Last Saturday we had gone to a matinee, and my brother made dinner reservations at Uncle Jack's. I have a friend who raves about the one in Queens, so I was happy to try it. One of the reasons we chose it was because some of the family had to be at the Cornell hockey game at the Garden at 8:00, so it worked. I must say, I was quite disappointed. We are fans of Morton's, and use that as our barometer. Maybe not the top steaks, but love the atmosphere and certain other things about it. I ordered a fillet, rare. I asked for the description, and they said warm red center, which is Morton's medium rare, but that made no difference. What did make a difference was that the steak was cold. I am not one who needs my food burning hot, but when I put it in my mouth and it is colder than body temperature, that's a problem. We had crab cakes for appetizers, good but not great, and mozzarella and tomato salad, which was quite good. My sister and I also ordered a tuna tartare, which I thought was also really below par. We brought our own high quality wines, and the corkage was $25, which is definitely on the high side. We were 13 all together, and here is another pet peeve of mine when they try to put tables together. There is always some un-evenness in the tables. I put my wine glass on one of those breaks, in front of my place, and the glass spilled over. I have had this happen before, and what bothers me is that they may come out and cover the spilled wine with a napkin, but I have never found a restaurant ever admits that this is their fault, and should make ammends for it. They always treat you like you are the clumsy person who spilled your wine.
Sides were very uninspring as well. Sweet potato fries are a favorite of most of us, and theirs were not very good, nor were their regular fries. Nothing special about the creamed spinach either. Desserts were also ho-hum.
I went there this summer and found the experience very disappointing also. The steak was more than ordinary and at 45$ you expect more than just ordinary! The waiter was nice enough and since I had dinner early in the evening, he told me to go at the bar since it was ladies' night and I could get a cocktail on the house. The bartender completely ignored me and when I stopped him to ask him about it, he sai, in a very rude manner, that happy hour was finished and walked away. I went back to my hotel to have a drink at the bar and told the story to the bartender who offered me a drink to make up for nasty bartenders!
I am advising to readers here to pass over this restaurant. Porterhouse is not that far and is definitely better and has better service, better food and a better decor also.
I actually had a great experience with Uncle Jack's. Had one of the best bone in ribeyes ever there. They prepared it as ordered bloody rare red edge to edge with a perfect charred crust. They call it the Fred Flinstone chop and boy was it a great piece of meat. I enjoyed their steak fries and creamed spinach also.
For lunch they have a killer Kobe Burger.
Steak - Thanks for reassuring me about Uncle Jacks. I just got a gift certificate to the restaurant and was unsure about even using it due to the prior poor reviews. I'll either try the bone in ribeye or the porterhouse. Like you I'd rather have my steak served on the bone. Where you able to taste the dry aging of the steaks?
Like I said it was a very quality steak indeed. The taste was great and most importantly they really cooked it to perfection. It was one of the rare occasions that the charred crust exterior to bloody rare interior ratio was on point. And like I said a HUGE slab of meat.
This was the only time I went there though just as a caution. Perhaps I was lucky? I do not know for sure. Therefore, I cannot vouch for their consistency. But on this day I got a damn great ribeye.
I have been to the 56th St location and have been quite pleased. The meat was high quality, not the equal of Lugars but def the better of Mortons or the other more national chains. My med-rare was just that, pink in the center but not cool.
One of the things we love about Uncle Jacks is that they allow corkage and $25 is quite reasonable. It should not matter whether the wines the OP brought were high quality or not. I am a collector and prefer to bring my own as I like wines with age on them and don't want to pay 3x the price for off year Bordeaux. I appreciate that they permit corkage at all and if one does a survey of better restaurants they would see that $25 is on the low end. Further, when we have have large group tastings there the wine director has jumped in to help and has even offered up some gratis wines from the cellar (granted we were 12 guys on a slow Tues spending a lot on food and corkage)
And who has a table for 13 at the ready?? maybe one but if that was already taken should the restaurant have refused the business. Would the OP then be here complaining that they were turned away because they were a large group