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Any chance Peter Luger is not overrated? [moved from Manhattan board]

  • l

I'm having reservations about my reservation there. NYer by the way.

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  1. Personally, I think the Emperor isn't as well dressed as he thinks he is.

    I'm not a giant fan of the "Giant Hunk-o Meat On Yer Plate" phenomenon though. Yeah, the steak I had when I went was really good... but I don't need to eat 24oz of red meat at a sitting, and with the hassle of getting a rez for 7 people, having to wait 90 extra minutes ANYWAY, and then with the a-la-carte-everything (surprised they didn't charge for silverware), I was underwhelmed by the whole thing.

    We got the bacon. We got a couple of the porterhouses doused with tallow. We got some decent wine. We got sides. I felt like we also got a little swindled and that the restaurant is a little more of a "destination' than it deserves.

    I also know I'm probably going to be the only one on this board who feels this way.

    I'm just not a fan of the old school steakhouse paradigm. Oddly enough, the one time I went our server was really charming. Really.

    15 Replies
    1. re: egit

      Chances are if you don't like the "old school steakhouse paradigm" you are not going to like Peter Lugar's because it is an old school steakhouse.

      Conversely, people who do like the "old school steakhouse paradigm" are much more likely to enjoy Peter Lugar's because it is an old school steakhouse.


      1. re: egit

        I don't think it's at all odd that your waiter was charming; in fact, I think the "gruff" reputation of the restaurant staff is over-hyped. I visit Peter Luger about once a year; I've had many different waiters (including Wolfgang, now of Wolfgang's Steakhouse), and I find them, without exception, to be perfectly hospitable, avuncular gentlemen who peform their work with efficiency and good humor. The bartender's a funny guy too.

        1. re: Yaqo Homo

          amen. i was prepared for the worst, but our waiter was a true pro and very pleasant.

          1. re: Yaqo Homo

            I agree. It is what it is. It started out this way, so why should they have to change their formula? I have no complaints about my service as it was always professional. I come here for a good steak well made, not to be romanced by the wait staff. I go elsewhere for that.

            Most importantly, Don't assume on other peoples word of mouth. Go try it and form your own opinion.

            1. re: Yaqo Homo

              They are not nearly as gruff as the waiters I had in Dusseldorf recently. One time we asked to0 many questions, he took the menus and left and came back with the order I placed and something else for my friend. It was all great, but perhaps not having the German born waiters they did the "tradition" is gone.

            2. re: egit

              I think that's like saying "I don't particularly like raw fish and I guess the sushi was OK, but I can't imagine why anyone thinks that Masa is worth the price"

              1. re: egit

                The beauty of P.L. is in it's strict adherence to tradition. That tradition is suffused within each bite of char buttery soft cow chunk. If red meat is a beloved friend, and maybe lover, then P.L. is a portal to another dimension. One must not overlook the socio-political implications. the P.C. multicultural storm troopers are not invited in (they probably would not want to go anyway). It is a rare glimpse of the glory of true 19th-early 20th century civilization, Western civilization, which has been squashed and diluted by neo-marxist Frankfurt school critical theory and vegetarian third world apologists. Each bite of meat, if you follow my logic, is a bold and beautiful reminder that western civilization ala' old New York is not yet dead. May it live on forever. So there.

                1. re: NYJewboy

                  Hey, what's wrong with Frankfurters???

                  1. re: NYJewboy

                    Wow... hope that's a parody (particularly from someone with that screenname).

                    This here socialist multi-cultural type just likes really good meat.

                    I also like frankfurters... a lot.

                    1. re: Woodside Al

                      No, I was absolutely serious. I have been going to Luger's since I was old enough to chew. It makes me feel that the old New York patriarchy might still be alive. With each tender bite a lifetime of sadness for the loss of a value system is remembered. If people do not acknowledge the larger implications of food then you are just missing out, and an insititution like Luger is the perfect place to contemplate it.
                      P.S.- I could have also make similar statements about Katz' deli years ago.

                      1. re: NYJewboy

                        I'm still trying to figure out what "vegetarian third world apologist" means.

