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Time for a new Steakhouse!

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Hello gang,
Meeting a friend tonight for steaks and wanted to try one of the many that I have yet to go to. Midtown is best but the Village also works. Hate to schelp back FiDi and probably had everything downtown anyways. Like my steaks rare with a good crisp sear on the outside.

Based on the following reviews of steakhouses I've eaten at (and thus are not in the running) what would you recommend?

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Tier One (the most memorable and special)

Striphouse - Now a Hanson spot, I actually worked there for a bit when it was Glazer Group's and have always loved the prep of the steaks, seasoning, sear (crisp) plus the sides are good. Recently I returned as a patron and found BR guest thankfully didn't screw it up.

Harry's - Venerable downtown Steakhouse, rarely pops up on the MUST lists, but has a great rib eye and strip. Again great sear.

Minetta Tavern - Yes, the steaks there are awesome, I am a believer/convert.

Sparks – A bit old school, obviously, and with a considerable amount of hype I was happy to see that the steak matched up. Wine list is actually not too bad as steakhouses go.

Keens – The pipes are a bit kitschy and honestly my friend had either the Mutton or double Lamb chops which out shined the steak. Will go back to try those again to figure out which it was!

Knickerbocker – For those that don’t know this place you need to go, a relative insider secret. Seriously great steaks—now one of my go to steak places.

Tier Two (Solid seconds choices)
Old Homestead – Good as I recall, may need to revisit soon.
Del Frisco’s – While the cab ad may be a ridiculous, the steak is pretty good.
Palm – A bit pricey but a solid steak.
Mark Joseph – Again, good but not great.
Dylan Prime – More modern in style with a good sear on steak.
Bobby Van's – Solid if not special.
The Capital Grille (FiDi) - Actually pleasantly surprised with this one. Was NOT expecting much and came away pretty happy.

Tier Three (yeah, not so much)
Smith & Wollensky – Chains are tough. Sometimes they get it right (See SH / cap grille / Palm / BV above) most time not so much.
BLT Prime / BLT Steak – both modern and not memorable, can’t recall if it was the service or the steaks or honestly both that put me off. Meh.
Angelo & Maxie’s – eh.
Ruth's Chris – okay.
Morton’s – Old school molten chocolate cake and can only get you so far.
Peter Luger's – I know I’m going to catch crap for this but I was not overly impressed, their style of cooking rare does not suit me, shine is gimmicky, I'd rather have a good crisp sear on the outside. Perhaps an off night?
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Based on a Chowhound search, these three steakhouses are currently in the running:

Post House
Benjamin's
Wolfgang’s (possibly-- but I’m not feeling the need for too much attitude tonight)

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  1. I haven't experienced any attitude at Wolfgang's, at least not in the East 54th Street location where I've dined at least three times. Do they have a reputation for rude service?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Riverman500

      That was my take from other threads, but thanks for letting me know your experience.

      1. re: Riverman500

        Agreed, the waitstaff at Wolfgang's (54th St.) was courteous and kind. As far as steakhouses go, I didn't see Ben and Jack's mentioned but then again I think they are also a Luger clone (which isn't a bad thing in my book).

      2. I've never had bad service at Wolfgang's. But given that you didn't really like Luger's, Wolfgang's might not be my top choice for you. They serve their steak basically just like Peter Luger.

        I did recently have a rib eye steak recently at Quality Meats with a crazy crispy sear on it. My review is towards the bottom here:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/778492

        For a non-steakhouse, don't overlook Craft or Momofuku Ssam Bar. Also did you see this Serious Eats write up about the steaks at Resto...?

        http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2012/1...

        Best steak you've had at a non-steakhouse:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/876308

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn

          Thanks. Yeah that was my thinking on Wolfgang's as well but wanted to get comments. Also thanks for the QM info. Looked into Resto/Cannibal but thinking we want a "classic" steakhouse tonight-- need to try it out though.

        2. Knickerbocker.That review was spot on. It is a gem.

          1. Coincidentally, today's New York Times contains an excellent review for the Arlington Club, a relatively new steakhouse on the upper east side. The review is excellent but the rating is only two stars. I understand that two stars is very good, but in my opinion not as good as the content of the review indicates the restaurant is. The contents of the review are all extremely positive except for that of the sushi which really doesn't belong on a steakhouse menu.

            1. Uncle Jack's is good. So's Porterhouse

              1. Glad to see Harry's made the list. No Porter House? Prime Meat in Brooklyn is very good.

                1. Benjamin's is my go-to steakhouse. Big fan, I believe it's like Wolfgang's in that both of the proprietors used to work at Peter Luger's so similar quality in steak, except Benjamin's is in the city, and accepts credit cards.

                  Never had a problem getting a reservation at Benjamin's with reasonable time in advance (ie. at least early in the week for a Fri or Sat night sitting).

                  1. My vote is for Keen's.
                    I agree with you about Lugers. How disappointing. They are trading on their past fame.

                    1. " I'd rather have a good crisp sear on the outside. Perhaps an off night?"

                      I agree with this, but isn't this just a matter of preference?
                      If I see pictures of a glistening steak, sans char, I usually know it's not for me, and it's a different style not so much a bad night.

                      1. Just wanted to update. Ended up doing Porterhouse at the last minute. More about location on that one. Have to say that I was disappointed in the Prime Cowboy Rib Steak (Rare) -- just not too flavorful for their marquee cut. My friend had the Filet Mignon which I have to say was pretty good (Med Rare). I find Filet tends to be too bland overall and texturally too soft or something but his was good and much better than mine.

