You have to love Restaurant Week. Trying all sorts of new places. Restaurant Week is what brought Fork and Knife to Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse in Grand Central Station. Now, this seems like an unlikely place to try and in an unlikely location, but Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse has had fabulous reviews so Fork and Knife thought it worth a try.
The restaurant in located on the north/west balcony level of Grand Central’s main room. When you walk into Grand Central and look around, there is nothing pointing you to the restaurant – Metrazur has a sign – Cipriani Dolci has a sign – Michael Jordan’s? You have to guess. When you reach the top of the stairs of the west balcony, you walk into the bar area for the restaurant. Jam packed with people who do not, apparently, understand the words ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’, perhaps we should have tried ‘get out of my way’. But once you push past and through the bar area you reach a small lobby with a hostess.
Fork and Knife arrived at the hostess desk together. Fork gave the name for the reservation. The hostess asked if it was a reservation for two. Fork and Knife in unison said yes. The hostess proceeded to ask Fork if Fork would like to be seated while Fork waited for a dinner companion to arrive. Fork and Knife looked at each other, raised an eyebrow and looked back at the hostess. She figured it out.
By the way, there are two 8×10 photos of Michael Jordan tucked in by the hostess desk. If you didn’t crane your neck to see them you would never think that THE Michael Jordan was the same Michael Jordan that lent his name to the restaurant.
It was 5:45. The dining room, save for one table, was empty. We were shown to a table in the middle of the room, but we asked to move to a table near the balcony railing so we could look around beautiful Grand Central Station and people watch. No problem.
As our waiter handed us our menus he let us know that the Restaurant Week special menu was only available between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Not sure why at 5:45 he felt it necessary to tell us this, but what is interesting is that this time fact is NOT mentioned on the restaurant website, NOT mentioned on OpenTable.com, NOT mentioned on NYCgo.com. What if we had made out Restaurant Week reservation for 7:30? Would we have had to order from the regular menu? Seems this information should have been available somewhere so diners could make realistic plans for dinner.
The restaurant itself is beautiful. The whole place over looks the main hall of Grand Central, without the noise. We could see the beautiful constellation ceiling, the architecture, people running to catch trains, and all from the safety and comfort of our very large table, not spaced too closely to the ones next to us.
The menu for restaurant week was not overly exciting. There were two appetizers, three entrees, and two desserts (one of which they were out of).
Knife and Fork both chose the Marinated Mushroom Salad with frisee and goat cheese. Now, from this description, one would think this was a marinated mushroom salad with some greens and goat cheese. Nope. This was a frisee salad with some marinated mushrooms and two or three little dollops of goat cheese. Now, don’t get Fork wrong, this was a good salad. Good dressing. Nice sized portion. The frisee could have been trimmed a bit so that it was easier to eat and the heavy stalky end was gone. But, certainly, the salad was better than Cauliflower Soup!
Fork and Knife both also ordered the Filet Mignon with Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Mustard Greens. These were great steaks. Really big, great steaks. Very tender. Very flavorful. Perfectly cooked. They probably didn’t rest enough from the grill to the table, when we cut into them, there was a lot of juice. Even with that faux pas, yummy. Fork is not sure the same can be said about everything else on the plate. Let’s talk about the ‘whipped’ sweet potatoes. Now those words alone make this piece of cutlery envision light and fluffy sweet potatoes. Sigh. This was not to be. The whipped sweet potatoes on our plates were really loose and runny – reminiscent of baby food – and really unpleasant. The mustard greens were just wilted. They were good, but would have been better if sautéed with more garlic or a squeeze of lemon juice.
Before Fork and Knife were shown the Restaurant Week menu, our waiter brought the regular menu to the table and Fork’s eyes were instantly drawn t0 Hashbrown Potato Pie. Doesn’t that sound amazing!? What arrived was an 8-inch crispy disk. Sadly, before Fork was able to take a photo of the entire thing our waiter HACKED into it to plate. I would have preferred to do that myself. He actually used a spoon to attempt to cut through this crispy disk. What a mess. The top was crispy and brown. The bottom was crispy, but not so brown. The center more like lumpy mashed potatoes than hashbrowns. The potatoes were really good. Nice and creamy (minus the ‘hashbrown’ lumps), a lot of fresh herbs flecked throughout. Fork may need to try this at home.
Pet peeve – one of the bus boys came to the table and without asking reached his arm across and took my plate. What happened to, ‘Are you finished?’, ‘May I take your plate?’ Seriously bad form.
Our last decision of the night was dessert. Not much of a decision. There was ice cream (only vanilla or chocolate) or sorbet (mango or raspberry). They made it quite clear on the menu that it was ONLY one scoop of whatever flavor. There was also cheesecake on the menu, but none was even offered as a choice. The scoop was very generous. The sorbet very good – probably Ciao Bella. There was a cut up strawberry and a spring of mint. Mint that everyone feels is part of every dessert on the planet.
Was dinner good? It was okay. The service was good, the steak was good, everything else was passable. Would I go back? Nope.
Oh, wait!! IT NOW GETS WORSE – and this is not for the faint of heart! Also, don’t be sipping any beverages while reading. We will not be responsible for you spewing liquid while laughing!
Fork and Knife decided that before the long trek home we should visit the rest rooms. Fork asked the waiter where the rest rooms were and he graciously walked us over to their location. There was a woman standing in a vestibule before three mirrored doors. The vestibule was darkly painted and there was a high counter with three wall mirrors. She opened door number one, wiped down the toilet, made sure everything was clean and straight and let Fork in – I am sure Spoon had the same experience. I am sorry if this becomes a little graphic – Put my things down, unbuttoned slacks, turned, sat, looked up and was facing the back of the door. The back of the MIRRORED door! Fork was totally stunned. Is that me? Am I that fat? Wait a minute? I am going to the bathroom and I am watching myself! Who cares if I am fat! This was so WRONG on SO many levels. It was like some psychotic porno movie! Trying on bathing suits is far less humiliating than this. Totally flabbergasted, Fork quickly concluded what needed to be done – with a certain sense of shame, I might add! – and bolted from the chamber of torture.
While waiting for Knife to finish, I realized that where these bathrooms were located was the old entrance to Grand Central Station from 44th Street. You entered onto the balcony. There were two sets of french paned doors – three, a break, three more. There was about a 7 foot space between the outside doors and the inside doors. They made two walls, tiled them, added sinks and toilets and kept the original doors. Always a fan of keeping as much original architecture and structure, the original doors are a nice touch. BUT MIRRORED – MIRRORED and DIRECTLY across from the toilet!?
Knife’s experience was exactly the same and equally as shocking!
If anyone from Michael Jordan’s reads this…..PAINT THE MIRRORS THE SAME COLOR AS THE WALLS! It isn’t as if there isn’t a mirror over the sink. Trust me, no piece of cutlery in the world wants to see that much of themselves!