New York City has a dizzying array of food options and yet, I always find myself in Midtown Manhattan in search of food – solo. While in the past, I’ve ventured to Chelsea for Eataly, the frigid weather kept me within a few blocks of the Refinery Hotel in the Garment District and the Broadway theatres on my last visit. My puffy winter coat along with layers of hats, gloves and scarves seemed a bit too much to find space in a small cafe or at a bar seat so I jumped into the deep end of OpenTable for a Saturday night dinner for one (not all restaurants take a reservation for one so you may need to book a table for two to get a seat). I scrolled past many early options, starting at 5 p.m. which was fine as I had matinée ticket to Hamilton. Many openings had a * indicating alternative seating which can mean a bar seat or open kitchen counter which can be a bonus or have you seated with a view of a wall which sucks. I decided to go with my happy place – red meat, red wine and chocolate cake – aka a steakhouse. Having seen STK around the world on my travels, I decided it was time to explore the trendy steakhouse so I booked my 5:30 table for one at STK Midtown Manhattan.
STK Midtown – Location
The restaurant is set back from the street so I almost missed it if not for the stop light as I was walking in the wind. I looked left and saw the sign STK behind the outdoor seating area of the office building. I also saw a fireplace in the window and I was freezing so of course that looked inviting from ½ block away. Located on 6th Avenue (aka Avenue of the Americas) near 42nd street across from Bryant Park and two blocks from the new Whole Foods. It is also a short walk from Radio City Music Hall and Grand Central.
Looking as if I was arriving from the cold tundra which was just outside, three staff instantly greeted me at the front host stand. One took my coat, another said “follow me” and the other “enjoy your meal”. It was a quick blur as I was whisked from the frigid memory of outside into the warm interior. We walked past the front dining area, through the bar area, up some stairs to the elevated dining room with plush leather booths and tables with a view of the entire restaurant. I had my own dinner theatre of people watching from the back corner of the restaurant – it was early on a Saturday so no nightclub DJ or party scene to deal with – just a relaxing early dinner.
STK Midtown Décor
Unlike the traditional dark wood-paneled steakhouses that you are most familiar with (and that I do love), STK Midtown was a design delight with vaulted ceiling design, white leather, wood accents and gorgeous tall vases with fresh flowers. It was a dining room for all. My table was along the wall of banquette seats so they can accommodate large parties (they also have a private dining room and back bar). Next to me was a corner booth and I could see families, friends and a few children (and babies in high chairs) throughout the dining room. It was early in the night, not quite 6 p.m. but the pre-theatre crowd was filling the room pretty quickly and it was nice to see how the steakhouse is evolving to capture diners of all ages including families.
STK Midtown Food
The décor was not a distraction from the wonderful food. Classic steakhouse options abounded on the menu at familiar price points. Various cuts of beef with topping and sauce choices shared space with other entrees like fish, oysters, appetizers and sides. While I was tempted by the short rib ravioli, two pieces for $24 deterred me as I dreamed of dessert instead. I would request the dessert menu to take a look to see how to plan out my dinner and depth of indulgence. It should be noted that the desserts are not made in-house by a pastry chef so that was initially disappointing to know but helped in my planning as I spied three dessert contenders.
I chose the smaller filet option, the 6 oz. medallion and added a healthy side of asparagus. Side choices are meant to be shared so take note when it’s just you. Try as I might I wasn’t able to eat the entire plate of asparagus which was seasoned and grilled perfectly. It was the bread that did me in, I forgot to say “hold the bread” on my gluten-free diet and lacking any carb willpower I dug into the bread pulling off each piece happily stuffing the warm, buttered bread in my face. Washing this down with a glass (or two) of Malbec made me happy.
The food was even better than it looked – and it looked pretty good at first glance. I topped the filet with peppercorn crust and it came with a brown au jus sauce (I was definitely a dipper and dunker that night). The tenderness of the beef with the spicy pepper and flavorful gravy was a delicious combination to enjoy.
STK Midtown Dessert
The server was attentive to check on me at various points of my meal which was welcomed and not too much or too little (sometime solo diners can be ignored or fawned over by restaurants). I told him I needed a break before dessert. He suggested the “warm cookie” as the best dessert but unknown to him, I had a Bouchon brownie and double chocolate cookie in my bag, along with boutique chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat (my after theatre diversion and reason I was slightly late for my dinner reservation).
I chose the Berry Parfait as it sounded refreshing and a bit healthy (berries). When it arrived it was a deconstructed berry crumble – three scoops of creamy raspberry sherbet with berry compote in the middle with graham cracker crumble sprinkled around. I surprised myself when I ate it all! I guess some part of my lactose intolerant brain thought it was ice cream and relished the idea of eating ice cream again without getting sick. Never mind that it was literally 10 degrees outside – I was warm in my happy place of red meat, red wine and dessert!
Final Thoughts STK Midtown
My dining experience from start to finish was fantastic. As a solo diner, I would definitely return to STK Midtown and also try their other locations around the world hoping to replicate my dinner experience. At no point did I feel odd dining solo, I was treated like any other guest which was good to see. My meal with two glasses of Terrazas Malbec cost $112.15 before tip – a luxury dinner to complete my luxury weekend in New York City.