                        I wasn't planning on continuing to alienate the good folx on this board, but you actually hit the nail on the head for me. I like tradition and history as much as the next guy, and that's kind of how I felt about Peter Luger. As much about being a throwback as it is about having really great steak. That's cool, if that's your thing. But in my mind it's not the easiest place to get to, and I think people rave about it because it IS Peter Luge--because as a true steak lover you HAVE to (hence my emperor comment).

                        1. re: egit

                          F or 6 to the J/M/Z -- it's not Times Square but it's also not the ends of the earth. I wonder, too -- do you think you'd have had a better experience had your party not been a 7-top? In my experience, the larger the group, the more disappointing the cuisine and service. Of course, the conversation and company can make up for it.

                        2. re: NYJewboy

                          NYJewboy, may I ask what the ***k it is that you're talking about?

                          1. re: darny

                            darny.....he is talking about TRADITION................ Not what is P.C. for the moment

                      2. Peter Luger's is like the fastest gunfighter in the west - once you're on top people want to bring you down and there is never a shortage of people who love to talk about how this place is slipping. Isn't it funny that after all these posts about Luger's being in decline that no other steakhouse is widely recognized as being better. That speaks for itself.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          I've only been once, so I can't speak about any sort of decline. And I'm not trying to bring Peter Luger down. I just didn't feel like it was all that amazingly incredible.

                          1. re: egit

                            I would suggest that if eating 24 oz. of truly fine well-aged red meat at a sitting is not your idea of heaven then Lugers is just not for you. Otherwise it's just a very high priced and crowded old German beer hall with stiff drinks, some decent fried potatoes, pretty good desserts (mit schlag), and a lousy wine list.

                            But if you love the beef... then its one of the best places in the world. Not much higher priced than most other top-end steakhouses either (and lower than some). And, ohhh, that steak.

                        2. If you are looking for the best steak in the country, cooked to perfection, then PL is the place for you.

                          PL is a restaurant for steak lovers. The appetizers, salads, and side dishes, and especially the desserts are very good. The atmosphere is old world, old NY. But no doubt about it, PL is geared to the steak lover, the connoisseur who appreciates the difference between choice, prime, and whatever the top top grade that PL buys.

                          My DH is the steak lover in the family. For him , it is a steak lover's heaven. I always have a nice dinner there, but on my own, it would not be on my list of top restaurants. In addition, I like my steak well done. PL's fine waiters have always been kind in accomodating my "strange" preference. We don't like to eat huge meals in one sitting anyway, and always wind up taking a lot of the steak home. Makes delicious sandwiches the next day.

                          You can't get a better steak anywhere. But if steak is not your passion, I would choose a different restaurant.

                          1. For what you pay it is the best. The food is not really better any of the other better more expensive NYC steakhouses.

                            1. For some reason when a restaurant is very popular, people start expecting manna from heaven. It's an excellent steak, and no more then that.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: nokitsch

                                Fair nuff. I've been to a lot of steakhouses and had some excellent steak. I was expecting/hoping that Luger, being in the very top tier in the country, would somehow transcend the Old School Steakhouse Paradigm I mentioned above. It didn't. If, in the future, I'm invited to go back I'll certainly go.

                                To bobjbkln: I mean seriously... they don't even COOK THE FISH?! ;-)

                                To the orig poster I'll say this... if you haven't been, you should go. It'll probably run you about $100/head and they only take cash.

                                1. re: egit

                                  So just a basic misunderstanding of what Lugers is selling. It's not transcending the old school steakhouse, it is instead the epitome of the old style steakhouse. Almost like a museum piece, but with seriously great steak (as well as they can get it, with the present severe shortage of top-end beef). In fact, it's so bare-bones - little or no decor, casual, no nonsense service, really more a whiskey and beer place than a wine scene, limited menu, total emphasis on just plain meat on a plate - that it seems to be rather disappointing or disconcerting to many diners who are used to the amenities that have been added to most steakhouses today.

                                  1. re: egit

                                    Actually, they also take debit cards now.

