HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Is Peter Luger the best place for steaks?

  • n

I want to take my parents out for good a steak dinner when they visit in July from Japan. My dad especially is a big steak lover.

From what I understand, Peter Luger is the best place in the city, but I was reading some reviews on a Japanese web site and people weren't impressed with their steak. Unfortunately, I have yet to try it. Is there a better place than PL? Any alternatives? Thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. lugers sucks. overrated.

    13 Replies
    1. re: jj

      im waiting for someone to mention this should be on the outer boroughs board.

      regardless, yes, lugers is overrated...at least the food is. but its an institution you ought to try at least once.

      for steakhouses, i much prefer strip house on 12th street.

      1. re: sam

        You're right.... I should have posted on the outer borough page, but then again, I wanted to find out what's the best place in the city... Now I am debating between Peter Luger and Strip House...

        1. re: NK

          old waiters from lugers left to start wolfgang's in the city...i havent been but the menu is identical. looks like a nice space from the website.

          1. re: sam

            Wolfgang's is mediocre, just a poor imitation of Peter Lugers. My favorite steakhouses in Manhattan are Sparks, BLT Steak and Strip House.

            1. re: Evan

              I agree totally re. Wolfgang's: the steaks look the same (as those at Luger's) but they sure don't taste the same!

              1. re: newsjoke

                Lugers steaks are overbuttered and overrated. I agree completely with BLT Steak recommendation-delicious steak, beautifully prepared sides. Also Pietro's, very simple,oldfashioned meat and kindly waiters (on East 43rdStreet)

                1. re: pammie

                  I've said it before- If you are a sirloin fan- Pietros, while pricey, is the best steak in nyc. Amazing salads, pasta, and sides, and the steak for two ($76 I believe?) is perfectly sliced, charred on the outside, and served with enough butter to satisfy any lugers fan.

                  In fact, I enjoy Lugers immensely, but go to pietros for a better and more consistent steak.


        2. re: The Chowhound Team

          What I said (and what you removed) was that Luger's is the best steak (by far) in New York (or perhaps anywhere), and that I like it so much that I'm going there in a couple of weeks for my birthday. This implies that given a choice between Luger's and staying in Manhattan, Luger's was better. To me, that seems to make it Manhattan-relevant. However, you removed the post. So, let's see if this makes you feel better:

          Yes, the steaks at Luger's are better than those at the Palm, Smith & Wollensky, the Old Homestead, Wolfgang's, Michael Jordan's, the Fairway Steakhouse, Bistro Le Steak, Angelo & Maxie's and Spark's (although I like both their sirloins), Tad's, Flaming Embers, and the Three Guys diner across the street from me.

          There, is that better?

        3. re: jj

          OVERRATED. Lugars cuts the meat before they serve it which causes a partial loss of the internal juices. And the service is not good. And it's a pain to get to.

          Go to Sparks.

            1. re: NativeNewYorker

              Ditto for Sparks...............The filet mignon is huge and delicious.............The service was very good as well.

              1. re: NativeNewYorker

                I thought the service and folks in there were really nice and very friendly and helpful, my disappointment was in the steak itself.........that bacon was duh bom as was the spinach

              2. re: jj

                I can't agree totally but it is waaaay over rated.

              3. I guess whether Peter Luger is the best place for steak depends on your personal preference. Lugers sells Porterhouse steak - they may have a prime rib or so on the menu, but pretty much everyone gets Porterhouse. If you want Porterhouse, then you have to ask yourself will you enjoy the experience of eating there. Reservations are very difficult to obtain for a reasonable hour in the evening (7-10) even when you call months in advance. (They don't take credit cards either, if that's an issue.) If you don't mind eating early or later, you will find it much easier to get a table. Also, the place is not formal (despite the prices!) and the service can be charitably called "gruff." If this would not put off your parents, by all means give it a whirl.

