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May 21, 2008 02:07 PM

Keen's fans: aged prime T-bone or mutton...

... or one of the aged sirloins?

A friend of mine and I are doing a steakhouse tour of the city, since he's attempting to convert me to steak fanaticism. (Last week, we had the 40 Day Aged Ribeye bone-in, 20 oz at Porterhouse. It was good -- I think I do like aged, bone-in meats -- but it didn't knock my socks off.) Suggestions for Keen's? I've tried the chateaubriand for two on prior visits.

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  1. Well, I almost always get the mutton there just because its amazing and is unusual (even though its not truely mutton). Their steak is great though and if you are doing a tour of steakhouses, you may want to try one of their steaks. As far as type of steak, i'm a ribeye guy, so would always default to either a ribeye or in Keen's case, the prime rib, assuming they still have some rare servings left. I'm not a filet fan, so I would never order the t-bone.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ESNY

      Steakhouse tour of the city..........don't do the lamb..........nobody serves mutton unless you are sitting around a campfire in the middle of the Rub Al Khali......get the New York strip....rare, or med rare....I interned there in the late 80's for a month.....(as part of a culinary school externship)....the head chef at the time was Gan Iwamoto.....a true professional......he enlisted my help one weekend (I owned a pickup truck at the time)....he, me , and the sous went down to the west side wholesale meat markets and purchased a large quantity of primals to be further "dry aged " on the premises.......he/they turned me on to this culture of the ageing houses located on the lower West side (back in the 80's) we walked through the temp/humidity/air controlled ageing room he picked out the pieces he wanted....throughout the room were primals already pre ordered by other "famous" steak houses with their stamp on the primals.......Keens was a template for a truly well run professional kitchen as I have ever seen after 30 years in the back of the you work your way through steakhouses....I would always go for a NY strip bone in/out 1st.......a ribeye bone in 2nd.....bone out 3rd.....a bone in filet (get it if its on the menu)......porterhouse.....if you want a Fred Flinstone meal....always tough to get the filet cooked like the strip........ the prime rib and the chateaubriand aren't steaks....they're roasts...........
      Note....dry aged steaks are going to have a distinctly more "beefy" flavor as well as a different mouth feel........more tender ....yes....possibly more earthy/gamey tasting depending on the age/amount of facing....
      Who's not a filet is what it is....if cooked properly it is as flavorful as any other steak.......just not as chewy

      1. re: Saddleoflamb

        is a ny strip the same thing as a kansas sirloin? sorry, i'm pretty ignorant about all the interchangeable terms out there.

        also, i thought keen's did all the aging on premises--but i guess it's only part, huh? interesting!

        thanks, saddle.

      2. re: ESNY


        i know a lot of this has to do with personal preference for a specific cut, but do you know which cut(s) Keen's do(es) better than its competition?

        in part, i really want to do things "right" at Keen's, since i feel like there's something i've been missing. i know there are some posters on this board who rave about this place, but i haven't really loved it in the same way. i'm wondering if perhaps it is because i didn't order the best keen's had to offer.

        thanks so much for your suggestions!

      3. Hi cimui,

        You know what? I just got converted! I have been eating steakhouse over steakhouse for the past few months as my love of dry aged steaks grow stronger and stronger.

        We have the same preference, aged + bone-in is my standard order. Like ESNY, I also like ribeye. The challenges were that not all steakhouses offer all the option: prime + dry ages + bone-in + ribeye. They usually miss one of the 4 things that I want.

        Anyway, back to Keens. I really like their prime rib but in this case, if you are only going to order one thing, I will go with mutton. Only because you can't order it elsewhere. However, why not order a prime rib and a mutton?

        I went to Primehouse recently and liked their reserve cut 40-day aged prime ribeye a lot.

        18 Replies
        1. re: kobetobiko

          >> I went to Primehouse recently and liked their reserve cut 40-day aged prime ribeye a lot.

          i know -- i read your review and thank you for it. that's in part what makes me fear i'll never learn to really love steak and that no cut of steak will ever really knock my socks off!

          the ribeye + mutton combo sounds like a good one. i'll see if my dining companion can take care of one of the two...

          thanks :)

          1. re: cimui

            Hey, cimui,

            Keep in mind that Keens was originally known as Keens *Chophouse*for a good reason. Of course, the signature mutton chop, but also for their lamb chops. To be honest, I rarely order steak there (Ooh, a pun!) because the lamb chops are so incredible, some of the best I've had anywhere! Mr. R. tends to eschew the steak as well (Oy! Another pun! lol) in favor of the mutton chop because even though it's not truly mutton, still, he says, it's seriously delicious.

            1. re: RGR

              haha. thanks rgr. :) i'm sure one of us will order either the mutton or the lamb chops, since one of us is irish and always complains about the lack of good lamb in the u.s.

