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Peter Luger Steakhouse (2001-2003)


Rosie
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Nesita - Nobody in the food trade could write an opening post that aproximates Lima Bean's miscue about P.L.'s. I am certain years from now, Lima will look back at that review and say to himself (or herself) "what was I thinking about?" But that's why newbies come here no? To learn. I came here to learn from Fat Guy. Look at where that got me.

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i've never been to lugers. although i'm expecting i'll be let down. what with all the hype. but nothing sucks harder than the overpriced, lamely-staffed, and horrible overall river palm chain. fairlawn was a disgrace (valet parking? in the parking lot that is right in front of the restaurant!?!), and riveredge (or whatever town the original is located in) left me with a sour taste overall. i've haven't been to the mahwah version, but i can't imagine that it's much better. lots of dough for a very mediocre NJ experience.

then again, those comments have nothing to do with NYC steakhouses. :rolleyes:

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I see you can buy Luger Steeak sauce ina local store here in CHicago, anyone tried it - is it any good

Actually, the only time I was at PL, I was told the steak sauce was very good with their Tomato & Onion salad. It was!

As for the steak, I wouldn't have ruined it with steak sauce, made by PL or Christ himself. :shock:

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Regarding the sauce, I'm pretty sure it doesn't actually say "steak sauce" anywhere on the bottle -- it's just referred to as "sauce" as I recall. I'd have to check, but I think Ed Behr once referred to it as steak sauce in AoE and had to run a correction in the next issue. Maybe I was dreaming but I think he e-mailed me to ask me to check the bottle at a local store, and I think I did. In any event, I'm not aware of a single serious Peter Luger customer who uses it on the steak -- it's almost exclusively used on the tomato and onion salad. My suggestion is that you put a tomato and half a slice of onion on a plate, cover with about two tablespoons of the sauce, and then throw the whole thing in the garbage.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I had the sauce on a burger at a BBQ a few weeks back - it was ok - very sweet. I would be embarrassed if someone I was eating with at PL put that on their steaks.

Been to PL a couple of times, and think it is very good. First time I went people were really talking it up, and I was sort of let down. Will probably get attacked for saying this, but thought steaks that I have had at The Old Homestead and Bobby Van's were in or very close to the same league as PL.

Worst Steakhouse in NYC - Ben Benson.

johnjohn

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There's excellent beef being raised all across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, but the good steakhouses are mostly concentrated in Calgary. There doesn't seem to be a critical mass of diners in Saskatoon or Regina who are willing to pay the $30+ a steakhouse needs to charge to offer a good-sized AAA dry-aged steak, so most of the best restaurant-quality beef raised out there goes either to the larger Canadian cities or to Asia. I'm sure you can get an awesome steak in someone's home in Saskatchewan, though -- in my experience that's where all the best food in that province is served.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG - you may have missed a question because it was in the middle of several posts that appeared at the same time. Have you tried the LI Peter Luger? If so, do you think it's better, worse or the same?

Rich Schulhoff

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

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I don't have enough experience with the Long Island location to reach a conclusion -- I think I went there with a bachelor party when I was in law school but my memory is vague. The people I trust who have been multiple times to both all say either identical or that the Brooklyn location is slightly better. One ex-Peter-Luger waiter I spoke to said that when there are enough flawless short loins in the market to go around, the two places are identical, but that in times of scarcity the Brooklyn place gets priority for the top level of beef.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Thanks FG.

By the way, has anyone on this board ever eaten at Bern's in Tampa? For those who have, what are your opinions?

Rich Schulhoff

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

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I have eaten at the Lugers in Great Neck many times, as well as the one in Brooklyn. Outside of the atmosphere, I don't see any difference. Once I even asked if the steaks were any different and was told that they are aged in exactly the same way and that they are the same cut from the same source.

By the way, did you know that you can order their meat for overnight delivery? Well worth it and pretty much the same price as any good porterhouse from a high quality butcher.

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Thanks FatGuy, I knew I was getting into some healthy conversation but I've been to many "great" resturants across the nation and feel that I've earned (somewhat) the ability to downplay PL.

If you read Rosengarten's review, it talks very little about the steak (black and blue or not). He really discusses the "bad" elements about PL, indirectly telling us not to go there. Perhaps he wasn't so PC about PL and therefore the reason why he's not even with Gourmet.

I still stand by my recommendation, but I always give fine dining establishments 2-3 tries before I really cross them off my list.

And, perhaps my next venture will be Sparks, as I have not been there.

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By the way, did you know that you can order their meat for overnight delivery?  Well worth it and pretty much the same price as any good porterhouse from a high quality butcher.

It's $133 for two porterhouses (maybe 4-5 pounds of bone-in steak) plus $29.95 delivery and I assume tax. That's more than you'd pay at the restaurant for the same food, and probably more expensive than even Lobel's.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Also River Palm in NJ. Tried the FL and Edgewater shops and I didn't like either. However, the RP terrace in Mahwah is much better, atmosphere (not that it matters once you have been to PL, OOH! :blink: ) and the food is much better.

just a little FYI

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Bern's steaks are quite mediocre, they're not the heavily marbled tender steaks that we expect in New York, if you actually received one of these in any New York steak house you would be quite disappointed. The last few times I've been there I ordered fish. Overall though, the reason to go to Bern's is not the rather ordinary food but the wine. They have one of the largest selections of fine wine in the country and at least until recently were pricing it to their cost rather than to escalating market values. Examples that I remember are Evangile 82 for $176, Haut Brion 82 for $250 (we had this one) and Haut Brion 89 for $295. These are great prices. However, I've heard rumors, but nothing authoritative, that they've revised their pricing and now everything is much more expensive. I would be interested in hearing whether this is really so.