                If you want a similar experience with an easier to get reservation and in Manhattan, I suggest you go to Wolfgang's. Steak is very similar (i.e. Porterhouse), but the service is friendlier (at least I think it is). If you are not especially interested in Porterhouse, I would suggest Spark's for sirloin, and I would strongly suggest Sparks if your parents are interested in good wine, since the wine list at Spark's is legendary and Lugers barely has one. Much easier to get a table there at Sparks as well.

                If you've never been to Luger's, you should to go at least once. Whether its the place to take your parents it is up to you.....

                5 Replies
                1. re: bigskulls

                  Just curious....why is Palm not mentioned? What do people think of it? It used to be either that or PL when "the best" steaks were discussed...has it gone way downhill? (the two on the east side, that is).

                  1. re: erica

                    I know what you mean. The one time I went to the Palm, I loved it - steak was great, so were sides, and we had a fantastic bottle of Bordeaux. I've heard, however, that the waiters will sometimes try to talk you into joining some sort of club or special offer thing that has turned a lot of people off. From my personal experience, however, I found nothing not to like about it.....

                    1. re: bigskulls

                      There is literature on the table about a Palm dining club which gets you benefits at the various branches, but our waiter never bothered us about it. Palm is good if you need to be in midtown, but of course the meat isn't as good as Peter Luger.

                      1. re: Wilfrid

                        The best thing at the Palm is the prime rib, which is wonderful most of the time.

                        As I recall, the club membership costs $20, which is offset by a $20 gift certificate usable on your next visit, so if you plan to go more than once, it's a wash at worst. After you've spent a total of $500, you get a gift certificate worth $35, after $750 you get $75, after $1000 you get $120, and so forth. It's useful to businessmen and serious carnivores who don't want to trek to Brooklyn.

                  2. If you want to take your parents to a place in Manhattan that is considered a NY institution, you should take them to Keens, which has been in continuous operation since 1885. I'm not a big steak person, preferring the fabulous lamb chops they serve. But plenty of Hounds love the steaks there. And a major plus is the wonderful old New York atmospherics -- walls filled with memorabilia and row-upon-row of old clay smoking pipes suspended from the ceilings.

                    Link: http://www.keenssteakhouse.com

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: RGR

                      i heartily agree...Keens would be a great place to take visitors from Japan, because it's such a quintessential old-NYC place...there is nothing like it in Tokyo...(i also usually order the lamb chops there, as well as the raw oysters and the tomato&stilton salad)...

                      1. re: Simon

                        I've lived and worked in Japan and Korea for a number of years. Keens should strike a chord with guests at the food level, history level and, most important, the Scotch level. Absolutely the best Scotch selection in Manhattan. Give it a shot and let me know your thoughts.

                      2. re: RGR

                        you'll hear a lot of praise for the lamb chops at Keen's, one that i share, since the rest of the menu is middling at beast.. sure- it's old school ny.. that doesn't mean it's great.. the quality of the meat just isn't there.. they get by on the quirkiness of old men (like the senior partner in my firm who insists we go there when he takes us out) who love the novelty of the mutton..

                        lugers has the best quality porterhouse in nyc.. it's the trugh and it's simple- they pay cash and get first dibs on the beef.. they do one cut, do it well (some might dispute it, but the quality of beef in general has declined) and they cook it their way, including the addition of butter to the cooked steak..

                      3. Just curious, what Japanese website were you referring to? Give my vote to Keens, get the porterhouse.

                        1. peter luger has the best steak in the city.

                          sometimes, however, the occasion calls for something beyond the meat itself, and in such cases alternatives are important. when i'm not eating a porterhouse at Luger, i go to Strip House and have their wonderful truffle creamed spinach, goose fat potatoes, enormous chocolate cake, and the off-menu "special" porterhouse.

