Dining on Central Park South isn’t just about tourist crap and caviar

The neighborhood just below Central Park is home to some of the most expensive and ostentatious restaurants in New York. To the west, Time Warner Center supports three-Michelin-star standouts Per Se and Masa. Heading east, there is Marea, Petrossian, the Bevy, The Wayfarer, The Russian Tea Room, Nobu, and, of course, the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel. But the newest dining attraction on Central Park South isn’t likely to attract Russian oligarchs.

Bobby Van’s Steakhouse  — the longtime Bridgehampton staple, which now boasts nine restaurants in New York and two in D.C. — recently opened another of its increasing ubiquitous restaurants at 40 Central Park South. Inside they are serving up crab and lobster cocktails and massive caramelized steaks to a business lunch and afterwork crowd.

That might not be intuitive for a restaurant that is sandwiched between the Ritz Carlton and the Park Lane hotels in a part of the city that must be second only to Times Square in terms of foot traffic. Nevertheless, at Bobby Van’s you’re likely to catch a strong New York accent. The neighboring Sarabeth’s has thankfully absorbed much of the backpacks and subway maps.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t tourists at Bobby Van’s latest — they have a very discrete bag check for those pesky backpacks — and at their price points, there probably should be more.

A steak dinner will run you somewhere between $30 and $50. — pretty standard. Lobster cocktail? $13. It’s hard to beat in a part of town that can support innumerable antique stores that look as though they’ve looted the Palace of Versailles, the world’s most expensive real estate and a caviar shop.

It’s also worth noting that the portions are pretty huge. The ribeye lasted for THREE (very enjoyable) meals. And the banana split could easy feed a family of four.

In other words, it’s pretty old school New York. The table cloths are white, the service is good, the champagne is cold, the steaks are perfect, and its all served without hipster pomp or hollow unpretentiousness. Pretty refreshing.