                        Anyway another friend in town so off to another steak joint. Might head back to Keen's (this is the friend I went with the last time I was there) or gonna try Wolfgang's or Benjamin's.

                        Will update after the meal. Thanks to everyone for the comments.

                        1. Update #2 -- Ended up at Wolfgang's definitely Lugar's style down to the shine and steak tilt (or sauce as they call it) It was good not great thus solidifying my impression that I am not a Lugar style steak fan. Had the 2 person Porterhouse Med Rare (vs Rare) due to my friend's taste. It just didn't have that crisp sear and salty crust that I like. Sides were meh. The wine list however had some killer gems on there for great prices. Snagged a '05 BV Georges de Latour for almost retail-- plus it was fantastic as expected. I think we doubled up on dessert (my friend has a sweet tooth) and the Schlag (whipped cream.) As for the steak, it's fine a bit "meaty" at points and I'm sure would make most happy.

                          That said, we are back at again! Will let you know the next round but Keen's, Benjamin's, Del Frisco's Grille, and QM are in the running. Anyone with thoughts please free to comment.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: winemonkey

                            I'm not knowledgeable enough to give you more suggestions, but I am definitely enjoying the thread and your reports.

                            1. re: winemonkey

                              Interesting that you felt the sides were only meh at Wolfgang's. I really enjoy their sautéed mushrooms.

                              1. re: winemonkey

                                I find Wolfgang's Tribeca is better than uptown. Maybe because Wolfgang hangs out down there more. But you aren't a fan of Peter Luger. It amazes me though that you put Peter Luger in your Tier 3 with some of the worst Steakhouses i've ever been to. Smith and Wollensky being one of them, Old Homestead you have in Tier 2 , i have it in Tier 10.
                                Knickerbocker has good fish and good short ribs, the steak I find is hit and miss.
                                Uncle Jack's steak is good but they season it too much.
                                I had a really good Filet Mignon at Quality Meats the other day.

                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                  You got me there. Lugar is probably a Tier 2 meat for me but probably bumped down to 3 because of the "old School" service and no credit card rule. Also haven't been to Homestead in a long while so probably a "Not Rated" at this point.

                                2. re: winemonkey

                                  I've been meaning to try Wolfgang's and your report may be my enabler, especially with your wine price comment. Although, the wine you mentioned is not normally within my preferred style, it could be a good gauge of the rest of the price list (I presume). How much was it at Wolfgang's?

                                  1. re: RCC

                                    You may have a problem finding wines that are IN your preferred style there. They definitely go for big "mouthfilling" reds.

                                    1. re: RCC

                                      I think it was $125-$150 which is pretty much retail.

                                  2. Update #3-- Post House (63rd & Lex) -- I freaking love this place after one trip. Atmosphere, staff, food. Totally off the radar for most people which is fine with me. This is why I go explore.

                                    First the steak-- Bone-in NY Strip (NY Cut Sirloin on menu), Rare. Cooked perfectly. Flavor was good not over the top great but super solid. After chatting with the waiter who suggested why pay up for the bone, my friend did the boneless NY Strip, Med Rare, and we did a taste off. Temperature aside, I would still do the Bone-In for the extra couple bucks and she agreed. Both had some really great sections while over it was solid with no bite being too bland. Cooked with a nice sear on the rare, this is the anti-Lugar style that I enjoy more. May have to try the Porterhouse for 2 next time.

                                    As for sides, had mashed potatoes and green beans. Green beans were good not overcooked, mashers not so much a little gummy.

                                    Starters were escargot and a classic wedge (which they split for us) and was enough for two. Really good on the wedge and I don't say that about any salads- friend agreed. The snails had just a touch too much lemon which was too bad because they were cooked well otherwise.

                                    Restaurant is old school, lighting is bright (perhaps for old folks with bad eyes ;p) but I liked it and it's not Lugar bright. Wine list had some nice finds on it, overall a more classic american steakhouse list, but we ended up with a nice 2004 Ch. du Tertre for I think ~$130-- which rocked BTW. Perfect example, Margaux, pencil shavings, cassis, etc., blah blah...

                                    Anyway this kind of reminded me of Knickerbocker in way with a more laid back old school attitude. Prices are still NY steak house so don't expect a deal.

                                    I would not hesitate to go back.

                                    1. Update #4-- Post House Redux. went again recently and the vibe was the same, the food was the same. Stuck to martinis as I was the only one drinking. Really solid overall, just my kind of place, YMMV.

                                      It is on the list again for tonight, but I feel like I have to spread the wings-- thinking Strip House Midtown (to see if it lives up to the original) will update after.

                                      Also if anyone knows how to edit a previous post I would love to edit the original. Cheers!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: winemonkey

                                        It's too late to edit the original, you can't go back weeks later and add more.

                                        1. re: winemonkey

                                          If you're a glutton, like I am, that likes the taste of dry aged meat (especially by the bone), you might better off going to Benjamin. The ribeye is significantly bigger than the one at Strip House Midtown, it costs less and has much more of that funky, minerally, almost rancid taste that you want around the bone. Like Wolfgang's, it's definitely served Luger-ish though.

                                        2. See my post here:

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/974057

                                          If you are willing to look beyond the fusty traditional places with their obnoxious broker clientele there are a lot of good places to check out.