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Peter Luger=nothing but hype

On our last trip to NYC, my girlfriend and I made reservations at Lugers after reading many comments about what a great steak place it is.

Nothing but hype. The steak was virtually tasteless. It tasted completely unseasoned and was extraordinarily fatty. I understand that good steaks need fat for flavor, but this one had way too much.

The hyped onion rings were a brick of greasy, tasteless twigs. I was expecting something great, and, instead, it was a brick of nonsense that you would expect to receive at Ruby Tuesday.

And to top it all off, the waiter was incredibly rude. He wore a scowl the entire time and acted like he was doing us a favor to take our order. He was so rude that we almost left prior to receiving our steak. I wish we had.

We thought we would salvage the meal with one of those purportedly great sundaes, and it stunk too. It was nothing you couldn't get at any run of the mill eatery.

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Peter Luger Steak House
178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

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  1. I am truly sorry you had such a bad experience at PL. Having said that,I am also quite surprised that your steak was "Virtually Tasteless". PL can be faulted for many things,Rude service, watery sides,old boy atmosphere,cash only policy, but never for tasteless steaks, which just about every premium steakhouse from Palm to Cut trip over themselves to emulate. Perhaps you should try Smith and Wollensky's marinated Cajun Ribeye next time, Plenty seasoning there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: currymouth

      Thanks for the tip on S&W. I'm not necessarily looking for a steak drowned in seasoning. However, the one I had a PL tasted like it didn't even have salt or pepper on it. I think I'll give Keens a shot on my next trip to NYC. If their steak is similarly tasteless, then I'll just realize that I need to cook my steaks at home if I want a really good one.

    2. I wouldn't call the steak tasteless, but overrated? Yes. However, the bacon @PL is phenomenal to quite phenomenal. My favorite steakhouse is the Strip House. Also, in my opinion, Sparks has the best strip in the city. Wolfgang's is pretty good as well.

      1. what type of steak did you order at lugers? if you didn't get the porterhouse that seems to be a common mistake (their other steaks are not the best out there)

        also the bacon is a must order, its possible its the best thing there

        1. PL can be uneven- but "worst"? That doesn't ring true. I've done consistently better there, at least on the Porterhouse, than at Smith & Wolensky, Spark's, Wolfgang's (not bad on the main item at least), Homestead, Palm, and can't remember where else. And PL is not exactly "known" for the onion rings at all- they just added that to the menu during the spinach scare a while ago and then it stayed.

          Rude waiter? Sometimes- and I've complained. Somebody else must have too about this particular guy. The guy is gone.

          So, sorry your night sucked, but because their steak hits the mark 3 out of 4 times, which beats the average of the others, I'll be back.

          4 Replies
          1. re: addictedtolunch

            yeah that is the other thing about that place...the service has always been known to be brisk, im not a fan of it, but its the way it is supposed to be although there is obviously a difference between straight rude and brisk

            1. re: Lau

              You go to Lugars for steak, if you want great service, go to the Four Season. The waiters are what they are, you can love em or leave em. Lugars is just like every other restaurant, if you go there enough and sit in the same section or ask for a specific waiter, you'll have no isssues. Here s what i do know, many of the waiters HATE waiting on Europeans, due to the fact MOST tip like crap. Next time you go to Lugars, do yourself a favor, DONT ask for a menu. There are a handful of things you need to know; shrimp cocktail, tomato and onion, bacon, lamb chops for appys, only order your steaks in twos(for 4 people order two -twos) creamed spinach, hash browns and dont forget the schlag with dessert.

              1. re: baldwinwood

                There won't be a next time. And I'm about the farthest thing there is from a European. I start my tip at 30% and work up or down based on service. There's no excuse for the "service" this guy gave us. And if that's what they're teaching there, then shame on them. If people wear that shart as a badge of honor, then that's twisted too.

                Luger is overhyped. It's a bloated dinosaur that survives based off hype. I've had some phenomenal meals in NYC on many visits, but this place ranked at the bottom for us. The steak was OK, but it's nowhere near good enough to warrant a return based on all the other negatives. I can cook a better steak at home with my eyes closed.

                1. re: Slob

                  Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but you cannot buy the quality of steak served at PL. Not even at the best fanciest butcher in town.

          2. Slob:

            As your opinion is clearly so far out of line with the consensus on this board and certainly my view, perhaps you could give us an example of a steak restaurant that would meet your standards?

