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THE BEST: Steak in Manhattan


rich
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perhaps i've turned into an ignorant snob, but to my mind, dry-aging is an important part of a great steak. mr. cutlets, i've admired and respected you for some years now. and now i see that you're not a fan of dry-aging.

i've never had the privilege of having steak from one of these small artisinal sources, but i'd have to ask: what makes it special? the texture? the beefiness? more kobe-like than Luger-like? surely not the minerally qualities, which is what i tend to look for in a steak. or maybe?

althoughhhhh...the finest steak of my life was in Florence. i'm not sure if they tend to dry-age or not, but i do know that it might be a different cow than i'm used to. if someone could confirm that my steak in Florence wasn't aged, i'd be more than willing to accept that non-dry-aged steak can, in fact, blow me away, because of the animal and they way they raise them. that particular steak made my eyes roll into the back of my head. i don't recall *any* food doing that, ever.

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I think The Strip House is now the best Manhattan steakhouse (disclaimer: I've never eaten at Roberts). Both the rib steak and strip are superior to the other places. Plus the sides (goose fat fried potatoes, truffled creamed spinach, creamed corn with pancetta) blow the other places away.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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I'm sorry to hear that. I haven't been there for a while; maybe the owner isn't breaking the bank anymore. I can't blame him. The place isn't hugely profitable, except maybe the bar. As for the S&W experience, it doesn't surprise me. Getting steak at steakhouses like drawing kings or aces in poker -- it can happen, but it's not likely, even at the best of them.

Josh

MR Cutlets - you had me until you mentioned Nebraska steakhouse. I was there a few months ago and it was perfectly mediocre steak. Not bad, but nothing special either. It tasted like a standard prime cut that many supermarkets carry now in styrofoam. I would put Keen's on the list though - with an extra  few points for the classic ambiance and scotch selection.

Surprisingly, the best steak I've had recently in Manhattan was at Smith and Wollensky. I went in biased because of the chain status, and that I had read many mediocre reviews. In fact, I went in with the intention of ordering the burger (which is also great) but caved in to the steak in the end. It was truly out of this world. More expensive that Lugers I believe. I think I had a NY Strip special possibly - and it was $43. Pricey, but wonderful.

~WBC

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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I think The Strip House is now the best Manhattan steakhouse (disclaimer: I've never eaten at Roberts). Both the rib steak and strip are superior to the other places. Plus the sides (goose fat fried potatoes, truffled creamed spinach, creamed corn with pancetta) blow the other places away.

The sides in a steakhouse are enjoyable but what Marxists call

"epiphenomenal." I don't got to a steakhouse to eat spinach.

Josh

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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Of the three places Mr. Cutlets mentioned, I've tried only Sparks and was rather disappointed. That said, almost any steakhouse can have a bad outing, and many of the second-tier steakhouses can hit a home run on occasion. However, I am of the school that dry aging matters, so I am a little dubious that Sparks could ever make my list. However, I'll give it another try sooner or later.

I've had great steaks at Wolfgang's twice, so for now they're at the higher end of the pantheon. Blogger Augieland recommended the ribeye at Strip House, and he was absolutely right, so Strip House is high on my list. I'm paying my 2nd visit to Keens tonight; it was terrific the first time, and we'll see if the consistency is there.

For the life of me, I've looked for Nebraska over & over again, and I just can't find it. I was on Stone Street again last night. I looked up and down, and couldn't see the place. It must be the best concealed steakhouse in Manhattan. (Update: I was looking on the cobblestone part; per Sneakeater, I'll look again on the "other" Stone Street.)

Craft sells its porterhouse and/or cote de boeuf at $125 for two, which is an extremely significant premium over most other restaurants in town. When I was at Craft recently, I wasn't tempted to take a chance at that price.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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Stone Street has two disconnected segments, separated (I think) by the plaza created by that big orange building that the Strook law firm is in. One of the segments is the cute cobblestoned one. Nebraska is in the other segment.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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  • 9 months later...

Admin: threads merged.

Hi, everybody. I read other boards, not all of them food-related, and on one of them, a man just asked where he should go for a good steak dinner in New York. We all know that Peter Luger is the most highly-touted steakhouse in the Five Boroughs. But for the Outer Borough-phobes, it would be great to have a thread that can serve as easy reference for the people going on business meetings and the tourists pressed for time. So have at it! Where would YOU recommend for someone to have that steak dinner, if s/he couldn't or wouldn't hop the L train?

