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May 23, 2009 05:11 PM

Casual Steakhouse

Myself, the other half and my 14 year old son are coming to Manhattan end of June. On our last night in town I would like to take them out for a steak dinner. The draw back is we are terminally casual. If you put a sportcoat on me I would literally burst into flames:) I was thinking Uncle Jacks because it had a family friendly vibe on the website but I called and the girl said they are business casual which is to much for us.

We are jeans and t shirt people. Anywhere we can get a decent steak without being looked down up for our attire? Or if that isn't possible what would you recommend as a must eat at while in Manhattan that is CASUAL? Did I mention it has to be CASUAL?

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  1. Minetta Tavern. dress code is casual, and Frank Bruni just gave it 3 stars in this week's NY Times, calling it the best steakhouse in the city, with "some of the most expertly aged, flavorful and exquisitely prepared prime beef in New York."

    BTW, "business casual" includes jeans - if you're at least willing to put on a button-down instead of a t-shirt, you'd be fine in most places. plus, in this economy, restaurants are so happy to get business they might even be more flexible on dress codes.

    anyway, i think Minetta is your answer.

    oh, and i love your screen name!

    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    2 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Thanks gourmet, the link to the review was great also thanks. That may just be the winner! Also thanks for the business casual tip I can handle a button down shirt. I thought business casual was a tie and dockers:)
      Thanks for the compliment on the name. It's a term of endearment bestowed on me by my coworkers.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Good Luck on getting a reservation after 7 PM or even seating @ the bar after 7 PM (a hostess stands outside and doesnt let anyone in without a resy during prime hours to the bar)

        The place is very small..I believe about ~15 tables total and a resy is pretty rough right now.

      2. Not one steakhouse requires anyone to dress up. When you see men in suits and ties, it is because they often come directly from work. But you can certainly wear jeans. And as for the shirt, it does not have to be a button-down. Since it is summer, a "dress" t-shirt is perfectly acceptable.

        With regard to Minetta Tavern, despite the fact that Bruni has dubbed it a "steakhouse," it is actually, as the name indicates, a tavern, which has steak on the menu, albeit, if we are to believe Bruni, first-rate ones. (I haven't been so I can't vouch for it.)

        When it comes to classic steakhouses, I highly recommend Keens. It's been in its 36th Street location since 1885. Thus, in addition to delicious steaks, chops (including the signature mutton chop), etc., there is the unmatchable charming Old New York ambiance, i.e., walls filled with authentic American memorabilia and rows of old clay smoking pipes suspended from all the ceilings, as well as pipes belonging to famous people dating back to the 19th century in display cases in the vestibule. Service is excellent, and Keens is family-friendly.

        So, dress casually and enjoy!

        4 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          i wondered if i should clarify that Minetta isn't technically a steakhouse, but i figured the name was enough of a clue ;)

          Keens would have been my next suggestion...but i've never been there and i've heard it's an old-school, clubby atmosphere, so i thought it might not be casual enough for the OP. i stand corrected!

          hostile1, RGR always writes very informative and thoughtful posts. you'd be well served to take his(?) advice. whatever you decide, enjoy your trip!

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Thanks for the compliment, goodhealthgourmet. :-)

            I should note that my experience with steakhouses pales into miniscule comparison with board regular steakrules85's. As his screen name implies, he is, imo, *the* "go to" guy when it comes to all things steakhouse-related.

            And, btw, I'm a woman.

            1. re: RGR

              thanks for the gender clarification - with only initials to go by it's hard to tell!

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                True enough about initials, but even a more descriptive screen name, such as yours, doesn't provide a gender clue. Of course, you've provided one via your cute cartoon photo. :-)

        2. You have ALOT of choices in Manhattan. I echo the the sentiment about Keens (the pipes on the ceiling are awesome) and the Lincoln Oysters are a great throwback.

          I would also throw Strip House into the mix - I dont know if I would say its casual, but a jacket is not required.

          1. My partner and I are not normally "steakhouse people", but we tried Keens recently, based mainly on RGR's and others' recommendations, and loved it. The mutton chop and prime rib were just magnificent pieces of meat. The appetizers, sides and desserts were simple but very well prepared. The atmosphere is upscale casual and there did not seem to be any dress code. I would highly recommend it. Minetta sounds like it may be very good (though I'm always a bit skeptical about Frank Bruni's rave reviews) but forget about getting a reservation, at least until the hype dies down.

            1. i think the other poster had it right, if youre willing to sport jeans and a button down shirt, you're good to go most anywhere in the city. no one rolling jacket/tie required.

              ive never had a bad steak dinner in nyc, but if you want a great one, hit del friscos on 49th and 7th ave. by far my favorite- love the sides. their ny strip is my favorite steak in the city.

              if you like a porterhouse, try wolfgangs. they do the bacon as well similar to lugers.

              hell, why youre on topic, maybe try to hit peter lugers in brooklyn. great classic porterhouse steak dinner.

              my favorite non-steak steakhouse is palm west. i only get the chicken parm (which still isnt the best chicken parm, but its better than their steak). chase it with a piece of the carrot cake.

              my best spot of late is the bobby vans grill on 50th and 7th ave. they feature some great italian stuff on their menu and have had some really inventive specials. had their beef wellington special on my last visit and it was spectacular. this is located where the old 'stella osteria' was.

              even more casual is the wollenskys grill. very informal. try the roastbeef hash (only if you like stuff slathered in butter though).

              none of these places are going to be super casual. i think youll find most people dining are business people have business dinners. jeans or khakis and a button down though and youre good to go at any of those spots.