          2. re: kobetobiko

            Hi Kobetobiko,

            I am a bit confused by the terms, maybe you can explain to me, what is the difference between "dry aged steaks" and others? what is "aged + bone in"? I just look through their menu on the website ( ), do you mean that is "aged NY Sirlion" or "aged Kansas sirloin" or "aged T bone steak"? And i don't see any ribeye on the menu, do they call it by another name?

            What combination would you recommend me to order for my family (2 adults + 2 kids) to have a great steak experience in Keen's? What is so special about its mutton that everyone rave about?

            1. re: FourSeasons

              Regarding aged steaks, there are dry aged and wet aged steaks. Dry aged meat is basically put in a temperature and humidity controlled room for 4-6 weeks, typically. The meat tenderizes and the flavor changes, but the meat also looses a good deal of its weight, so tends to be very expensive, both from the lost moisture but also because the outer parts of the primal cuts will harden and need to be cut and thrown out. The meat tends to become firmer but more tender, not soft and the taste becomes slightly metallic and nutty.

              Wet aged steaks are essentially cryovaced and "marinate" in their own juices which also tenderizes the steaks but to me, it makes the steak soft and mushy. This is cheaper and easier for restaurants to do.

              If you look at the Keen's menu, they indicate that all their steaks are prime and dry aged (listed right underneath the header where the steaks are listed). If a place sells dry aged steak, they will most likely advertise that fact all over the place.

              1. re: FourSeasons

                Dry aged steaks are the best steaks you can get. All of the top renowned steaks houses dry age their meats for the best taste. As far as bone-in steaks, Keens had Porterhouse for 2, prime rib, and a t-bone (like a porterhouse, however you get a smaller filet and is served for one). Keens does not serve a bone-in ribeye or any ribeye for that matter (just prime rib, which is supposed to be amazing BTW but I never tried).

                I would suggest that you definitely at least order the porterhouse for two for you and your wife. For your children, if they are really young and not big eaters I am sure they could get by on a filet mignon, which is smaller (and easier for them to eat) but im sure still delicious as Keens knows what they are doing.

                If they are big eaters and would enjoy a nice steak then order another Porterhouse for two and be done with it!

                1. re: steakrules85

                  Hi ESNY & steakrules85:

                  Thanks for the explanation.

                  Just two more question. My experience with American steak is Porterhouse at Morton's in Singapore and Prime rib at Lawry's, both in Beverly Hill and Singapore branch. How do you compare the porterhouse in Morton's vs Keen's, and the prime rib in Lawry's vs Keen's? And since Morton's only advertise its steak as "Prime-aged", does that mean it belongs to "wet aged" category?

                  1. re: FourSeasons

                    I have seen some of your postings from the Japan board. Morton's is definitely a least a step below the best American steak. I am not a Keen's nut but it should be fine. Morton's wet ages their beef. Again, I will not vouch for Keen's but it should beat out your other two experiences. If you want the best or better, I suggest filtering the boards yourself, otherwise, too much bad info.
                    What is so special about the mutton? Nothing, skip it.
                    I assume your children are young, otherwise, they would order themselves. There are lamb chops, chicken, seafood mains or certain steaks that can easily be split. And I would not get one that is prepared with a sauce for young ones.


                    1. re: FourSeasons

                      I've had the prime rib at Lawry's in Singapore. There is simply no comparison. The prime rib at Keens is bone-in, juicier and more assertive - and much bigger too.

                      However, while the prime rib was good, I thought the porterhouse was much better (and so did the waiter, who made a very strong recommendation for the porterhouse over the prime rib!)

                      1. re: yt28

                        Hi yt28:

                        thanks your information. To be fair, the prime rib at Beverly Hill is much better than the one in Singapore, even though both chains are Lawry's.

                        BTW, do you think porterhouse for 2 + prime rib is too much for 2 adults, 2 kids? (after all, we are from Singapore, and our portions here are smaller size than the normal American portion)

                        1. re: FourSeasons

                          Hi FourSeasons,

                          I think it will be just right, and in fact you may be able to add an app. If you are full you can always skip desserts

                          1. re: FourSeasons


                            I think you will be extremely full and perhaps have leftovers - but that sounds like what you should order...Maybe fries for the kids as well? They were $8 but pretty tasty! The creamed spinach and other sides were not very good.

                            1. re: yt28

                              Fries are awesome- ask for them well done. The creamed spinach is declicious in my opinion and the mushrooms are quite tasty. I would agree however that sides are not Keens' strong suit. Its all about the steak.

                    2. re: FourSeasons

                      Hi 4Seasons,

                      Sorry for the delay in reply. When I said aged + bone-in + ribeye + prime, that means my favorite combo is a dry-aged prime bone-in ribeye steak. However, some restaurants serve dry-aged prime steaks (no ribeye), some serve prime bone-in ribeye (no dry-aged), some serve dry-aged prime boneless ribeye (no bone). So it is hard to get a my favorite combo in a restaurant.

