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Where to go for steak in central NJ?

So yesterday I was jonesin for some dry aged USA Prime and went over to Manhattan Steakhouse in Ocean. Delicious! Considering the price of beef these days, the 70$ they charge for a 48oz Porterhouse for 2 didn't seem that absurd, especially when you consider most restaurants will charge you 30$ these days for a not-aged not-prime cut.

Any other good steakhouses in this area?

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  1. Although it might not meet your geographical requirements, check out Roots Steak House in Summit.


    And here's a year old review from the New York Times:


    1. joon - Sadly, Manhattan is the only good one in the area.

      1. I like Chris Michaels Steakhouse in Woodbridge. It used to be Poor Billy's but it was bought, totally renovated and the steak is a la Peter Luger. Delicious, but of course pricey when you pay for prime aged beef. Martini was a rip off at $12.00....too high...good martini, but could we try to price it fairly.

        1. How about Danny's in Red Bank?

          4 Replies
          1. re: mm5

            Danny's was horrible the one time I tried it years ago. I would never go back. Sorry.

            1. re: bgut1

              Joon - the only other good steakhouse I've been to in NJ was the Strip House in Livingston. Obviously its not in Central Jersey.

              1. re: bgut1

                Have to agree with Danny's being lousy.

                Manhattan Steakhouse on Rt 35 was decent, but not that great, and is also very expensive.

                Arthur's used to have a good steak fairly priced, but I haven't been there in years so I have no idea if they still do.

                Will be going to Trinity in Keyport tomorrow night and I'm sure my son will have a steak there. I will report on it in a few days.

                1. re: seal

                  Arthurs still makes an excellent steak for the $ and their liter beer prices can't be beat. But sadly it's a little out of the area and clearly not prime/aged. But for the price I've yet to see a better steak in our area.

            2. The best steak I've had in recent memory was not at a steakhouse - it was at Lorena's Restaurant in Maplewood. Filet Mignon of Organic Beef, Charred Brussel Sprouts,
              Garlic Confit, Potato Purée, Sauce Bordelaise, $38.00. It was a small steak and it was PERFECT.

              For a local place, we like "What's Your Beef" in Rumson. Steaks are cut and trimmed to order. I don't know the grade of beef. I doubt it is dry-aged. It is not excellent, but pretty good, sometimes very good. I like their large salad bar with lots of fresh ingredients.

              3 Replies
              1. re: val ann c

                i enjoyed CMichaels the first time around, but the 2nd wasn't as great but still good. DEF pricey. DEF did not like the steakhouse at the Wdge Sheraton. Been wanting to try Manhattan steakhouse, whats the ambiance like? gonna check for a website on them. Lorena's I understand is GREAT all around.

                1. re: nyebaby37

                  It's been many years since we were at Manhattan Steakhouse, but iirc, it has a clubby feel. We sat in a comfortable booth. I tried the url, but it appears they've removed their website.

                  And, yes, Lorena's is wonderful all around! :-)

                2. re: val ann c

                  I had the same dish at Lorena's a couple of weeks ago, and I totally agree. It was absolutely perfect!

                3. I like Brennan's in Neptune, around the corner from Kelly's bar. I had fillet and it was wonderful. The resto is pricy though.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Barbarella

                    The fist time I tried Brennan's years back the steak was very good. However subsequent visits resulted in steaks which were "burnt". I've never returned since.

                  2. I ate at Manahattan Steakhouse once many years ago, wasn't too impressed for the prices, and haven't returned. Although not steakhouses and not serving dry aged USA Prime, I've had excellent NY Strip steaks at Copper Canyon in Atlantic Highlands and The Mahogany Grille in Manasquan.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jsfein

                      js - I suggest you try Manhattan again. As far as the Copper Canyon is concerned, I concur on the excellent NY Strip.

                      1. re: jsfein

                        Oh man you're right about the strip at copper canyon - those are freaking delicious! But those steaks are more about the spices than pure beefy goodness....

                      2. This past weekend I went to The Manhattan Steakhouse in Ocean for the first time, the choice of a Business Client. There used to be one located in Fort Lee, NJ many years ago, but it closed rather quickly. Although all the elements of the name and sign were the same, I do not know if it was the same ownership, but possibly the quick closing is a reason why I never seemed motivated to try the one in Ocean before this past weekend. My overall impression was fair at best for food and quality, but the service was very good. I would have said the service was excellent, but every time someone took a sip of Pellegrino from their glass, the waiter immediately appeared and re-filled the glass. A little too over-attentive in my opinion. Before you call me cheap for not ordering wine, I live 90 minutes north in Bergen County, and did not want to mix drinking and driving.

