There is steak…then there is U.S.D.A. Prime, with amazing tenderness, juiciness, flavor and fine texture. It has the highest degree of fat marbling and is derived from the younger beef. This is why it is so coveted and offered by the most exclusive restaurants in the country.
There are Steakhouses…then there is Benjamin Steak House in both New York City and Westchester.
Like the U.S.D. A. Prime steaks they serve, it is easy to call Benjamin Steak House the best when the most frequent description of the establishment is some variation of “perfect”.
Whether referring to the atmosphere, ambiance, service, locations, clientele and of course, the food.
Benjamin Steak House has become a home away from home for many who have risen to the top of their fields and now have the luxury of choice. It is no surprise that for a plethora of reasons, they consistently choose Benjamin’s. WHEN…not IF, you dine at Benjamin Steak House, you could very well find yourself enjoying one of the best meals of your life while sitting near Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Zac Efron, Ivander Holyfield, Hillary Duff, Reba McEntire, Mario Lopez, Mena Suvari, Avril Lavigne, DJ Ashba, Olivia Munn or countless other business, entertainment, sports and music industry professionals.
Benjamin Prelvukaj, owner of Benjamin Steak House, first worked at the famous Peter Lugur Steak House for years before deciding to open his own restaurant—Benjamin Steak House. Although Prelvukaj’s years of experience at Peter Lugar’s undoubtedly influenced his desire to provide customers with quality steaks, his restaurant is a reflection of his own personal mission to provide great food in a great atmosphere. Benjamin Steak House features a swanky vibe that brings to mind Manhattan in the 40s–high ceilings, brass chandeliers, and a roaring fireplace for an elegant and unique dining experience that is a throwback to the days of yore while still feeling modern, new, and fresh.
I asked the man himself a few questions with the intent to learn just a little bit more of his patented process for such entrepreneurial and culinary mastery.
With all the talk of celebrities that frequent Benjamin, I’d like to know about you and your history. Where you are from and how you came to be the successful restaurateur that you are today?
I grew up in a very small town in Montenegro. I did not know at a young age that I wanted to be a restaurateur, but I did know that I wanted to create a great life for myself and my family. I knew that it would be difficult, long hours and hard work, but I wanted to build a great steakhouse. When I worked at Peter Lugers, I want constantly analyzing the business and what I would do differently. I took all of those experiences and translated that into my own concept, with the best quality ingredients, and warm and welcoming service.
The greatest attributes of Benjamin are the food (a porterhouse to die for), the service and the comfort. You seemed to create in New York City, a home away from home, from some of the most respected people in their field that are accustomed to the very best. Was this the plan and if so how do you feel you’ve managed to achieve this?
The plan was always to create an escape for guests. New York can be very chaotic and I wanted to allow guests to indulge in great food and a charming atmosphere that would allow a retreat from New York. I never wanted to follow trends or to break the mold – just use the best ingredients and welcome people into the family, pretense and egos aside. That is exactly what I have done with Benjamin Steakhouse – created an extension of my family at work.
If you could go back and start again, what do you know now about the business that you wished you knew then?
I wish I knew I would love owning restaurants so much. I also wish I had opened Benjamin’s before Britney Spears got the place first, or at least helped her run it so that it would have been a success!
What sort of interaction have you observed between your normal clientele and the celebrities that frequent Benjamin?
Our clientele is not very amused by the celebrities when they visit. Sometimes some of the major athletes will get some attention walking through the dining room, but other than that, everyone is left alone. We have a lot of high-power business men, so they are celebrities in their own field and are brokering major business deals at the restaurant; they are not focused on much else!
Do you have any favorite/funny/strange celebrity stories from people visiting Benjamin?
Probably the fact that comedian Jackie Mason loves coming to Benjamin Steakhouse, even though he is a vegan! He likes one of the tables right by the fireplace and our Chef always takes great care of him.
What does the future look like for Benjamin?
We have two locations now, one is closer to my family outside of the city and I just hope that we can continue to grow and create a product that people love and a meal that people want to continue to experience and enjoy.
Tell me about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career.
I am very proud of the lives that I have helped to create for my employees. Knowing that they are able to take care of their families and support their children, all from what I have created is very special to me.
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