                                2. I have never been to the Brooklyn location, but I have been to the Great Neck one several times with my family. There can be a wait even with reservations, but it's usually not longer than 10-15 minutes, and even when it's full, the place doesn't seem overly crowded.

                                  The steak is the centerpiece of our meal. The big meat-eaters of the family request Peter Luger's for birthday dinners. My mom has worked out what she thinks is a "more-meat-for-the-buck" arrangement. Instead of ordering the "steak for 4 people", we order 2 orders of the "steak for 2 people". She thinks we get more meat this way. I have no idea if this is true, because I don't think we've ever ordered the "steak for 4". The prices work out to be the same anyway. I'm more than satisfied with the portions. We take home the leftovers and the bones for future stock.

                                  If there is anyone in your party who does not eat red meat, consider going to another restaurant. My sister does not eat red meat, so she ended up ordering the salmon, which was okay, and she ate the sides. If there is someone who is straight-up vegetarian, this will not be a happy meal for him/her.

                                  We've tried the sides and found the creamed spinach most palatable, so we order two of that. The fried potatoes are eh, and the sliced tomatoes are blah -- we don't bother ordering either of those dishes anymore. Sometimes we'll have dessert, but it can be too heavy immediately after a steak gorgefest.

                                  All in all, it's a nice family experience. It's a pricey meal, but it seems like a place where families/couples go for a nice steak meal without the pretensions that sometimes come with really chichi upscale restaurants. The waiters are definitely old-timey -- they don't make them like that anymore. I don't think I've ever seen one write our order down, and most of the time, the order arrives spot on. They are courteous and attentive without being overbearing.

                                  1. steak for steak...its hands down the best i can think of.

                                    and thats why you go to a steakhouse. if you wanted ambiance or side dishes, there are better options.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sam1

                                      For ambiance go to PL in Great Neck. When I am done with the bone the dog don't want it. I chomp on the bone in the restaurant, too good to save for home.

                                    2. To the OP: Don't have reservations about your reservations. Go and enjoy yourself, especially if you've never been before. Despite all its negatives, Peter Lugar makes a very good steak.
                                      Here are my ยข2.
                                      The steak is dry-aged Prime and cooked exactly how you order it.
                                      The waiters are old-time pros and not actor/models/waiters trying to pay rent.
                                      The steak for two is just the right size a Porterhouse should be.
                                      The sides are meh..they seem to be there to just make the steak look better by comparison.
                                      The lighting is so bright you need sunglasses.
                                      The crowd is mix of wide-eyed tourists and expense account business types so expect to be the only local there.
                                      The famous steak sauce has High Fructose Corn Syrup in it and you can taste it. Not a big deal if this doesn't bother you, but I would never put that garbage on a dry-aged steak that costs that much.
                                      Go and have a good time.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Gnu23

                                        The conventional wisdom I've heard is that the steak sauce is best used as dressing for the tomato-and-onion "salad," and in fact I've enjoyed it in that context.

                                        1. re: Gnu23

                                          i sort of disagree with you about the sides, at least with regard to the hash browns. i thought they were near-perfect. the tomato and onion salad, on the other hand... ew. huge slices of unnaturally bright, tasteless, ice cold tomatoes. who needs it? totally agree about the steak sauce, too - bleah.

                                          1. re: wleatherette

                                            Oh right, the potatoes! They are great, harking back to PL's German roots, and go very well w/ the steak.

                                            I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed that the sauce is such a weak link. PL should really consider taking the HFCS out and maybe making it a tad spicier or zingier.

                                          2. re: Gnu23

                                            The "steak sauce" is not meant to be put on the Steak! It is used as a dressing for the Tomato and Onion Salad. Nothing special, but OK on the Salad.

                                            1. re: Fleur

                                              The Steak Sauce Is definitely NOT put oln the STEAKS...Rather it is used on the Beefsteak Tomato and onions

                                          3. I totally agree with Gnu23. The steak there is very good, the waiters are great. It does get loud and crowded in there. If you haven't tried it yet...it is something you've go to do. You feel like you are in Brooklyn back in the 70's. It is a very different atmosphere.

