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Peter Luger wannabees

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I have been to Luger many times, though not in recent years. I keep reading of "renegades" or "alumni" of Luger opening outposts in Manhattan....Wolfgang and Ben and Jack's. What is the verdict? Which comes closer or does one of them surpass the original???

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  1. Haven't been to Ben and Jack's, but Wolfgang's doesn't come close to Lugers. Actually, the steak looks like a Luger porterhouse, but is absolutely tasteless. The taste is closer to tofu than beef.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ES

      I went to Bobby Van's new place on 50th st recently, and it brought to mind something like the old Lloyd Bentsen line to Dan Quayle: "I know Peter Luger and you are no Peter Luger."

      Yes, it was a porterhouse. But it had no flavor, and they didn't know or care about how to serve it; the waiter grabbed pieces to serve from the tenderloin side of the bone for one person and the strip side for the other person.

      There's a new Wolfgang's opening near me in Tribeca, and I'll give it a shot. Until then, if you want the real thing, make the trek to Brooklyn.

    2. For me The Knickerbocker on University & 9th does the trick. They don't have Luger's steak sauce but the rest of the menu is terrific so you're not limited to steakhouse items, and there's no difficulty getting there or getting in. The portherhouse is wonderful.

      1. Ben & Jack's is great and the waitstaff are uber attentive.

        1. I was at Wolfgangs on Monday. As usual, I found it to be a B or B+, and it's not even in the same league as Lugers. I wouldn't even compare the two, as far as the meat goes.

          As trudatnyc notes, Ben & Jack's gets the best reviews for Lugers knock-offs. I have yet to go (*sigh*).

          1. What I'd like to know is why do they have to be carbon copies... Can't the "alumni" come up with their own concepts, own menus? Just because your a steakhouse doesn't mean you can't mix it up a bit. These menus always feel so limited.
            I'd really like to see some one from Luger (even the night porter or bar back) leave and open up a seafood place, a French bistro or... and succeed on their own merits without using someone else's name to launch.