On the main level, a glass wall separates the kitchen from the 117-seat dining area. The wall provides a transparent shield between the culinary staff and the guests, who get an umpire's view of the action in the kitchen.
Along one wall, from left to right, staff use a reach-in refrigerator that holds all the raw bar items. Two fryers sizzle onion rings, french fries and fried oysters. Oil for the fryers is stored in tanks on the lower level. A system of pipes connects the stored oil to the fryers and carries used oil back to the tanks. A person picks up the used oil and takes it to a company that converts it into biodiesel fuel. "No one has to cart oil through the building, which prevents injuries from burns and falls," Egnor says. "The system is expensive to install, but buying in bulk helps keep costs down, and the system eliminates injuries, which can be very costly."
Also on the line a refrigerated rail holds vegetables for fish dishes, and two refrigerated drawers hold fresh seafood and chicken. Staff use an eight-burner range to prepare crab cakes, fish and sauces. Beneath the range, one oven holds plates, and the other finishes cooking crab cakes and salmon dishes. A small broiler above the range warms French onion soup and allows cooks to lightly brown lobster tails and melt cheese for the macaroni and cheese side dish. Adjacent to the ovens, a steamer cooks vegetables, whole lobsters and lobster tails.
Staff first sear steaks on the flattop and then move them to the grill. "We do not use the high-heat broilers here at any of our NYY Steak restaurants because of preference," Lopez says. "This method is perfect. We use the flattop to sear in the juices and create a beautiful caramelization on the top of the beef. On the open grill, we cook the meat to the customers' liking, while brushing it with a little butter and continuously adding salt and pepper as we turn the meat."
The low-velocity UV exhaust hoods reduce makeup air and exhaust, which helps keep energy costs as low as possible. When the kitchen was built, the exhaust pipes had to be routed to the 17th floor. Refrigeration compressors, on the other hand, sit on the second level. In addition, NYY Steak recycles not only oil but cardboard, plastic and metal containers.
Across an aisle from the cookline is a stainless steel work surface that culinary staff can access by simply turning around 180 degrees. Here, they finish the plates and then set them under a heat lamp on a pass-thru shelf. "Plates stay here for a very short time, because most of the food is fired right away, brought together and served very quickly," Lopez says.
An exact duplicate of this kitchen sits on the floor above, serving a dining room that seats 92. "The kitchens are exactly the same so staff can work in both areas at any time," says Egnor. "It also allows us to cook food to order and deliver it immediately without carting it up and down stairs."
Pantry and Pastry Production
On the main floor around a corner from the main cookline, culinary staff use a worktable with sinks, a pizza prep refrigerated rail, a food processor and blender to prepare dressings and salads, which include classic Caesar, roasted beet, spinach, baby iceberg and chopped, for the entire restaurant.
This space also serves as a pastry station for the entire restaurant with a reach-in refrigerator, roll-in refrigerator, floor mixer, wall-mounted shelves, half-size convection oven and induction cooker for sauces, as well as an ingredient bin, a worktable with sinks, mobile dessert pickup tables and an ice cream dipping cabinet. Desserts include New York cheesecake, crème brûlée, flambéed vanilla bean ice cream, dark chocolate cake (layered with chocolate mouse, berries and warm fudge), as well as double-layered carrot cake, cookies, sorbets and ice cream. Two ice bins and an icemaker for regular and flaked ice sit nearby. Also nearby is a small beverage area for coffee, a reach-in blast chiller and another reach-in refrigerator.
Beverages also are stored on various levels. The lower level contains a storage area for beer and soda. Also on the lower level, a water filter system purifies tap water for table service. Staff also make sparkling water and place it into containers from which servers pour while at tableside. At the main bar, servers can access wines by the glass in a refrigerated system that holds them at proper temperatures and contains a lazy Susan that moves easily for no-fuss server access.
With its prime location and a menu featuring aged steak and fresh fish, this New York Yankee-themed restaurant is well positioned to become a favorite dining destination in mid-Manhattan. "Our goal is to be at the top of the list when people mention the best steakhouses in New York," Miller says. Under the guidance of Miller, Adorno, Lopez and Egnor, all bases are loaded, and the culinary staff hit a home run each and every day.
- Ownership: The New York Yankees with Hard Rock International, owned by Seminole Tribe of Florida
- Location: 7 West 51st Street, New York City
- Opened: Soft opening, November 26, 2013; grand opening, January 9, 2014
- Scope of Project: A 17,500-sq.-ft. restaurant on 4 levels inside a former bank, which features a 4,120-sq.-ft foodservice area, including a lower-level kitchen and a pair of carbon-copy kitchens on the main and second floors; a 5,440-sq.-ft. seating area; a 525-sq.-ft bar; and 2,905-sq.-ft. miscellaneous areas, such as toilet rooms and general storage. The breakdown is as follows:
- Lower level 3 with private dining rooms, including the Vault: total area, 2,950 sq. ft.; foodservice area, 985 sq. ft.; seating area, 1,750 sq. ft.; and office space, 215 sq. ft.
