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NY steakhouse...worth it?

I am coming back to NY in less than a week and am starting to look at the places I would like to eat and I always was tempted to try a steakhouse but put off by the prices. I don't mind paying for a meal that I would not make myself, but I make such good steaks in summertime on the BBQ that I am afraid that I won't know the difference between those and the one I would pay 45$ for!

I looked at a couple of classics like Wolfgang's and Porter House but I'd like the opinions of real carnivores like me.....Is it worth paying for?

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  1. I do like Wolfgangs and find it is worth it,.... every so often.

    Lugars is better but has the added cost of a cab.

    1 Reply
    1. re: msny98

      subway stops right by lugars.......

    2. Dont' fool around - just go to Keen's. It has an unsurpassed porterhouse (no you can't make this at home) and is the best overall restaurant of all the NYC steakhouses. If it is cold out, sit in the pub room by the fireplace. Again, the history of this place alone, you can not reproduce at home.

      5 Replies
      1. re: tbear

        my take on "don't fool around" is to go to Peter Luger....train/cab/horse & buggy....Keen's porterhouse is good, but Luger's is in another class. Yes...Keen's has a classic atmosphere, but Luger is the best in show.

        1. re: drumwine

          I don't think I will consider Luger as "in another class" when compared to Keens. I agree with steakman55 said below that when it comes to dry aged porterhouse, Keens is right up there with Luger. Luger and Keens IMO get a tie in their steaks and nostalgic decor, but Keens have other components to the dining experience that Luger does not necessarily provide - the great service (I never had bad service at Luger, but I wouldn't consider it great), fantastic bar and drinks (their Manhattan and whisky selection is awesome), being able to use credit card if you want to, etc. No surprise, the convenient location is also a plus.

        2. re: tbear

          Agree 100%. As an out of towner who has sampled all NYC steakhouses, most many times, Keen's is in the top 3 consistently for me. While all of them serve USDA Prime, only some serve dry aged, and Keen's (dry aged) portherhouse is tops. Enjoy as much as Luger's without the longer drive, and unless you are ordering your steaks for the grill from Lobel's or some similar top drawer butcher, you ain't tasted nothing yet.

          1. re: steakman55

            i just took my dad for a late lunch at keens and you know what, the place is just perfect. service, scotch, meat...ive been a lifer at lugers but i think keens has it beat these days.

            1. re: steakman55

              Hi steakman55,

              I think you can order Luger's steaks online. Have you (or anyone out there) ever tried?

          2. How does a lunch of Filet Tips @ Del Frisco's sound for less $12.00 .....


            1. Hi...

              i like your question and sympathize with the concerns...

              of all the steak places i like Keens best myself (for the history, vibe, and the food), but personally (purely opinion here) i do find that the prices of steakhouses in general are out of wack with the rest of dining in NYC in terms of a cost-satisfaction ratio...often, i've steered budget-conscious meat-lovers towards French bistros for their steak: because for about half or 2/3rds the price of a steak at Sparks/Keens/Lugers, they can get a delicious filet mignon au poivre or tangy hanger steak w/ frites...if you're a big fan of dry-aged porterhouse, by all means, go to Keens or Lugers instead...but for many i think the price/carnivorous-pleasure calculus tips in favor of a bistro (or one's summertime bbq)

              Personally, i think highly of places that offer prime rib (like Keens does) because it's not something you can replicate as easily on a grill at home...so i think prime rib is sometimes worth the stretch, dollar-wise...

              But a compromise might be going to the pub room at Keens...(one of my fav rooms in NYC in any case)...there you can get a smaller order of prime rib and/or other meat dishes at lower prices, but w/ the same high quality and old-school steakhouse atmosphere...if you are hooked, then you can decide whether to splurge on future meals in the main dining room and/or at Lugers, Sparks, Wolfgang, etc...think of the Keens pub room as a nice gateway drug to hardcore dry-aged steakhouse blow-outs...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Simon

                I'm not sure you want to get the smaller versions at Keens. I greatly prefer the regular sized mutton chop and the king's cut prime rib is a lot better than the english cut, especially if you like your meat rare.

                1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                  I think someone did complain about the english cut prime rib served at the pub in a previous post. I have orderd the smaller sized mutton chops at the pub and it was fine.

