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The best NYC steakhouse?

Looking for a place to take the boyf for a special 31st birthday. Last year I took him to Peter Luger's, which was good but we weren't blown away. I want to blow him away with a steakhouse. : ) Suggestions?


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  1. Peter Luger's IS the best steakhouse in NYC. Granted, the decor and atmosphere may leave something to be desired, but the steaks are the best you will find.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      Peter Luger's decor and atmosphere are what make it the best steakhouse in NYC. In a blind taste test, I'm not sure it comes out on tops, but add in the decor, the atmosphere and the fact that you're dining under the Williamsburg Bridge and it's hard to beat.

      1. re: DavidT

        Well, he said that he's had better steaks, so...didn't hit the mark for us. Plus, I'd like to take him somewhere new this year.

        1. re: Jel212

          "Well, he said that he's had better steaks..."

          Where? I'm not saying he's wrong - just trying to calibrate his tastes.

          BTW, once you move away from Luger's, the consensus "best" choice, the opinions you get will be all over the place. There is no clear #2.

        2. re: DavidT

          I disagree. Great steaks, yes but I think there are better steak houses. I also disagree with your take on the atmosphere, I think it's exactly what sets Luger apart. To me it's a destination steakhouse more than a steak steakhouse if that makes any sense.

          I've been all over but my first choice is definitely The Palm. I'm surprised it hasn't gotten any airtime on this thread. Every once in a blue moon I'll get a steak there that's merely excellent but 90% of the time it's perfect. And if you haven't tried it before, order your steak "Pittsburg Style". Charred on the outside, rare/medium rare inside.

        3. I like Wolfgang's Park at 33rd. Wolfgang was the head waiter for Lugar's and now has his own place. I rank it right up there.

          1. I'm partial to Spark's Steakhouse. It's definitely in the upper tier for food, but the atmosphere screams manliness.

            For the blown away part, it has a notorious history: http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters...

            5 Replies
            1. re: GrillingGreg

              Strip House is very good and an enjoyable atmosphere for the both of you.

              1. re: clashfan

                I concur, Strip House is excellent. I'm a huge steak fan, and while Luger's is an institution as is Spark's, Strip House is right up there with their steaks.

                1. re: clashfan

                  Strip House when we went was quite sloppy, mixing up who ordered medium vs medium rare, and bringing out overly-salted steaks all around.

                2. re: GrillingGreg

                  Sparks in my opinion has slipped in recent years. I also think Wolfgang's is one of the worst of the Peter Luger imitators.

                  I'd give top honors in Manhattan to BLT Steak and Strip House.

                  1. Other than Luger, they're all basically the same.

                    1. I think Bobby Vans is highly underrated and elegant. Great waitstaff. They have multiple locations. I think Lugers is overrated. I do like Wolfgang's better. I also recently tried Benjamins--another Luger's style steak. Both Wolfgangs and Benjamins are better than Lugers, in my opinion.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: DAFoodSnob

                        I think you and I have exchanged this thought in the past, Bobby Van's is wonderful! The service and attention is unbeatable! The steaks are fabulous, as are other sides.
                        It is understated, not a scene. I recently lived in NYC for two years and this was our go to steakhouse, and we went often, very often, and never disappointed!

                        1. re: Jesdamala

                          I totally agree on Bobby Van's. It is my favorite by far since the passing of Christ Cella. What amazes me about Bobby Van's is the quality of their seafood as well. I had one of the best halibut dishes ever at one of the restaurants. The sides are excellent, service great and I like that it is more locals than anything else.

                      2. Try BLT Steak for something different--an updated take on steaks. If your friend wasnt impressed by Lugers, then that friend isn't going to think muchof Sparks either.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Ora

                          BLT steak is great. i agree. it is something different. but the sauces are nice.

                        2. went to Uncle Jack's steakhouse last night. that was OK. i still like Luger's better. followed by wolfgangs. was NOT impressed by Benjamins, but then again, I went when they first opened...

                          1. Regulars to the board know that I'm partial to Keens. In addition to delicious food and prompt service, there is the charming, unmatchable old NY ambiance.


