Diners recline on the aged-black-leather chairs at Christie's Steakhouse, sipping martinis as they watch as they watch international travelers drift in and out of the Crowne Plaza hotel. Servers emerge from the kitchen, nimbly juggling plates of Black Angus steaks, fresh seafood dishes, and artisanal pizzas. They set plates down on linen-clad tabletops, their faces illuminated in the glow of soft hanging lights and five glimmering widescreen TVs.
The Dockside Restaurant offers superbly prepared classic dishes in a setting like no other. Located on the waterfront where Granville Island faces the city, guests can enjoy panoramic views across False Creek to the world-famous cityscape of Yaletown and beyond to the mountains of the North Shore.
New York Steak House's resident master chef assembles a menu of hearty steak house staples to serve in the restaurant's lavish dining room. Anchor drifting appetites with starters of Prince Edward mussels wading in white garlic sauce, or enjoy slivers of exquisite beef carpaccio drizzled with a garlic soy vinaigrette. Sides of mushroom risotto and broccoli rabe ride shotgun alongside entrees such as marinated skirt steak or a plate of chicken cordon blue, which, like a businessman's suitcase, conceals a reserve of prosciutto and mushroom sauce. Diners are surrounded by hand-stained copper ceilings and mahogany walls as well as stained-glass windows that cast a multicolored hue on mealing duos and quartets.
In the midst of Delmonico's sweeping murals, shimmering oak, glittering chandeliers, and gilded Age-of-Innocence accents, the menu glides in like an eyelash-fluttering ingénue to dazzle your taste buds. Delmonico's is, after all, the birthplace of the Delmonico Steak, Eggs Benedict, Lobster Newberg, Baked Alaska ($12), and the slightly less popular Mystery Bucket. If you want to venture off the culinary beaten path, treat yourself to seared Kobe beef with horseradish risotto, pomegranate, and crisped leeks ($17); blue crab cake with sweet potato hash ($19); and oysters "Diamond Jim Brady" ($19). If you can resist the siren song of the Baked Alaska, try the idiazabal cheesecake with truffle honey anglaise and pinot noir sorbet ($10). Give yourself a couple hours to peruse the encyclopedic wine list, which really should conserve paper by only listing the wines it doesn't have.
A restaurant, no matter its size, can be an intimate place. Bobby Van knew that well. If you'd walked into his first restaurant in the Hamptons 40 years ago, you might have found him playing the piano or slinging drinks behind the bar—inflecting the place with his personality, making a connection with the guests who dined there. He made such a big impression that 40 years later his name still graces a family of grills and steakhouses with a meaty legacy all their own.
The menu at each eatery opens with an assortment of salads and seafood appetizers, which may include delicate crab cakes or chilled lobster cocktails. Entrees may prove to be the hardest course to decide on, with a selection that includes lamb chops, fish, and steaks ranging from filets to sirloin to marbled porterhouses big enough to feed two, three, or four. Each space also holds a full bar stocked with spirits as well as wines handpicked by the sommelier.