Last week, my day job took me to New York and, after experiencing my first ever baseball game at the Yankee’s stadium, JK and I headed to Sparks for dinner.
Sparks is something of a New York institution, having been around since 1966. It features on almost every list of best steak house in New York and I don’t imagine it’s changed much in the last 50 years. To say it’s old school is like saying Jeremy Corbin is a little left of centre. It feels like an old school mobster hang out, with regulars pressing crisp notes into the maitre d’ as they are led to their usual table.
The dining room is cavernous and dark and every inch of wall space is filled with art work. Service is formal. Waiters serve like they are doing you a favour. Smiling, it appears, is optional, an option no one exercises. I am determined to break our waiter.
We skipped starters and went straight to mains and thank god we did. I never thought I’d hear JK utter these words, but even he thought we should have shared a steak between us. Steaks are served one size, huge, I’d guess my steak was about 800 or 900 grams.
I went for the filet mignon and James the prime sirloin. We added broccoli, creamed spinach and hash brown potatoes, we probably didn’t need to.
The wine list is extensive, expensive and, if you don’t know your wines, pretty intimidating. So you can imagine my delight at seeing a Luigi Bosca Malbec on the list and one of the cheapest wines listed. I say a thank you in my head to Matilda for introducing it to me.
The wine arrived and was poured without emotion but it was excellent. Our steaks arrived and were stunning. Beautifully cooked, the outside was charred and caramelised to perfection. The meat was sweet, succulent, intensely flavoured. Worth noting are the hash brown potatoes, little bashed cubes of potatoes fried until golden and crispy, extremely moreish.
And then, to complete the night, our waiter came to pour us more wine, he said he was sorry he had rushed earlier when I’d asked him a question, it was a busy night, and then, then it happened, he smiled, a real smile. It stayed in place the rest of the night, only at our table but nonetheless. My work here was done.
Sparks isn’t a cheap option, with service our bill came to around $210. I’d highly recommend sharing a steak, you’ll still eat too much meat and at least this way you might be able to walk it off.