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: RGR

                              I was about to say Keens. But I had a really enjoyable "steak meal" at Dylan Prime. I make that distinction because I've been to PL also and didn't find the whole experience to be incredibly enjoyable.

                              There was a whole long thread where I alienated many potential future friends:

                              I've had good meals at Dylan Prime and also at Old Homestead.

                              1. re: RGR

                                One of the nice things about Keen's is that, if you want a more casual meal, you can sit in the pub, where you can order off of the regular menu or off of the pub menu (which offers a great burger and a great chicken club, among other things).

                                1. re: Blumie

                                  I second Keene's. Also, check the brooklyn boards for a fierce debate right now about Luger's. Seems they are only serving the porterhouse to customers who have booked in advance-- very bad form, if you ask me, but consistent with their arrogant attitude. I agree that the atmosphere is what makes the place. The porterhouse is an admittedly great piece of meat, but all the luxury steakhouses in NY have certainly narrowed the gap if you're just looking for quality meat. Last thing I'll say, places like Craft Steak and BLT Prime, while serving great steak, also have very good appetizers and non steak options-- something Luger's really does not.

                              2. Trust me--Robert's Steakhouse. 11th & 45th. If you are an adventurous pair, it will be the best birthday dinner he ever had. It is inside of a strip club, but the steaks are as good as anyplace in NYC.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: JE33

                                  Good recommendation. Robert's definately has the atmosphere and service. Everyone is just so friendly.

                                2. did you have the porterhouse at Lugers? hard to beat...that being said, try Blair Perrone...48th & 2nd Ave

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: drumwine

                                    Does Luger's offer anything other than the porterhouse?

                                        1. re: tamerlanenj

                                          Also looks like there's a sirloin on the lunch menu (viewable on menupages: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde... .) Like the rest of their menu, I assume that it's just for show and that no one actually orders anything other than the porterhouse (although I'd really like to try their burger)!

                                          1. re: Blumie

                                            The burger is a spectacular as they say. And a bargain!

                                    1. re: drumwine

                                      Yup, had the big steak for two. Thanks for the suggestions!

                                      1. re: Jel212

                                        For Old School style and really great service and steaks The Palm, you could have a drink at Blair Perrone up the street first (nice bar but I found the dining area stuffy).

                                        Strip is also great and more of a 'date' place - it doesn't have the manly steak vibe of Smith & Wollensky or Luger and I've never had a bad meal there. Also lots of nice area spots to get a celbratory drink before or after.

                                        BLT Prime in the 20's great food, younger crowd - I did find the music a bit loud but couldn't complain about anything else.

                                        I really like Keens but I don't think I'd recommend it for a birthday, we have had visits were we get squashed between other tables and have lots of big groups about. However, if he wants a really old school atmosphere and is a scotch fan it could be worth a try (great scotch selection and really helpful bartenders).

                                    2. I love the Palm 1,2 or west all great service, great steak. My wife had a 5 lb lobster stuffed with crabmeat.

                                      1. my faves are
                                        strip house-steak and sides
                                        sparks-testosterone filled room
                                        wolfgangs-poterhouse for 2
                                        blt steak-the popovers are worth a visit even w/o steak....

                                        many on chound love keens... i must try it!

                                        1. The Palm, Keen's, Smith & Wollensky (only for the filet mignon with peppercorn sauce, which I love) and Luger's (porterhouse) are usually solid. You could probably also toss in Spark's. If I had to pick one, I'd pick the Palm (the original). Atmosphere is really authentic, steaks are similar to the others based on experience. Seems like a genuine, old style place.

                                          1. I would consider Del Frisco's. High ceilings and a spirited din create a nice steakhouse atmosphere. The New York strip, porterhouse and filet are all tasty. The crab cakes and other sides are good too. I have heard mixed things about the seafood entrees though.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bushpig

                                              Peter Luger is the best anywhere. Del Frisco's isn't a bad spot. Went there for lunch and the ribeye ( a little overcooked), mac n cheese and creamed spinach with bacon were all delicious.

                                            2. Nobody likes Rothmans? I thought it was pretty decent. Mark Josephs was really good also. I think Mark Josephs and Luger go hand in hand. Total opposites of each other (decor wise) but both are very good.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: itstangy

                                                Rothamann's is my favorite. The food is fabulous, and the service is extremely attentive.

