If you go to Michael Jordan's The Steak House expecting to sit next to the basketball legend, you'll probably be disappointed. He only drops by a couple of times a year, and dines in a semi-private booth area. On the other hand, if you go to this casually elegant eatery, nestled on the northern balcony of Grand Central Terminal, expecting a first-rate meal and superb service, you absolutely won't be disappointed. Owners Peter and Penny Glazier – the proprietors of The Strip House and Steakhouse at the Monkey Bar – and executive chef David Walzog definitely know how to please the fans.
Given the massive size of the steaks on hand -- and how utterly delicious they are -- you might want to take it easy on the appetizers. A fun and not too filling starter consists of six thick, crustless strips of garlic bread ready to be doused in a heady gorgonzola fondue. Even more pleasing is a platter a beautifully chilled asparagus in a mild vinaigrette augmented by a baked round of goat cheese from Coach Farms.
If it's available, definitely consider ordering the special of perfectly prepared sea scallops – among the largest specimens I've seen – set atop a bed of the fluffiest possible couscous. They are, to use a basketball term, a slam dunk.
Of course, meat is Michael Jordan's raison d'etre, and Walzog's strip steak, which I've had at his other restaurants, remains sheer perfection: beefy, beautifully crusted and always served precisely as ordered. My tablemate had equally high praise for the enormous filet mignon, finishing every bite. Choosing among the many enticing-sounding sides is always a challenge, which is why I love Jordan's sampler platter, made up of a ramekin of fine creamed spinach, the house's slightly-misnamed hash browns (here, it's a fried ball of herbed potato chunks), and best of all, the ultra-rich macaroni and cheese made with white cheddar. But our favorite accompaniment was a delicious and inventive mélange of sautéed artichoke hearts, slices of onion and strips of prosciutto.
If you save room for something sweet, I'd recommend the lemon polenta torte. Truth be told, it is actually more like a giant, ultra-moist corn muffin, topped with whipped cream, stewed raspberries and fresh orange slices in their own juice. Frankly, I was tempted to take the whole thing home and have it for breakfast.
UPDATE: Michael Jordan's is now offering glittering cocktails beneath the stars at Grand Central. Ask about the Glitter Beet Martini with house-made beet puree, fresh ginger, a dash of simple syrup, sweet vermouth and a sparkly secret ingredient. Also being offered is The Glitter Cosmo. See more