                        Here's what we had:

                        Fresh hot rolls with real butter wedges and house salad, both very good

                        Seafood appetizer: (4) each of : clams, oysters and shrimp cocktail, (4oz) lump crab.......tower presentation

                        Two Cowboy Rib Eye Steaks (three sauces on the side, included)
                        Fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise (a la carte)
                        Fresh mashed potatoes (included)

                        Two Bottles of Pellegrino Water
                        Two Pints of Imported Beer

                        No coffee or desserts

                        Total Tab with Gratuity: $160

                        My reason for a fair review is due to the way they cooked the steak. The menu claims to grill/broil at 1800 degrees. I can tell you there were not any grill marks or any other brown searing of meat by direct flame or pan. It appeared they simply roasted the steaks in the oven, and the steaks had the greyish appearance to it. The steaks were sightly over cooked IMHO, but nothing to get upset about, both were ordered Medium-Rare, but came out Medium.

                        I would also say I doubt the meat is USDA Prime. The Rib Eyes were dry and for a naturally fatty cut of beef, there was little fat in the steaks.

                        Overall the experience was pleasant, but definitely not worth a return trip if the decision is left up to me. The quality and value are less than desired IMHO.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: fourunder

                          fourunder - I'm sorry that Manhattan didn't meet your expectations food wise. As you may have read above, I eat there quite regualrly and have generally been very happy with the preparation of my steaks. Further, the steaks I've ordered (I've tried all except the cowboy cut) have all had nice brown crusts on them and none have ever appeared grey. I would be interested in knowing what you thought of the raw bar items as well as the sides. Being that you are from North Jersey I know that you have quite a few more options for steaks than we do down here. Admittedly, Manhattan pales in comparison to the big steakhouses up north but, IMHO, in our neck of the woods its the best we have and more than acceptable when we don't want to make the trip into the city. Good Luck.

                          1. re: bgut1


                            Thank you for the polite communication. First let me tell you I have some restaurant experience (30+ years) in both the private and corporate sectors, both have their strong points and weaknesses. I mention this only to say I know the inner workings of many kitchens and my observations are just that, observations. Nothing more or less. I actually believe I am more tolerant of any miscues than the typical dining patron.

                            With regard to the steak first, I can only surmise the actual procedure MSH uses to cook their steaks, or any particular cut of beef they have on their menu. I personally like to mark/sear the steaks and finish them in the oven at a high temperature, so my problem was more with the appearance and texture of the meat, which was pale and chewy, and not necessarily cooking with the oven. I can only speculate the oven was not as high in temperature as I would expect for better cuts of meat. There definitely was not any sign of a "crust" on the meat. I imagine the possibility for the steaks both being slightly overdone may be a result of the extremely hot dishes they serve the steaks on, similar to Ruth's Chris, although I have never experienced an over-cooked steak at Ruth's Chris.

                            As for the sides, we both had the mashed potatoes, which were very good. The portion size was perfect for me, but others may feel it was on the light side. My suggestion would be to serve them as a family side style like all their other sides dishes(a la carte) if more than one patron at the table has the same side dish. We only ordered the one side order of Asparagus which were trimmed nicely and cooked perfectly with excellent green color, just slightly crisp to the bite.. The accompanying Hollandaise was very good as well.

                            The Raw Bar Items were nice. The shrimp was medium sized in my opinion, maybe 16-20's at best served at a good temperature, not too cold and firm. A restaurant of this caliber or type should serve larger shrimp in my opinion.. I believe the cost for a single shrimp was $3.75 each, in my area the better restaurants charge $4.50 to $6.00 each, so price was not a concern. Quality is the issue for me. I believe the smallest size for a proper shrimp cocktail should be no less than a size 12-15. The clams and oysters were both shucked fresh and were perfect. The crab was all lump, but not the best I've ever had. It barely filled the small ramekin it was served in. The crab meat did not have a shine to the surface, but slightly dull, so it was not the freshest, but it did not have any odors. The accompanying horseradish and cocktail sauce was served in the same ramekins, and it was a pleasant presentation, but the cocktail sauce seemed like nothing more than a hint of horseradish and no other seasonings. The only miscue for this selection and it's preparation was they were cheap with the lemons. The lemons appeared to be cut in six pieces to one whole lemon. We received four wedge pieces total. Two wedges did not appear to equal one full half. A proper preparation and offering would have the lemons cut in half with appropriate wrap covers/netting to catch any pits.

