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What to order at Keen's steakhouse?

We are taking out-of-towners there. Obviously STEAK, but what about appetizers, side dishes, desserts? What is good there?

Also, what is the dress code? One of our guests seems to wear nothing but shorts and rubber sandals with socks. Will that be a problem at Keen's? I hate to have to to say something to him, but I will if necessary.

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  1. Lamb chops are very good as is the famous Mutton Chop (sort of like a prime rib version of a lamb chop is the best I can describe it). I once had a delicious sort of ice cream sundae there for dessert. As far as dress - personally, I'd lose the socks with the sandals, LOL, but I think they'd be ok. I'm sure others will chime in with differing opinions.

    1. The mutton chop over steak, definitely. I like the oysters, crabcakes, and glazed carrots. Potatoes are average. Don't recall the desserts (usually too full).

      As for dress code, who's your guest, Mario Batalli? Tell him to put on some big-boy pants.

      1. Keens is our favorite steakhouse. But I think their lamb chops are some of the best anywhere, and my husband likes the signature mutton chop (which actually isn't mutton). Steaks don't come with sides, but some dishes do. So, ask before you order to avoid duplication. Sides we like: creamed spinach, haricots verts, carrots, green asparagus, and hash browns. We usually start the meal with a shrimp cocktail and always end with the wonderful Coffee Cantata, which is probably the sundae jules was referring to. While casual dress is acceptable, I'd draw the line at shorts.

        1. i agree with most all of the above (though i've never had the mutton chop myself)...but i'd say that the lamb chops and the prime rib are arguably better than the steak...and Keens has the best single malt scotch and small batch bourbon selection in town...

          1. I had the braised short rib at Keens on Sunday--excellent and comes with accompaniments. The creamed spiniach is quite good. The prime rib hash on the pub menu is a huge favorite of a family member--she refuses to order anything else when we eat there. You can ask for the pub menu even in the dining room.

            1. to bump an old thread - what i'm wondering is how much to order? i've searched the boards and i'm just not clear
              there will be 2 of us, and all i know for sure is i'm getting the mutton chop. will another steak besides that be too much for 2 people?

              how about sides - the spinach the best bet?

              I'm an average guy, capable of eating lots, but prone to eating less than i used to,and probably happy to walk away with less than a manly man sized meal & the woman is a dancer, so she eats like a hummingbird-
              and by that i mean huge amounts all the time to support a fast moving athletic metabolism.

              17 Replies
              1. re: thew

                the mutton chop (i've since eaten it more than once since i posted on this old thread) is a lot of food....if two of you got that and a steak and sides/starters, then you'll prob be taking food home and making meaty sandwiches the next day (a fine thing to do)...

                another option, if you sit in the pub room, is to get the pub-sized mutton chop, which is less than half the size of the regular...

                re: sides, the oysters have always been good there, and i think the tomato/stilton salad though it could use a lot more stilton than the token amount they crumble on it...

                1. re: thew

                  The seafood platter is one of the biggest and best deals in the city at $65. It is packed with a ton of fresh seafood.
                  For desert you have to get the Keens’s Red Berry Bibble. I am a chocolate guy and everyone will say order the Coffee Canata which was good but this was just awesome. Dont know how they make it so tasty but donet missout.

                  1. re: thew

                    I read bad reviews on the T bone and Filet. I would stick to the other steaks. Also about half the pub sized mutton chop is fat. If you and your dining partner prefer your steaks cooked the same way then it might be best to share a mutton chop and lamb chops (smaller than most of the steaks) or you could try the prime rib hash (i personally don't like it cause the prime rib meat is cooked well done).
                    If she prefers her meat cooked differently then you should just get a pub sized mutton and let her get whatever she wants. Sides there weren't memorable for me, in fact I dont even remember my sides. I would just stick to the bread, but if I had to choose one side it would be the onion rings or the fries because I read somewhere that they fry it in delicious beef fat. The oysters are good too as mentioned but the sundaes are passable imo.

                    1. re: daffyduck

                      I'm a long time Keens fan, been there many times, but the last few times I've been there, the food, including the steak, was not very good, I'm sorry to say. I'm a bit hesitant to return at the moment. Mutton chop was the same as always but everything else....not very good.

                      And my most recent visit....service was ridiculously bad.

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        Keen's is one of NYC's outstanding restaurants. I disagree with your opinion. I think it's one of the finest restaurants in NYC. The atmosphere, service and food is outstanding.

                        1. re: Littleman

                          You disagree that my last couple of meals have not been good?

