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craft, quality meats, or keens

Hi everybody,
I live in northern westchester so I don't know too much about manhattan restaurants. As a christmas gift I wanted to treat my friend to a nice restaurant. His favorite foods include red meat (his favorite steak is a ribeye), ice cream, scotch (Lagavulin), and donuts. I narrowed it down to these three restaurants and I'm not sure which to pick.

I read some posts on chowhound and yelp. And I think these are must have dishes of each restaurant.

Craft-sweetbreads, crispy bacon, shortribs, jerusalem artichokes, hen of the woods mushrooms, and a pastry (probably some donut) with ice cream.

Quality meats-64 ounce double cut ribeye, corn brulee, portabello fries, and donuts and ice cream

Keens-prime rib, mutton chop, carrots with brown butter, creamed spinach, hot fudge sundae

If you guys have another restaurant in mind feel free to post.
Any input would be appreciated.

Happy holidays and thanks.

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  1. Given the way you've described your friend, I think Keens might win by a nose. Great meat -- prime rib, mutton chop and steak are all top rate, plus an unbelievable scotch selection. Donuts, well, there are plenty of Dunkin Donuts in the city for a quick stop on the way home.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BHAppeal

      lol, thanks.
      NYC obviously destroys Westchester in quality and quantity of food establishments. But there are dunkin donuts here in westchester too. We aren't that food deprived.
      Is the bar at Keens a lot better than the bars at Quality meats and Craft or is it just slightly better?

      1. re: BHAppeal

        Agreed -- Keens has great steak and a huge scotch list, and one of the best old school NY atmospheres in the city. The service is top notch. The bar area is like a blast from the past. And they do scotch flights, which means he can taste a bunch of different ones for a reasonable price. They have a 250+ single malt scotch collection, one of the best in the city.

      2. thanks. the only thing that I think Keens is weaker in than the other two restaurants is dessert. Is the hot fudge sundae their best dessert?

        3 Replies
        1. re: daffyduck

          You could always go elsewhere for dessert if you're still hungry. I might go sit at the bar at Hearth and get their apple cider donuts. Or the Bar Room at the Modern, for their beignets. Or Craft, even! All three of these places will serve you dessert at the bar.

          http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/0...

          1. re: kathryn

            Thanks! that's a great idea!
            wow is that you who wrote the review.
            Craft's boston creme doughnuts look insane.

        2. Daffy.. have you been reading my posts?? Seems like you have mentioned a lot of the dishes I have recommended for each restaurant lol.

          Most of the dishes you mentioned as "must eats" are spot on. For Craft, I'd also try to add in a risotto because they do a great risotto and their gnocchi is fantastic. For dessert the chocolate souffle is one of the best, pain perdu is awesome too, and they always have an interesting assortment of ice cream.

          Keens- You MUST go for the Porterhouse for two. In addition for the King cut prime rib and mutton chop this is a must order. Get the fries too- some of the best around. For dessert, if they have a cobbler on the menu go for it. Also, aside from the hot fudge sundae some other great ice cream delights include coffee cantata and the bananas foster.

          Quality Meats- You hit it spot on I don't know if there is anything else I'd add. However, I think both Craft and Keens are on a whole different plateau. While good, Craft and Keens are a better experience and better food.

          You can't go wrong with any of these it is really just what you are looking for.

          Strictly old school steakhouse experience, Top notch steak and atmosphere, Incredible old school service, Priceless NYC- Keen's
          A more balanced, creative, more focus inventive sides/desserts, newer- Craft

          Quality Meats is a distant third on this list for me.

          9 Replies
          1. re: steakrules85

            Yeah lol, when I initially begun my search I started strictly with steak joints and your name came up a lot :-P. So yes many of the dishes I mentioned are probably ones you recommended to others. BTW what is a banana foster?
            I have another question that's unrelated, steakrules have you tried the steak at xaviars x2o in yonkers? I will be going there this Wednesday and was wondering if I should order it.

            1. re: daffyduck

              Bananas Foster is a dessert made from bananas and vanilla ice cream, with the sauce made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur. The butter, sugar and bananas are cooked, and then the alcohol is added and ignited. Straight from wikipedia.