                            Please note we had originally planed on ordering the Raw Platter #3 which included a Half Cold Maine Lobster, but the lobster was unavailable. The cost for the Raw Platter #1 we ordered was approximately $30. I do not remember the specifics, but the platter with the lobster would have been $65. I would have been disappointed if we did order the #3. The reason why we did not order the platter #3 was due to the fact MHS wanted to substitute frozen lobster tails for the Maine Lobster. We declined.

                            I may catch heat from you for the following comment, but my brother has lived in Manasquan for nearly20 years. He's a doctor and he like to eat out a lot and try new places. Whenever i visit, he takes me to the newer places, but I am never impressed. The only place I feel content is at Jimmy's in Asbury Park. The Steak, Veal Chop and Stuffed Sole never disappoints me. The place is old and rustic. You need patience with the staff, but the Valet Parking Man always remembers me and the Stolichnaya is always wet. It only gets better from there on.

                            Manhattan Steak House has been there for quite some time, so they must have something going for them. Saturday Night had a good crowd from what I could tell. I got there around 5:30 PM and it was getting busier every hour until I left. The bar had action. All signs of of good restaurant, but like you mentioned.....I am spoiled by my choices in Bergen County. We have all the Big names and some great Private Sector restaurants. If you want a few recommendations, let me know.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              fourunder - Thank you for the detailed response. It's quite evident from same that you do in fact have restaurant experience. I forgot to ask what you thought of the salad served family style in the large bowl. Did you enjoy it? As far as other restaurants in the area, I would be happy to know what you've tried as well as your observations. While the steakhouse offerings are slim, there are no shortage of good to excellent restaurants in the Middlesex/Monmouth County area. I would be happy to name a few of my favorites if you are so inclined. As far a Jimmy's, while I have enjoyed a few meals there, in terms of quality Italian, I would rather go to Piccola Italia in Ocean. Good Luck.

                              1. re: bgut1


                                Admittedly, I have never had any actual Italian food at Jimmy's, other than the standard Hot Appetizer Platter. I usually always order the Stuffed Sole, as it is the Absolute Best Rendition I have ever had anywhere, period.

                                I'll let you in on a little secret of mine and most of my friends in the business who have been around a while. When we go out, other than for research, we usually tend to go where where the food quality is good and little more. We like to relax and do not like to seek out the hyped restaurant. The general opinion is many restaurants try to do too much and often come up short. The successful restaurant community is a small one and everybody knows everybody else. We tend to go where we like the food and reciprocate with others who patronize our own places. It's self promotion so to speak. It's a way of building your reputation and spreading the wealth. We do not often get much time to go out due to the long hours, so we choose out spots wisely....and usually that means somewhere nice and comfortable, little fanfare and no hype. You cannot compare a private sector restaurant with a big chain. The little guy simply cannot compete in the same league.. Most users on this forum will frown about big chains, but big chains offer predictable quality and value. should you ever complain the situation is remedied without incident. There's a Spanish restaurant in Paramus that is pretty good and the Steaks are excellent. True USDA Prime. I know this for fact, because I know the salesman from BuckHead Beef, a division of Sysco and he sells him all his beef. I used to go there a minimum of twice a month, usually four of us, tab usually over $300, but mostly near $400. Anyway, never had a bad steak ever there. My son, who was 18 years of age at the time, had dinner and ordered a Filet Mignon Medium-Rare, it came out Medium-Well. He complained only after the server asked him how it was. The server notified the owner and the owner refused to to do anything about it, no apologies. Needless to say, I had to support my son and I gave myself a self-imposed ban from the establishment for nearly six years. I ran into the owner at a golf outing the sixth year, and he asked me why I had stopped frequenting his place and I relayed the story. He was speechless. I can tell you the guy lost a lot of business over a piece of meat that cost him maybe $5 at the time. This story would never happen in a place like Morton's or Ruth's Chris,

                                I have not actually dined in many new restaurants in the past two years at the shore, mostly due to schedule difference with my brother. When I am in South Jersey, it's usually for golf and we get a meal on the way home, and that's why I end up at Jimmy's.. I can tell you some of the places I enjoyed, but they would all be old reviews and since I have been there, I have heard mixed responses. There used to be a couple of places in Manasquan I enjoyed, but I do not recall their names and they have both definitely closed. One had Harbour or Harbourside in the name and was near the bridge heading toward PPB. The other was in a strip mall and had Park in the name I believe. It was Japanese Sushi and Italian in the same place and early in the fusion years

                                I have enjoyed:

                                Nicholas, but who hasn't who has been there.
                                Lunch at Rod's in Sea Girt? Don't laugh.
                                The Black Trumpet
                                La Dolce Vita
                                Crown Palace for Chinese
                                The Original Mister C's
                                Surprisingly, I did not expect, but I got a good steak at The Pilot House

                                Good, but a little short on delivery:


                                Overall, Not worth a second visit....... Been There, Done That so to speak

                                Mahogany Grill
                                Four Winds
                                Scarbourough Fair.
                                Dennis Foy's

                                With regards to the salad, I did not have much of it Saturday evening, so I may have missed some of the ingredients. First I am a fan of Family Style Salads. The House dressing was good. I asked for more rolls and the bus server returned promptly with three and fresh butter wedges, very nice. I remember the salad was fresh, crisp and cold. Simple and refreshing,.........

