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Sep 18, 2008 01:45 PM

Steakhouse Recommendation - Casual

Hi everyone, we'll be visiting NYC over New Years and it will be our 7th time of visiting - we love the place!

Usually we go to Angelo & Maxies for our steak fix because the meat is good, the creamed spinach is divine and we don't need to get dressed up. We tend to travel light and don't bring fancy clothes.

We'd quite like to try somewhere different - our last visit to A&M in November 07 was a bit of a disappointment - the food was great as ever but the manager was incredibly rude and was rather nasty to us for leaving a 20% tip. Apparently that wasn't a big enough tip and meant the waitress gave us poor service, and he offered to sack her then and there because of our poor tip? We were confused because we thought 20% was about standard and really quite annoyed at our treatment.

Anyway, because of his attitude we'd like to try somewhere new but not somewhere stuffy, or really expensive.

Suggestions anyone? We have considered Lugers.



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  1. I'd try Keen's for a dry aged porterhouse and old NY atmosphere. Del Frisco for glitz and bright lights, good steaks and sides. Sparks if you are into red wines and get the strip. For Luger clone, Wolfgang's or Ben and Jack;s.

    1 Reply
    1. re: steakman55

      My first choice would be Keens, both for the food and the ambiance. Like all the others you suggested, it is expensive -- way more than A&M.

    2. I really enjoyed my experience at Primehouse NY. They have good steaks and sides. Their desserts are fantastic as well. Others I would recommend, BLT Prime, Ben & Jack's, Old Homestead and Luger's. I went to Old Homestead recently and even though it has an old-world feel, the steaks were delicious. You cannot go wrong with any of these options.

      1. I would agree with BLT Prime as well as Wolfgangs on 33rd and Park or Ben and Jacks. Also if you have not been to Striphouse, it is really good too.

        1. These have all been great recommendations.... Peter Luger is without a doubt the holy grail of steakhouses. If you are eating in Manhattan....

          Keens, Strip House, BLT Prime, OLD Homestead, Uncle Jack's all terrific.

          1. Most of the suggestions here aren't really that casual nor are they inexpensive as requested by the OP. So while I wouldn't say it's the best steak I've ever had, I have had some very good steaks in a relaxed environment without breaking the bank at:
            1. Novacento - Argentinian steakhouse in Soho
            2. Wollensky's grill
            These two are the closest in price to A&M that get you a good steak.

            If you're willing to spend a little more, the best place for the price has got to be Keens.

            Lugers, wolfgangs, Strip house, porter house, etc, are all at a much higer price point - but worth it in my view.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Spends Rent on Food

              I'm not sure what you mean when you say the steakhouses suggested "aren't really casual." There is no steakhouse that has a dress code, i.e., jacket required, and while you will see suits, those are guys who are coming directly from work, and most end up shedding their jackets. So, dressing very casually -- jeans, sports shirts, etc. -- is totally acceptable at all steakhouses.

              I did say upthread that prices at first-tier steakhouses are way more expensive than Angelo & Maxie's. But you get what you pay for in terms of steak quality.

              1. re: RGR

                BLT Prime, Strip House, Wolfgangs, Ben & Jacks, Lugers, Old Homestead... etc, etc.... all fail to meet at least one of OP's three critera of: "casual" "not stuffy" and not "really expensive".

                I do happen to agree with your recommendation of Keens - although it is still more expensive than A&M.

                Sometimes (and I'm not saying you do this RGR, I've just seen it often on these boards) we can all get excited and start trying to tell people the best places to go for a steak in Manhattan, without regard for the specific requests.

                I'm just trying to help out with some options that would be less expensive - and more appropriate given the OPs request.

                  1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                    If you look at my first post, I made it perfectly clear that Keens and all the others steakman55 listed were way more expensive than A&M. So, I agree with you that those suggestions and others that followed did not meet Tina request for "not...really expensive." Ergo, suggesting them doesn't make sense. Period. That said....

                    Following up on your statement that at least one of the other two requirements is not met as well, when it comes to the casual question, I don't agree because casual dress is more than acceptable at all steakhouses. With regard to stuffy, I would be interested to know which steakhouses you think are and and why.

                    1. re: RGR

                      Ahh, I think I see where we differ. I didn't interpret 'casual' to mean strictly dress code, I took casual to mean decor, atmosphere and dress combined.

                      Without getting hung up on semantics, I thought of the type experince you get for your money at Angelo Maxies and used that to define 'casual' for the OP. And if you were to interpret that environment as "casual" then what would/wouldn't fit that mold. In my view, compared to A&M for instance, Del Frisco's is not casual, and a case could be made for others (BLT Prime/ Strip House), but I think I'm starting to get way off topic here - We both agree that these can all be ruled out based on $$$ without getting caught up in the casual debate.

                      As for Stuffy - I think it's one of the ultimate subjective terms. But if you go by "Excessively conventional and unimaginative and hence dull" I think Ben & Jacks (and Sparks not mentioned- thank god) fits this description perfectly. I know I may get bashed for saying that but I'll not be back to either place because I think they are stuffy.

                      Since you asked why: I've had two meals at Ben and Jacks and the steak was good both times but the service, decor, and general ambiance was atrocious - it was so bad that it became the highlight of conversation. We only went back because someone had convinced us they had since renovated (they hadn't). We found it to be the single most uninspiring place to eat a piece of steak.

                      Sparks (it wasn't mentioned in any replies, but you asked which steakhouses I consider stuffy) at one point was a great restaurant, and I am proud to say that I was able to visit it during it's heyday. However those days are long gone and now, it has become (among other things) stuffy.

                      But I do try to stay away from the term 'stuffy' ever since we disagreed on a 'stuffy' restaurant in another thread.

                      All that said... l thought most of the earlier recomendations missed the mark based on price alone.

                      1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                        I personally define stuffy for a steak house as; lots of suits and ties having hushed conversations thinking they are more important than they are. Rude wait staff who would rather be anywhere than serving you your steak a host or hostess that makes you wait for your table just cause they can and a wine list that has very few bottles under 80. Keep in mind this is just my definition of stuffy for a steak house. I think Sparks definitely fits the bill here.

                        1. re: princeofpork

                          If anyone at Sparks ever manages to have "hushed" conversations I'd love to know how ! It may indeed be "stuffy" in terms of attitude and/or contempt for reservation times (why I stopped going) but quiet and overtly precious ? ha !

                        2. re: Spends Rent on Food

                          Thanks for those explanations. While it's nice when someone agrees with me, it actually makes for more interesting conversation when opinions differ. So, I have no problem agreeing to disagree. But, again, I do agree with you about the price issue.

                          1. re: RGR

                            On this, we agree completely - I definitely appreciate when people ask 'Why'.

                            And, for what it's worth, I tend to agree with 98% of your recommendations.