                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                            You set the bar too high. Keen's and many many restaurants in NYC don't serve any meals that are not good. It's just that some posters have a great meal and brag about it and then go back and run the place down just because the service was not perfect or the entrees came out too late or some mickey mouse complaint. Where I come from we are happy to get a good meal. You should set the bar a little lower based on your experience at other restaurants in the US. All the restaurants in the US don't compete with EMP but there's great food to be found everywhere.

                            1. re: Littleman

                              I have been going to Keens on a regular basis for 20 years. Obviously I like the place. But the last few meals were not good. it's just the truth.

                              1. re: Littleman

                                If anything restaurants in NYC should need to try HARDER than restaurants elsewhere because there's more competition here and they need to stand out from the crowd. Poor service and late entrees are not "Micky Mouse" complaints, especially if there are a dozen of NEW restaurants in NYC to try each month. People go to restaurants expecting consistency; if a place is inconsistent or on a downhill turn, that's a meaningful data point.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  Agreed. Chowhound/Chow has never been about setting the bar lower. That's the mission of other sites, some with commercial connections to the restaurants. One thing I appreciate about this site is that users just call it the way they see it.

                                  1. re: kathryn

                                    true. however i ate there just this week, and the service was spot on, and the food delicious

                              2. re: Littleman

                                Keens is pretty special. They have no problem correcting a problem. Pity problems happen but that's the way it goes in a steak house. Please don't suffer in silence.

                                Try the Scotch. Best selection in town.

                                1. re: Littleman

                                  I do not agree. The food and service is good but not outstanding. At least in the 5 times I have been there.

                            2. re: thew

                              Hey thew as you and other regular readers know, I post a lot about Keens and steakhouses in general. As such, it is one of my favorite restaurants. I have never had a bad meal there and I am quite surprised that some have said recently they have had bad experiences.

                              As to you question about ordering- If you are getting the mutton chop it could feed two but personally (maybe I am just selfish) I would make the date get her own entree. For me, the best steak is the porterhouse for two, however obviously if you are getting the mutton this won't be an option. Therefore, the next best item for a solo diner would be the King's cut prime rib. I for one think the sides at Keens are underrated. Their fries are some of the best I've had and I am not normally a big fan of the skinny fries variety. Other solid sides include the roasted cauliflower, cream spinach, carrots, and sauteed mushrooms.

                              For dessert you can't go wrong with the hot fudge sundae, coffee cantata, bananas foster, or the seasonal fruit cobbler if they have it on the menu.

                              Enjoy and tell the Bull head in the Bull Moose Room I said hello!!!! haha.

                              1. re: steakrules85

                                we had a mutton chop and a prime ribe - both feakin brilliant. that prime rib was SO tender, and the chop flavorful as all hell.

                                i totally forgot about the fries until after we ordered - so i guess i need to return soon..... i'm aiming for the fries and the cauliflower

                                had spinach, carrots, and mashed

                                MG had the hot fudge sunday, i had the red berry bibble - cause i've never seen anything bibbled before ;)

                                thanks for the advice everyone, had a great meal

                                1. re: thew

                                  What is the Bibble? I'm glad u liked it! Classic steakhouse.

                                  1. re: steakrules85

                                    when i search google for berry bibble all the hits are about keens.....

                                    it was a light compotey sort of berry thang. i dunno. it was good after a heavy meal

                            3. Finally ate at Keens - first, get the cocktails. If you like a classic Bloody Mary, homemade with lots of horseradish and pepper, then you must try Keen's. The kids got homemade ginger ale which was also incredible. One nice thing about Keen's is that the sides and extras are done so well. One exception - everyone raves about the oysters but I found them to be good not great (Malpeques). The lobster salad was sublime. The mutton (really lamb) was even better than the porterhouse, which was extremely good. French fries were great - crispy but not greasy.The carrots are fantastic, but a bit too sweet for my partner. My son got a short rib salad and raved about the quality of the lettuce, tomato and cheese. The ice cream sundae was terrific, the bananas foster tasted good but not really like true bananas foster (no flambee). We sat in the Langtry room - very nice and not noisy. I recommend Keen's for a great Manhattan steakhouse.

                              72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: dpastor

                                Will be dining at Keen's Saturday for my husband's birthday. I did not request any special seating area, should I? We have never been so thinking I would just go with the flow on that.

                                Any comments on the wine list here? Is it possible to get a decent/good red for $50 or under?

                                1. re: mbw1024

                                  I would request one of the back booths on the first floor. A bird's-eye-view of the action with enough privacy and quiet to have a conversation. That's where we sat when I took my husband there for his last birthday!

                                  1. re: mbw1024

                                    My favorite is the bull moose room but that is just my preference.