                                I am generally a believer of the less is more concept. Do a small number of items very well and make them memorable, do not reinvent the wheel. make your menu and have some "Signature Items", to stand out. Great Breads, Great Sides, Great Desserts or some other catch to make it, again, memorable.......However, to push me on my observation of the salad, I enjoyed the family style offering, but I feel the salad was ordinary and not memorable in any way other than the fact it was served family style and in a large glass bowl. Admittedly again, since I did not have much of it I may have missed some ingredients, but I cannot recall if it had any carrots, red onions or even tomatoes. This is a problem. There may be an argument that this salad presentation is a Signature Item, but I would dissent and say MHS misses a golden opportunity to capitalize on something they already thought of, implemented, but missed the mark for about a half a buck. Make the salad traditional, but put a twist on it. Add some In-house made croutons, flavored or plain, add some olives or peppers, use Kirby or Persian cucumbers or maybe some roasted red peppers, cherry or grape tomatoes for vibrant color. Make it stand out!!!!!

                                It's the little things people remember most.

                                bgut1.......you now know some insights to my brain and preferences.

                                All the Best to you and yours this Holiday Season,


                                1. re: fourunder


                                  I forgot to mention my simple criteria for dining out in new or old places, and whether or not I make a return visit. Believe it or not and I do not look for faults. I merely approach all dining experiences analytically for attention to detail, knowledge and ideas. If I do not venture with any high expectations, I cannot be disappointed easily.

                                  Service is not high on my priority list in grading a restaurant. My feelings are there are few true Professional Servers today. I care only the servers are genuine in their approach, do their best and enjoy their job. I am there to be fed. I cannot take the ambiance and atmosphere home with me. Tuxedos and Villory & Bach are wasted on me

                                  Naturally, my main concern is good food properly prepared and served, but what I look for is simply:

                                  1. Neat and well groomed staff, clean uniforms
                                  2. Linen or Cotton Napkins, no polyester or paper
                                  3. Tablecloths are not necessary
                                  4. Sturdy and Comfortable Chairs and Tables
                                  5. Good Silverware and Real Knives for Steaks
                                  6. China free of chips and scratches
                                  7. Clean Glassware
                                  8. Real Butter or Real Olive Oil if Fresh Bread is offered
                                  9. Clean Restrooms, a must.

                                  If any establishment can accomplish these simple guidelines, I have no complaints.

                                  By The Way, I love Pete Lorenzo's in Trenton.

                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    fourunder - Thanks again for your detailed post. It seems we concur on many of the restaurants you have mentioned (except for the Black Trumpet which was horrible on my one and only visit - I'm sure my review is posted somewhere around here). Your insights into the operations of a restaurant as well as what you look for in an establishment is most refreshing and quite interesting. I would hope that you have an opporunity to join our group on the next board dinner as I would be very interested in knowing your observations in real time (as well as enjoy your converstation and company). Be well and please do not hesitate to post about any future dinners in the Monmouth/Ocean County area. Lastly, if you ever do get an opportunity to try MHS again please let me know. I know the owner Jaime personally and I'm sure he would like the chance to make your next dinner as perfect as possible. Good Luck.

                                    1. re: bgut1

                                      I've enjoyed reading this exchange. Welcome fourunder, I hope you will continue to post here.

                                      1. re: val ann c

                                        val ann c,

                                        Thank you for the kind words, it is greatly appreciated. I generally do not like to criticize any establishment, and you will never see me as a first poster complaining about any place ever. However, I will acknowledge after others have done so first, negative experiences, not with malice, but rather to genuinely inform the proprietors or future guests my observations and concerns. The dining public should be made aware of any establishment that does not appreciate and treat all it's customers fairly. We work hard for our money and we all deserve to be treated with respect.

                                      2. re: bgut1


                                        Forgive me, but I am a story teller and I use stories to relate to experiences.

                                        I never like to know how much cash I have in my pocket Should I ever lose any of it(which I usually do), a coin, a dollar, a five, a ten, a twenty or 100, it doesn't matter......It will be on my mind all day until figure out how or where I could have possibly been so stupid.