                          1. Your inputs were very helpful. Thanks.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: NK

                              I think a lot of Japanese bash PL because a)their expectations are unreasonably high and b)they imagine something soft and tender like Kobe beef when they think of steak (shimo-furi beef). That is the impression I got when I talked to many Japanese about the place. Still, I'm pretty sure your father will enjoy the experience. Have fun

                              1. re: Rosanjin

                                I agree. Having lived in Kobe and eaten at high-end Japanese steak restaurants, the experience and meat at Peter Luger's are quite different. It's a solid, long dry aged, big American steak. And the best around if you ask me. But it will not be soft or super-tender like Wagyu, and it will have a strong meaty, almost mineral-y, taste due to the aging. I have taken many Japanese guests there over the years (as part of my business), and find that a lot of them like it as a purely American, NYC, experience. But some are disappointed that it is not like what they've imagined steak to be in the U.S., which is an even better version of the Japanese type.

                                Since Luger's is descended from an old German-American bar, the steak will also be cooked in the old style, with a lot of butter and the grease generated during broiling poured over the top, rather than drained off - which I find has actively bothered some of my Japanese guests. The place also has an old NYC barroom atmosphere, which means plain wooden tables, bright lighting, and service that is straightforward and efficient but far from gracious and obsequious in the Japanese manner. It also has no wine list to speak of, which is a major flaw and some folks find disappointing. I just stick to beer and/or whiskey, which is what my German-American and Irish-American grandfathers would have had with their steak anyway.

                                But if you're interested in a more luxurious atmosphere, and less interested in absolutely the top end meat, then Lugers may not be for you. I agree with others here that if you want a nice, comfortable old NYC atmosphere with good meat then Keen's is the spot. But beware that Keens serves up a big slab of toothsome meat on a plate, like a good American steakhouse, but not at all like a Japanese one.

                                Edit: Ahhh, suckered into responding to ancient posts again, I see. I'll let it stand, but I do wish that something could be done about the constant revival of these zombie threads with little or no new information added.

                                1. re: Woodside Al

                                  Woodside Al, I'm really sorry I didn't read this post of yours before now.

                                  quoting you here=. "Since Luger's is descended from an old German-American bar, the steak will also be cooked in the old style, with a lot of butter and the grease generated during broiling poured over the top, rather than drained off - which I find
                                  has actively bothered some of my Japanese guests."

                                  I knew that taste (and stuff) on my plate wasn't melted butter, my mouth works quite well. Thanks for verifying my suspicious notions.

                            2. The answer, in my opinion, is YES -- without question. The food is simply amazing. In fact, their Porterhouse is so good that the waiters at Sparks (which I believe is the best steak house, hands down, in Manhattan) admit that they won't serve Porterhouses, because they can't/don't want to compete with Lugers. The bacon appetizer is beyond belief.... I acknowledge that many are frustrated with certain aspects of the experience, but the place is a bona fide NYC institution -- about as authentic as can be -- right down to the amazing old building that houses it. Have fun.

                              1. I dunno

                                that Porthouse for two at Knickerbocker can compete
                                with the best of them.

                                i am bold with that statement but go try it out.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sally

                                  I'm a big fan of Knickerbocker's T-bone (not Porterhouse), but it does not come even close to a Luger steak.

                                2. The best steak in the city is at Luger's. If it's the best steak you want, that is the clear choice.

                                  If you want to factor in other things: wine, service, atmosphere, decor, other food, etc., etc....then it would be a more complicated decision with more options.

                                  But if it's the best steak you want, there is nothing better than Luger's.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Nina W.

                                    Peter Luger's would be best IF you like Porterhouse. I have gone 3 times wondering why I didn't like the flavor of the meat. Well..turns out that I don't like the marbled (fatty) cut of the portherhouse. I LOVED the steak at the Strip House and felt it was much better than the steak at Lugers. And the Homestead I felt had a better steak as well.

                                  2. Don't bother with lugers. It is frequented with people who think that have an waiter be obnoxious to them must mean the steak is good. Strip House is the place to go.

