By Asian Fusion Editorial Team
Club A Steakhouse
Bruno Selimaj was born and raised in a small village on the northern Albanian/Montenegrin border and began his life as a simple farmer. But at the tender age of 18, and with his parents blessing, he embarked on a journey to America in search of a new life.
In an Albanian household, it is tradition that a guest is treated with the utmost respect and as a member of the family. Bruno brought these core family values to his restaurant. In fact, Bruno Selimaj’s life defines true restaurant hospitality.
In december 2007, bruno closed his legendary restaurant after 30 years with a new idea and a continuing passion to strive to be the best. He re-opened his famed restaurant as Club A, a modern American steakhouse in the same location. His new venture manages to encompass the characteristics of a traditional steakhouse with new world modernism. His latest accomplishment has established Bruno as one of New york’s legendary restaurateurs.
Club A Steakhouse was opened in April 2008 after Bruno decided to take on a new challenge. For 30 years Bruno owned and operated, Bruno ristorante, but now he wanted to do something that his whole family could be a part of and would truly leave a legacy. The “A” in Club A steakhouse is after his three sons, Arben, Agron, and Alban. All of whom work at the restaurant and help to carry on the core values of family hospitality and excellence in food service.
Bruno, is the quintessential owner/host /restaurateur !
Upon arriving in America in the early 1970’s, and without any knowledge of the english language, he convinced a close friend to secure him a job at New York’s famous Nani’s restaurant. After working at several restaurants over the course of 5 years, Bruno had become one of New York’s best known restaurant captains.
With a leap of faith and an undisputable knowledge of the restaurant industry, Bruno turned his dream of opening his own establishment into a reality in October 1977. Bruno restaurant, a northern italian style restaurant, opened with incredible reviews and quickly became a celebrity hang out for the who’s who of New York politics, Wall Street, and society. Bruno and his team of friends, family, and loyal staff became restaurant celebrities overnight and entertained countless satisfied customers.
When “Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley” was opened in 1887, the restaurant quickly became a neighborhood favorite in predominantly German Williamsburg. Peter Luger owned the establishment, while his nephew, Carl, manned the kitchen.
Luger’s was not the only thing doing in the small Brooklyn neighborhood. With the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in December of 1903, Manhattan became far more accessible and a new crowd of businessmen crossed the East River. It was not until 1920 that Sol Forman, a seventeen year old who had dropped out of high school to work full-time lighting street lamps, established Forman Family with his siblings just across the street from Carl Luger’s.
Forman Family made everything from silverware to trays to stamped-metal giftware. The manufacturing site, at 185 Broadway, served as a headquarters for sales, and what better place for Sol Forman to take prospective clients than the famed restaurant just across the street? Sol was known to eat two steaks a day – three when the trade shows came through.
So when the restaurant fell into disrepair following the death of Peter Luger, Sol was faced with the unhappy task of finding another lunch spot for his clients. Instead, he decided to try his luck at the auction of Peter Luger’s, and was the only one who did; alone at the auction, Sol was able to purchase the restaurant for the price of the real estate.
Soon enough, Sol had Peter Luger’s back to its former glory, and it’s been on top ever since. Still under Forman family management, the restaurant has been rated the top steakhouse in New York since 1984, has earned itself a Michelin Star, and has joined the ranks of American classics.
When Sol bought Peter Luger’s in 1950, there was no shortage of work to be done at the restaurant. The critical job of inspecting and purchasing meat fell to his wife, Marsha Forman. Marsha spent two years learning this special skill from a retired USDA grader, who took her to the wholesale houses in the meat market along New York City’s West Side Highway. In keeping with tradition, and to ensure the highest quality of meat, the selection process is still performed by members of the family, who visit the wholesale markets to inspect the selection of short loins.
The Beef at Peter Luger’s
The only meat that even comes into consideration is USDA Prime, which often represents less than 2% of graded beef cattle. This already select tier of the country’s finest cattle is then scrutinized for conformation, color, age, marbling, and texture.
ON-SITE DRY AGING
If selected, the short loins and shells are then brought to the on-site dry aging facilities at either restaurant. Here, they are kept under carefully regulated conditions that are controlled for temperature, humidity and air circulation. Once properly aged, the short loins are butchered, trimmed and brought up to the kitchen for broiling. This zealous selection process ensures that when a steak hits the plate at Peter Luger’s, it’s among the country’s finest.
