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Which steakhouse of these three would you go to?

koreantiger May 29, 2008 10:43 PM

I've organized a bachelor party for 10 dudes, and this Saturday is steak night. I've got reservations at Ben & Jack's, Keene, and Wolfgang's. We're looking to have a good time, eat some great food and drink some wine. Cost is a factor. Obviously we'll be splurging with any of these places, but we'd like to try and keep it to a minimum. We're respectful of history and architecture, and want the best combination of fun, history and good food.

Which one of these would you go to and why?

I understand these three might not be the most popular choices for steakhouses, but if you could try and limit the opinions to these three I'd be very grateful.

Many thanks!

  1. k
    koreantiger Jun 24, 2008 09:10 PM

    I'm overwhelmed by the responses. We ended up going to Wolfgang in Tribeca, because I was trying to get close to the Luger's experience and because it was close to our end destination. This was for a bachelor party at the beginning of June and we all had a great meal with lots of wine, although we ended up paying for it.

    The reason why I chose these three was because they were the only places that could accommodate a squad of 12 at that point in time.


    1 Reply
    1. re: koreantiger
      Spends Rent on Food Jun 25, 2008 11:49 AM

      You won't be disappointed. Although you should make it a point to get to the other places on your list.

    2. s
      steakrules85 Jun 10, 2008 12:39 PM

      Have only been to Keens and I must say they have the best porterhouse after Peter Luger.

      1. f
        Farfalle Jun 6, 2008 05:06 PM

        For combination of great food and comfortable table, B&J is the way to go. Keen's has great atmosphere, but lousy steaks (dont know what the people on this board are talking about if they say its good), Wolfgangs has great steaks but they seat 10 people at a 6 person tables. B&J good balance between the two with steaks that are neck and neck with Wolfgangs. Enjoy

        1. h
          Hugh DeMann Jun 6, 2008 11:14 AM

          Just out of curiosity, why are you limiting your selection to one of those three?

          1. Jill Jun 6, 2008 08:59 AM

            Keen's. They have several very nice private rooms, the whole place teems with old New York history, smoke-filled rooms and testosterone. The steaks are very good, as is the famous mutton chop. It's fabulous.

            1. j
              jonasblank Jun 5, 2008 11:51 AM

              Previously I would have suggested Keen's (being a bit more "classic" than the other 2) but it was terrible the last 2 or 3 times friends and I went there.

              Of those, I'd say Wolfgang's. I woudl also consider the new place Primehouse (haven't been but it reviewed well) or Strip House (which is excellent, imho).

              Also worth noting, Angelo & Maxie's, while lower in quality than these, has a very good "bachelor party special". I did it for a friend's party and it was a good time. It also comes with free entry to your choice of "adult entertainment" venues if that is in your plans. Like I said, the food is not quite as good, but depending what you guys may be going for with the overall evening, it'll save you a little money and still provide a good, fun dinner (you get a private area in the back) that will set you up well for the rest of the night.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jonasblank
                princeofpork Jun 5, 2008 02:41 PM

                Can you please elaborate more on the BP special. Does it involve any food items or just comped entrance to Scores

                1. re: princeofpork
                  jonasblank Jun 6, 2008 07:58 AM

                  As I recall, it was something like $110 pp for the full meal + a drink (I think), plus free entrance to one of several choices of strip club (in the case of the one I went to, I believe Penthouse was chosen; I don't remember the list, but it's pretty long). You also are put in the back room, which is more private - it could hold probably 2 parties of 10.

                  I'd at least give them a call and see what they say. It was a couple years ago when I went, so the deal may have changed, but I think it made for a fun night out and made it easy to deal with the bill since it was a set price. I really don't remember what the deal was on drinks, whether it was one free cocktail, or a set amount of wine, or what.

              2. princeofpork Jun 5, 2008 11:04 AM

                Been to all 3 and had many a bachelor party at a steak house. The bar scene at Wolfgangs is best of the 3. Wolfgangs is the worst at honoring a reservation time. Plan on waiting at least 30 min past. Eye candy is best at WG also. Keens does have a sick mutton chop. All depends on what you are looking for.

                1 Reply
                1. re: princeofpork
                  nikklos Jun 5, 2008 11:52 AM

                  Had what in retrospect I now feel was the best steak in my life at Keen's last month. And I've eaten a lot of steak.

                2. NAtiveNewYorker May 30, 2008 01:42 PM

                  B&J is the best food of the three. Also, Wolfgangs is cramped and feels clammy like a public washroom. And they will make you wait for hours. Keens is old school, but not nearly as good as B&J.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: NAtiveNewYorker
                    RGR May 30, 2008 05:13 PM

                    Sounds as though you don't appreciate the landmarked interior at Wolfgang's. No public washroom I know has an amazing Gustavino ceiling. While the dining room is on the small side, I did not find it cramped. We were there on a Sunday evening, there was no wait, and Wolfgang, himself, seated us. The food was very good. While Keens remains my favorite, both for the delicious food and the unmatchable Old NY ambiance, I would have no problem going back to Wolfgang's.

                    1. re: RGR
                      NAtiveNewYorker May 31, 2008 08:56 AM

                      Different strokes for different folks, though a Sunday evening is hardly a litmus test for crowd size and seating speed. OP asked about "Saturday." Also, "cramped" and "claustrophobic" was the concensus of my table, not just my opinion.

