By Rory Winston
Although many a Yankee fan may recall Jack Norworth’s 1908 classic, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, there are few diners that would turn to their mates while attending the renowned New York Yankee Steak House and belt out “Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks” moments before being served. The prestigious establishment located adjacent Rockefeller Center is anything but a wild pitch.
While sitting in the bullpen, waiting for our table (bar for those unfamiliar with baseball terminology), I ordered myself a Yankeetini while my colleague went for a Bronx Bomber. Within five minutes, the two of us were staggering towards the mound where we were seated at a fine table mid-field while being handed our menus. Attentive waiters hurried about like energized umpires at the World Series. After a quick pre-game pep talk, we decided to open our first inning with a Raw Bar Sampler that came with enough Alaskan king crab, lobster and colossal shrimp, oysters and clams to sate the bleachers.
Hesitant about what type of turf-grass we should start playing on, I opted for Ozzie’s Spinach Salad while my partner, being of Italian origin and Ancient Roman ego, went for a Classic Caesar. No sooner had we completed the second inning than a mascot – dressed incognito as a maitre d – showed up to ask if we wanted to choose our own steaks from the in-house butcher shop located in the dugout. Accompanying us down the stairs, we were taken to a veritable boutique of fine cuts, presented to us behind glass as though we were shopping at Tiffany’s for diamonds (not the baseball kind).
“Porterhouse” signalled my partner to the umpire behind the glass, while the mascot smiled, did a little song and dance and ushered us back to our seats. It was my turn at bat and I quickly opted for the Whole Maine Lobster. Trying desperately to remain loyal to the home team we opted for a Long Island Rafael red wine instead of asking for a traded player from Chile or California. Foul ball. Next time, we go for the visiting team.
Shortly after the seventh inning stretch, the main course arrived: two perfect draft picks, well seasoned and up to the task. The restaurant was far from stingy when it came to portions and knew that to build a good team, it was essential to start with good material. Of course, a bit more consideration could have been given to coaching since the lobster turned out to be a bit overcooked while the steak seemed to compensate for the fact by being a bit on the raw side. Nevertheless, after a few subtle shouts to the ref – the culinary version of “what are you blind,” we were quickly taken care of and the result: a clear homerun for the two of us.
Finishing the final inning with a New York Cheese Cake and NYY Steak 151 Volcano (ice cream, heath bar, flambé with rum), respectively, I couldn’t help but think that although there was no beer in paper cups, and, sadly, no George Steinbrenner, this was indeed his legacy, the Old Ball Game. With walls covered in baseball legends, and a bank vault for special functions just under where we were sitting, the New York Yankee Steak House is enough to convince any real Yankee (whether fan or just the Union kind) to sit back and hum: Let me root, root, root for the home team. •
7 W 51st St
New York, NY 10020