Peter Luger Offshoots?
Coming into NYC at the last minute for a business trip and (unsurprisingly) can't get a res at Peter Luger except at an insanely early or late time. Is it true that a couple of Peter Luger alumnae started their own steakhouses? If so, could you tell me their names, and if they're worth trying?
Thanks in advance.
To me, the hallmark of a Peter Luger clone is that: A) the restaurant serves extra-thick Canadian Bacon by the slice; and B) the menu lists Steak for 1, 2, 3, or 4, all served sliced, the latter three being porterhouses.
There are three Manhattan steakhouses that follow this model: MarkJoseph, Wolfgang's, and Ben & Jack's. It should be noted that all of them, unlike Luger, accept credit cards. And all of them have a more varied menu than Luger.
I've eaten multiple times at MarkJoseph and Wolfgang's. As far as the food goes, they are extremely close, with Wolfgang's being a touch better. However, there've been a lot of reports lately of reservations not being honored on time at Wolfgang's, and the place tends to get very noisy. You'll have a much more refined experience at MJ. I can't speak for Ben & Jack's, as I've not tried it yet.
I would give an honorable mention to Flames Steakhouse, a new entrant downtown, which serves strip and porterhouse in the Luger style, but doesn't have bacon on the appetizer menu.
There are, of course, many other steakhouses in Manhattan, some of them quite good, that don't qualify as Luger offshoots in any sense, unless you're going to say that any restaurant serving steak is a Luger clone.
re: John D
If you can take the train from Penn Station (22-35 Minutes depending on time of day) and a cab from Great Neck or Little Neck (better and less expensive choice) station, then you may as well go to Peter Luger's other branch in Great Neck, Long Island.
It's the same meat and method; the service is a little nicer, and the decor, well old, but much warmer than Brooklyn.
Some can't taste the difference, some can, but I'll guarantee it's worth the drive or ride out. It's nearly as close as the Brooklyn one. Car service will be about $120 round trip.
I have to disagree with Fleur on the Luger's burger. If you have your heart set on Luger's, by all means try going for lunch. If you do go for lunch, however, don't make the mistake of ordering the burger since the kitchen can never seem to cook it correctly to the requested temperature. Luger's is all about the steak and that is what you should get (along with bacon and tomato and onion to start, cremaed spinach, German potatos and some lamb chops if you are quite hungry).
If you can't make Luger's work, try Ben and Jack's or Sparks, as previous posters have mentioned, though Sparks does not serve a porterhouse. Wolfgang's is not worth your time.
Let us know about your deision and dining experience.
The best Luger's offshoot is Ben and Jack's Steakhouse on 44th. street between 2nd and 3rd. While the decor is a bit gaudy, the food is fantastic. I've had porterhouses there that are just as good as many of the steaks I've had at it's parent establishment, and better than the steaks I've had at the parent establishment on my most recent trans-bridge excursions. Take it from a native of Manhattan who has been going to the parent establishment since he was a young kid: it is not what it once was.
Also, be sure to avioid Wolfgang's at all costs. The room (namely the ceiling) is beautiful, but the steaks are vastly inferior to those at Ben and Jack's, and unless you relish the prospect of greasing the mait're d, be prepared to wait well past the time of your reservation (i.e. an hour) before being seated at Wolfgang's.
If you're looking for a Luger's-style porterhouse, Ben and Jack's is the place for you to go.
Wolfgangs is the only offshoot really worth trying. IMO if you want the best tasting steak (maybe not best atmosphere) in Manhattan, try Sparks (although they don't have porterhouse). For the best porterhouse in the city try either wolfgang's or the highly underrated Rothmann;s.