                                            I also like Mark Josephs...

                                            1. I was there last night and the steak was superb! Hands down the best in NYC. Yeah it's huge but that's what sharing is about also doggie bags come in handy. Saying It's really like BUTTER is really cliched at this point but it is the truth. My dog was in heaven as well. It was like he was glued to that bone for hours. A perfect night was had by all.

                                              1. I am one of those people that finds the "emperor" to be a worn out cliche phrase. That said Lugers is what it is. If you enjoy eating alot of meat at one sitting, and you enjoy cow, then this is the place for you. Personally I do not really get eating a large hunk of cow until you are stuffed to be worth the money. I would rather go to Yasuda. If you do like steak, this is the best I have had.

                                                The bacon by the way is amazing and is the best part of the meal.

                                                1. Like others have already said, it depends what you're looking for and it also depends on what kind of steak you like. I wasn't all that excited about it the one time I went there, but I'm also really picky about my steaks in that I like them very lean but tender and delicious (like a filet mignon). My ideal steak doesn't contain big chunks of fat that I need to cut around, and I never eat the fat; often I'll leave a steak dinner hungry because of this, and from what I remember at Luger's I was a bit gingerly about the whole thing because that is one large hunk of meat to navigate around.

                                                  But if you're into giant hunks of meat, as many people are, you'll probably like Peter Luger's.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: magicmouse

                                                    if you like filet mignon you should be fine at lugers, since one side of the porterhouse contains the filet. just stick to that side and leave the more flavorful, fattier side to us hunk of meat lovers.

                                                  2. The best steak you'll ever have. Go. Now.

                                                    1. Peter Luger's is on every single best steakhouse list I've ever seen. The June/July Saveur (called the Steak Issue) lists their magnificent seven, which includes:

                                                      Bern's (Tampa)
                                                      Craftsteak (Las Vegas)
                                                      Five O'Clock (Milwaukee)
                                                      Gene and Georgetti (Chicago)
                                                      Gorat's (Omaha)
                                                      Pacific Dining Co. (LA)

                                                      A few years ago, Jeffrey Steingarten said that the two best were Bern's and PL.

                                                      With this kind of overwhelming concurrence on its excellence, the only reason not to go would be if you didn't particularly like steak. Clearly, for the steak lover, it's a Mecca.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                        P.L. is the definition of as many have said, the old school NY steakhouse. Within that genre, IMHO all others are pretenders. I've been there many times since I was old enough not to need a booster seat. I always relish the experience. They make one of the best martinis in the city as well, ice cold, great olives and generous. Maybe it's just me but I think the creamed spinach is just great.

                                                        Truly though there's several great steaks in NYC. For some recent comments: I like Barbuto's and Strip House's strips at lot to name a couple , haven't been to Craftsteak Vegas but I don't think the NYC version is not worth half a mention at all. Great steaks are not contrived or over presented. They stand on their merits alone or they are simply not great.

                                                        P.L. just does what they do very, very well and I've never ever had bad service, the gruffness is always good natured.

                                                        1. re: nooyawka

                                                          Don't sit around waiting for an answer - 4 1/2 year old post and the op hasn't posted since about that time. What do YOU think of Peter Luger?

                                                          Peter Luger Steak House
                                                          178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                            My first visit to Luger's (about 5 years ago) was a bit of a let down (can't remember why), but I returned last August and was blown away. The meat was cooked to perfection, the creamed spinach and bacon were fantastic and the bill wasn't ridiculous.

                                                            I put this at or near the top of the NY steakhouse pecking order along with Strip House near Union Square.

                                                            N.B. I've also been for lunch, but it just wasn't for me. I was quite excited for their burger, but it was a spiced burger which is not my thing. Give me a quality beef burger without the need for spicing and I am a happy person.

                                                        2. No way! Peter Luger lives up to and exceeds its reputation. By far the best steak in the country, and an outstanding dining experience from that first slice of bacon to that last bite if Apple Strudel mitt schlag.
                                                          Unless you are a vegetarian, you will be in steak heaven!

                                                          Peter Luger Steak House
                                                          178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211