                                    1. re: mbw1024

                                      Hi mbw1024,

                                      I'm with City Kid. We prefer to sit in the main dining room and, if we can get one, any of the booths -- though my first pick would be the ones at the back. But since you are going on a Saturday night, when it's bound to be very busy, it may be difficult to get one since you are only two and the booths seat four.

                                      With regard to wine, I don't drink, but Mr. R. was thrilled that they had a half-bottle of a Brunello for $42. Unusual. In most places, he has to order wine-by-the-glass.

                                      It's been exactly a year since our last visit to Keens. Time really flies! We need to go again soon.

                                      Best wishes to your husband on his birthday! (Mr. R.'s is today -- a milestone birthday -- and we celebrated with two meals at EMP: a spectacular dinner on Sat. night with our daughter and son-in- law and just the two of us at a stellar lunch this afternoon at EMP.)

                                      Keens photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


                                      1. re: RGR

                                        Thanks, Roz! I came across your photos when I was looking around this board for Keen's information today! I think my husband will enjoy this meal.

                                        You're right about Sat. night. Judging by Open Table they are pretty well booked for the evening. Perhaps best to just go with the seating flow on this first visit.
                                        We are heading in Friday mid day and seeing Driving Miss Daisy on Sat. afternoon. Should be a fun weekend!

                                        Appreciate the feedback.

                                        1. re: mbw1024

                                          Open Table doesn't always have everything available and given weather and possible cancellations it might be worth a call to Keen's to check. They are very nice and accommodating when they can be! Enjoy!

                                      2. re: mbw1024

                                        I've eaten in the main room, the Lincoln Room (fantastic surprise birthday party) and the pub room. There are a handful of decent red wines in that price range. I think we had a 50 or 60 rhone and a california pinot or two and couldn't complain about any of them, although between the steaks, mutton, bacon and the chestnut soup, the wine was the least of my worries.

                                        1. re: mbw1024

                                          I love the food at Keen's (esp the mutton chop) but don't find the Keen's wine list inspiring and prefer to bring my own pinot noir from DuMOL or Sea Smoke and pay the $25 corkage.

                                          1. re: drichter

                                            Keen's wine list is thin and un-inspiring.

                                      3. Sorry for the thread necro, but I'm headed there this weekend with a group of about 10 friends. I know for sure that I'm definitely going for the "mutton," but am not sure about what else to order. With the size of the chop and the creamed spinach/baby potato sides I plan on ordering, is there any need for an appetizer?

                                        I also hear many things about the wine here (not good things) but what about the beer? Anything that stands out? Are they asking for 15 dollars per pint, or am I going to let myself get sloshed?

                                        Thanks, all!

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: Dinosore

                                          The seafood tower (which is actually a platter) is huge and fresh. Better than most steakhouses.

                                          1. re: princeofpork

                                            Ditto on the seafood platter app -- big enough for 4 and fantastic!

                                          2. re: Dinosore

                                            Keens provides each table with a bowl of crudités and dip. So, you could skip the appetizer. However, Mr. R. and I usually start by sharing a shrimp cocktail or, occasionally, a Caesar salad. But you should definitely leave room for dessert. Our favorite: the Coffee Cantata.

                                            Keens photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


                                            1. re: Dinosore

                                              Hi D,
                                              No need for an app. Keens has the best single-malt Scotch selection in town. The wine list is short but sufficient. Beers are familiar if you hang out in Irish pubs (I do).

                                              1. re: steve h.

                                                Thanks, all. I have heard that the Cantata's as close to magic as you can get. I DEFINITELY plan on that. And as far as drinks go, if it's regular pub beer, I'm probably going to have a few Smithwicks, then. I'd love to have the Scotch, but when I drink fine booze, I tend to drift away from my noms, and this is a meal I plan on savoring.

                                                I'm really excited about going, and hope to come back to you guys on Monday with a positive story.

                                              2. re: Dinosore

                                                It's hard to determine if you "need" an appetizer as I don't know your appetite.
                                                I usually go for the lump crabmeat cocktail, but the lobster salad is good too. They also now have slab bacon which was quite nice: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/808582

                                                I don't know if you need both creamed spinach and potatoes, especially since the mutton chop comes with escarole.
                                                Go for the single malts.

                                                  1. re: Simon

                                                    While it's true that Keens has more extensive and appealing appetizer selections than most classic steakhouses, I agree I'd skip them in lieu of more sides and dessert. Focus on the steak and mutton chops, fries, mushrooms, creamed spinach, and one of their ice cream concoctions for dessert.

                                                    72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018