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Keen's or Peter Luger's?

Kimlo Jul 22, 2008 09:38 AM

I am new to Chowhound so please forgive me if this question has been asked before. Having a hard time deciding between the two. The prices are about the same. I'm getting the impression that Luger's has better tasting steaks but Keen's has a nicer atmosphere? I'm looking for both (great food as well as atmosphere) as we will be entertaining friends from the UK. They have never been to NYC.

Any thoughts?

I am so happy I found this website! You guys are so helpful.


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  1. Spends Rent on Food RE: Kimlo Jul 22, 2008 09:52 AM

    100% Lugers - it's no contest. The only thing that would take me to Keens instead of lugers was if my heart was set on having a Mutton Chop. Otherwise I would end up at Lugers 10 times out of 10.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Spends Rent on Food
      Kimlo RE: Spends Rent on Food Jul 22, 2008 10:00 AM

      Thanks Spends Rent. Can you tell me approx. how long it will take (by taxi) to get from Midtown West to Luger's in Brooklyn?

      1. re: Kimlo
        Spends Rent on Food RE: Kimlo Jul 22, 2008 10:09 AM

        Between 15-35 minutes depending on traffic.

        1. re: Kimlo
          Taylor.Watson RE: Kimlo Jul 22, 2008 10:13 AM

          Depends on traffic, but maybe like 25 minutes? You could also take the 6 to the M or J train and it wouldn't take much longer at all.

          And you are making the right choice with Lugers for sure. Although I'd always suggest going to Keens at some point of time for that Mutton, which is a great piece of meat.

          1. re: Taylor.Watson
            joannabar RE: Taylor.Watson Jul 22, 2008 11:33 AM

            Is Lugers taking credit cards yet? Also....are they taking reservations for parties under 6 people?
            Haven't been there in forever...

            1. re: joannabar
              Kimlo RE: joannabar Jul 22, 2008 11:53 AM


              I'm so glad you brought this up. I didn't know they didn't take credit cards or reservations. We will be 4 people. I wonder how long the wait is? This is probably a stupid question...but....do you think it is any less crowded on a Friday night as opposed to Saturday night?

              1. re: Kimlo
                Taylor.Watson RE: Kimlo Jul 22, 2008 12:17 PM

                I could be wrong, but I could have sworn they do take reservations. No credit cards. You can pay with a check though if you don't want to carry a ton of cash.

              2. re: joannabar
                ESNY RE: joannabar Jul 22, 2008 12:54 PM

                They've always taken reservations and never taken credit cards.

        2. s
          steakrules85 RE: Kimlo Jul 22, 2008 12:18 PM

          Peter Luger is the king of steak in New York city. However, Keens' porterhouse is still great and the best steak I have had in Manhattan.

          11 Replies
          1. re: steakrules85
            chicken kabob RE: steakrules85 Jul 22, 2008 12:25 PM

            PETER LUGER'S!!!!!! This is my favorite restaurant in the entire world! It is a NY landmark and icon. The atmosphere and ambience are unique. I highly recommend the steak, creamed spinach side, hash browns/fries side, appetizer bacon, jumbo shrimp appetizer, tomatos & onions w/ Luger's sauce and warm pecan pie. You will be in heaven if you go to LUGER'S!!!

            1. re: steakrules85
              sam1 RE: steakrules85 Jul 23, 2008 11:22 AM

              me and steakrules agree 100%.

              1. re: steakrules85
                financialdistrictresident RE: steakrules85 Sep 5, 2008 04:25 PM

                Since we don't want to eat at Luger's at 4:45 or 10 PM, we'll be going to Keen's. All of us for the first time. I'm the only one who doesn't eat red meat. Is the porterhouse the way to go at Keen's for my meat eating companions?

                1. re: financialdistrictresident
                  steve h. RE: financialdistrictresident Sep 5, 2008 04:33 PM


                  1. re: steve h.
                    financialdistrictresident RE: steve h. Sep 5, 2008 04:39 PM

                    Thanks, steve h. I'll suggest they have the porterhouse.

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident
                      steve h. RE: financialdistrictresident Sep 5, 2008 04:42 PM

                      scotch, too! keens has the best selection of single-malt in town.