Keens Steakhouse owns the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world. The tradition of checking one’s pipe at the inn had its origins in 17th century Merrie Old England where travelers kept their clay at their favorite inn – the thin stemmed pipe being too fragile to be carried in purse or saddlebag. Pipe smoking was known since Elizabethan times to be beneficial for dissipating “evil homourse of the brain.” Keens’s pipe tradition began in the early 20th century.
The hard clay churchwarden pipes were brought from the Netherlands and as many as 50,000 were ordered every three years. A pipe warden registered and stored the pipes, while pipe boys returned the pipes from storage to the patrons.
The membership roster of the Pipe Club contained over ninety thousand names, including those of Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers, Billy Rose, Grace Moore, Albert Einstein, George M. Cohan, J.P. Morgan, Stanford White, John Barrymore, David Belasco, Adlai Stevenson, General Douglas MacArthur and “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
Prior to 1885, Keens was a part of the Lambs Club, a famous theatre and literary group founded in London. Its manager was Albert Keen.
In 1885 Keens Chophouse opened independently under the ownership of Albert Keen, by then a noted figure in the Herald Square Theatre District. Keens soon became the lively and accepted rendezvous of the famous. Actors in full stage make-up hurried through the rear door to “fortify” themselves between acts at the neighboring Garrick Theatre. By the time Keens celebrated its 20th anniversary, you could glance into the Pipe Room and see the jovial congregations of producers, playwrights, publishers and newspaper men who frequented Keens.
In 1905 Lillie Langtry, actress and paramour of King Edward of England, took Keens to court for having denied her access to its gentlemen-only premises. She won her case, swept into Keens in her feathered boa and proceeded to order one of their famous mutton chops.
Today, Keens is the only survivor of the Herald Square Theatre District. In an age which tears down so much of the past it is comforting to find one landmark which survived.
Situated in the iconic and historic Financial District of Lower Manhattan, Harry’s flagship location at 1 Hanover Square, has established itself as a trusted Wall Street institution. Whether it’s a midday business meeting over a delicious steak or an after-work drink with colleagues, Harry’s has provided Wall Street a trusted venue since 1972.
In 1972, Harry found the perfect space for his own venture, Harry’s at Hanover Square, in the basement of the historical India House building. Together with his wife Adrienne, Harry successfully opened three locations, with additional spaces within the American Stock exchange building as well as in The Woolworth Building. Harry’s at Hanover Square quickly became a Wall Street institution, and was immortalized in novels such as Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities as well as Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho.
For thirty years, Harry’s at Hanover Square was a favorite haunt of traders who came to celebrate or commiserate over the state of the market. In 2003, following the death of his wife Adrienne, Harry shut the doors of the last remaining location. In 2006 Peter decided, along with his partners Michael Jewell and Danny McDonald, to revive Harry’s with a fresh look and feel. After much consideration the large bar that had signified the old Harry’s was removed and the restaurant was reborn.
Peter Poulakakos currently owns and operates 22 restaurants as well as a wine store, Vintry Fine Wines. Harry’s remains the flagship of his burgeoning portfolio. Harry remains a consultant to his son, and can be found greeting customers six days a week at Harry’s.
Del Frisco Double Eagle Steakhouse
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in New York, an energetic and luxurious three-story restaurant, is in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, near Times Square and Radio City Music Hall. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking views of Sixth Avenue and nearby Rockefeller Center, this unforgettable NYC steakhouse treats guests to an exceptional experience through chef-driven cuisine, world-class wines and unparalleled hospitality.
• Features: Private dining, wine list of over 1200 selections, wine cellar
• Dress: Business casual attire. Tank tops, sleeveless shirts, flip-flops, gym wear, excessively revealing or torn clothing, or short shorts are not allowed. Dress shorts are acceptable. And remove your hat when entering the restaurant!