                                        The same is with this thread. Since you have asked me to think about my experience at MSH. I have been a little consumed with the ingredients of the salad....which in fact I still do not remember. More importantly, the dilemma of the Cowboy Rib Eye Steaks without any "Brown Crust Char" or "Grill Marks"? I simply could not understand how it was possible.

                                        Since you say you are a personal friend of the owner, I feel you should pass my assumptions on to him. Please tell him I do not mean to disparage him or his business in any way. If I am wrong about any of this, I sincerely apologize, but.......The pale steaks were perplexing to me until it dawned on me just a few minutes ago..........

                                        I remembered that Roast Prime Rib was offered Saturday Evening as a special. That would explain the Medium temperature on the meat, the texture of slightly dry meat, and the paleness of the outside surface due to a slight pass under the broiler. Let me further add I recall the two meats to have a clean cut and uniform thickness. Something hard to achieve if the Steaks were cooked in a traditional direct heat method. There would have to be shrinkage and or plumpness from interior juices setting. I am reasonably sure of my conclusions, but naturally I will never be able to be 100% positively sure.

                                        I can only surmise this thought, but if my assumption is correct......shame, shame.

                                        You asked.



                                        1. re: fourunder

                                          No problem. Next time I see him I will ask. One question - Why didn't you send the steak back?

                                          1. re: bgut1

                                            I'm enjoying your detailed posts.You two have such a way with words. Makes me picture the entire dining experience. I'm very rarely in the mood for steak. However, I might make a trip to either Brennan's or MSH in the near future. I haven't been there in a couple of years.

                                            1. re: bgut1


                                              As stated originally, there was nothing to be upset about at the time. A large steak appeared before me. I ate it. it wasn't exactly as ordered, but it was not terrible. I had no reason to be suspicious about anything. I generally like Roast Prime Rib.....but at the time, I genuinely thought they just stuck the meat in the oven and cooked to temperature. It never entered my mind they may have browned a piece of Prime Rib instead of cooking an actual Steak ordered. To address the slight dryness, I did add some of the butter from the table on top of the steak/prime rib.

                                              I may not have loved the steak and I may not have liked the way I thought they cooked the steak.....but as stated originally, I am more tolerant of miscues than the regular dining public.

                                              There are only three times i ever send back food.

                                              1. Any food burnt or a Steak coming out Well Done......I'll even accept Medium-Well in most cases. Cold Food goes back too.

                                              2. Any food overly seasoned with too much salt and inedible

                                              3. Any food obviously past it's shelf life.

                                              The only exception to these guidelines is if the Server, Manager or Owner asks me how the food is and I do not care for it....I feel the proper action then is for the house to make me whole. I do not believe in sending food back because I did not like it, or if it is not like how my Grandma used to make it. Sometimes you simply make the wrong choice. I usually give places second chances in such instances. If the House dismisses my concerns, no problem for me. I just never return and tell people of my negative experience if it should somehow come up in conversation..

                                              I am still telling a negative experience I had at 410 Bank Street from the early 90's......but that is for another day.


                              2. I've heard good things about brennan's in neptune city on route 35 and bay point prime in point pleasant (summer only). As for Arthur's you can always get the north jersey coast line train into hoboken. Its only a couple of blocks from the station. That way you can also enjoy the beer. :)

                                1. I enjoyed my steak at the Witherspoon Grill in Princeton recently. Tasty though pricey - and not as good as my favorite steakhouses in the city.

                                  Same owners as the wonderful Blue Point seafood restaurant.

                                  1. I stopped going to the Manhattan Steak House a couple of years ago because they charged fancy prices for beef that wasn't prime. The place is done up really nice and they have a great bar area, but isn't it all about the steaks? Unless they have recently switched to serving prime beef, what you get is choice and that's simply not good enough for the money.

                                    Right down the road from them is Mike & Nellies. They serve prime for a really decent price. On the downside, the place is pretty much a dump and it's a BYOB and usually pretty crowded with uncomfortable chairs if your butt is on the larger side as mine is. But if your quest is to find the perfect prime steak, this is the only place in the area that I know of that serves prime beef.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: tombanjo

                                      Just thought I'd add an update here, as Manhattan Steakhouse is now under new ownership. This is usually a huge red flag for me but it seems like the new owner will continue doing what they do best - serving delicious prime aged steak at a reasonable price. The steak for two is still the same price and as good as its ever been. My friends who've been to Luger usually walk out saying "That was as good as Luger" - that's quite a compliment.