story all the way back to Prohibition. In the early 1930s, his godfather owned Jack's, a Manhattan steakhouse and speakeasy frequented by movie stars and politicos. Stories of the restaurant's notoriety inspired William's own career path: he leveraged an early job as a bartender into the purchase of a rundown Queens saloon, which eventually gave him the opportunity to open Uncle Jack's Steakhouse. This fine-dining establishment was styled after the original Jack's, with Victorian touches such as pressed-copper ceilings, a hand-carved mahogany bar, and faeries only visible to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Now expanded to three New York locations, Uncle Jack's has proved so popular that William was selected to host Restaurant Stakeout, a Food Network program on which he helps struggling restaurateurs save their businesses. William often credits his success to a focus on quality, a trait noticeable after one glance at the menu. He handpicks all of the beef from cattle that are grown to the steakhouse's exact specifications on Nebraska ranches. The USDA Prime cuts are aged onsite up to 35 days, then cooked in 1800-degree infrared boilers that seal the meat's juices inside a perfectly charred exterior.
As with his godfather's place, William's restaurants cater to the city's elite. Athletes, actors, and local celebrities are often seen seated around Uncle Jack's tables, which isn't surprising considering the richly appointed dining rooms, paparazzi-repelling forcefields, and extravagant perks programs the restaurant provides. Birthday and anniversary reservations are rewarded with a bottle of Taittinger on the house, and the Lifestyle Rewards program lets members cash in their points for Rolex watches, Vegas vacations, and even a Porsche 911.
Chosen by Zagat as one of the best steak houses in Westchester County, The Willett House quells discerning appetites with scrumptious steaks and seafood. On the prix fixe dinner menu, starters such as lobster bisque and gorgonzola salad prime bellies for entrees such as chicken francese and a 10-ounce filet mignon au poivre coated in a peppercorn cream sauce. After lulling anyone who eats it into a content, satiated slumber, the 2-pound lobster (an additional $5) infiltrates diners’ dreams and pinches them awake again. As they finish off the table’s shared bottle of wine, each patron can choose from a tray of fresh, house-made desserts and wash down the treat with a cup of coffee or tea. Surrounding the main dining room, a pressed-tin ceiling and exposed-brick walls augment the 90-square-foot mural depicting life in turn-of-the-century Port Chester, when the seaside town still led the world in exports of soda jerks’ red-striped hats.
Just beside the Bronx River, an early-1800's stone mill stretches above the water like the Space Shuttle perched hopefully over Cape Canaveral. The Georgian-style fieldstone building currently won't tear off for the cosmos, however. Instead, it plays host to The Olde Stone Mill restaurant, which makes use of the centuries-old timber posts and beams to create a cozy pastoral atmosphere, which is exactly what NASA first imagined to be the scene on the moon. The eatery's staff marries steak-house cuisine with Italian dishes, pairing pastas and veal francese with generous cuts of rib-eye and filet mignon. As a testament to the quality of this cuisine, Westchester Magazine named Olde Stone Mill's truffle ravioli the region's best in 2012 for its aromatic medley of wild mushrooms, cream, and truffle oil.
A goldenrod dining room, containing the building's original stone hearth, sets the scene for linguine twirling or tearing into porterhouse pork chops. Behind the handcrafted bar, bartenders pour glasses of wine and mix martinis, one of which won Westchester Magazine's praise as 2011's best twist on a traditional martini. Antique lanterns accented by spirals of ivy illuminate the bar's surface, and on balmy days, diners can retreat to the stone patio and enjoy their glasses of wine with a spritz of sunshine.