By: AKC President and CEO Dennis B. Sprung
If BEST In Show at Westminster is in your plans, you might as well prepare by eating at the BEST restaurants in New York City. Listed below are four of my favorites along with some insider information. All are open 7 days a week.
STEAKS — There remains only one. By far the FINEST steak in the City is Benjamin Steakhouse, the favorite of the stars. Famed restaurateur Benjamin Prelvukaj will handle you like family. The porterhouse is in a class all its own; the service is extraordinary and friendly, headed by Maîtré d’s Mario Buqaj and Val Gjonbalaj with celebrity waiter “Ricky.” In addition to great steak they serve fine fish dishes. Treat yourself to scrumptious desserts including the divine ice cream sundae and schlag. Located in the Dylan Hotel (formerly the private Chemists Club), it is THE place to dine as a couple or with a large party. Ask for table 54 and see if you’re lucky enough to get it. Do make reservations, and always use my name. Benjamin Steakhouse, 52 East 41st, Street, between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue, 212-297-9177.www.benjaminsteakhouse.com
SEAFOOD — One of the hot restaurants in New York is The Seafire Grill, led by Head Chef Ted Pryor. An extraordinarily gorgeous setting with superior service for your comfort. The comprehensive wine list, excellent food, and fun will make you keep coming back. Victor Dedushaj and Aron Kraja will treat you as special family and see Benny, the Master of the bar. It has become a New York favorite. For large parties reserve table 75 next to the fireplace. Tell them Dennis sent you. Located at 158 East 48th Street, between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue. 212-935-3783. www.theseafiregrill.com
CHINESE — For superior food, atmosphere and enjoyment always go to Chin Chin, operated by close friend Jimmy Chin. Their food is consistently top quality, with the specialty of the house “Grand Marnier Shrimp” delighting you at each visit. You may spot Dog Show Diva and Society Idol Iris Love conversing in Mandarin. Everything is finely presented and served amidst a smart decor. At 216 East 49th Street, between 3rd Avenue and 2nd Avenue. 212-888-4555.www.chinchinny.com
JEWISH DELI — One of the very last of its kind is the well-known 2nd Avenue Deli. The menu is old time comfort food with reliables: giant sandwiches of Corned Beef or Pastrami — more than large enough to share. The Matzoh Ball soup will make you feel better if you don’t win. The Molly Picon Room is long gone but Matt Stander (Dogdom’s most knowledgeable restaurant maven) and I still enjoy it. See manager Ari Lowenstein and don’t forget their fabulous cookbook either. 162 East 33rd Street, between Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue, 212-689-9000. www.2ndavedeli.com