For the record, I'm of the PL school. PL steaks are the best in the world and hit the mark each and every time.

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I've only been to PL once. Certainly not enough of a visit to condemn or extoll the virtues of the place. It's got character, it's got attitude, in an odd Williamsburg way. The steaks are tasty, but there can be much to dislike depending on your background and expectation.

I personally think the place (physical plant) is a little gnarly for my taste. Remember I said for my taste. I haven't, nor do I want to ever deal with that line that starts forming at the maitre'd's station at about 7:30-8:00. It didn't seem worth it to me ( I ate there much earlier and was shown directly to a table).

I found the steak for two to be smallish. I too am more used to a River Palm type of steak which is noticeably thicker. The ones that I use are also thicker. My gripe with PL steaks is the amount of tail that their Porterhouse has. I find this tail to be generaly inedible. My quick eyeball scale put the weight of a Luger steak for two at about 28 oz. maybe 32 at the outside. I'm used to a 37-40 oz steak. That increased thickness should define a different cooking and taste characteristic.

The flavor is going to be in the selection and aging. Overall, I suspect (remember I've only been once), the vast majority of the steaks served are going to taste very good. The shortloins are selected by Ms. Foreman based on a trained eye and are expertly aged. Her pickiness over shortloin selection is legendary. Remember though, the selections are based on marbleing and fat cover. The flavor is going to be in the aging. Add a bank of very hot french broilers and the percentages are that you are going to get a very good steak. Everything else is secondary. The shrimp cocktail are truly awful, the spinach was good but prosaic and the german potatoes strictly hash house (both tastewise and based on what I've seen of their kitchen preparation). But y'all are there for the steak, not the sides.

Unless somebody really wants to go, or is in town and it's on their list, I don't think I'd make the drive from Joisey to Williamsburg. 'sides I don't really jones for steak as much as some of you do. Nor do I have a palette that picks up the subtle aging nuances that some of you seem able to. I'll agree it's a tasty steak, my issues with PL have to do with things other than the flavor of the meat.

I like Nina's pst. It is what it is. Like it or not.

Nick :smile:

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A porterhouse for two at Peter Luger runs 36-38 ounces, according to the restaurant, though I'm sure an individual specimen can fall outside that range.

I actually think the hash browns (which they call German potatoes) are quite good. What was your objection there?

Shrimp cocktail is awful at every steakhouse.

In terms of the shabby treatment, that's why you need to go for lunch!

Can't help you with the gnarliness -- it's a dump, though they seem to have replaced some of the chairs lately.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I actually think the hash browns (which they call German potatoes) are quite good. What was your objection there?

Shrimp cocktail is awful at every steakhouse.

In terms of the shabby treatment, that's why you need to go for lunch!

Can't help you with the gnarliness -- it's a dump, though they seem to have replaced some of the chairs lately.

FG,

It was probably the size of the tail that led me to that impression. If the tail is large than the steak can be thinner. The tail is attractive looking, but I don't think that there's much to eat on it. Based on my experience and impression; 36-38 ounces seems a little high. But with the way they're butchered I'll concede a maybe.

re the hash browns or German potatoes: Mine were burnt as were the the ones in the large aluminum pan that I saw sitting on the burner in the kitchen, in fact those were burnt black and gettin blacker by the second. They were most unmemorable. I did say it was one visit. Maybe on another one...

I wasn't treated shabbily, quite the contrary. The much touted rude waiter didn't exist on my visit. Service was pretty good, but that line...oy!

The shrimp cocktail seems to be an automatic for many people who dine at steakhouses. In a steakhouse such as this they should be a certain size and NOT have that transluscent look of frozen out of the shell shrimp. You know.. the slack and serve type. Call me old fashioned, but I think shrimp should be coooked in the shell in court boullion. Then peeled.

I'm not saying that PL use Contessa (frozen out of the shell tiger cocktail shrimp) shrimp, or that they don't cook them properly in court bouillon. I'm only saying that my impression of the PL shrimp cocktail tended to that description.

I'm in agreement with most here re the scrupulous attention to the quality of the steaks. It's just overall, not my kind of joint. But one can see that it does have its charms and appeals to many people. All of my criticisms prolly add up to a quintessential NYC steakhouse experience.

edit: The Palm steakhouse in NYC and The River Palm Restaurant group are, I beleve, two separate entities. I don't think they're related.

Nick :smile:

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Bern's steaks are quite mediocre, they're not the heavily marbled tender steaks that we expect in New York, if you actually received one of these in any New York steak house you would be quite disappointed.

I've been there are least twice a year for the last 24 years (I fly down once a year just for dinner) and I do agree you get nothing close to their steaks in New York. I think Bern's steak is tastier than anything you can find in NYC. The only houses that come close (just my personal choices) are Sparks and S&W.

In my opinion, PL stopped serving quality food about 10 years ago, but most reviewers are intimidated to say so - thus the legend (unfortunately) continues.

I do agree that any restaurant can miss at times. It becomes problematic when the misses outnumber the hits. That's when you get sent to the minors.

I feel sorry for PL. It was once a truly great place. To see it falter so badly is sad. It reminds me of a great baseball player who stays around one year too long.

Rich Schulhoff

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

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