A spacious edifice inspired by 1920s Great Gatsby decorum gets the Sinanaj brothers’ finesse, which is an admirable combination of period fidelity and modernism. The fashionable trio from Montenegro, conjure a buzz of jostling food enthusiasts coddled in an environment that’s as much a stage as it is a home away from home feeling. Marrying culinary thoughtfulness with architectural perfection, Empire Steak House has quickly become a serious staple amongst steakhouse contenders.
Learning from the streets of experience, Jack, Russ, and Jeff Sinanaj deliver a sublime array of glorious meats that leave you in a stupor and nonstop banter well into the next day. Crediting their father for their insatiable work ethic and discipline, they pay further homage to legendary Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger for perfecting their invaluable skills and trade. Empire Steak House is perfectly suited to a restaurateur group of brothers with a gift for breathing fresh life into familiar genres, grafting the preset onto the past.
While New York has no shortage of steak houses, little to none has the versatility or sophisticated scope of Empire Steak House’s menu. For starters Empire Steak House is serving some of the most expertly aged, flavorful, and exquisitely prepared prime beef in the world. Their beef is offered in a plethora of high-quality selections from filet mignon to porterhouse steaks dividend in two to four person portions, and a bone-in New York strip that is the unwavering talk of ravenous carnivores who seamlessly become regulars.
You could ponder, discuss, and debate over which cut is more generously marbled with fat, or the strip, with its steelier, brawnier taste. You could dedicate numerous visits to Empire Steakhouse in the service of a resolution and still it might elude you. Or you could abandon the debate for a while and explore other areas of the menu and you still wouldn’t be disappointed.
While the best porterhouse on the best night at Peter Luger can be a show-stopper, there’s no seafood there as fine and as tender as the chilled lobster cocktail or as this restaurant’s perfectly grilled Branzino bedecked with charr. Nor the appetizers as quietly sophisticated as Empire Steakhouse’s creamy Italian burrata with sliced tomato, roasted peppers, extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic or their little neck clams on a half shell. Their cream of spinach is like a love affair between decadence and savory, challenging their perfectly whipped mash potatoes.
As Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Jack Sinanaj, devotes his deep appreciation for fine cuisine and refined skills to every aspect of the menu. Through his relentless pursuit of culinary excellence, Jack continuously elevates Empire Steak House’s offerings to new levels of perfection. Mr. Sinanaj’s attention to detail for fantastic grain-fed beef which has a richness that is indulgent without crossing into unctuous overkill. Their Golden 24-Karat American Wagyu Tomahawk is a testament to his endless pursuit of excellence. Their steaks don’t develop a surface that’s too crunchy or finished with an excess of butter, as some steakhouses tend to do. Instead, you can expect flawless and consistent execution. Should you want to tread more lightly than the $68.95 strip or the Bone-In Ribeye $79.95, both generously portioned and neither out of line with the cost of prime beef these days – the Broiled Chilean Sea Bass is a wondrous option at $52.95. An equally fine whole Mediterranean grilled Branzino served with garlic, parsley, capers and olive oil is $50. A large homemade Pappardelle pasta dish with homemade meat sauce that’s better than three-quarters of what you can get at any Italian restaurant is $39.95.
The service is professional and attentive, minus the theatrics. The genuine flow and conversation of maître d from table to table further complements the Sinanaj’s knack for luxury and experience. The comprehensive wine list is intriguing, with over 400 wines by the bottle and an incomparable Single Malt Scotch list with over 100 selections to surprise palates and beckons the attention of plentiful expense accounts. To round off the Empire experience, Empire Steak House offers decadent desserts ranging from, New York-style cheesecake, to refreshing sorbets to sumptuous chocolate lava cake.
Empire Steak House captures the energy and neighborhood spirit of a handsome time work soiree well beyond their culinary influence. The restaurant’s main room features an opulent oversized chandelier with oversized banquette booths throughout the space. The luxurious furnishings and attention to detail evoke high-gloss nostalgia. The 100,000 square-foot space was initially designed to be an Opera House, and when the Great Depression hit, it reopened in the late 1930’s as a cabaret called Versailles. It then reopened as a vibrant jazz club, then a nightclub in the 90’s and now Empire Steak House since 2016.
Given their experience and fast-track desire for expansion, this 40-year journey of the Sinanaj brothers expands to three steakhouse locations in New York on E. 50th, W. 54th Street, W. 49th and Broadway, as well as a location in Tokyo. The Sinanaj Empire even includes an Italian Restaurant, Chazz Palminteri which can be found in New York and in Westchester. Their efforts and determination are wholeheartedly grounded in the foundation of warmth and feeling like home. The Sinanaj brothers didn’t have to provide this reasonable path but their series of decisions prove they go admirably beyond the bottom line for their customers.