                                              2. Palm is my favorite. For a boy, (not oh so romantic) Ben Benson's and Gallaghers are both really masculine. My boyfriend would be in heaven if I took him there for his birthday.

                                                Quality Meats is supposed to be a good new steakhouse, yes?

                                                1. Just a few comments. If you are looking to "blow him away" then forget about a steakhouse because if Luger's didn't do it for him than it is rather unlikely that the places on here will do much better. If you are stuck on a steakhouse then definitely forget about most of the places people have mentioned, especially Rothman's, Ben Bensons, Mark Josephs, Strip House, craftsteak and both of the BLT restaurants. Go for more traditional places that many have mentioned such as Keen's, S&W or the Palm. However, S&W and Palm have a similar arrogance and trained ambivalence as Luger's. Wolfgang's is a newer entrant and lacks the classic vibe but is good. Lastly, I am surprised no one mentioned Post House which is another great traditional SH but lacks the arrogant waiters of S&W and Palm.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: antlord

                                                    i like keens because i can dial-in the measure of fussiness that i want for a particular meal.

                                                    examples: drinking scotch while seated at the bar and gazing at ms. keens in all her splendor is a privilege. light meal or fancy in the pub room eliminates the reservation question - just be aware of concerts/games at msg that can disrupt the time/space thing. dinner in the main room is always a pleasure. i like to go early. need a space for 20 or so of your best buds? you could do worse than upstairs in the lillie langtry room.

                                                    the porterhouse at keens is usda prime, dry-aged in the house and cooked to order. the fact that the restaurant is old with tons of history only seals the deal for me.

                                                    bottom line? i feel comfortable there.

                                                  2. My favorite is Quality Meats. The service is excellent and I love the interior and atmosphere. To me, it doesn't feel like your typical steakhouse. They also have the best house-made (or so they say) ice cream! I have been a few times and always find it to be outstanding.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jrazzle

                                                      No one mentioned Ben and Jack Steak house. It is on 44 or 45 st

                                                    2. Sorry, Luger fans, in my opinion (and others' as well) it's gone wayyy downhill in the past few years. Plus I just can't stand the blaring lights, worn-out decor or grumpy (at the minimum) service. Some people may find it endearing, not I. I have to put strip House and Keens at the top of my list-- I've been to both places many, many times and have never been disappointed. the ~18,000 ceramic pipes on the ceiling of Keen's is a wonderful touch, and the service and food is just great. Strip House is a bit schmancier, a lot sexier and great for a date. Dylan Prime not bad either. mmmm, feelin' like chomping into a big ol' steak after this thread! I believe keen's is also the oldest steakhouse in NYC...

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: claire de lunacy

                                                        Thanks all! These are so helpful. And I want a steak RIGHT NOW.

                                                        1. re: claire de lunacy


                                                          Acc. to the listing in Zagat, Old Homestead opened in 1868 and, indeed, when I checked the website, it states that O.H. is NYC's oldest steakhouse.


                                                          Keens, our favorite, has been in its 36th St. location since 1885 -- second oldest. I always knew it as Keens Chophouse, which is what the canopy over the entrance still says.

                                                          I've never been to Old Homestead, and it isn't much discussed on this board. The photos on the website show wonderful ambiance. I might consider going there, but I'm wondering how good the steaks are.

                                                          1. re: RGR


                                                            I wouldnt bother with Old Homestead. You'd be terribly disappointed. My issues, which covered just about every part of the meal:

                                                            1. The meat is simply not that good, lacking in both flavor and texture. It's a lot closer to great choice than it is to great prime, IMO. I have tried both the porterhouse and the NY strip.
                                                            2. The sear tasted really bland. I dont know if they forgot to salt and pepper the steaks or what.
                                                            3. The sides were just as bland. The creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and the steamed asparagus with hollandaise were... not sure how to put it, but appeared to have been made with utter disinterest? The one good side was the potato pancake.
                                                            4. Very poor wine list by the glass. And extremely high markups on bottles even by steakhouse standards. I dont mind when they markup a $30 bottle of basic California cabernet to $70-85. I do mind when they markup a $100 bottle of excellent California cabernet to $300+.
                                                            5. A pretty funny story put the final nail in the coffin, though this occurred in the Atlantic City-Borgata location. My four other companions all decide to pass on dessert and order tea and coffee instead. 2 coffees, 1 green tea, 1 double espreso, and 1 cafe au lait for me. Everyone gets their drinks. I get my cafe au lait and I'm shocked as I have no idea what this was: coffee, served in a wine glass (wtf?), topped with whipped cream (double wtf?). I'm not sure to this day what this was, but I'm pretty sure this was NOT a cafe au lait.

