Keens is probably the closest superb steakhouse near your hotel. You could stay within your budget and still enjoy a cocktail if you dine in the pub area and enjoy the filet tips.
A little bit north is the somewhat new STK where I recently had skirt steak served perfectly rare. The restaurant has a very interesting looking modern interior and the service was professional.
There are two locations in NY - one on 43rd st and 6th ave and the other on west 12th in the Village.
72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018
26 Little West 12th St, New York, NY 10014
1114 6th Ave, New York, NY 10110
STK is known for its party atmosphere more than its quality aged meat. Think B&T and tables of cackling tourists from the midwest. I found it average. and NO WAY is OP getting outta there for under $50 unless he literally orders a small steak and glass of water. (remember, tax and tip) Plus the MePa location would bum me out if i was sitting at that disco-lit bar eating alone. Just not a eat at bar sorta place.
You are correct about the cost of STK. I should have mentioned that I went for a prix fix lunch at the midtown location. I found the room volume was quiet enough for a conversation. I am always impressed (perhaps I shouldn't be) by a restaurant which serves a thin steak like skirt truly rare.
If you like Argentinian steakhouses and don't mind going to Alphabet City (N or R from 34th and Broadway to 8th St., then a walk), look at this menu: http://www.buenosairesnyc.com/menu.php
I paid more than $50/person the last time I went, but that was because we got apps, wine, and dessert. For just the steak, you could do it for under $50.
513 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
I've also had a few good meals at Primehouse on Park at 27th, which would be a pleasant springtime walk from your hotel.
Also, I recall that Bobby Van's has always been quite good. It's in an old bank vault, which is an interesting experience. You can take a 1 train (7th Avenue IRT local) down there. I see that they seem to have several locations now, but the one you want to go to is the Broad Street flagship.
There's always Peter Luger's in Brooklyn, but it doesn't sound like you want a blowout. ;) But if you do, bring cash. They only accept their own proprietary credit cards.
Primehouse New York
381 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
Bobby Van's Steakhouse
25 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004
Confused. Affinia is not lower Manhattan.
Are you looking for steak near there or in Lower Manhattan? Those are two different areas.
Wolfgang's - Park Ave
Wolfgang's - Tribeca
Oh wait, may be out of your budget. Classic NY Steakhouses add up. You really just want to order a steak on a plate and a glass of water? I mean, I guess you can do that on $50, incl tax and tip..
72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018
4 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016
409 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013
Sorry, I showed my ignorance of the geography of NYC. Yes, somewhere near the Affinia, but I don't mind taking the subway either. I had heard a lot about Keen's and Wolfgang's but they seemed to be more like a $100 meal (the steaks alone would approach the $50 in many cases). Thanks for the info.
"Yes, somewhere near the Affinia, but I don't mind taking the subway either"
Well, then anywhere really! Good.
You're not going to get a great NYC steakhouse experience on your budget. You can do a search on the board - upper right corner there is a search box. I believe there was a thread recently on non-steakhouse steaks which may mean lesser prices, but not always. I think some people like The Knickerbocker, but it has an older, local crowd, as in 60plus.
How about steak frites? I love the steak au poivre at Raoul's - great place for a single diner to dine at the bar. Or their bar steak is a great value in NYC: salad, bread, steak frites for $24 (is that right? Used to be $22) You can get a few glasses of thir house red too! Or the steak frites at Balthazar is great too and again, nice for single diner. mmm, steak frites...
Knickerbocker Bar and Grill
33 University Pl, New York, NY 10003
180 Prince St., New York, NY 10012
80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012