              Never been to Xaviars, but my friend from upstate says its great.

              1. re: steakrules85

                thanks steakrules, i just had the cowboy ribeye at x2o recently and i didn't like it that much, but my dad loved it. it tastes a little sweet and cinnamony. i'm no steak expert but if you prefer simple meat, salt, and pepper I don't recommend the steak. BTW I plan on going to Peter Luger's while I'm off from school. Besides the Holy Cow sundae (I'm assuming this is the best dessert there) what dessert would you reccomend? I'm gravitating towards the apple strudel or pecan pie because I think it will go well with the ice cream but I heard great things about the cheesecake.

                1. re: daffyduck

                  Regarding your question on PL for dessert, the Holy Cow Hot fudge is the best sundae I have ever had. The next best dessert is the pecan pie and the apple strudel. The pecan pie is probably the best I have ever had, served warm with ice cream it is fantastico. And yes, the cheesecake is also great ( and I am not a huge plain cheesecake guy). I think the cheesecake is from Ferrara's. Regardless, you really can't go wrong because all of their desserts are delicious. It is basically just a personal preference on what you like the best.

              2. re: daffyduck

                Bananas Foster was created in 1950 by the chef at the famous Brennan's, in New Orleans.

                http://www.neworleansrestaurants.com/...

                Keens is our favorite NYC steakhouse. Our dessert of choice is the Coffee Cantata.

                1. re: RGR

                  sounds great! I will either order this or go elsewhere for dessert. btw do you know if their ice cream homemade?

                  1. re: daffyduck

                    I don't know if Keens makes their own ice creams. Regardless, the quality is excellent.

                    1. re: RGR

                      Agreed. Their coffee ice cream is among the best I have ever had. Go for it.

              3. re: steakrules85

                Keen's has a great cocktail menu, great atmosphere, the mutton chop is good. But I disagree about porterhouse for two, it doesn't compare with Peter Luger's, it was not brought out sizzling and was just not as good.

              4. Keen's. If your friend is a steak and scotch guy, this is the place to go. In addition to individual steaks, they also have one of the best prime ribs in the city (plus a great mutton chop for something different). And their scotch list is about 5 full pages long. Tons of Islay whiskeys for your Lagavulin loving friend.

                1. Definitely not Quality Meats, thats the east part.

                  CRAFT has better food than Keens, hands down. The food at Keens is fine, but I think the steak is just okay. If your friend is a foodie, take him to CRAFT and skip Keens. However, it sounds to me like your buddy maybe is not a gourmet, and if you want old school, clubby and comfy, go for Keens on the atmosphere, for sure.

                  1. Where did you happen to go daffyduck??

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: steakrules85

                      I made reservations for craft on jan 6th. my friend is busy with family things until after new years and that was the best day for him. His doctor has told him to avoid alcohol for awhile because he has a stomach ulcer from h pylori. So I decided not to go to Keens.
                      I just read from yelp that craft roasts their steaks so a char while keeping the steak bloody rare will be impossible. But I'm sure the food will be fine.
                      BTW how big are the first courses. I was thinking about ordering a bunch of them as opposed to a main so I could sample more of the menu.

                    2. you said he liked ice cream and donuts....
                      quality meats has a 'donut ice cream' served in a pint with an ice cream scoop. it's coffee ice cream with donut chunks.

                      my husband says its to die for

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        thanks, yeah i'm definitely going to check out QM while i have a break from classes. i really like steak, but ice cream is my favorite food, i could swim and bathe in ice cream. so QM really sounds appealing to me. sounds like a good place for a group too. i'm glad my high school friends are back from college since most of them are into steak, unlike a lot of my vegetarian college friends.

                        1. re: daffyduck

                          my husband takes lots of clients to quality meats... he said a lot of dishes are served family style.. so perfect for a group. enjoy!

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            other than the corn brulee and the portabello fries does your husband recommend any other sides? and does he think the 64 ounce ribeye is their best steak?