                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    It's not that the smaller portion isn't tasty but I like my stuff extremely rare. On the mutton chop the entire section around bone (which you don't get in the pub version) is almost raw.

              2. Thank you all for your great answers! I will definitely check out Keen's but I looked at the menus of Wolfgang and Keen online and Wolfgang's seemed more appealing. The place looks nice also at Wolfgang's but there is no pictures of Keen's. My hotel is right by Time Warner center (I am staying at the 6 Columbus) so that is why I was thinking of Porter house. The view of Central park while eating was a plus for me. Anyone been to Porter House...or is it one of those Time warner restaurants that is not worth the money?

                4 Replies
                1. re: cricri7

                  Don't choose Porter House simply for location. It is not in contention with Keens, Wolfgangs (my in Manhattan fave) or Lugars (best overall)

                  1. re: msny98

                    You asked a question, and got a pretty close to a consensus (rare, indeed, on this site), yet you are ignoring Chowhounders advice to go to Keen's. Wolfgang's is an IMITATION of Luger's - though they do have a damn fine steak. Luger's and Keen's are the real deal.

                    1. re: tbear

                      if the do a damn fine steak, then i don't care if they are an imitation of rich little

                      1. re: thew

                        This thread is basically correct, IMHO. For a steak that you can't replicate at home, go to (in order of my personal priority) Luger, Keens, Sparks and Wolfgang's. Please report back...

                2. lots of opinions already, but if you can tolerate one more: keen's is IMHO quite overrated. the quality of the mutton (lamb) chop is not particularly good, it's just a little bit less commonly found in manhattan. the non-aged steaks are also humdrum. although aged steaks are good quality, i don't think they are much, if at all, better than what you'd find at other steakhouses. to me, the primary reason for going to keens is for the old school new york atmosphere.

                  if you go anywhere in manhattan, the only steaks that are worth the expense, i think, are the dry aged ones.

                  going against conventional wisdom a bit, i think the best dry aged fillet i've had, to my surprise, was at prime grill (not to be confused with primesteak), a kosher steakhouse on e. 49th st. kosher pricing being what it is, though, prices at primesteak are probably higher than what you'd pay elsewhere. (for what it's worth, they also serve shockingly good sashimi for a non-sushi restaurant.)

                  craftsteak serves excellent quality meat, as well, in particular, the 56 day dry aged niman ranch ny strip. for quality of meat, alone, and discounting preparation, i'd say that craftsteak has some of the best quality meat in the city, and they serve corn fed as well as grass fed beef. (i have not tried the grass fed.) some people dislike that the steaks there are pan seared instead of grilled.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: cimui

                    Thanks cimui for answering the question I did not dare to ask....what is mutton????? Since my first language is French, I was almost scared to ask why people dared to eat mutton but it is lamb and I love lamb chops. Tbear said that it was a consensus but not everyone seems enthused by Keen's. I know that nothing is going to get consensus here.

                    Don't worry MichaelG, I will report back...I always do a quick report trip on the restaurants I went to while in NY. I love reading about others' trip report, so I always do the same. I am surely going back to the bar room at the Modern but I was also going back and forth between L'atelier de Joel Robuchon. Is it worth the price and do they have wines by the glass that won,t make me take a second mortgage on my house? I also have my 50$ gift card from Picholine. I will probably go there also. I will probably come back with my liver swelling up:)

                    Thanks to all of you...even if some of you think that I am ignoring your advice, I am not. I always check out the restaurants I want to go to during the day so I will go check out Keen's and Wolfgang's even if my heart tells me Wolfgang's. Campanile's owner once told me that it was one of the only restaurants he went to for the rib eye, that is one of the main reasons why Wolfgang is a favorite, but I will go see Keen's. Thanks again!

                    1. re: cricri7

                      lamb is a sheep under a year old - analagous to veal w/ a cow

                      mutton is anything older

                      1. re: thew

                        Thanks thew! We seem to be eating only lamb here because I never saw anything else in a butcher shop or restaurant. I never saw mutton nowhere. I know that everyone wants to send me to Brooklyn to Peter Luger's but I don't feel like going into Brooklyn alone. I know there is nothing to fear but I am apprehensive about finding my way...haha...Don't even try to explain it to me!

