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Keen's - Worst meal

I started with 50 oysters for $100. I should have known by the reasonable price the oysters would suck. They tasted like mud.

Mutton Chop - tasteless. I love lamb. major disappointment.

My friend steak was the worst part. It was not just unedible, it was also unable to be cut. We asked the waiter about the steak and he grabbed it off the table and the bill as if he expected it to come back. The waiter said "we did not dry age it enough.

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  1. Just to be clear: they didn't charge you for the steak?

    1. I had a similar experience with Keen's steaks, a number of years back.

      The meat wouldn't cut in spots, or chew, and they handled it poorly.

      From the bread on up, the quality of the meal struck me as surprisingly low.

      1. Wow, I am shocked to hear this. I don't remember what we had but I celebrated a birthday at Keen's a few years ago and it was spectacular. Not happy to hear that perhaps the quality has declined in recent years.

        1. I was a loyal customer and longtime fan of Keens until circa 1998. I used to run work parties upstairs in the Bull Moose Room often and was a huge fan. Then came an incident with a manager that planned events there and really soured me on the place. I started to go back occassionally about 10 years ago and noticed it just wasn't the same. I agree the Mutton Chop was awful last time I had it. To me, it seems like it's turned into a tourist trap. Great place to stop in and have a beer at the bar but as far as paying that sort of money for a meal, there are too many places that are better (and to try).

          I did notice a new bar opened across the street called The Keg Room. I have to give it a try, looks good.

          1. i hate to pile on here, but:

            i'd been a fan of Keens for 12+ years...i love the history of the place, and usually have found the oysters, fried-chicken/endive salad, prime rib, and mutton chop to be excellent...and then:

            i went there about 10 months ago w/ the girl i was dating then, excited to share the place with her...service was beyond awful, food mediocre...it just seemed very very very "off"...

            I suspect something is up...new owner?...poor management?...but something was clearly rotten in the vibe, and having been there 20+ times in the past, i don't think i was imagining things...

            I haven't been back since, just because we NYers have so many great options that it takes committment to return to even a past-favorite when things were bad the last time...

            Interested to hear a spectrum of reports, as i'm not sure how soon i'll be back unless the news is good...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Simon

              My last meal there was two years ago. Everything was excellent. The meal included mutton chops, someone got fish and another had steak. It was all good. Even the service.

              1. re: Simon

                Went in October, the steak was still very food in the pub room. We didn't have a reservation, but didn't wait very long. The host was very nice, apologized for the wait. Server was very good as well. We ordered the porterhouse for two, medium rare with a side of mushrooms. The steak was maybe cooked more towards medium than medium rare compared to previous visits, but still good.

                1. re: Simon

                  We've been there 2 or 3 times in the last year or so and all was excellent. It continues to be a place we recommend.

                2. Sorry to hear all these bad reviews. I ate at Keens with my family yesterday for the first time after reading good reviews on CH.
                  We had a wonderful lunch! Our waiter was cordial, and took good care of us. He told us all about the history of the place which was very entertaining.
                  We started with oysters, which although not the best I've ever had, were fresh and tasty, then we shared a king's cut prime rib and a mutton chop with the creamed spinach and boiled potatoes. Everything was delicious.
                  Most of all, the atmosphere there is just so unique, cozy and full of charm and personality.
                  It was a perfect holiday lunch. We'd go back in a heartbeat!

                  1. I took my son there for his 15th birthday on Thanksgiving weekend. I told him for weeks prior that the place was historic, supposed to be one of the best in the city, etc. This is a kid who waits all year to eat a piece of meat the size of his head. I've never seen him leave a scrap behind.

                    We were there 6:30 on a Sunday, so the place wasn't too crowded. He ordered the bacon appetizer, which he loved. I had the lobster bisque special. It was bitter and without any seasoning. I passed it onto my husband the garbage disposal. Our other guests made do with the complimentary crudites and bread.

                    Three of us had the filet. It had a very "meaty" flavor and was good, not great. My husband chose the short rib special. He's had a lot of short ribs in his time and he barely touched this dish. He said it was bland and tasted burned.

                    My 6' baby, the birthday boy, ordered a t-bone medium. Well, that sucker was as rare as I've ever seen all the way through. Of course, we sent it back for some more heat. It came back 2 minutes later and was still rare. He ate a little bit of the filet and the edges of the strip, but 75% of the meat stayed on the bone.

                    He ordered his favorite dessert, creme brulee. It came with a candle in it (thanks to the hostess). When the runner brought it over, he literally dropped it onto the table in front of my son, with the candle and brulee jumping a bit out of the ramekin, and walked away without a word. (Yes, our table and the table next to us sang to him.)

                    I was embarrassed to have talked the place up so much to my son as well as bringing family visiting from Madrid there with us. At least the company was good and we thought the pipes were cool.

                    1. this is getting out of hand.

                      i used to love keens but my last meal there was merely ok. food was good and not great. i felt that the mutton chop and porterhouse weren't hot enough. the waiter was what got to me. i felt like the service was cheesy...like a bad show for tourists. ive always enjoyed the servers at keens but this guy annoyed me.

                      that being said, i have nothing but praise for the owners who also run noho star and elephant and castle. they run a very tight ship so im surprised to see how keens has been taken down a notch lately.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sam1

                        For how many years have they run Noho Star? Just curious, as I was never impressed with the place, but the last time I went there was probably 15 years ago, so that could very easily be completely irrelevant.