                                    1. As far as food goes, Luger gets first crack at the prime steaks at the meat market. Plus, they have the broiler down to a science. This means they cook up the best porterhouse in NYC. Of course, there's plenty of places in Manhattan that have great food with an ambiance that is more pleasing than Luger's German Beer Hall setting.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: HamsonNYC

                                        My friend works in the in the industry and she told me Palm got the first crack at the meat market. I was like, Palm? Really? Just curious, where do you get your info?

                                        1. re: Rosanjin

                                          Maybe it's just PR, but I've read many an article about the 3 generations of women at Luger who get first crack at stamping the best cuts.

                                          1. re: HamsonNYC

                                            I *used* to hear that quite a bit, but got the impression that the line of crack meat procurers had ended (the last one retired? passed on?) The latest gossip on the outer borough board is quite different (a porterhouse shortage & claims of some mediocre steaks.) I wish I could find out for certain whether their procurement practices are still exceptional.

                                            (edit: Oops, we *are* on the outer borough board now.)

                                      2. go to BLT Steak - much better choice.

                                        1. yes
                                          best in the entire NYC metro area
                                          always elicits a "how do they do it?" response from my palatte.

                                          1. I agree w/ many posters here... best steak is based on what cut you like. My fav is bone in ribeye and the PALM (omg!) makes it perfectly!

                                            Porterhouse is next on my list and you really really cannot beat lugers. +, as someone else mentioned, their bacon app is unbelieveable. How do they make it so friggin tasty?

                                            I dislike NY strip quite a bit, so I really did not enjoy myself at Sparks and am reluctant to try strip house (although truffled cream spinach and goose fat potatoes sounds really good)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: mr_fro2000

                                              i having been thinking about the strip house not so much for the meat but for the sides which sounds so fantastic and i hear the foie gras is amazing too.

                                            2. Peter Lugars is a tourist trap and way over rated. Its blah blah blah big portions and in a 1920's old decor and I wasnt impressed. Id much rather go to Arnie Mortons and have their bone in rib eye. Like most big ticket high end steak houses Arnies is pricey and do not even think of leaving without having their soufle. I never eat desert when I go to a restaurante since I have no room for it. The exception is when I go to Arnie Mortons and I have to have one of their heavenly soufles.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: numbu9

                                                It's hardly a tourist trap. It's one of only two steak houses in the entire country serving USDA Prime which is dry aged 5 weeks or more.

                                              2. Peter Luger is the best steakhouse. All the others are number 2 or lower.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Wilfrid

                                                  i've heard the lunch burgers rock. can anyone confirm that ordering a burger over their steak at a lunch reservation is the smart thing to do? thanks in advance.

                                                  1. re: TBird

                                                    I get both :). Burgers do rule...

                                                    1. re: tpigeon

                                                      "I get both :)."

                                                      well, it will be my bday lunch...

                                                2. I had been underwhelmed with Luger's but went this summer again and had the best steak of my life. Yes you can get great steak elsewhere (I like Michael Jordon's and Knickerbocker as well as others that have been mentioned) But PL is a legend and the only place that you feel can be a oneinalifetime experience.

                                                  1. It doesn't get mentioned that much but I'm a big fan of Smith & Wolensky. Some of the best steaks I've had were from there.

                                                    1. Unequivocally the answer is yes! Peter Luger still remains the gold standard for the best steak in not only the city but the country in my opinion. I have made my love for Luger known in many of my posts and it is always my place of choice for special occasion dinners. The bread is terrific, porterhouse is amazing, fries served piping hot and perfectly seasoned with salt, luscious creamed spinach, crispy onion rings, incredible thick bacon unlike any piece of prok you have ever put in your mouth, and the most decadent dessert I have ever tasted- the holy cow hot fudge sundae.

                                                      Everything they do from start to finish is flawless. You also get some nice chocolate with you bill at the end of your meal.

                                                      And P.S. I have never ever had a problem with the service. The waiters have always been great, funny, and actually quite engaging once you open up to them. I actually think their waiters are some of the best I have ever come across- very attentive, and not pushy at all.

                                                      As a side note- BLT Prime is great as well.

