T Bar, Steak and Lounge, Best Casual Dining on the Upper East Side 

A great neighborhood spot, where you are treated like you are a regular the minute you walk in, the T Bar Steak and Lounge manages to be at the same time elegant and cozy. A softly-lit elongated room with square tables and fabric covered banquettes, contrasting with a colorfully illuminated bar, you are immediately taken in by its lively vibe and fast pace the minute you walk in. Expect the best from the welcoming hostesses who are quick to sit you down and from the professional waiters who will bring you the menu in a swift.  Everything arrives promptly under the eye of Tony Fortuna, one of the owners, who makes sure the waiters move smoothly and see you as soon as you need their assistance.

For entrees, I recommend  the Yellowfin Tuna Tartar, so delicious with soy and ginger sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds as well as the kale salad, crisp and fresh in a chili-lime vinaigrette. Dip it with the fresh olive bread that accompanies your order, it is probably the best bread you will find on the upper east side.

For the main course, you can’t beat the Filet Mignon, perfectly cooked with a moist juicy inside and crispy shell. Other steak options include a Black Angus Porterhouse, Aged New York Strip or Prime Aged Rib Eye. For fish lovers, the Irish Salmon with honey mustard and zucchini is savory and exquisite. But if you are looking for an old fashioned all American hamburger, this one will make your mouth melt with its layers of lettuce, tomato and pickles and its box of freshly-made French fries.

For desert, let yourself seduced by the Banana Cream Millefeuilles Cookie Tower. Not only will you enjoy this royal treat but it is the perfect desert to share with every person at your table. The wine list is fantastic with affordable to more expensive reds and whites. I tried a last vodka cocktail to finish off my meal. Just for their cocktails a stop at the T Bar Steak and Lounge is worth a detour. Smooth, delicate, never feeling sweet or too alcoholic, they give you plenty of zest to face the cold night after you are done with your meal.

The restaurant is packed with regulars who make this local spot a part of their life, eager for the fine cuisine, expert service and vibrant atmosphere. Though the voices of guests can run high, everything gets quieter after 8.30 pm. You feel at times that you are more in Tony’s living room than in a restaurant as he cruises from table to table to make sure everything is Ok, greeting regulars and joking with them.

While most customers look like professionals, with men in jackets and ladies in glamorous attires, don’t hesitate to go in if you are only wearing jeans, this is a spot for locals coming to relax and feel comfortable whether they are on their way home after a busy day or meeting friends and family for an evening in the town.

For its excellent vibe, quality service and wonderful American cuisine, make this special upper east side restaurant your destination this year.

T Bar and Bone Restaurant
1278 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10021