                        As for the Strip house, it seemed to be anonymous but on the bad side. The reviews have not been good lately for that restaurant.

                        1. re: cricri7

                          i wont try, but i will say i have gone by subway and it was easy as meat pie

                          1. re: thew

                            You can read my several exhausting posts on NYC steakhouses as I have been to most of the top ones.

                            Luger is the best without question, however since you have ruled out BK, Keens, Strip House, Old Homestead, Craft, BLT Prime are all fantastic,

                            I would not go to Porterhouse NY. It isnt in the same class as the above.

                      2. re: cricri7

                        oh sorry, cricri! i didn't mean to imply that the mutton was lamb. it's just that keen's "secretly" (actually pretty famously) passes its lamb chops off as mutton, which is older sheep as thew said. mutton is generally stronger tasting and less tender than lamb.

                        hope your liver makes it through the trip -- at least long enough for us to get your report. ;)

                      3. re: cimui

                        Funny to read this- I was very surprised at how good the steak tasted at Prime Grill-it's a kosher place and I was dragged kicking and screaming the first time figuring the food would be over-priced and mediocre. High priced yes, but excellent steak, and that's coming from someone who has been to almost all the spots mentioned here.

                      4. if youre going to do it, go to Peter Luger's. Its the best hands down.

                        If you need to stay in the City, try the Strip House.

                        Everything in NYC is worth it.

                        It just costs a little more.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sated

                          Not that you need another but here goes ... I agree with Sated; if you don't mind crossing the bridge, Peter Luger's is the way to go; worth the short trek and the only place I have ever walked out with a doggie bag [you just can't leave any of that delish steak & it makes for a great steak/egg scramble the next day!].
                          In the city, Strip House.. opposite end of the spectrum in terms of ambiance and equally great but different steak experience. . I've also had some very nice lunches at Wolfgang's in Tribeca; solid good food. Enjoy!

                        2. I've just been to BLT Prime -

                          I must be one of the only people to eat at BLT Prime who was disappointed in the overall experience. Is it me? The food I tasted was good, but nothing other restaurants don't do for half the price. The presentation, and this was my main complaint, there was no presentation. I had the Dover sole - a fish plopped in the center of a white plate - that was it. My friend had a good steak but again, it was plopped on the plate with not a hint of presentation! Incredible! Even Friday's tries to make a plate look good. We didn;t care for the ambiance which was basically sitting in a large non-descript room with too much noise.

                          My first two wine picks were not available but of course the more expensive wine was. At the end, the total for 4 came to over $400. Would any of us go back? No. This place delivers hype but no heart.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: joschus

                            That is ALL BLTs. Not bad but overpriced for the quality, there is either better or cheaper or both. Although, I do not hate on BLT Burger. Lower end, not full service prices and I liked the burgers and maybe a side.

                            1. re: joschus

                              This is pretty much every steakhouse. Everything is ala carte. When you order an entree that is all you get on the plate. However, BLT Prime will give you some carrots and onions with the short ribs and my sister's shrimp dish also had some kind of garnish. And their steaks of course come with herbed butter and bone marrow.

                              1. re: joschus

                                Well, I hope at least you can tell the difference between the taste of the steak and seafood from BLT Prime vs Friday's. That's what you are paying for, the quality, as well as the decor, service, etc. If you can't detect the taste difference then perhpas BLT prime is really not for you.

                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                  Oh, I absolutely agree with you. I don't even go to Fridays!!!!! Stopped that way back in college. haha!

                                  I did appreciate the taste of the fish, which was good. And, my friend also liked his steak. But the single entre placed alone on a plain white plate looked very plain, very uninspired. I know there are sides to order,but a little plate presentation at those prices is not too much to expect. And, the ambiance was quite like the food - acceptable but way less than enjoyable.

                                  1. re: joschus

                                    I guess you have never been to a top-tier NYC steakhouse. The most garnish I've ever seen is a sprig of parsley (or a pool of melted butter/fat). If anything, the steak at BLT Prime is actually presented better than most. At least its in a little cast iron skillet!!!

                                    1. re: ESNY

                                      I agree and echo these comments also.