by Cari, New York Guest Concierge
I’m a meat eater. I love the classic meal of steak and potatoes, even though I was raised on Italian and Greek food. So after my last visit to Italian heaven, I decided my next excursion better have steak on the menu. I chose AJ Maxwells Steakhouse for this feast, a place I’ve called hundreds of times due to its perfect location adjacent to Rockefeller Center. I walked in with my theatre and dining partner – my mom – and we were immediately relaxed and happy. The atmosphere didn’t feel like your everyday stiff steakhouse; it was a comfortable and welcoming place with white tablecloths and great chandeliers.
Upon sitting we met our waiter Howard who was informative, helpful and attentive. He introduced us to the friendly and kind manager Tommy. We received our bread basket- an assortment of garlic crackers and delicious breads with butter. We ordered unsweetened iced teas and decided to start with two half salads. I went with the half Goat Cheese salad with goat cheese, nuts, soft cracker-like croutons, and a wonderful complementary dressing. My mother went with the half Tri-Color salad full of her favorite endive and mixed with a great vinaigrette. We decided it wouldn’t be a meal without getting a slice of thick Canadian bacon; it arrived crispy and juicy and it was seriously a little bit life-changing. We didn’t feel rushed and we really enjoyed the simplicity but deliciousness of our starting courses. They were beautifully presented and perfectly portioned.
For dinner we had to go with the Petite Filets cooked to Medium even though I sincerely considered the lamb chops. I think that steak temperatures are extremely important; if you get it wrong, your taste buds are totally compromised. Ours were cooked to perfection with a warm pink center; filets are the hardest to cook and they nailed them! The taste was absolutely fabulous; AJ Maxwells even has their own steak sauce. I am a fan of A1 but most steakhouses attempts at a steak sauce are not successful— AJ Maxwell’s steak sauce is to die for and I wish I had it at home. I would put it on steak OR chicken. To go along with our steaks we ordered some a la carte side dishes: potatoes au gratin, creamed spinach and parmesan jumbo asparagus. The asparagus was well-cooked and still perfectly green, the way asparagus should be, with a little crunch. The Creamed Spinach was very simple, not too creamy and you could still taste the spinach. The winner of the main course was by far and away the potatoes au gratin. The cheesy and creamy stacks of potatoes reminded both my mother and me of my grandmother’s take on this dish. Everything was fabulous, though we couldn’t even finish it. I think we made Howard proud! (We also got a visit from another manager named Michelle! Both the managers were so friendly.)
You must always leave room for dessert. It’s necessary to see what people have come up with because you just never know what will blow you away. We decided to order the crème brulee and the crepe layer cake. The plate came out with fresh fruit and fresh whipped cream, a delicious crème brulee (perfect in taste, not burnt, and so creamy), but the winner was the crepe layer cake. Crepes are thin pancakes and there was cream in between each layer. I had never seen a cake like this and surely had never tasted anything like it. Crepes easily fall apart but not in this cake. It was brilliantly delicious and I wish I had the recipe.
AJ Maxwells is the perfect choice of a steakhouse. With its simple elegance, comfortable atmosphere, and fantastic service, they cater to everyone: a small family, a first date, or a business meeting. (And if you are going anywhere near Rockefeller Center, you really don’t need to think twice- it’s the perfect choice.) I love the comfortable feeling I got when I left the restaurant. I felt like family and I felt like I could go back again and again. How about this weekend everyone? I enjoyed it so much and I know you will too. Make your reservation today!