• Payments: Cash, American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard and Visa Quality Meats
Quality Meats features modern interpretations of familiar dishes and flavor combinations, resulting in unique tastes, innovative presentations, and a distinctive Quality Meats style. The warm, industrial décor by award winning designers AvroKO draws on cues from traditional New York City butcher shops, in the use of warm wood, stainless steel, and white marble. The space succeeds in being simultaneously rustic, inviting, and luxurious with rich details. Interior details include an homage to a traditional “meat locker” interior with finished walnut planks covering the length of the downstairs dining room wall, butcher block end grain wood as the primary material for the staircase, and vintage market scales that have been transformed into a lighting installation in the upstairs dining room. These elements coexist flawlessly with understated accents drawn directly from butcher shop inspiration, such as white ceramic tiles, and chandeliers made of pulleys and large steel butcher hooks.
The name Smith and Wollensky were randomly selected from a New
York City phone book late at night. The first page turned to Smith! Next? Wollensky! And a legendary steakhouse was born in 1977 on the corner of Third Avenue and 49th Sreet.
The servers are the heart of the Smith & Wollensky dining experience. They are proud to have a team of longstanding professonals and recognize their dedication on their jackets : a star on the pocket denotes five years of Service, a slash on the sleeve in one.
USDA Prime Dry-Aged , Hand-Butchered Steaks
Smith & Wollensky prides itself on the quality of its steaks: USDA Prime grade beef it dry-ages and hand-butchereas in –house.To ensure unparalleled quality, tender texture, and outstanding flavor. This method is the most time-consuming and expensive way to age beef, yet the results are superlative. Their dry aging box is kept at a constant 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The process cures steaks slowly over a period of about four weeks. At any given time, they are aging 7-12 tons of beef.
Executive Chef Alan Ashkinaze is pleased to run the kitchen at the new Gallaghers Steakhouse, renowned for its aged meats cooked over hickory coals. His responsibilities include menu planning, seasonal ingredient selection, and overseeing the meat selection and in-house aging and butchering. With his gifted palate and award-winning talent for creating memorable dishes, Ashinaze brings his vast knowledge to New York’s iconic steakhouse.
A native of Westchester, New York, Ashkinaze’s culinary aspirations began at his family’s summer home in Vermont. Here, his mother and grandmother used an early 19th century wood and charcoal oven as their main source for cooking. During those years, ingredients and recipes were measured solely by hand, taste and heart. This intuitive approach has become his “only way to cook”.
His career began as a prep cook in New York, followed by a move to Las Vegas in 1986 to attain his degree in hotel management from UNLV. While in college, he became the overnight cook at the Golden Nugget. Ashkinaze returned to his New York roots in 1990 to pursue his culinary passion – enrolling in the prestigious Culinary Institute of America.
After graduating, he worked at The Stanhope Hotel, The Plaza Hotel and Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria. It was at the Waldorf that he forged his lifelong friendship with Two-Michelin-Starred Chef Laurent Manrique.
Eager to develop his craft, Ashkinaze moved to the South of France to work at the St. James Hotel, La Tupina and Les Jardins de l’Opéra in Toulouse. Upon his return in 1998, he opened Gertrude’s on 61st & Madison then became Executive Sous Chef at the Righa Royal Hotel. It was here that he met Dean Poll, who brought him to the Loeb Central Park Boathouse as Executive Chef.
Ashkinaze relocated to California in 2004 as Executive Chef of Aqua Restaurant at the St. Regis Monarch Beach – joining Chef/Owner Laurent Manrique to earn the Four Star/Four Diamond Award for culinary excellence.
In 2006 his New York roots called again and he returned to take the position of Chef de Cuisine at the Waldorf Astoria, followed by a stint as Executive Chef at the Warwick Hotel.
In 2010, Ashkinaze collaborated again with Chef/Owner Laurent Manrique to oversee all food & beverage services at Millesime Restaurant at The Carlton Hotel.
Over the span of his 25+ year career, Chef Ashkinaze has received numerous accolades – including 2 stars from The New York Times, 2 ½ stars from the New York Post, Top 10 Best New Restaurants, Esquire Magazine and Best Caesar Salad, New York Magazine.
In 2013, Ashkinaze and Dean Poll reunited for the grand re-opening of Gallaghers Steakhouse.
Porter House Bar and Grill
EVERY GREAT AND ICONIC AMERICAN DISH HAS A STORY TO TELL.”
— Chef & Owner Michael Lomonaco
A native New Yorker, Chef Michael Lomonaco has spent his career celebrating the bounty of the American table at some of the city’s most iconic restaurants including ‘21’, Windows on the World, Wild Blue and Guastavino’s, before opening Porter House in 2006.
