This past weekend I had a celebratory dinner with my brilliant lady friend and two of my favorite dining companions at Bobby Van's Steakhouse in New York. We went to the 46th and Park Avenue restaurant only out of habit/tradition; there are restaurants in three other New York locations, two in Washington, D.C., and one in Bridgehampton, Long Island.Bobby Van's is one of my favorite steakhouses--right up there with The Palm in New York and Gibsons and The Chop House in Chicago--and it did not disappoint this time around. After high quality bread and salted butter, I started with a caeser salad with extra anchovies, parmesan cheese, and fresh pepper, which for some reason I fancy as the perfect opening to a steak dinner.We opened a bottle of Benzinger Cabernet and ordered the steak: A friend and I shared the porterhouse-for-two and the other two diners each ordered the filet. For sides we shared orders of mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms. The steak was phenomenal as usual. The porterhouse, generally my favorite steak option, includes both strip sirloin and filet, one on each side of the bone. The strip is denser while the filet is fattier, juicier, and extremely flavorful. My preference is rare; a good steakhouse can make the outside crispy while keeping the inside very red and juicy. I believe it is done with an extremely hot flame and quick cooking time.The sides were wonderful complements. The mashed potatoes had enough butter to kill a cardiologist; I recommend eating them relatively quickly once taken out of the hot serving bowl as the huge amount of butter begins to solidify when it cools and the potatoes lose their originally fluffy quality. The mushrooms were a complete hit, sautéed with truffle oil which still knocks me off my feet. I asked the waiter to confirm the contents of the sauté, and after doing so, he delivered a compliment that made my week: he told me I had a good palate. Steakhouse waiters are an interesting breed. They are usually older men and they take great pride in their work and their steaks. Receiving a compliment from them made me very proud.Thanks, Bobby Van's. If that is not a great night out, then I don't know what is.