                                                      1. wow, such mixed reviews..

                                                        I actually liked Wolfgangs...
                                                        I had tried getting into Peter Lugars...(took a subway over there from Manhattan)
                                                        but could'nt get in!! Was told the wait was 3 months long!! (espescially for someone like me, with no connections)

                                                        So I ended up at Wolfgangs.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: ellen4441

                                                          This is the link to the recent excellent chain on this topic:


                                                          In any case, if your parents are used to true 神戸牛 in Japan, they may not be satisfied with anything here.

                                                          The fascinating book "Omnivore's Dilemma" explains many aspects of our food system, including the history of how Americans' taste for corn fed beef developed. However, according to reports in the above link, the top of the pinnacle quality corn fed variety is increasingly difficult to obtain even at the city's best steak houses.

                                                          1. re: ellen4441

                                                            Don't worry, you saved yourself a bundle worth spending somewhere else.

                                                          2. Not sure if any of you have read Jeffery Steingarten's book "It Must Have Been Something I Ate". He has a great chapter of beef and includes a lot of information on NY Steak Houses. His staff called most of the top steakhouses to find out their aging process for their beef.

                                                            Only Peter Luger's and Bern's Steak House in Tampa passed his standards for aging. And this in in the entire country. So I think those that are saying Luger's is overrated might be a little off base.

                                                            If you are looking for USDA Prime Beef dry aged for over five weeks Luger's is likely your only option in the NY Area. Some of the places mention on this list aren't even serving USDA Prime. Keep that in mind.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                              If one's looking at eating steak out, you're right.

                                                              Then again, Ottomanelli's will dry age USDA prime beef for you for any period of time you desire and you're not stuck with just a porterhouse. My only problem with the place is whether to get beef or Berkshire black pig pork chops when I'm there. Usually, I end up leaving with both.

                                                              1. re: mahalan

                                                                Yes, I've heard about Ottomanelli's but never had the pleasure of trying them out. Sounds fantastic.

                                                              2. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                                                                ohhhh ok what type of aging are we writing about? Dry..or ..Moist..we each have an opinon. Ellen4441 there are (2) PL's

                                                              3. I have only three words...Bobby Van's Vault.

                                                                The one at 25 Broad Street, downstairs in what was J.P. Morgan's vault.

                                                                For $24.95 you can get a 10 oz Filet and excellent french fries.

                                                                Its always my favorite for lunch when I am in the Financial District.


                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: chinatownmike

                                                                  I never heard of the vault. Sounds very cool.

                                                                2. Yes. Luger's. The one and only. It's the Harvard of steakhouses.

                                                                  1. imho the butter is the trick at Lugers',really overrated,ohhh surprise..CASH ONLY..and you wait at the bar area far too long... ___________________________...^^^^^^^ ^^^^

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: wnd

                                                                      If you like porterhouse, then you can't beat Luger's. In fact, nothing is even close. If you are looking for sirloin, I would recommend Sparks.

                                                                      1. re: wnd

                                                                        WND, this isn't meant as an attack, but you must not understand the steakhouse culture. Going to a place like Peter Luger, Wollensky, Sparks etc is an event, not a regular dinner. These places are mobbed with people, usually men who have just gotten off of work and are treating themselves. When a group of friends go out, they all are paying their own way, so cash is king. PL understands this. They aren't catering to the Joneses and the family of five. They are catering to each individual carnivore. As for the wait, I can't imagine I was just lucky all three times. My guess is you got their exactly when your reservation was for. It ain't that kinda place. They expect you to get there a little early, announce you've arrived and have a drink. It's a steak HOUSE...not a restaurant. When you go to someone's house for dinner and they tell you to come at 6pm, do you expect to be seated at 6pm? No, you have drinks, relax and enjoy the evening. As for the butter...it just makes great...well, better! WHat isn't better with butter & bacon?

                                                                      2. Went again last night, belated holiday gift. It is still "the goods" (highest possible praise without profanity). Can it keep getting better and better?
                                                                        Many times a restaurant cannot live up to its memory. This is not the case at Lugers.