Michael is also one of the original Food Network and Travel Channel chef personalities with his shows Michael’s Place and Epicurious. Fans can still catch him on TV today, as he makes regular appearances on ABC’s The Chew, and The Today Show, among others.
Along with Porter House Bar and Grill, Michael is the chef and partner of Center Bar, the sophisticated cocktail lounge also located on the 4th floor of the Time Warner Center.
An Award-Winning, Contemporary American Restaurant from Celebrated Chef & Owner Michael Lomonaco.
The menu of seasonally-inspired American classics is complemented by expertly crafted cocktails, an acclaimed wine program and genuine, warm hospitality – all overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park.
Prime steaks, exceptional seafood, pastas, roasted chicken and duck and other ingredient-driven signature dishes, showcase the bold, vibrant flavors Lomonaco and his team are known for delivering.
The spacious Porter House Bar is a lively meeting place offering new spins on the classics, as well as innovative bespoke cocktails and an award-winning, world-class wine list, featuring sought after vintages, many of which are available by the glass.
Porter House Bar and Grill can accommodate a variety of special events, from small personal gatherings to large sophisticated affairs. Their two adjacent Private Dining Rooms can separately seat up to 25 guests each, or can be used fully to accomodate up to 66 guests seated or up to 85 guests for a standing cocktail reception. It’s also possible to book the entire restaurant for private events.
For more information, please contact Deena Krobot at 212-823-9477 or email@example.com
After 4 decades of experience, it is fair to say that Wolfgang Zwiener has learned his craft well. Taking the core principles from his years as Peter Luger’s head waiter, Wolfgang didn’t just duplicate an exceptional steakhouse; he improved upon it making Wolfgang’s Steakhouse extraordinary.
Not only does Wolfgang’s serve phenomenal porterhouse steak (for one, two, three or more), but the atmosphere, the expanded menu, the service and the accessibility of the locations is appealing to even the most exciting diners. Wolfgang’s flagship Park Avenue location has enjoyed a full house since the day that it opened.
Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, the flagship Park Avenue Wolfgang’s is splendidly situated in the former Vanderbilt Hotel dining room.
This building is a historic landmark unto itself.
With arched ceilings tiled by the famed Rafael Guastavino, the restaurant’s architecture is stunning.
Guastavino’s exquisite tile work displayed on the vaulted ceilings in blue and white, can be found nowhere other than NYC.
The old world artistry and architecture of their Park Avenue location created a Golden Age atmosphere that suits Wolfgang’s traditional menu quite dramatically and encourages diners to relax and throughly enjoy their meal.
In 1837, at the beginning of New York City’s evolution as the financial center of the world, the genesis of what would become a world renowned culinary institution, Delmonico’s Restaurant, was set. A small shop selling classically prepared pastries, fine coffee and chocolate, bonbons, wines and liquors as well as Havana cigars was operated by the Delmonico brothers. Its success led them to purchase a triangular plot of land at the intersection of Beaver, William and South William Streets where, in 1837, they opened the first fine dining restaurant in the country.
Delmonico’s offered an unheard of luxury – the availability of private dining rooms (located on the third floor) where discriminate entertaining was the order of the day. The basement holds the restauranteur’s treasure, the largest private wine cellar in the city, holding an impressive 1,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines. It was during these early years that Chef Alessandro Fellippini began to develop the restaurant’s culinary identity with the house special, Delmonico Steak.
Delmonico’s was the first dining establishment in America to be called by it’s French name: “Restaurant”
Today, Delmonico continue to serve a prime cut of beef, prepared to the original specifications. It truly is the only authentic Delmonico Steak served in the United States. In 1862, Charles Ranhofer was named Chef de Cuisine inventing many original dishes during his time at their stoves. He is most noted for his innovative creations, Eggs Benedict, Baked Alaska, Lobster Newburg and Chicken A la Keene. These dishes remain on the Delmonico’s menu today.
With a mission to make Delmonico’s Wall Street’s premiere fine dining Restaurant, the 56 Beaver Street location has been renovated to assume the opulence of its early years. Delmonico’s welcoming portico remains supported by the original Pompeian pillars, their private dining rooms welcome the discreet, the wine cellar is filled to the rafters, and the cuisine, is, as promised in 1837, the finest the city has to offer.