Some of you must have thought I died. Others will think this post is about the sometimes-hot, sometimes-not television series starring Kiefer Sutherland. It’s not that earth-shattering — just a few weeks ago, I turned a year older. As per flimsy tradition, me and a bunch of closer friends trooped down to Peter Luger (famous steakhouse in NY) inspired Benjamin Steakhouse.
Despite Benjamin’s not being one of the top-tier steakhouses in this meat-crazy city, the place was bustling. My reservation for 12, however, still got processed in the morning. We were set up in an (admittedly smart) square table next to the fireplace. Big props for not succumbing to the often-maligned long table that kills conversations even before drinks are served.
Our faux-Italian waiter turned out to be South American, belying the adopted air of connoisseurship when he dictated the long list of specials and dished out irrefutable recommendations. To keep things simple, we ordered the Porterhouse for 10, with onion ring and potato sides.
Four salivating slabs of thick steak were delivered to our table, waited by the facetious South American and his entourage of a few helpers.
Medium-rare was the unanimous decision (I’d have enforced it nevertheless) but it came out about an eight of an inch undercooked. Steak stewardship is not on my resume, but I do have certain qualifications as to what constitutes medium-rare. Sirloin strips lined the porterhouse, guarding the nestled tenderloin in the center, with chunks already sliced up for us. We attacked like starving wolves, and though the sheer depth of the meat threatened to overwhelm us, four t-bones were all that remained.
Dinner was satisfying, but I wouldn’t go back to Benjamin’s if that was a US$60 meal. Overcrowded house, overeager service and undercooked steak are the unholy trinity in this case. If there is to be a next stop, it’ll be somewhere else.
Turning 24 felt like becoming mortal after years of invincibility. Economic recession is here, in time to coincide with the looming madness of job searches. There will be no more crutching the parent’s checkbook, no more evading the responsibility of a full-time job. If 21 is the age Man become adults, then perhaps I was three years late.
November was a month out of breath, what with election coverage and ignored enterprise projects. Thankfully by the time of this writing each of these pot holes have been patched up. Tis a good time to peer into the next year, its rewards, bitterness and conquests to come. And, you know, another birthday.