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The Angus Club Steakhouse and the Albanian Connection

 

Through the decades, we’ve spent many years along with family members in an apartment building on 55th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue and saw the comings and goings in a space on the ground floor across the street. That space saw many different businesses attempt to make a go of it only to fail -- among them a Russian nightclub adventure.

Now in that location is the beautiful, relatively brand new (its grand opening was on February 6, 2014), totally re-designed space that houses the Angus Club Steakhouse. Four savvy guys from Albania: Zef Makaj, Margent Maslinka, Dino Gacevic and Chef Edward Avduli  are partners in this exciting venture.

“We were all involved in construction,” says Margent Maslinka “which took almost five months. We worked every day, from nine A.M. until two A.M., non-stop, double-shift.”

The hard work has paid off. In this All-American steakhouse is a highly appealing environment created by an Albanian quartette who are expert in creating a hearty menu of excellent steaks (dry-aged for 30-35 days on the premises) and carefully prepared fish.  Steaks are not smothered with interfering seasoning or sauces. Fish dishes are ample, not -- of course -- as ample as the steaks, but standard, simple unadorned fare from the Blue Point oysters to the amply-filled crab cakes, to the Chilean sea bass enhanced with herbs, peppers and the Norwegian salmon with a lightly fried breaded crust.

We were there with our daughter who still lives across the street with her husband. They had been happy diners at the Angus Club Steakhouse nearly ten times before she prevailed on us to dine there with her. It was a windy and chilly April night, just the kind of evening perfectly suited for a steakhouse visit at Angus. The restaurant’s quiet, comforting ambience immediately impressed us. Spacious leather chairs, graceful, although not intrusive, chandeliers providing subdued light, wooden paneling on walls and floors added up to a fine place to enjoy a good meal in a relaxing setting.

“When we decided to open a steakhouse,” Margent explained, “we wanted to be different. We didn't want to use the same red mahogany wood that pretty much everyone uses. Instead, we went for re-claimed barn wood and warm, earth-tone colors.  And we decided to have a visible wine cellar with over a thousand bottles of wine, all carefully stored on the lower level.”

From the bottle of Malbec wine we consumed with great pleasure, through the Bluepoint oysters, classic Caesar salad, lobster bisque, side of mashed potatoes that swiftly disappeared, filet mignon (one of us raved it was the best ever), and Norwegian salmon - - it proved a dinner to remember.

If there were a “Rookie of the Year” award for a midtown Manhattan restaurant, we would vote for the Angus Club Steakhouse. Everything works. The food is terrific food, the staff efficient and appealing,  and there is the wonder of it all : good old fashioned American cuisine created and watched over by four guys from Albania.  Go there – you will enjoy!

Angus Club Steakhouse
136 East 55th Street
New York, N.Y. 10022

Phone: 212-588-1585 (reservations)
Web: http://www.AngusClubSteakhouse.com

Photographs by Harvey Frommer

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer/travel.htm.

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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