            13 Replies
            1. re: StheJ

              I have to agree with Slob. I went with two other people, had the Porterhouse, tomato and onion, creamed spinach, homefries (forgot to order the bacon). With tax and tip the bill was almost $300. None of were very impressed with anything. We will not be back.

              I'm sorry, the cocktails were great.

              1. re: Brklynbobby

                Exactly, Brklynbobby. It was merely OK. The sides were horrible. The service bordered on insanely bad. And the dessert was nothing. The bill didn't meet what was delivered.

                1. re: Slob

                  Slob is right on the money. It is not thee same.

              2. re: StheJ

                I think Slob's take is a bit overstated, but I do agree with him/her that PL is overrated. (I also think Keen's is overrated -- especially the "mutton" steak.) I have enjoyed steaks at Craftsteak, more.

                I think oftentimes, it's a mistake to assume there is a board consensus about a given place. In many cases, opposing viewpoints aren't given much attention because certain 'hounds are far more vocal about their opinions and far more aggressive about clashing with opposing viewpoints. And there's always the bandwagon effect. If you hear that everyone else likes a place, after a while, many of us are prone to like that place, too, even if this revises an initial opinion.

                So... just want to note: Slob, I respect your viewpoint, appreciate your "contrarian" thread and to a certain extent agree with it. I don't think PL is absolutely dreadful, but it's not as fantastic as some say it is.

                1. re: cimui

                  I think there are three issues with people's wide swath of opinions on lugers:
                  1) "mis-ordering": there is alot of "mis-ordering" that happens where people order all the wrong things at luger's (i.e. they order a filet or something like that)
                  2) personal taste around cuts of steak: also think there is also a crowd that just doesn't like the porterhouse cut (i.e. its not for their tastes and they aren't really going to like a porterhouse anywhere), which is perfectly fine since taste is a very intangible matter of opinion. For me, the porterhouse is my favorite cut of steak (american style), so i'm a big fan. I haven't found a better porterhouse cut better than luger's and b&j
                  3) types of steakhouses: this kind of goes to point #1, but the other thing is that i think people are of the view that "a steakhouse is a steakhouse" and i disagree b/c i think different steakhouses are better or worse at different cuts of meat. As i said before, I think luger's and ben & jacks (which i go to more often) is not the best at other cuts of steak outside of the porterhouse. also i think their sides are weak with the exception of the bacon which i think is exceptional (perhaps better than the steak)

                  1. re: Lau

                    I think this is a good analysis, Lau. Steak -- especially aged steak -- varies a tremendous amount from place to place. And certainly a great deal of how much we enjoy a steak is subjective! In my case, I like the porterhouse cut just fine, but just don't think Luger's always does a good job of bringing out its full (natural) flavor. I also think I've had this cut better marbled at other places.

                    (The best aged porterhouse steak I've had in NYC was actually not purchased in a restaurant, but from Lobel's.)

                    1. re: Lau

                      I remember my first dry aged porterhouse, and also remembered that the first bites struck me as tasting "funny", but I grew up with grass fed beef from Argentina or old water buffalo depending what was on the shelves that week. We would marinate and season it to within an inch of it's life.
                      My point is perhaps the OP might not be used to the distinctive taste of dry aged beef, again I don't know the OP's history or even where he lives .

                      1. re: currymouth

                        curry, I eat dry aged steak all the time and love it when cooked and seasoned properly. I also cook and eat grass fed steaks quite a bit and love them too. My problem was not an agreeable palate. It was a tasteless overhyped steak, sorry ass sides, and putrescent service.

                    2. re: cimui

                      Exactly, cimui. I'm not one to fall for hype. And I'm no follower. I wanted to go in there with a clean slate and just judge the place on what they delivered. And it was overall a miserable experience. We couldn't wait to leave. The OK steak didn't make up at all for all the other faults. The thought of ever returning to PL will NEVER cross our minds.

                      1. re: cimui

                        It isn't just consensus on CH. Peter Luger has been given the highest rating on Zagat...28..for 15 years.

                        It is always rated the #1 steak in the country in every survey.

                          1. re: Slob

                            After reading everyone's post - I must say that I too tried PL and thought it was tasteless. I understand that they have an insane reputation for their "cuts" and all, but in the end I want flavor - and all's I got was a bland slab of meat and robbed. Also tried the sundae and it was NOTHING. The service was absolutely weird.