- Lower level 2 with butcher room, main prep kitchen and warewashing: total area, 3,400 sq. ft.; foodservice area, 1,360 sq. ft.; lobby area, 915 sq. ft.; and trash storage, 150 sq. ft.
- First-floor main dining level with open kitchen, dessert pantry, lounge bar: total area, 3,200 sq. ft.; bar area, 525 sq. ft.; foodservice area, 875 sq. ft.; and seating area, 1,790 sq. ft.
- Second floor with open kitchen and service bar: total area, 3,200 sq. ft.; foodservice area, 750 sq. ft.; and seating area, 1,900 sq. ft.
- Mezzanine level with wine storage and display: total area, 240 sq. ft.; display area, 110 sq. ft.; and storage area, 130 sq. ft.
- Seats: 235 in dining rooms, including 117+ on first level and 92 on second level, a private dining room with a collapsible wall that can seat 75 people, and an intimate 16-seat private room in the former vault. The bar contains 17 seats at the counter and tables.
- Menu Specialties: Steaks and seafood
- Average Check: Dinner, $75 to $100; lunch, $35 to $45
- Average Daily Transactions: Can accommodate 300
- Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Staff: 170 total, including 5 kitchen supervisors/chefs, 6 operations managers and 2 sales managers; 110 to 120 front-of-house employees; and 57 back-of-house employees
- Total Project Cost: $11 million
- Equipment Investment: $1.2 million
- Website: www.nyysteak.com
- VP, Design and Development, Hard Rock International: Joe Emanuele, located in Orlando, Fla.
- Project Manager, Hard Rock International: Jill Mesner, located in Orlando, Fla.
- Director of Operations, Hard Rock International: David Miller (no relation to Dave Miller below), located in New York City
- Senior VP, Development and Operations, Seminole Gaming: Dave Miller, located in Hollywood, Fla.
- General Manager, NYY Steak: Raul Adorno
- Executive Chef, NYY Steak: Elliot Lopez
- Architects: SOSH Architects, Atlantic City, N.J.; Bill Salerno, partner-in-charge, and Dan Iversen, project manager
- Interior Designers: SOSH Architects, Atlantic City, N.J.; Michael Mangini, director of interior design
- Foodservice Design Consultants: JEM Associates, Pleasantville, N.J.; John Egnor, president; Jason Geckeler, project designer
- Construction: Plaza Construction, New York City; Trevor Munson, project executive, and George Usher, project superintendent
- Consulting Engineers (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing): Giovanetti Shulman Associates (GSA), Broomall, Pa.; Richard Giovanetti and Mark Shulman
- Equipment Dealer: Baring Industries Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Charles Sperry, president
Meet the Players
Dave Miller, Senior Vice President, Development and [Non-Gaming] Operations, Seminole Gaming
Dave Miller has more than 35 years of experience in the gaming and hospitality industry. He joined Seminole Gaming as vice president of operations for the Tampa property in June 2004 and held that position until July 2008. He took his current position in August 2010. Prior to joining Seminole Gaming, he was senior director of operations with the Isle of Capri Casino from 2000 to 2004, and director of operations and general manager for the Flamingo Casino in Kansas City, Mo., from 1997 to 2000, when the property was purchased by Isle of Capri. His gaming hospitality experience also includes opening Bally's Park Place in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1979, and holding several positions in the food and beverage department at Bally's including director of food and beverage from 1986 to 1989. He owned and operated several restaurants in southwestern Ohio from 1989 until 1996. He is a 1978 graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration.
Elliot Lopez, Executive Chef
Elliot Lopez was born in the Bronx, N.Y., where he spent most of his young life in the kitchen cooking with his grandmother. At age 13, he began his culinary career as a dishwasher and started to fall in love with what was happening in the kitchen during daily operations. He stayed on this culinary quest all through high school and continued his education at Newbury College in Boston. After college Lopez worked as a pantry cook at Boston's Top of the Hub, later moving to the Union Club of Boston, where he worked his way through the kitchen ranks until he became the chef de cuisine. After leaving Boston, Lopez jumped on board with Legal Sea Foods in White Plains, N.Y., advancing to executive chef. Next he took on the challenging position of executive chef at NYY Steak at Yankee Stadium and now NYY Steak in Manhattan.
John Egnor, President, JEM Associates
John Egnor's career combines decades of senior management experience and technical expertise in plumbing, HVAC, building systems and sheet metal fabrication, and facility design. Prior to founding JEM Associates in 1991, Egnor served as business manager for Thomas United, a design/build kitchen equipment contractor in New Jersey; vice president of facilities engineering for Resorts International Casino Hotel in Atlantic City; and vice president of service and maintenance for Liber Rich & Sons Inc., a New Jersey mechanical and plumbing construction firm. He is a graduate of LaSalle University in Philadelphia.
Michael Mangini, Director of Interior Design, SOSH Architects
Trained in Florida, Michael Mangini has more than 20 years of experience creating interiors for themed entertainment companies and high-end residential clients. He is a 1991 graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design located in Sarasota, Fla., earning a bachelor of fine arts in interior design. Mangini's background combines planning through implementation, incorporating all aspects of interior design, entertainment design and fine art.