                      As far as "aging", I don't care about wet-aged. I only like dry-aged steaks as they really taste "different" (that's assuming the steakhouse dry-ages their steaks properly). As ESNY mentioned, dry-aged can enhance both the tenderness AND flavor of the steaks. Wet-aging, on the other hand, will improve tenderness but does not really add depth to the flavor.

                      The taste of a dry-aged steaks can be quite pronounced depending on how long the steaks have been dry-aged. I absolutely like that nutty nuanced flavor, especially along the bone area (hence i love bone-in), but someone in another post thought the "funk" was so bad that the steak was bad LOL.

                      As steakrules85 mentioned, Keens does not have bone-in ribeye, so I suggested cimui to get the prime rib as 1) it has the bone! and 2) not many places dry-age primb rib steaks, and Keen does a fine job on that.

                      I have tried Lawry's prime rib in Beverly Hills too, but it was a long time ago, long before I appreciate steaks and the dry-aging process. Now that I learn more about steaks, I will have to say Keens' primb ribs is superior!

                      Portion size is really big at Keens, and I am not sure how much your kids eat. For 2 adults and 2 kids, a porterhouse for 2 + mutton chop will be more than enough. If you think it may be too much, then a primb rib + a mutton chop should be fine (with may be an app or salad or desserts).

                      Also, to me wet-age is really nothing that special. If a restaurant advertises about wet-aged steaks and try to charge more for them, I think this steakhouse is to avoid.

                      1. re: kobetobiko

                        Hi 4Seasons,

                        Just one more note: The "tenderness" of the dry-aged steaks is completely different from a Wagyu beef from Japan. The former is tender when you "chew" the meat, and there isn't any stringy part. The latter beef from Japan, is tender in the sense that it melts in your mouth. You taste the fat more than the beef, so to speak, whereas for the dry aged steaks, you really taste the beefy meat.

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          Hi Ko:

                          Surprised that on both options, "mutton chop" is the must have item on your priority. That seemed odd for a steak house. I was thinking for a porterhouse for 2 + prime rib, especially the review by ciumi below was rather average for the "mutton chop". Anyway, plenty of time (about 1 month) to think about it.

                          1. re: FourSeasons

                            Hi 4Seasons,

                            I recommended the mutton chops because it is one of a kind and you really can't get it elsewhere. I like lamb with real lamb taste (gamey as others put it), so I liked the mutton chops. My experience on the mutton chops at Keens was actually quite opposite to cimui's - it was quite well-marbled and possibly too much fat (some that needed to be cut off and left on the plate). That said I still enjoyed it. It was HUGE in size.

                            1. re: kobetobiko

                              hi kobe, i'm sorry if my review was unclear. i found the lamb quite fatty -- probably too fatty, in fact. my objection was that the fat wasn't incorporated into the meat as well as i'd like. it's comparable to the difference between a beef from a typical american cow (fatty, but not well marbled) and kobe beef (fatty and well marbled).

                              fourseasons, to be fair, i am probably exceptionally snobby about lamb for a lot of reasons. (a friend of mine raises grass fed lamb.) i'm sure other posters are right that the lamb at keen's is very good for nyc.

                    3. i know its only an app but don't miss the bacon and cress 'salad' and they have a great descombe cru beaujolais too

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: eatyououtofhouseandhome

                        thanks. i like most salads that are described as "salad". ;)

                        not usu a fan of beaujolais with steak, but we'll see what else is served by the glass ... thanks so much for the recs!

                      2. You must order the porterhouse for 2 at Keens. It is simply divine and you will be gnawing the bone guaranteed....

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: steakrules85

                          [this reminds me of another thread about gnawing bones and how some of us are shameless about doing so... seriously the best part!]

                          the only problem with getting anything for two is that i only get to try one thing on the menu instead of two. and why else would i dine with other people?! ;)

                          still, judging by your name and prior posts, you eat a lot of steak and know it well. do you think Keens does porterhouse much better than the competition? (if so, i might have to see how the wait staff reacts when i order the porterhouse for two and my dining companion orders the mutton for one.)

                          1. re: cimui

                            I have eaten a lot of steak and I'd place Keens second only to Luger's based on pure steak taste. Their porterhouse was cooked perfectly crusty on the outside and deep red medium rare on the inside. And like I said.... the bone is outrageous.

                            1. re: steakrules85

                              I agree with you, steakrules85, that the Keen's porterhouse for two is hands down the best steak on the menu. But I certainly empathize with wanting to try more than just one dish and agree with others that the "mutton," lamb chops, and prime rib are all superb.

                        2. i'd actually vote for either the prime rib, or the lamb chops...i also had a thoroughly acceptable dover sole there once.