                  2. re: financialdistrictresident
                    Simon RE: financialdistrictresident Sep 5, 2008 06:02 PM

                    the prime rib is also very good at Keens...

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident
                      tpigeon RE: financialdistrictresident Sep 5, 2008 06:49 PM

                      Most people think the mutton chop is best btw

                      1. re: tpigeon
                        steve h. RE: tpigeon Sep 5, 2008 06:54 PM

                        dover sole is ok, too.
                        side dishes? skip 'em. maybe a salad, definitely the oysters rockefeller. not much else.

                        1. re: steve h.
                          financialdistrictresident RE: steve h. Sep 6, 2008 02:51 AM

                          Thanks, steve h., that's two things this non meat eater can have :)

                          1. re: steve h.
                            Simon RE: steve h. Sep 6, 2008 07:40 AM

                            i agree on the dover sole...haven't had the oysters rockefeller, but the raw ones have always been excellent

                    2. g
                      GTopp RE: Kimlo Jul 22, 2008 12:46 PM

                      I would definitely suggest Keens if you are coming from midtown west. I’ve been to both and they each have ample atmosphere, in their own way, but since the quality of meat is the same, (despite what most people on this board will tell you) there is no need to leave Manhattan unless you specifically want to travel to Brooklyn.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: GTopp
                        chicken kabob RE: GTopp Jul 22, 2008 01:55 PM

                        Believe me, Luger's is reason to travel to Brooklyn.

                      2. s
                        Simon RE: Kimlo Jul 23, 2008 12:12 AM

                        If they are whisky drinkers, Keens...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Simon
                          meatme RE: Simon Jul 23, 2008 07:36 AM

                          And if they're steak eaters, Luger's!

                        2. k
                          Kimlo RE: Kimlo Jul 23, 2008 05:35 PM

                          Thanks for the input everyone! Although I may be more confused than ever...I enjoy hearing your opinions. I think I am starting to lean towards Keen's again. One of the posters said they felt the steak was as good as Luger's...so why travel to Brooklyn? They have a good point.

                          Now, to really drive everyone crazy, I need an Italian restaurant for the other night! I have narrowed it down to 3, but I suppose I should start a new thread for that.

                          Thanks again,


                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Kimlo
                            Spends Rent on Food RE: Kimlo Jul 23, 2008 07:27 PM

                            Well, it does seem to be 4-4 on this thread. But I think overwhelming consensus in general is Lugers.

                            Keens does have it's place as a top NYC steakhouse. If you were here for a week, I would recommend going to both (plus a few others). But if you only have the chance to make it to one of them, I really have to say that Lugers is the quintessential NYC steakhouse.

                            I definitely respect the postings of others here, but in my experience I think Keens a far cry from Lugers. (again unless we're talking mutton chop and whisky in which case I'll see you at the bar at Keens.)

                            1. re: Spends Rent on Food
                              ESNY RE: Spends Rent on Food Jul 24, 2008 06:45 AM

                              And I think Lugers isn't as great as everyone thinks it is. Whether its faded since my first visit years ago (my last 2 visits in the past year and a half were just average), or everyone else has caught up, or I don't hold its name in some vaunted regard anymore, I just dont think Lugers is as good as I had years ago.

                              So many other steakhouses offer great dry aged prime steaks these days. If you did a blind tasting of a prime, dry aged porterhouse from all the steakhouses in NYC, would Peter Luger's steak still reign king? I don't believe it would. Does the name still mean something? Sure, but if you're looking for the best steak, its certainly far from unanimous that you'd get it there.

                              1. re: ESNY
                                Spends Rent on Food RE: ESNY Jul 24, 2008 08:27 AM

                                I happen to agree with you completely. I actually think the best, most consistent steak is now at Wolfgangs. (but we can have that conversation some other time)

                                As it relates to the OP, We can only choose between the two, and over the years I've had excellent, and average steaks at Lugers. But on my last two trips (both within the last six months) I had two of my best experiences there - both in the newer part of the restaurant.

                                Not sure if Luger's has taken some of the criticism over the past 3-4 years to heart and made changes, or if they remain inconsistent, and my last two trips just caught them on a good night.