[Edit: Ah, I searched for "steakhouse," rather than "steak."]

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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We really enjoyed Wolfgang's and frankly on our last visit, Captain Jack's was a surprise hit. I am not a fan of Sparks at all. The Old Homestead was really good as well. Here's our mini steakhouse review

I'm hoping to try Porterhouse on my upcoming trip to Ny.

Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

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

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I went to Wolfgang's a couple weeks ago and was completely underwhelmed. I had the ribeye and had both cuts of the porterhouse for 3 my friends had and thought the meat was very bland. The one good thing was the steak sauce was very nice, but at a place like that in my opinion the steak shouldn't NEED a sauce to taste. The meat was tender etc.. but NO FLAVOR. what's the point in something cutting like Buttah if it don't taste like anything. I grilled myself some shell steaks last week without anything but salt and pepper that were more flavorful than these steaks. Very dissapointing will not be going back.

My best steak so far in Manhattan has been the Kobe ribeye at BLT Prime. No that was the best meat I EVER had. Granted it was $72 dollars. Next would be the special ribeye at captial grill rubbed with porcini mushrooms, at half the price of BLT not bad either. I also thought the Ribeye at Frankie and Johnnies was absolutely declicious.

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I went to Wolfgang's a couple weeks ago and was completely underwhelmed.

I think there are too many steakhouses chasing not enough prime beef. Over the last 2-3 years, there's been an explosion in the number of steakhouses. The number of cows yielding the best cuts of meat cannot possibly have grown by a similar proportion. So it means that no steakhouse can hit a home run every time. I've been to Wolfgang's quite a few times, and usually it does a very good job. But on a given night, you can have a bad steak almost anywhere.

A Kobe steak is very a different animal, and shouldn't be compared to anything except for other Kobe steaks.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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I went to Wolfgang's a couple weeks ago and was completely underwhelmed.

I think there are too many steakhouses chasing not enough prime beef. Over the last 2-3 years, there's been an explosion in the number of steakhouses. The number of cows yielding the best cuts of meat cannot possibly have grown by a similar proportion. So it means that no steakhouse can hit a home run every time. I've been to Wolfgang's quite a few times, and usually it does a very good job. But on a given night, you can have a bad steak almost anywhere.

A Kobe steak is very a different animal, and shouldn't be compared to anything except for other Kobe steaks.

I agree totally!

At present the steak scene is plagued by inconsistency more than anything.

This has rendered judging any one place "the best" based on the quality of the meat almost impossible.

At one time, there was a higher percentage of restaurants serving a very good to great steak regularly. One made one's choice based upon other factors--atmosphere etc.

Today it is difficult to find a great steak regularly anywhere. One can get a good or very good steak and can expect much fluctuation in a lesser quality range.

I recall very good steaks day in and day out at Palm Too. Also Smith and Wo's and the Post House. The meat was fine at Gallaghers and Sparks (I had problems with Sparks reservation and seating policies) then there was Christ Cella and a number of others.

I think today the bar has been lowered.

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At present the steak scene is plagued by inconsistency more than anything.

This has rendered judging any one place "the best" based on the quality of the meat almost impossible.

At one time, there was a higher percentage of restaurants serving a very good to great steak regularly. One made one's choice based upon other factors--atmosphere etc.

Today it is difficult to find a great steak regularly anywhere. One can get a good or very good steak and can expect much fluctuation in a lesser quality range.

Nevertheless, there are reasonably predictable steakhouse attributes you can judge on, such as the way the steaks are butchered; whether served on or off the bone, sliced or whole; the aging program; the style of broiling and seasoning; whether steaks are prepared to the requested temperature; and so forth. Those are things that shouldn't change, even if the quality of the ingredients is no longer as dependable as in the past.

An extreme example would be Craftsteak, which got one terrible review after another. It's safe to say that all of those reviewers couldn't have coincidentally just happened to visit on the isolated bad day. Something clearly was wrong. (Colliccio has since fired the chef de cuisine, and told the media that he was getting new kitchen equipment, so perhaps things have improved, or will shortly.)

There are also the non-steak attributes to consider, such as the side dishes, the wine program, service, price structure, ambiance, and so forth.

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At present the steak scene is plagued by inconsistency more than anything.

This has rendered judging any one place "the best" based on the quality of the meat almost impossible.

At one time, there was a higher percentage of restaurants serving a very good to great steak regularly. One made one's choice based upon other factors--atmosphere etc.

Today it is difficult to find a great steak regularly anywhere. One can get a good or very good steak and can expect much fluctuation in a lesser quality range.