                      As a disclaimer, I am very sensitive to crowds and maitre d' hassles. I hate them. I don't wait in line for brunch (Bubby's, Sarabeths, EJ's, etc.) And I don't wait in line for cupcakes. I hate waiting for the "whole party before being seated." So Hounders should adjust my reviews for all this.

                      As for eating in a landmark interior, I'd prefer a burger at the Michael Jordan's Steakhouse bar (in Grand Central...look straight up for the tiny patch of dirt that the ceiling cleaners preserved) or a drink at Sardi's (ground zero for the history of Broadway).

                      1. re: NAtiveNewYorker
                        RGR May 31, 2008 11:35 AM

                        Absolutely agree about the different strokes thingy.

                        I am more like you than you might think, NNY. I do not eat at restaurants that make you jump through hoops to reserve. I almost never go to restaurants that will not take a reservation. I avoid restaurants that will not seat you unless your entire party is present. And when it comes to waiting in line, I generally do not do it, but under certain very limited circumstance, I might if it's no longer than 15 minutes.

                        Btw, I am a native NYer. I've been to Michael Jordan's (next time I'm in GST, I'll have to look for that dirty patch) but have never set foot inside Sardi's.

                  2. g
                    GTopp May 30, 2008 07:56 AM

                    I've been to all (Wolfgangs Tribeca only). While the steaks are top notch at all 3, and on any given night any one could beat the others as far as steak quality and service, I would cross off Ben and Jacks because the space and atmosphere is pretty new and sterile compared to the other 2. Keens will give you the best history by far.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: GTopp
                      jsmitty May 30, 2008 08:04 AM

                      that's an astute analysis.

                      1. re: jsmitty
                        mslex May 30, 2008 08:47 AM

                        I second what GTopp said, I have been to all three more than once. When I saw the subject, I was hoping Keens was mentioned. We are going there for dinner tonight. I recommend the Chateaubriand for two, it has a beautiful crust and an amazing flavor. I am not a porterhouse fan except for when I go to Striphouse. One note on Keens- I saw todays specials on their site and they are offering their lobster bisque, buttery and flavorful.

                      2. re: GTopp
                        Lau May 30, 2008 09:01 AM

                        fair point on the decor at B&J, its kind of sterile

                      3. l
                        Lau May 30, 2008 07:56 AM

                        B&J's is MUCH better than wolfgang's and as I've said before I think B&J is of similar quality to luger's. Also, you have to get the porterhouse and the bacon otherwise it won't do it justice (those are the classics and they are by far the best things to get there)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Lau
                          yt28 Jun 5, 2008 10:57 AM

                          Agreed, Lau. Over the past two weeks I've had the privilege of eating at Peter Luger's, Keens, Ben and Jack's AND Wolfgang's (ahhh, my cholesterol levels!). I love Peter Luger's - but Ben and Jack's came a very very very close second. Much better by far than Keen's, whose porterhouse and prime rib both disappointed.

                          1. re: yt28
                            Lau Jun 5, 2008 11:42 AM

                            glad u enjoyed and jesus that is a serious amt of red meat...i always feel like im going to die after a serious steak dinner (i also get 2 pieces of bacon b/c if im going to do it then im just going to have at it)

                            i guess im only judging on the quality of the food and nothing else...agree with other posts about decor / atmosphere

                        2. s
                          sam1 May 30, 2008 07:16 AM

                          price wise, all the same.

                          i think it comes down to whether you want a manly experience with history and a lack of women around...then id go with keens...my favorite steakhouse next to lugers.

                          wolfgangs is a bit more 'night on the town' due to its scene, location, and style...steak is solid.

                          yr call.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sam1
                            RGR May 30, 2008 01:13 PM

                            "[I] think it comes down to whether you want a manly experience with history and a lack of women around...then id go with keens..."

                            Say what?! lol I'm a woman, Keens is my favorite steakhouse, and no way is it a bastion of male superemacy lacking in female customers. Au contraire! Women very comfortably chow down there, and it even attracts families with children.

                            1. re: RGR
                              steve h. May 30, 2008 01:33 PM

                              heh, heh.
                              my wife feels the same way.
                              rgr and i agree yet again.

                          2. t
                            Taylor.Watson May 30, 2008 07:08 AM

                            I've only been to Keen's of those 3 places, so obviously I can't really have a vote here, but I would say that the mutton there is a great piece of meat and might be a great alternative for some people with that big of a crowd. I will say that the steak that I tried at Keen's was not as good as other steakhouses I've been to, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if Wolfgang's was better as others have suggested.

                            1. e
                              ESNY May 30, 2008 06:49 AM

                              Regarding cost, pretty much all of those three steakhouse (and all the top steakhouses) will cost approximately the same.

                              I've never had a good steak in the three times I went to Wolfgang's and will not ever go there again.

                              I've enjoyed all the steaks I've gotten at Ben and Jack's and Keen's. Keen's obviously wins for history. As for the steak, I'd make your choice on what you think people will be eating. If people want to share a bunch of porterhouse, go to Ben and Jacks. If everyone wants there own steak, or order lamb chops or mutton chop, go to Keen's.

                              1. il Trifulau May 30, 2008 04:44 AM

                                Wolfgang's is much better than Keen's.
                                No experience with B&J's.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: il Trifulau
                                  ginsbera Jun 10, 2008 12:55 PM

                                  Wolfgang's. Great steak, good atmosphere. Make sure you go to the Park Ave one.

                                2. raji212 May 30, 2008 04:43 AM


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