Luger or Minetta Tavern?
Got some amazing advice last time on the boards, so I thought I'd try again :)
I'm taking my husband to NYC for his birthday, and he has requested an excellent steak dinner. He's a salt-and-pepper steak guy with no interest in sauces. No preference for cuts, either. Would Luger or Minetta Tavern be a better choice? Or is there somewhere else I should be considering? Cost is not a factor.
We went to Keen's the last time we were here and enjoyed the mutton, but would like to try something new. Thanks!
Depends on two things.
First, what kind of atmosphere do you guys want? Luger's is the Platonic ideal (if "ideal" is a word with any applicability here) of the classic steakhouse. Minetta is cool and stylish.
Second, how important are things other than steak to you? If you care about cocktails, wine, and beer, Minetta wins. And if you care about what's available on the menu other than steak (e.g., if you don't want to eat the same thing as your husband -- or if you care about appetizers), Miinetta wins. On steak and steak alone, Luger's still wins.
For me, it's Minetta Tavern. It's got great decor/atmosphere, the non-steak portion of the menu is excellent, and it's in Manhattan in a better neighborhood IMO.
I've had good service at both. And both can get rather loud.
The atmosphere at Luger is "Bavarian beer hall." That doesn't really scream birthday celebration to me. The lights are bright. The sides are adequate. The liquor options are a solid "meh." I've heard roughly the same complaints about their wine list.
Additionally, I usually have a terrible time getting someone at Luger to pick up the phone. The last time I booked a table there, I got a busy signal for days in a row. When I finally got a person, he told me to call back later. Finally ended up redialing over and over until I hit a phone tree, stayed on hold to to person #1 who transferred me to person #2, who then, finally, offered me a table.
Minetta Tavern is on OpenTable and I've never waited long to talk to someone on the phone if I wanted to call. You probably won't be able to get a prime time (7-8pm) table, though.
Then again, at Luger, everybody ends up waiting a while to sit, even if they have a reservation. We waited 30 minutes last time we were there. And their no credit card policy annoys me (debit card, Peter Luger Credit card, check with ID, or cash only). We were using a gift certificate. Apparently they don't give you change on those if your bill is smaller than the certificate!
The steak is good but the customer experience is so much better at many other places. If you want something Luger-esque, try Wolfgang's. I have a hard time telling the difference between the Luger porterhouse and the Wolfgang's porterhouse. Maybe someone who really, really loves steak can vouch that the Luger steak is THAT much better than other porterhouses in NYC. But I can't really say that it's worth the extra hassle for me.
I'll vouch for Lugers' porterhouse. It is the best that I've had in the city and pretty much anywhere else where I've paid money to be cooked and served steaks at. Your husband will be very happy.
I love the steak at MInetta too. Plus, cocktails, wines and non-steak dishes are heads up over Lugers.
But since this is all about your husband's steak dinner, I'd go for Lugers.
What does "a salt-and-pepper steak guy" mean?
If you're looking for an unpretentious, just the basics, classic, best in the city, NY steakhouse experience - it's Peter Luger. Great cocktails as well, just don't ask for a mojito.
Want to step it up (and out), maybe sit near Seinfeld, have marrow bones, and more, it's Minetta.
Thanks to everyone for your replies! It's been a huge help. Luger's sounds more like my husband's type of place, since he's only interested in the steak.
I will echo kathryn's comments about the reservation system - have already tried calling them twice and got a similar response (busy signal and a "call back later").