                                                            1. re: mengathon


                                                              Thanks for the detailed reply. We don't like to waste a meal on mediocre food, if we can help it, and you've provided several very convincing arguments for giving Old Homestead a pass.

                                                            2. re: RGR

                                                              Been to Old Homestead several times, but that's because the location and look draw me back, not the steak. The prime rib there is better, though.

                                                          2. Sparks does it for me-Reason is they have great seafood as well and I ALWAYS want a 5lb lobster w my huge steak-besides it just feels like a real steakhouse.I am not a piggy-just like doogie bag to take home leftovers.

                                                            1. If you want a hipper experience, try Strip House. The quality of the steaks is top notch. I usually order the rib eye and the crust and flavor is superb. It's in my top 3 steakhouses in the city. For a more traditional fare, try Ben & Jack's on 44th. 2 waiters that were at Luger's started this place. Service is excellent, steaks are phenomenal and it's not terribly difficult to get a rez.

                                                              1. Let's face it, all steakhouses are slight variations on the same theme. However, there is no "perfect" one. Each has their own positives and negatives based on personal preferences.
                                                                Comments on a few:
                                                                Strip House: Great decor, good for a romantic meal or a night out with the boys. Steaks are generally very good (bone in rib eye or strip) and the sides are excellent (duck fat potatoes). Ate there on Tuesday and I must say our steak was a bit sloppy (double cut rib eye) - assume this was an aberration - usually excellent. Wine list is so-so, but they had an excellent Mollydooker Shiraz for $61 (rated 95 by Parker).
                                                                Sparks - Go there if you like wine (best list of any restaurant in NYC), or strip steak served charred and well salted. If you do not like this style of meat, or if you like filet or if you want a romantic setting this resataurant is not for you. Also it's way too big and the maitre d' station is generally a complete mess. I happen to love it because I love wine and salted charred strip.
                                                                Palm - I eat there at least once a month. That said the steaks are good but never great - not as charred, salted or tender as I like. The sides, salads and desserts are simple but delicious - very comfort food-ish - I often have a craving for them.
                                                                Wolfgang's - the steaks may be the best on Manhattan. However, the management and service are consistently horrible making this a truly dreadful experience. I've been there a few times and always a disaster. Avoid.
                                                                Porter House - Only there recently for the first time. 3/4 of us liked it, including me. Salads try a little too hard and don't quite deliver, but the steaks are quite good and the setting is nice, if a bit too large and loud.

                                                                1. My take on Steakhouses in Manhattan and Brooklyn (if we were to include Peter Luger)

                                                                  I've had my best steak in Peter Luger. Period. The porterhouse for 2 was as heavenly as It could be since I moved back to New York, about 10 years ago... Sadly... however, I do feel that Peter Luger's quality of meat has been inconsistent on my last 5 visits in the last 12-18 months. To me, their consistency in the past put them as the best condenter in NYC, but not at this moment, although if you are on a good day, you will have the best steak in your life there.

                                                                  I used to think The Striphouse was the best (or in the Top 3) in the island of Manhattan, in addition to either Wolfgang's and Sparks, but I was just at The Striphouse 2 weeks ago with a high expectation only to be disappointed big time. I ordered the Ribeye, which supposed to be the best, (I always order NY Strip in the past), and my colleagues ordered the Strips, I was very disappointed as I was expected a better quality and taste of meat for what I remembered the place to be last year, no longer however. Perhaps, it was an off nite, but even all my colleagues had better steaks at Wolfang's and even the Palm. The meat quality just doesn't have the blood flowing sweet juice you would expect from grade A quality meat. The meat was of a top quality but certainly not the top 5% in the country, unlike what I experience last Summer. Bottom line, I was disapppointed and so were my 3 colleagues who are big steak eaters. I won't be going back anytime soon.

