A discreet storefront gives way to this sexy bi-level restaurant. On the main floor, the tunes and decor evoke the Jazz Age; in the loungey basement parlor, classic cocktails embellish every table. It’s a place so alluring that it warrants ditching after-dinner plans in favor of another old fashioned. It’s a place that renews our faith in the steak house.

The Bavette’s experience serves as a reminder that steak house meals needn’t mean stuffy service and unnecessarily colossal portions. In a time when menu after menu offers “twisted” this and “reimagined” that, this one is refreshingly straightforward: plump cocktail shrimp, buttery bone-in rib eye, double-boned Berkshire pork chop. Even pedestrian-sounding roasted chicken reaches succulence when bathed in a decadent jus—proof that the familiar can still dazzle.

It seems the 34-year-old owner, Brendan Sodikoff, has an innate knack for introducing the right concept at the right time: the doughnut (Doughnut Vault), the diner (Au Cheval), and now the steak. In the coming months, he plans to launch a trio of new restaurants—an Old World deli, a barbecue joint, and a Japanese-style noodle spot—and you’ll likely form new obsessions. But for now, it’s tough to imagine him besting Bavette’s.