Restaurant Review: Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, New York

By Jonathan Spira on 13 June 2018
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Back in the 1970s at the original Bobby Van’s restaurant on Main Street in Bridgehampton, the clique of regulars at the bar included famed authors such as Truman Capote, John Knowles, James Jones, as well as Willie Morris, the editor of Harper’s magazine.

Other regulars included the artists Roy Lichtenstein, Warren Brandt, Willem de Kooning, and Lukas Foss, the classical composer and conductor. Frequently diners would find Mr. Van, who died in 2007 at the age of 64, on the keyboard playing Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin.

The Park Avenue outpost of the Bridgehampton institution is one of six in the city (there are also two in Washington, D.C. as well as a burger joint in Manhattan and a steakhouse at JFK airport) and was the first to open in Manhattan.


Steakhouses are about excess. Menus that include six types of steaks, a variety of chops, more seafood than most seafood restaurants, and assume you have room for cheesecake or bread pudding after all is said and done are not for the faint of heart.

My dining companion and I arrived early for our 7:30 p.m. reservation but the host, who was also the general manager, didn’t flinch. Our table was ready for us and we were ready for a meal that harkens back to the days of Don Draper and “Mad Men.” A Manhattan to start? Of course. Wine with the meal? Certainly. The fresh-baked bread? Delicious, and there were four different kinds.

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