                                                                  BLT Steak ... now, this is something more modern and different, in the "Nuevo" steakhouse "haute cuisine" category, I would definitely say that this place is the top condenter, I also much prefer this steakhouse than its sibling, BLT Prime, and prefer this steakhouse than the defunct V Steakhouse or Craft Steakhouse

                                                                  In Midtown Upper East Side category, I would still go the Posthouse, just a good, consistent Steakhouse without the attitude you get from the old school places, but that's all you get excellent and consistency with a good Upper Eastsider crowd if that's your preference, Rothman's can be put second here.... but although excellent and consistent, nevertheless not the best. In Midtown I would consider Wolfgang's (my last two visit in last 6 monhs) is the top condenter, only equalled by Sparks, but I prefer the newer, better attiitude place, Wolfgang's, which mimicks everything at Luger without the trip across the bridge than Sparks. Wolfgang's is simply the best Luger style steak with better menu, service, location, and attitude to me, at least after serveral off quality I had at PL.

                                                                  S & W, the original Palm, I always avoid these days after they've gone franchises, the Palm was good like 8 years ago, but I have not gone there so I can't say much, I normally just avoid franchices like Morton or Nobu, anyway let's talk steak again ...

                                                                  A few others... Mark Joseph in downtown i haven't been for ages now, the last time I was there it was ok but Wolfgang's is better to me. Del Frisco is too stuffy and corporate like, the meat quality is good but I have never been blownaway ... Bobby Van is consistently good too, but I never had a one superb night experience I've had at PL or Striphouse in the past. I still think Wolfgang's is better. I heard people like Quality Meats, my last trip there was a month or two ago and I would rate it as close as the Posthouse uptown with less the Upper East feel and more touristy and stuffy/midtown feel to a certain extent, though the steak was excellent but didn't blow me away either.

                                                                  I haven't tried Porterhouse and Keen's, so I cannot say much in that department.

                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                  1. re: foodoof

                                                                    I'm curious if anyone has been to Benjamin Steakhouse (on E. 41st) & what they thought?

                                                                      1. re: RGR

                                                                        Morton's is great. T-Bone, Strip, Rib Eye --- etc...whatever he prefers. Also, first rate sides and appitizers. Desserts are also amazing (i.e. CHOCOLATE SUFFLE) and service is very professional. Would be a great bday/dinning experience.

                                                                        The Palm in NYC has gone way down hill. It's definitely not what it used to be.

                                                                        1. re: rjm

                                                                          morton's is a chain. how does it stack up to PL, keens, etc.?

                                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                                            Morton's is subpar for the price. Their steaks are wetaged, not dry aged, so they are tender but lack the flavor of dry aged steaks. I'd put that way down the list of steakhouses in Manhattan. The best thing they serve is the free warm bread.

                                                                    1. re: foodoof

                                                                      What did you like better about BLT Steak as compared to BLT Prime. They seem to have the same excat menu also

                                                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                                                        HAS NOBODY EVER BEEN TO THE POST HOUSE?

                                                                        1. re: Ostate24

                                                                          I was there for dinner on my wedding night eleven years ago, but I doubt that I could comment accurately today on the food there. Have you tried it?

                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                            I put it amongs the top - PL, Palm, Post House

                                                                            1. re: Ostate24

                                                                              We actually keep meaning to go back there - one thing that I remembered liking about it is that it didn't seem to have that incredibly masculine vibe that I associate with (and dislike about) steakhouses. Any particular cuts/dishes that you would recommend there?

                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                Thanks everyone! These are all great.

                                                                    2. I'm gonna have to go with Luger's,

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: jimmy jazz

                                                                        Ditto Luger's. While I love Keen's, Luger's still comes in top place...just had it for the first time this past weekend. It was revelatory.


                                                                      2. I couldn't have been happier with BLT Steak. The steak was unbeatable and the atmosphere and waitstaff were fantastic.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: ellegets

                                                                          I have only eaten at BLT Steak once and it was for lunch, however I think BLT Prime is MUCH BETTER!!!!