                                                                        1. I haven't been to the NYC location, but their Great Neck (Long Island) one is absolutely amazing. Best steak i've ever had - hands down. Definitely pricey though...

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: termehm

                                                                            Last time I was there (In Brooklyn), the prices had actually gone down $10 from the time before..

                                                                            1. re: termehm

                                                                              its no more expensive than any of the other major nyc steakhouses. and way better!

                                                                            2. I was there today, first time, well, second time, I did it a few years ago, went in, felt way out of place, saw the prices and decided on a salad, I know, dumb move but I was intimidated by the hoopla that the place has associated with it's name.

                                                                              Today, I got a very nice gentleman as my waiter. I asked him ''so what do I get''. He suggested the single, no sides come with it as I'm sure you all know by now, me, I'm dumb. I ordered fries too cause I knew at this price, ''Pomme Frites'' would have to wait.

                                                                              The place is touted as the best steak ever anywhere. Well that's quite a statement, then I watch all shows on TV stating it's glory, of course, you just gotta go. < Right?

                                                                              Well, I said "don't disappoint me, I have high expectations" and he said, "we won't". You know how the commercials or tv shows say how it's their goal to get it to your table within 8 seconds of coming off the grill? Well, that's the longest 8 seconds of my life as it arrived sans sizzle, swimming in a pool of seemingly fake clarified butter, and tepid at best. The sinue was so obvious and hard to tackle even with the help of my strong knife, I felt it must have been a fluke watching a TV show about it just a few days ago, watching a man and listening to him say he cuts his steak with a fork only. I'm thinking, really? A fork only? I could not even cut it with the provided knife.

                                                                              My waiter came over later to ask how it was. I said, "its good, not great and by far no where close to the best steak I've ever had. It's not hot at all, it's sinuey, and very little flavor." I don't think he expected that, and I said I was sorry but the truth had been reported by me to him. He got me another, I told him I hoped no one would be angry but I came from Los Angeles to have this on the one day I'm here, it's something that is either way over rated or I got a bad steak.

                                                                              The second one came screamingly sizzling. I mean, man was it hot. For the brief 90 seconds that it stayed that way. Still swimming in oily goup, still lack luster in flavor, still not fork tender unless you're Hercules.

                                                                              All in all though, I had the most wonderful time. Next to my table, 6 adoreable guys all telling their stories, many of them foodie stories, and they were so concerned about my not close to perfect steak. They included me in their conversation and I simply loved these cute guys, all in the business attire.

                                                                              They shared their food with me and invited me to sit at their table. I got a hug and kiss from one that I'd spoken to the most and then the others wondered why he got that affection and they didn't. Very sweet and so kind, I mean, who shares food off their plate with a complete stranger?

                                                                              My time there will never be forgotten, I WILL go back, next time though I'm taking the man of my dreams, he deserves this experience too. Their bread basket by the way, is wonderful with the served butter.

                                                                              1. As I've stated before, I am definitely a Peter Luger guy and porterhouse is my favorite cut, but I have to say, the ribeye I had at Morton's last night was definitely one of the top three steaks I've ever had. Very large, perfectly cooked (medium rare) and easily one of the most succulent steaks I've ever had. And the true test of a good steak...the lst bite was as good as the first!

                                                                                Peter Luger
                                                                                255 Northern Blvd, Great Neck, NY 11021

                                                                                1. NK, what did you end up doing when your folks came from Japan? Did you take them to this place or did you decide on something else? If it's posted here, I don't see it. Please, someone, show me where he or she wrote it up.

                                                                                  Although I understand that the question wasn't is it the best steak in the Manhattan area, that's exactly why I went. Because that's what I'd heard about it. In brief, to this mouth, not the best steak I've ever had, that accomplishment went to The Queens Arms in Encino, California, as untouchable [now a car dealership] or Charleys in Tampa Florida.