At Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse in Bayside, Queens on a hot summer Sunday morning, I’m surrounded by dark wood, red brick, and white linen. Sinatra is playing overhead. The surroundings make me feel as though I should be exclusively indulging in some kind of carnivorous spectacle, honoring a beast that died so that I could live. Something with char marks, a pat of butter, and a potato on the side, split down the middle with its sour cream and chive guts spilling out.
You can have that kind of classic steakhouse experience at the 1920s speakeasy-inspired twenty-one-year-old restaurant, but I’m pulling apart a fluffy and flavorful cheese popover instead, wishing that I could get my third helping of honey butter or some more peanut butter (thick) bacon before the ricotta jar hits the table. This is brunch at a steakhouse.
The original idea for my Uncle Jack’s visit had been to experience steak and eggs for the first time. A throwback from a bygone era, a dish that had faded but never vanished. For decades, steak and eggs didn’t seem to fit in a world of low-cholesterol dogmatics. But with attitudes changing once again, and many in pursuit of a high protein/low-carb option, the so-called “Cowboy Breakfast” has become progressively hip once more. Not so much so that people are better equipped to handle the rigors of farm work, but so they can add mass and crush at the gym. Or just be full.