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Traditional Steakhouses in Manhattan


rshorens
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I don't want to offend any purists out there, but I am a former New Yorker transplanted to northern California who is returning for a visit in early November. My husband and I crave a traditional New York steakhouse. We've heard raves about Peter Lugar's, but we need to limit ourselves to Manhattan. We definitely wish to avoid glitz and tourists and are looking for excellent flavor, quality and value as well as local ambience. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Roz

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Wolfgang's

I believe he used to be the Maitre'd at Lugers at one time. I've eaten at both the Park Avenue and the Tribeca locations and loved both of them

+1. There is also the new Capital Grill downtown which is very good and Mark Joseph at the seaport thats fantastic.

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I would advise against Capital Grille, as it is a large national chain. If you are coming all the way to New York, you might as well try something that originated here.

I second the endorsement for Wolfgang's, which is a small chain NOW (with around 4-5 restaurants), but started here. Mark Joseph is also very good, and very much in the Luger style.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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I would advise against Capital Grille, as it is a large national chain. If you are coming all the way to New York, you might as well try something that originated here.

I second the endorsement for Wolfgang's, which is a small chain NOW (with around 4-5 restaurants), but started here. Mark Joseph is also very good, and very much in the Luger style.

For a chain, Capital Grille is actually not bad, at least the ones I've been too. I haven't been to the one in NY yet though. But I agree, if they are coming to NY, go to an original NY steakhouse. I do like Wolfgang's a lot

Marlene

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Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Keens on W 36th St dates back to the 1880s, is gorgeous, has wonderful service and makes a very serious steak indeed.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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I don't want to offend any purists out there, but I am a former New Yorker transplanted to northern California who is returning for a visit in early November. My husband and I crave a traditional New York steakhouse. We've heard raves about Peter Lugar's, but we need to limit ourselves to Manhattan. We definitely wish to avoid glitz and tourists and are looking for excellent flavor, quality and value as well as local ambience. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Roz

Hey Roz, just out of curiosity, why do you have to limit yourselves to Manhattan? Depending on where your starting point is, Luger's may be closer to your Manhattan location than some of the places being suggested on the thread. Luger's isn't in the deep reaches of BK at all...it's about 5 minutes from Manhattan, and is easier to reach via subway and cab than many other locations. Not very far to go for such a strong craving. And you get the further benefit of avoiding the glitzy tourist-filled areas you said you're trying to avoid.

That said, I'll echo a few others here on the boards in mentioning Wolfgang's. Wolfgang was indeed a waiter and later head waiter at Luger's for many years. That doesn't mean he gets all the same meats as Luger's does, but at least he understands how to produce a reasonable facsimile. And there is some Luger pedigree and experience to be found at Mark Joseph as well. Among those not yet mentioned, Ben and Jack's is also run by Luger's alums, and is in Manhattan. And I believe Benjamin has a former Luger cook in the kitchen.

I suppose it would help us to know whether you're more interested in the meat on the plate, or in the whole "classic New York" feel of the restaurant in question. If it's the former, I'd say Strip House and Quality Meats serve some of the best steak in town. However, they're not old school New York steakhouses in the traditional sense. On the other end of the spectrum are Keen's, Old Homestead, Sparks and the like, which are classic institutions with that old-time feeling. Some of the others in the category, such as The Palm and Smith & Wollensky, no longer source their meat the same way, and have faded somewhat in recent years.

If you can provide a little further info about geography, reasons and priority we can help narrow things down for you.

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"If you can provide a little further info about geography, reasons and priority we can help narrow things down for you"

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, LP. We are coming to New York to watch our daughter run in the New York Marathon, go to a few shows and museums, and catch up with friends and relatives. I guess my original request stemmed from a few factors. One, since Luger's is so famous, I was afraid that I would be disappointed if the experience didn't match the reputation. Also, it seemed like a trek to get there, AND my husband isn't very patient waiting in line since Luger's doesn't take reservations. When I asked for advice about steaks in Buenos Aires in the past, eGullet members were able to "steer" me away from more well-known tourist spots to some great authentic steak restaurants.

At many restaurants in northern California, what often passes for steak is a flavorless filet mignon. I really want to taste some serious aged beef with real flavor at a fair price. If Luger's is the best, then we will certainly try to get there. Perhaps if time permits, we can try several of the recommended steakhouses and report back on our impressions.

So to reframe my question, what would you suggest as the top 3 restaurants(including Luger's)for great tasting steak, good value, and authenticity?

Roz

As stated by the others, Luger's not only takes reservations, but it's pretty much mandatory to have one if you plan on eating there. Not sure where you heard otherwise. What they historically don't take is credit cards...so bring cash. In terms of the location, you didn't mention where you're going to be based/staying, but as stated, the geographical barrier is much more mental than physical. Luger's is REALLY close to Manhattan...enough so that it may well be closer to your location than many of the Manhattan options being proffered. At worst, it's certainly not going to be much farther, and you can get there easily (and with no major additional expense) by either subway or cab. So don't let it's Brooklyn location dissuade you, especially since what you're after is dry aged goodness. Fair price is another thing, as this is NY after all. None of the places are cheap, but most are in the same range. It's also a real classic NY experience at Luger's, while eating at Wolfgang's, even if the meat were exactly the same (although most say it's not quite), won't provide that. Seems like you'll have to trade either old style ambience or steak quality to dine at almost any other place. And even those that don't like it are likely to at least have a smile about their story of going there. Still, if you want other steak places, there's a pretty good list on this thread now, none of which will do you wrong. Trying several, as you mentioned, might be a great idea, if you're not sick of steak. And if you're going to try more than one, I'd echo the above recommendation of Minetta, as they serve a really nice piece of meat (either the Cote for two or the sirloin for one) in what may become a new NYC classic in time.

So my list would be Luger's, Strip House, Minetta, just for the sake of variety, though you could probably substitute any two others from the thread and do almost as well. Make sure to get reservations at all of them well in advance, as Minetta can be even tougher to get into than Luger's.

Edited by LPShanet (log)
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