Let me start out by quoting my publisher “Don’t bother, save your money and eat somewhere else”.
My publisher was in Manhattan for New York Fashion Week Spring 2011. After a long, exciting but tiring day being jostled by crowds and wowed by Couture he was hungry and wanted to get a taste of NYC. He had been at the Waldorf=Astoria and literally ran into the Bull & Bear. He recalled it having been given it a rave review in our magazine and wanted to try one of those fabulous steaks.
He introduced himself to the manager, explained we had written up the restaurant before and that he was excited to try it out for himself. The manager’s response was extremely negative. In fact he was aloof, arrogant and distant, leaving the feeling that he was being irritated and interrupted. My publisher gave up trying to speak with him and had a very long wait before he was seated. He contemplated leaving and going somewhere else but was extremely hungry and didn’t know where else to eat. Not knowing the city he didn’t want to be wandering around looking for another restaurant. When he was finally seated he ordered a steak and side of potatoes of the ala carte menu. When his steak came so did his disappointment. The steak was far from the prime cut Angus he had anticipated. It was fatty, extremely tough, of poor quality and cut. It was nowhere close to the being worth the hefty menu price. However, the side of potatoes were exactly right except they were cold. He called the waiter over and pointed out that the potatoes were cold. The waiter took his plate and sent it back to the kitchen. When the potatoes came out the second time they were hot but instead of being a beautiful mound of potatoes like the first time; they were runny and close to being a bowl of potato soup. They were very much like instant potatoes. He asked to speak to the manager but the manager was nowhere to be found.
When it became apparent there was to be no resolution my publisher gave up sent the potatoes back and asked for them to be taken of the bill. At this point his meal was ruined and so he left the Bull & Bear, with much less money in his wallet and hungrier than when he went in.
The following is the original article written in 2004.
Located on the ground floor of the landmark Waldorf=Astoria, is the clubby Bull and Bear with it's Edwardian décor, paneled walls, large cabinets displaying an extensive wine collection, crystal chandlers and oil paintings,.
Opened in 1960 the Bull and Bear restaurant takes its name from the bronze bull and bear statues, symbols of the stock market, which today stand proudly, over the rich mahogany pentagon shaped bar, and once adorned the bar at the original Waldorf, which used to be located on the present-day site of the Empire State Building.
During my visit to the Bull & Bear my party was greeted by Matthew George one of the managers of the restaurant. He seated us in the main dining room. A comfortable room, warm, cozy and decorated in rich dark colors. He handed us over to our server Boris Cimbra who along George graciously attended to our every whim. Long known for their excellent service, the Waldorf is the first hotel to offer room service, we were treated as importantly as if we were visiting foreign dignitaries or American royalty. During our conversation George asked if their was anything we wanted. I stated: "yes, diamonds," and my friend who was celebrating her birthday requested chocolate covered strawberries; neither of which was on the menu. Well I didn't get my diamonds but after dinner we were delighted with an array of luscious desserts, birthday candles and specially made chocolate covered strawberries in honor of the birthday girl. So I say one out of two special requests isn't bad.
The Bull & Bear is the first and only restaurant on the Eastern Seaboard (and one of only a handful in the country) to exclusively serve Certified Angus Beef? brand Prime, the highest quality grade of beef available in the U.S.
After our meal we thrilled in a variety of desserts including Cr'me Brule, Chocolate Soufflé ¡nd the Coupe de Grais - chocolate covered strawberries made especially for our birthday girl. We enjoyed the desserts along with a delightfully fruity, berry flavored dessert wine, Eldorado Noir Black Muscat Russian River Valley 2001. We then indulged just a little bit more with spicy Cappuccinos.
Being three women alone on the town in a most beautiful city, legendary hotel and restaurant we thought it only fitting to end the evening with a nightcap at the famous Bull & Bear Mahogany Bar. Besides we wanted to meet the legendary bartender Oscar.
Oscar was as good as his reputation, mixing us classical drinks and filling our heads full of compliments and charm as he took time to speak with us in Spanish and regal us with stories. Although like any good bartender he was quite tight lipped on juicy gossip and stock tips but I'm sure he has plenty of both; perhaps if we had just gotten him drunk? Oh well! It was a delightful cap on a perfect evening full of the most excellent service, great wine, delicious food and a most perfect steak.
The Bull & Bear is located on the ground floor of the landmark Waldorf=Astoria hotel
with a street entrance at 49th Street & Lexington Avenue, in the heart of midtown Manhattan.
Reservations are recommended call (212) 872-4900.
Open from Monday - Friday from noon to 11:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m