2019-02-06 / Restaurant of the Week

Uncle Jack’s Meat House

Warm up with an exceptional meal at Uncle Jack’s Meat House, where the name says it all! If you’re a vegan, you might want to turn the page now, but if you enjoy meat in all its juicy forms, there’s no place like Uncle Jack’s Meat House. There are cuts of meat here that you won’t find anywhere else in the borough, with names like the “Fred Flintstone,” aptly named for its brontosaurus-size steer rib bones.

Uncle Jack’s is named for owner Willie Degel’s great-uncle, who owned a speakeasy during Prohibition in the 1920’s. Indeed the décor reflects this period and best of all, just downstairs is the “Bootlegger Speakeasy,” which is open to the public on weekends, and available for the coolest private parties ever with room for up to 60 guests. The first Uncle Jack’s is in Bayside, and the newest Queens location is on Ditmars Blvd, on the site of a former hardware store. The décor of this American Bar & Grill is classy and classic, with touches like red leather, tufted banquettes, dark wood tables and industrial lighting suspended from actual meat hooks. The beautiful U-shaped marble-topped bar is alluring and attracts a nice crowd for cocktails mixed up by Ian, the skilled barman. My companion and I started with a Ditmars Manhattan and a Kings Harvest, prepared with smoky rum, rimmed with sugar and chili powder. The Hell’s Gate margarita is refreshing, while Uncle Jack’s Sick Bloody Mary will cure what ails you, topped with bacon.

Speaking of bacon…we started with their most popular appetizer of in-house hickory smoked bacon, served on mini meat hooks, with homemade peanut butter and chipotle maple glaze for dipping this heavenly, smoky bacon into. Next came Wagyu beef meatballs resting on a unique metal server with Chinese style hoisin sauce that complemented the rich, flavorful beef. New Zealand lollipop sized lamb chops are so juicy and succulent and make a great first course, as do the smoked pork spare ribs with sweet and sour glaze ($12). Mini tacos filled with Maine lobster and avocado go down easy with a local craft brew at the bar or at your table, and the charred Spanish octopus is tender and nice for sharing. Order a charcuterie platter with cuts of jamon Iberico, dried beef called bresaola, and imported cheeses for snacking at the bar. We rounded out the first course with a fresh beet salad flecked with goat cheese and honey walnuts ($10).

Let’s “cut” to the chase and dive right into the 35-day, dry-aged rib chop, also known as the “Fred Flintstone Longbone.” You’ll see this ginormous cut of meat hanging in the display case, but to see it on your plate is impressive and very Instagrammable! Chef Terry himself came out to melt the butter atop our steak and then we tucked in with gusto. The rich, aged flavor and extraordinary texture of this fine meat is unparalleled. Your dog will love the bone too, so take it home. There’s also a wet-aged New York strip steak for just $24 and a boneless ribeye, wet-aged and served with your choice of rubs: espresso, Cajun, or porcini. Center cut filet mignon cuts like “buttah” and goes well with a side of shredded, crispy Brussel sprouts, glazed asparagus, roasted mushrooms, or Yukon gold mashed potatoes.

Uncle Jack’s Meat House burgers require two hands and a huge appetite. We couldn’t resist the “Ooey Gooey Mooey Burger” made of prime beef, topped with secret sauce, bacon jam, maple bacon, lettuce and tomato, served with house cut fries ($17). The smoked burger is topped with smoky pulled pork, house made cole slaw, pickles and cheeses. These burgers are massive and will keep you going all day and night.

Our friendly servers Melissa, Simon, and Joe all made us feel very welcome and cared for. They insisted we try a fabulous dessert creation that was chocolatey and moussey, topped with…..bacon! Homemade cookies, mile-high coconut cream pie, and fudge brownie souffle will satisfy your sweet tooth.

After weekend dinner, saunter downstairs to the “Bootlegger Speakeasy” where remnants of Prohibition adorn the walls, and soft sofas and low lighting invite you to stay and relax with friends from 8pm to 2am.

Celebrate Valentine’s Week where a special 3- course menu is available for just $65 per person all week. The regular menu is available as well, and you should call for reservations. Sunday brunch is served from 11am to 4pm, followed by dinner service. Uncle Jack’s Meat House is open seven days a week from 11:30am. With fantastic cocktails, natural cuts of meat, warm, friendly service, and classy ambience, you must visit the newest Uncle Jack’s where the Customer is King.

36-18 Ditmars Boulevard
Astoria  917.745.1553


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