Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse (440 Ninth Ave.) flies under the usual steak-radar but draws serious meat lovers for he-man specialties like Kobe beef and vast porterhouse cuts.—Sascha Brodsky
Any tips for entertaining at home?
I love to throw house parties particularly at my home in the Hamptons. Keep it simple. Serve a variety of small portions. The party should be about bites and tastings, so it does not overwhelm or crowd the drinking and socializing. Make the food more appetizing by setting it up in different stations throughout the house.
Where is your favorite place to eat in New York City?
I enjoy Mr. Chows at 57th and Second Avenue because of its interesting Asian/Chinese/Japanese fare. I love Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse, but when I eat there I am working!
What do you cook for yourself at home?
I’m a “meat & potatoes” guy. I love pot roast, prime ribs of beef, potted chicken, roast chicken ... simple foods made right, tastefully done...
Which ingredients should everyone have in the kitchen?
Home cooks should throw out all of their packaged, dry spices. This will make a huge difference right away. Only use “fresh”. Consider having a few little plants in the kitchen or porch which offer fresh spices whether its oregano, rosemary, basil, and more.
What tool should everyone have in the kitchen?
You’d be surprised how many home cooks don’t have a decent set of knives which need to be kept very sharp. Someone who enjoys cooking at home should be good to themselves and splurge a little with good utensils, quality pots & pans which handle heat well...it does make a difference in the artistry and preparation.
When going out, how much do you tip?
I tip 30 percent because I am in the restaurant business. I understand what it takes to provide good service. I understand wait staff and what they are all about. This is my own way of “giving back.”
Any tips for getting a good dinner reservation?
A $50 bill to the host or manager can get you just about any table you want, anywhere you want in New York City.
What mkes a good meal?
Great atmosphere and energy ... great service ... fine quality food...
What is the best/worst meal you’ve ever had?
The best, was the last meal I ate with my father before he died. It was a potted pork chops dinner ... a favorite in my family. I can taste those pork chops and think of that moment with my father to this day. I am a very positive person. So even what some people may consider to be a horrible meal, I would take into account as an educational experience.
Do you have any memorable kitchen stories?
I always remember how my father who worked two jobs, had two half days (Wednesday and Thursday afternoons) for relaxation. And he loved to prepare family meals in the kitchen (while my mother was working as a legal secretary). I liked to help my father in the kitchen and saw the way he was always organized with everything laid out.
What is the most common misconception about eating out?
We have had a fast food culture for 25 years. Unfortunately, when people visit a quality restaurant, they fail to recognize the time, attention and details it requires to prepare great food. At Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse we cook everything fresh-to-order. They expect everything to come out of the kitchen instantly, and this is a shame.
Willie’s Lobster Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Lobster meat, 5 ounces, tail/claw meat
Red and yellow cherry tomatoes,
4 each, whole
Red oak micro greens, quarter cup,
8-10 leafs each
Lolla rossa micro greens, quarter cup,
8-10 leafs each
Mint, 3-6 leafs rolled up, sliced thin
Basil 2-4 leafs, rolled up, sliced thin
Chives, 1 tsp., finely chopped
Avocado, 1/2 large diced and quarter cut
For sherry vinaigrette:
Sherry vinegar, quarter cup
Shallots, 1 tsp.
Mayo, 1 tablesp.
Honey, 1 tablesp.
Olive oil, one half cup
Kosher salt, a pinch
Ground black pepper, a pinch
Blend all ingredients for the vinaigrette except olive oil until smooth with everything well incorporated. Add oil in slowly and steady. Taste and adjust as needed. Put lobster meat and rest of ingredients in a stainless steel bowl. Toss together with vinaigrette. Place large ring mold in center of plate. Put salad in it lightly, placed down. Remove ring mold. Place avocado fan on right side at about 2 o’clock. Garnish with the whole chives.