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Why NYC's Benjamin Restaurant Group is 'A Cut Above The Rest' for Holiday Dining

Find out why this upscale restaurant group is among the best restaurants in NYC for holiday parties, Christmas dinners, and other seasonal events.

Benjamin Prime NYC

Benjamin Steakhouse has been a perennial favorite with critics, locals, and celebrities alike for close to two decades, with its emphasis on the highest-quality ingredients and stylish surroundings that are perfect for celebrating.

The brand was established in 2006 by Benjamin Prelvukaj and Benjamin Sinanaj, former restaurant servers who shared a mutual dream of owning their own eatery. After achieving success with their inaugural Manhattan steakhouse on East 41st Street, the Benjamins opened a second location in White Plains, NY in 2010 before expanding into seafood with The Sea Fire Grill on East 48th Street in 2012, and following that location up with Benjamin Prime (on East 40th Street) in 2016, and three international editions in Japan (two in Tokyo and one in Kyoto) between 2017 and 2022.

As the holiday season gets into full swing, a number of special seasonal offerings make Benjamin's Manhattan outposts well worth a visit. At each location, you’ll enjoy an elegant atmosphere, with ambient lighting, high ceilings, and a bustling bar area. To boot, the staff is remarkably friendly and accommodating. But the holiday cheer takes the ambience up a notch, with festive touches including holly, decked-out Christmas trees, strands of lights, plenty of ornaments and a cozy fireplace centerpiece in each location.

Read on to discover why Benjamin’s three Manhattan locations, long ranked among the best steakhouses in New York City, are excellent picks for your special occasion meals, cocktail hours, and holiday parties this season.
 

EAT

What to order at Benjamin Steakhouse, The Sea Fire Grill, and Benjamin Prime

Sea Fire Grill

A Thanksgiving menu featuring an organic heritage turkey with herb sourdough stuffing, along with a choice of Bibb or beet salad, squash soup, or oyster Rockefeller for an appetizer, pumpkin pie or pecan pie for dessert, and tea or coffee, is available at each location on Thanksgiving Day (November 23) from 11:30am to 10pm for $95 per person.

Come Christmas, Benjamin debuts a premier prix-fixe holiday menu ($115 per person) at all locations; choose an appetizer, entrée, side (mashed potatoes or creamy corn with smoked gouda and pancetta are among those recommended by the staff) and dessert (Sea Fire Grill manager Jay Dozza endorses the house-made cheesecake). Complete your meal with coffee or tea and indulge in a specialty eggnog (available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions). 

Here’s a closer look at what to expect on the menu at each Benjamin establishment:

Benjamin Steakhouse

Since its early days, Benjamin has been renowned for its 32-day aged USDA prime beef—so you can’t go wrong with a tender, flavorful steak (both the New York sirloin and the ribeye are City Guide favorites). Generous salads and side dishes will not disappoint: don’t miss the trademark Benjamin Salad, which features  lump crab meat atop organic greens, red onion, apples, and a house vinaigrette (recommended for two). The shishito peppers also make a tasty side, with just the right amount of heat. The Brussels sprouts, dusted with sweet and spicy Marcona almonds, come recommended by the chef, and the truffle mashed potatoes are also, unsurprisingly, a home run. 

The Sea Fire Grill

The Sea Fire Grill offers a sumptuous special pre-fixe menu on Fridays and Saturdays: choose an appetizer, entrée, and dessert with tea or coffee as a digestif for $79 per person. The Scottish salmon has a skin so satisfyingly crispy, you can hear the crunch when you cut into it and is served with black rice, dill, and a delectably tangy honey mustard sauce. Other holiday specialties include a tempting happy hour offer: half-off oysters and champagne by the glass (Monday through Saturday, 4-7pm). And on Christmas Eve, you can celebrate with the Sea Fire Grill’s spin on the Feast of the Seven Fishes. For $159 per person, choose from a variety of premium seafood mains, paired with the restaurant’s signature squid ink spaghetti with lobster and crab meat.

Benjamin Prime

The newest of the Benjamin restaurant trio, Prime opened in 2016. While the emphasis at the flagship Steakhouse is on beef, and the Sea Fire Grill spotlights seafood, Prime specializes in both surf and turf, with the yellowfin tuna highlighted just as much as the filet mignon. To beat the winter chill, try one of Prime’s signature soups: a velvety-smooth Lobster Bisque topped with oyster crackers, or perhaps the French Onion Soup, a savory steakhouse staple with a satisfying helping of gruyere cheese to top it off.

DRINK

The cocktail menu and wine list at Benjamin

For seasonal cocktails, the Gingerbread Espresso Martini (made with vodka, Kahlua, ginger liqueur, and gingerbread ice cream and offered at all locations) has proven popular at holiday-time, as has the Benjamin Sidecar, made with lemon juice, Hennessy XO and Grand Marnier, and available all year long.

There’s an extensive wine list at each location, with hundreds of selections available (and up to 1,000 at Benjamin Prime). With steaks, you can’t go wrong with a left Bordeaux (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc): a full-bodied wine with notes of black currant, blackberries and cassis. Seafood dishes pair nicely with a Sancerre that brings out freshness, citrus and minerality. For shellfish, like a steamed or broiled lobster, try a rich Chardonnay, like a Chassagne Montrachet. And according to Sea Fire manager Jay Dozza (who also serves as a full-time sommelier), “lamb tastes so much better with a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Grenache, Syrah blend).” 

BE MERRY

Host holiday parties and events at Benjamin

The Wine Room at Benjamin NYC

Should you plan to host a private event this holiday, each Benjamin Restaurant Group venue offers an array of spacious, elegant areas ideal for a range of gatherings from meetings to special family meals to holiday parties. The sophisticated surroundings have drawn an impressive roster of A-list customers, from NFL legend Warren Sapp to screen icon Bill Murray, and fittingly for the holidays, “Queen of Christmas” Mariah Carey.

Benjamin Steakhouse is housed in the 112-year-old Chemist Building, a white marble structure that was praised by the New York Times as “absolutely unique in the world” upon its opening. For a private party, try either of the mezzanine’s two wings, which provide a striking view overlooking the restaurant, or the wine room, with theater-style drapes that can be drawn to add even more privacy for you and your guests.

At Benjamin Prime, the upper level transforms into a five-room customizable space thanks to an impressive movable wall system. You can also opt to use the entirety of the large space, which accommodates up to 150 guests.  

Finally, at Sea Fire, settle in to one of two sophisticated spaces: the Board Room, ideal for business meetings or smaller celebrations, seats 30, while the Mid-Dining Room, located within the restaurant and off to the side of other diners, can seat up to 65 guests, either separately (with about 30 on each side), or together at one long table.

 

For more information about booking a private party, visit the Events section on the website for your desired location: Benjamin Steakhouse, Sea Fire Grill, or Benjamin Prime

 

LOCATIONS & ADDITIONAL INFO:

Benjamin Steakhouse:

52 E 41st Street, New York, NY 10017, 212-297-9177, benjaminsteakhouse.com/nyc

The Sea Fire Grill:

158 E 48th Street, New York, NY 10017​, 212-257-3092​, theseafiregrill.com

Benjamin Prime:

23 E 40th Street, New York, NY 10016, 212-338-0818, benjaminsteakhouse.com/prime

About the Author

Matt Smith is a writer and theatre enthusiast based in New York. His work has appeared within a wide variety of theatrical publications, including Playbill.com, BroadwayWorld.com, TheaterPizzazz.com, and StageBuddy.com. For more information or further inquiry, including additional writing samples, please visit www.mattsmiththeatre.com.

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