For K’s big birthday celebration he chose Manny’s because he wanted a big ol’ steak to enjoy with the bottle of 1995 Opus One he’d been saving for the occasion.

I’d never been to Manny’s before and was surprised to see the place was packed on a Tuesday night! The dining room was noisy, but we were pretty well insulated in a curved booth. This was good because we were dining with the HH’s and their little 7-month-old munchkin (who was an angel the entire time and even fell asleep). I was also surprised that, despite the unabashedly testosterone-filled, clubby atmosphere, the dining room was so brightly lit. I expected it to be darker like the lounge and the entryway, like you could smoke a cigar in a corner or something.

We all knew the portions would be enormous so we skipped the appetizers, but K and I shared a mixed green salad the size of a Volkswagen with the best green goddess dressing I’ve ever had in my entire life. I could have just taken a spoon and eaten that dressing and been perfectly happy. 

I should have ordered the lobster cakes appetizer for my meal, but I was at Manny’s so I ordered a small filet mignon steak. This was the least interesting part of my meal. It wasn’t great, it certainly wasn’t bad, it was just … there. Though K ordered a bone-in filet and said he had to stop himself from eating any remaining meat off the bone. The HH’s ordered one of the specials, a seafood platter, to split and we ordered broccoli, asparagus and hash browns with onions for the table. 

The asparagus were Franken-asparagus, practically bigger than my forearm, but the Hollandaise and tarragon Hollandaise that came with them were wonderful, creamy and deliciously complementary. The hash browns were also good, but I like my hash browns pretty crispy. The pile of browns was simply so ginormous that there were just too many to get uniformly crispy. They were still fried potatoes though, so they were good.

The server (who was very quick, competent and genial) knew it was K’s birthday and brought us over the Mt. Rushmore of chocolate cake with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. I am allergic to chocolate. Chocolate makes me itchy. Sometimes it is worth it to eat chocolate. This cake was worth it.

It was a very nice, upscale evening with a busy, warm atmosphere. The perfect place for K and Mr. HH to have a near-religious experience when they drank that 1995 Opus One. K said it was a great birthday (despite the food coma that followed) and a good time was had by all. Even so, I don’t think I’ll be back to Manny’s any time soon. And if someone else chooses it for another big occasion, I’m sticking with the salad with green goddess dressing, the lobster cakes and a few sinful bites of that glorious chocolate cake — hold the steak.


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