                            1. re: daffyduck

                              64 oz ribeye was really good. The corn creme brulle and portabello fries are musts. Also the gnocchi is quite good alsoo.

                      2. I ended up going to Craft, and everything was good and we ordered a boatload of food. There was three at my table, for the first course we got pork trotter and sweetbreads. The sweetbreads were like chicken nuggets but soft, and the pork trotter was pig's feet with an egg on top. The pork trotter was very flavorful but a bit messy to eat. It also had a huge layer of fat somewhere in there, so make sure to take it off before digging in.
                        Our mains were the NY Duck and Short ribs. The ribs were tender and soft. The duck was not that good to me, but it's my friend's favorite protein after red meat. And he seemed to really enjoy it.
                        Our sides were the jerusalem artichokes (addicting! my favorite side! I could eat a huge bag of these everyday), mushroom medley (okay, some of the mushrooms in there were better than others), a pumpkin agnolotti (flavorful, my second favorite side), and garlic rissoto (nice and creamy). For dessert we went overboard. We had the sugar spice donuts, pain perdu, ice cream sampler, chocolate souffle, and banana cream pie. lol When ordering our waiter was shocked. We couldn't decide what desserts to get and were planning to take most of it home but that didn't happen lol.
                        My favorite were the donuts, they were warm and came in two dunkin sauces. One chocolate and one apple I think. But I mostly used ice cream. It seriously doesn't get much better than warm donuts with a delicious crust of sugar and milky smooth ice cream. The banana cream pie was my second favorite, it had a lot of flavor and an awesome crust, but it comes with alot of whipped cream on top. I personally don't like whipped cream I think it tastes like nothing, but I am in a small minority. It was easy to fork away most if it though. The pain perdu was like the best french toast I ever had. Really awesome especially with ice cream. The souffle was my least favorite. I wouldn't be able to eat it by itself. It is just too intense with chocolate flavor, I need other flavors. But I was able to enjoy it with ice cream. Out of the ice creams my favorite was vanilla by a hair, the rest were about equal and they included eggnog, cookies and cream, buttermilk, and cinnamon. There was another flavor it wasn't bad, just not memorable.
                        On our way out we got complimentary pumpkin muffins. I'm eating one right now as I type. It's pretty awesome. The top has a delicious crust and the muffin is not dry at all.
                        Now that I look back on that night, I can't believe we finished everything.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: daffyduck

                          Great thanks for the report. Glad you enjoyed one of my fave restaurants.

                        2. So we're heading to NY in March and want one night to be "steak night". Sides are important, but want a great steak. Likely the Porterhouse for 2. We're pretty much thinking Craft, Peter Luger's or Quality Meats. We ate at Craft years ago so glad to hear it's still good. Welcome other ideas, but definitely in the mood for a really good steak.

                          I'm guessing PL will win on steak, just not sure I want to schlep out to Brooklyn for dinner and if we do is it relatively easy by subway? Not really up for a week of high end eating and a car service to Brooklyn for dinner. Thanks

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: teejaymoore

                            If you do not want to go to Brooklyn and want to stay in the city.. These are the places I have had porterhouse..

                            Keens, Strip House, and Craft all terrific.

                            1. re: teejaymoore

                              i recently had a great dinner at striphouse. the corn panchetta side is off the charts. i also really liked the bone in ribeye and creamed spinach. the bone in strip was good but not great and my potatoes romanoff were a little dry. i did not try the goose fat potatoes but i heard good things about it. i believe steaks are roasted at craft so you won't be able to get that char that most steakhouses do. I wouldn't go to craft if steak is going to be your main focus, but I love craft. it's up there for me in my best dining experiences.

                              1. re: teejaymoore

                                I'd go to a true steakhouse in lieu of Craft, IMO.

                                BTW, PL is accessible by subway. Ease will depend upon where you're coming from. Google Maps, Hopstop.com, and MTA.info ALL have trip planners with estimated trip lengths, where you need to do transfers, etc.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  Thanks!! Think we may have to make the trek! Le Relais also looked interesting (how French to serve one thing).