The Steak Wars
So it looks like Keens get's the nod in Manhattan and Peter Luger get's the nod PERIOD, despite the fact that it is very noisy, one must pay cash only, and the waitstaff is generally looked upon as rude and surly (how do they get tipped that way??)
A close 3rd seems to be BLT Steak.
So what is your favorite and why?
Is Luger's worth the trip or not?
I've been to Luger's many times and have never had rude service. They certainly aren't gushing over you but the rude and surly is overstated. Not to mention, since it gets so much mention, I'm sure the diners almost expect and desire it and the waiters play it up. My last trip to Luger's about a month ago wasn't as spectular as every other visit. The steak was still good but not transcendant.
In manhattan, my 3 favorites are Strip House, Keens and BLT Prime. All have great steaks and the difference is mostly environment and sides. Keens is more classic in both respects, BLT is more modern and Strip House has the bordello vibe.
Keens. Wow. I just went last night for the first time. I had been avoiding it due to its pretty random neighborhood but decided that it would be a perfect, pre-knicks sort of place. I can't believe I have neglected it for 10 years of my life. 10 years that would be immeasurably richer if they were spent enjoying the 'mutton chop' that is certainly one of the best meat-eating experiences ever.
I can't stop thinking about it today.
As far as the other manhattan options: definitely BLT Prime over BLT Steak (the difference is aged beef vs. not). Strip house is great. I also like Wolfgang.
Luger is still a favorite, but after Keens yesterday, I think the 'nostalgic, old-school steakhouse' spot in my rotation may be given to Keens....
The service at Luger's is fine, but the whole "surly waiter" thing has gotten out of hand with one younger bald waiter we recently had who was downright rude in my book, and ruined the experience for me and my kids. I won't spend that kind of money to feel that way. But the "old hands" are hip to the needs of the people who go there, and you ultimately respect their professionalism. From now on I'll try to request a specific waiter when I book my reservation.
people will debate me on this one, but im a big fan of ben & jacks (its exactly the same meal you'll get at lugers)...bacon is awesome and the porterhouse is the way to go (those are the two must haves there).. atmosphere is so so, sides are decent not great but the bacon and porterhouse are really good
i think it blows wolfgangs out of the water (comparison b/c wolfgangs is another lugers spinoff)