                                While I have had some great dinners at Keens, when Lugers is at their best they blow all other steak places away, and even when they're not at their best, you can still experience a true NYC institution.

                                Again this isn't meant to take anything away from Keens or the other posters here - Anyone who makes a great steak and anyone who appreciates a good steakhouse is alright by me.

                                You'll be happy whichever you decide.

                                1. re: Spends Rent on Food
                                  fsd1116 RE: Spends Rent on Food Jul 24, 2008 07:39 PM

                                  Although this is not a Wolfgang's thread, I totally agree that they have the most consistent steaks. I've only been to the downtown branch and I find it much more comfortable than Peter Luger's.

                                  1. re: fsd1116
                                    addictedtolunch RE: fsd1116 Sep 5, 2008 08:54 PM

                                    Steak can never be totally consistent from meal to meal, even from the same steak house. Too many factors vary in each piece of meat. For the best chance of meeting your general expectation of having a great meal 80% of the time, Lugers wins.

                            2. re: Kimlo
                              fsd1116 RE: Kimlo Jul 23, 2008 07:31 PM

                              IMHO you would be well fed at either. Many on this board will say Luger's is better than Keen's, but I disagree. The last few times I went to Keen's the porterhouse was easily as good as Luger's, if not better. Keen's takes plastic. Keen's is in Manhattan. Keen's is within walking distance from my house, and from Midtown. You could always go to Keen's for dinner and Luger's for lunch the next day. The hamburgers are great, as is the thick-sliced bacon. Enjoy!

                              1. re: Kimlo
                                Simon RE: Kimlo Jul 23, 2008 10:46 PM

                                for the Italian place, if you want an elegant old-school NY-Italian, go to I;li Giglio in Tribeca...a great place, which nonetheless seems to be ignored here

                                1. re: Simon
                                  Kimlo RE: Simon Jul 24, 2008 03:18 AM

                                  Thanks Simon. I'll check that one out!

                              2. k
                                Kimlo RE: Kimlo Jul 23, 2008 07:41 PM


                                Now you have me rethinking Luger's.

                                I guess if this is my biggest problem...I'm doing OK.

                                1. tbear RE: Kimlo Jul 24, 2008 06:28 AM

                                  I think both steaks are fantastic. Keen's, however, is a much more well rounded restaurant. The apps, sides (esp. the escarole) are all supeior to anything at the Brooklyn competition. It has a better bar, better atmosphere, better whiskey list, better wine list and better service. I know people will say that all that matters is the steak, but Keen's delivers the whole deal.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: tbear
                                    steakrules85 RE: tbear Jul 24, 2008 10:24 AM

                                    I disagree about Keens having better sides and desserts. Peter Luger's fries, creamed spinach, and onion rings are all amazing. And the Holy Cow Hot Fudge Sundae is easily one of the best dessert experiences you will ever have.

                                    Still, Keens does also have great fries and creamed spinach. Their hot fudge sundae is pretty good but Luger blows it away big time IMO.

                                  2. b
                                    big o RE: Kimlo Jul 24, 2008 08:50 AM

                                    For what it's worth, despite all the talk here of Luger being a NY institution/landmark, Keens is two years older. It also wears its history much more openly, from Teddy Roosevelt's pipe to Abraham Lincoln's blood-stained playbill.

                                    Even if you want to give the steak-edge to Luger, Keens makes up for it with the mutton chop, desserts, whiskey, and atmosphere.

                                    1. jfood RE: Kimlo Jul 24, 2008 11:57 AM

                                      Here is jfood's review of Keens from last December


                                      1. k
                                        Kimlo RE: Kimlo Jul 24, 2008 04:09 PM

                                        Just wanted to say "Thank You" to everyone who responded. I think we will take our chances and go to Keen's this time around.

                                        I so wish I had found this website before our trip to Manhattan this past January.
                                        We had dinner at Pellegrino's in Little Italy and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. We all enjoyed Pellegrino's. I was disappointed in Ruth's Chris. It was quite expensive and in my opinion...I've had steaks that were just as tasty if not better at Outback.
                                        But then again...I also enjoy "boxed wine!" So maybe I'm not a qualified judge. LOL.

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