Nevertheless, there are reasonably predictable steakhouse attributes you can judge on, such as the way the steaks are butchered; whether served on or off the bone, sliced or whole; the aging program; the style of broiling and seasoning; whether steaks are prepared to the requested temperature; and so forth. Those are things that shouldn't change, even if the quality of the ingredients is no longer as dependable as in the past.

An extreme example would be Craftsteak, which got one terrible review after another. It's safe to say that all of those reviewers couldn't have coincidentally just happened to visit on the isolated bad day. Something clearly was wrong. (Colliccio has since fired the chef de cuisine, and told the media that he was getting new kitchen equipment, so perhaps things have improved, or will shortly.)

There are also the non-steak attributes to consider, such as the side dishes, the wine program, service, price structure, ambiance, and so forth.

Yes you are correct IMOP.

Many of the steak related things you note are pretty subjective. The non steak related areas have always been a key factor. For eg, I have always liked the Post House simply because it was more civilized than many other places and while Sparks had very good food I really disliked their way of honoring reservations.

I haven't been to either place recently so things may have changed. I do know that the truth remains--it is much harder to find both great meat and consistency anywhere these days.

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Many of the steak related things you note are pretty subjective.
Oh, sure. But what is there on these "BEST" threads that is not?
The non steak related areas have always been a key factor. For eg, I have always liked the Post House simply because it was more civilized than many other places and while Sparks had very good food I really disliked their way of honoring reservations.

In addition, Sparks uses a wet aging method that I don't like as much as dry aging. While my preferences are subjective, the fact that Sparks does it this way is an objective way of judging the place—for good or ill. Obviously someone must like it that way. Capital Grille prepares their steaks in a similar style, with better ambiance and friendlier service than Sparks.
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I went to Wolfgang's a couple weeks ago and was completely underwhelmed.

I think there are too many steakhouses chasing not enough prime beef. Over the last 2-3 years, there's been an explosion in the number of steakhouses. The number of cows yielding the best cuts of meat cannot possibly have grown by a similar proportion.

i've often said that, but i don't believe it. i think cows are slaughtered for steak under 3 years of age or so. and why can't the number of Prime graded steaks increase? it's set in stone? God's work only? i doubt that.

however, given my bias toward dry-aged minerally-tasting steaks, i generally do not eat steaks that aren't dry-aged. "Best steak", to me, implies dry-aging and minerally flavor. Prime isn't a big a concern to me, since i think it's all a bit nebulous. My experiences at Luger's, Wolfgang's, Ben and Jack's, and other steakhouses (who claim to offer USDA Prime/dry-aged steaks) suggest to me that you will sometimes get minerally flavor (from dry-aging) depending on where the steak is cut from, and how it's trimmed, and you'll sometimes get chewy sinew running through your strip. The best steak I've had has been in Italy, where it's a different animal, and where there's probably more of a focus on dry-aging.

I will say that i've never had chewy steak at Luger's, and have at Wolfgang's, but I've been to Wolfgang's countless times and Luger's only a handful. I've also bought USDA Prime dry-aged beef from many reputable butchers, and the "quality", if defined by lack of chewy sinew and the existence of nasty-minerally flavors (flavors good), vary greatly from visit to visit.

bottom line: salt and pepper and char more than often defines the "taste" of most steaks served across the country, and in NYC, and the often-non-existent-minerally-taste might separate the wheat from the chaff. Whether people realize or not is open for debate.

show me a reputable source that suggests that farmers have not been able to raise more USDA Prime cows, and I'd be interested in reading it. beyond that, i'm not convinced that any steakhouse is able to control their quality as they could even 4 years ago. There's a new steakhouse on every corner serving USDA Prime steak. something doesn't add up. salt, pepper, high heat and mold are the answer, methinks. if the answer is that the USDA has stretched their definition that much, well, that's another thread.

Edited by tommy (log)
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It's funny how opinions change. I forgot I started this thread some four years ago. I just looked at my first post that indicated Sparks was my top choice in early 2003.

If someone asked me that today, it would not be true. I think Sparks has slipped especially after its expansion. I'm not sure I have a favorite anymore. I enjoy the hangar at Landmarc, the double cut at S&W, but I don't have a real overall favorite.

Last Friday, I was sponsored to a meal at Angelo & Maxie's. I went in with very low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised. Their Strip was tasty, the service was excellent, reasonable wine list and the sides were very good. It was a nice experience.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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