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Sep 20, 2007 07:51 AM

Bruni Downgrades Peter Luger! [moved from Manhattan board]

Bruni concedes that when the kitchen is on, there is no better porterhouse in the city, but thinks that there is too much inconsistency in the porterhouse. Sometimes, it is great; sometimes it is not.

Bruni also faults PL for the lackluster dishes that are on the menu alongside the steak, and for some of the various quirks by which the restaurant is distinguish: no credit cards (other than the in house one), gruff service, etc. But these things are less interesting to me.

Concern over the inconsistency of the porterhouse is the important issue raised in the review.

What do you all think?

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  1. I recently had lunch at Luger's during the day, and dinner at Barclay Prime, which is Stephen Starr's steak place in Philly. Yes, I was on the stair climber the next day!

    Anyway- both steaks were excellent, with the Luger porterhouse probably the better of the two (I had a strip at Barclay Prime). But the rest of the meal was not even close. Service, appetizers, wine list, side dishes, overall atmosphere- Barclay Prime was much better (by the way, the best thing I ate, day or night, was the kobe sliders at Barclay Prime).

    There is so much that goes in to the dining experience, Luger's, I feel, has been passed by some of the more modern takes on steak houses. The beef is probably still king, but not by enough to offset the cold, doughy fries, the adequate caesar salad, etc.

    1. Issues aside, that's a really well-written review.

      "... The beef had a subtle tang, an intense mineral quality, a crazy richness and a spectrum of textures: crunchy at the edges, tender at the bone. I had to keep reminding myself to take it easy, to slow down.

      "No other steakhouse serves a porterhouse so breathtaking.

      "In several visits leading up to that one, Luger didn’t, either. ..."

      7 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston


        Bruni dissing Peter Luger is like dissing the Yankees... pointless.

        1. re: BigboyDan

          People will support their home team win or lose. The Mets might be a better example.

          I don't think a restaurant going downhill is quite the same thing.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Anyone who frequents Peter Luger doesn't care what Bruni says about the restaurant; therefore, Bruni writing about Peter Luger is meaningless. The restaurant has been there for a hundred years and any review from anyone (even at the NYT) is not going to influence anybody but the rank, unthinking tourist. Restaurants like Peter Luger "don't go down hill", and its business and patronage are not affected by a negative, or positive, review.

            1. re: BigboyDan

              Any restaurant can go downhill. Most do, sooner or later, when the owners let the quality slide, lose touch with their customers, or sell to the wrong people.

              Bruni loves the place, has eaten there many times, believes the place has gone downhill, and details in precisely what way things have changed. If that's his experience, other regulars (or former regulars) likely feel the same way.

              The restaurant has been around so long and is so popular that it could probably coast for a generation or two on its reputation. However, Bruni's high-profile review could inspire the owners to get things back on track.

              1. re: BigboyDan

                I've experienced the inconsistency of Luger's myself. That having been said the place is still the very good and is critic proof because it is now an institution.

                1. re: KTinNYC

                  It may be critic-proof in the short term, but no institution can last forever if the quality slips, unless it turns into a tourist trap.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            I so agree about Frank Bruni's writing...I never get to NY, but I read his reviews like a disciple.