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For GF's Bday, best steak in Manhattan

Hey All, my girlfriend's birthday is coming up the first week of December so I'm starting to get some plans together. She doesn't eat red meat very often, but she requested a steak dinner. I've read several threads where everyone argues about the best steak, it's too much for me to take in, and as someone who doesn't eat red meat, I don't really have any experience on the subject, I thought I'd just post some basics of what we're looking for...

Price isn't a big deal, I imagine this will probably be a $200-250 dinner for us with drinks no matter where we wind up. We're in our mid-20s, so we'd prefer to go to some place with a bit of ambiance, although when it comes down to it, the food (read: the steak) is the most important. This will be for a Sunday night at 7:30PM so I don't think reservations will be impossible anywhere, but I'd like to firm up the plans ASAP.

Keens seems like it always has great reviews, but the location seems terrible.GF has mentioned her desire to go to craftsteak, but I think I've read too many conflicting reviews to risk her meal not being top notch. It might come down to Luger's, though I know she'd prefer to stay in Manhattan. Help!

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  1. Keens would be my first choice (going there for my birthday), and it gets a lot of favorable reviews on CH. What about the location seems so terrible?
    If you do go with Keens, I would call and check how late the kitchen stays open, as I seem to recall that they close earlier on Sundays.

    6 Replies
    1. re: snaporaz

      If it's the best place to go, we'll go, but we don't usually go above 14th street, so being in the Herald Square/MSG vicinty isn't the most enticing.

      1. re: fishermb

        awww, i've usually been a downtown snob too (i lived near 12th St for many years and rarely went above Union Sq when i did), but Keens is worth it...but: while i love the old building and old-NYC vibe, on a Sunday it might be a bit on the dead side in terms of people-ambience...it might feel a bit stiff...

        Another option would be to consider getting steak at a French bistro...you could go to Lucien (First Ave at First St) and get filet mignon au poivre and a great bottle of wine and warm chocolate cake...similarly, i've never had the steak at Balthazar, but that'd make for a nice Sunday bday dinner too...

        1. re: fishermb

          Oh you must go to NY Strip House. I request my birthday there when I am craving steak, like your GF. It's dimly lit, has a sexy dining room, great martinis, old NY feel, and the steak I always order, the NY Strip of course, is fantastic. It might run you slightly more than 200-250, but it is worth it. It is a great special occasion night out also, not as stodgy as the midtown steakhouses.

          -----
          Stromboli
          112 University Pl, New York, NY 10003

          1. re: malibu

            I need to find out what cut of meat she likes...it seems obvious that NY Strip House is known for their NY Strip. Who has the best filet? I was told by a friend that if she wants a portherhouse, to venture across the water to Lugers. Thoughts?

            1. re: fishermb

              To be honest, filets won't vary that much from place to place.

              Strip House is probably best known for their ribeye. Strip House refers to the decor which is bordello'esque. Porterhouses will be Lugers, Keens, BLT Prime. Although I personally think Lugers is either not as good as it used to be or alot of places have caught up to them cause my last few visits have just been ok.

              1. re: fishermb

                While I agree that Luger's porterhouse is probably unbeatable, it is zero ambience (from a girl's (or my own) perspective). I am not sure if it is where you would like to go for a girl's birthday celebration. I will definitely do it for a guy though.

                If you want porterhouse and a bit of ambience, you can try Craft (not Craftsteak) because it also has amazing sides and appetizers. While it is expensive, the portion is big. I imagine that if you two share the porterhouse, with two sides/ appetizers, plus dessert + alcohol, it will run at about $250.

                Keens has great porterhouse but the ambience is more old-school and nostalgic, so I am not sure if that's a place for a girl's birthday (unless she is fine with it).

        2. Here I come to opine on my favorite thing....steak

          If you want the BEST STEAK go to Peter Luger. If you are staying in the city Keens and Strip House are both excellent and serve 2 of the best porterhouses outside of Peter Luger. Keens is known for porterhouse and I think that Strip House's best cut is indeed the porterhouse as well. Both have great atmospheres, although different. Keens is more of that vintage old school take me back in my time kinda thing. Strip House is more bordelloesque and dimly lit but also will have a take you back in time feel. Both incredible.

          I will second the Craft recommendation since you want ambience and it is more of a date spot for a special occasion. Their porterhouse was one of the best I've had. Their sides and non-steak offerings for you are amazing. Overall, Craft is one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. Similar is BLT Prime which serves an amazing porterhouse. Atmospherically, it is a nouveau feel like Craft and they have inventive sides and non-steak offerings.

          As a final note I would also recommend Old Homestead based on pure steak. Their prime rib is one of the best steaks I have ever had. It is a real old school steakhouse, and the atmosphere isn't as nice as some of the other places above but foodwise great. Uncle Jack's also gets overlooked on the board and it serves a great ribeye and great food overall. Also the spot is very very nice. http://www.unclejacks.com/newyorkcity...

          3 Replies
          1. re: steakrules85

            Thanks steakrules for all the info.

            Question on Craft, re: Craftsteak...the only reason I'm hesitant to book Craft is because their steak offerings look very small (all I see is a sirloin, and porterhouse for 2 which won't work because she's a small girl and I don't eat red meat). She did express an interest in Craftsteak, is it really not that good?

            1. re: fishermb

              As far as Craft's steak options there is also a Ribeye for two and sometimes they have skirt steak. Right now they are featuring a flat iron as well. They also always have the braised short ribs.

              I have never eaten at Craftsteak but it is obviously the same owner Tom Colicchio. Many of the same exact dishes will appear on both menus such as the pork belly/bacon appetizer which is outrageous, braised short ribs, scallops, sirloin, porterhouse for two, and ribeye for two among other. Sides such as potatoes au gratin, whipped, gnocchi, the mushrooms, carrots also seem to be standys. And for dessert the chocolate souffle is a staple too. I loved Craft and I am sure that Craftsteak is equally amazing. Either way I don't think you could go wrong. Craftsteak is definitely next on my list--- Being a steak lover I must try it. The main reason I chose Craft over Craftsteak is because I knew I was going for the porterhouse anyway and my mother and sister don't care for steak so I figured Craft was the better option for them.

              The main difference between the two is just what you said. Craftsteak's menu is more steakcentric if you will and divides the menu based on grain fed and grass fed. It offers you many more steak options, including Wagyu (as well as filet, ribeye, t-bone, sirloin). Craft will offer more non-steak offerings (fish, chicken, hen, duck, pork). Both will provide a great food experience and atmosphere. The choice is really yours.

              1. re: fishermb

                Hi fishermb,

                I have been to both Craftsteak and Craft and I suggested Craft in my previous post as you mentioned about porterhouse which is something you can find at Craft in addition to a plethora of non-red meat dishes for yourself. If you want a wider selection of steaks, Craftsteak is obviously a better choice than Craft. Their Japanese wagyu steak is the real deal and just as good as you get in Japan. It will be a major splurge though, priced at $30 per oz. Their non-steak entree selection is a lot smaller than Craft, so your choice will be limited. Of course you can still create a fanastic meal for yourself just from the appetizers and sides alone.

                That said, I think it goes back to what kind of steak your gf wants. If Craft has the kind of steak that she wants, I will go with Craft. If not, then Craftsteak for the birthday girl!

            2. If you're considering going anywhere then you must consider Del Frisco's. I have been to some of the "top" steakhouses in NYC and this is by far one of the best. I would get the filet. All sides are good as well. Atmosphere is very professional and more on the business side. They have a great wine list with hundreds of bottles to choose from.