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Peter Luger Steakhouse (2001-2003)


Rosie
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Stoney, how do you edit a picture ?  :unsure:

I didn't think Munch really captured the emotion he was looking for. The flow of the lines were all wrong, and the little flying kitten was silly, so I edited it out.

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What.  No Luger fans countering this pan?  Sheesh.

I'm going to Luger's for the first time in about 12 years in a few weeks - if noone's written anything by then, I'll have something to say. :raz:

"Long live democracy, free speech and the '69 Mets; all improbable, glorious miracles that I have always believed in."

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I go there several times a year and have been three times in the past six months. I've noticed no evidence of decline. Better and worse steaks, sure, that's the nature of the beast -- but no overall shift.

I was there in the last few days and I agree with Steven -- better and worse steaks that's the beast. The worse ones are extremely good and the best -- faboo!

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This whole story about Peter Luger's, and the issue of whether people actually know what they are talking about when they take some of these positions is a fascinating subject. I have a good friend who used to live in Denver and on the few times he went to Lugers he didn't like it. So I tried to explain it to him and since he had respect for my opinion about these things he decided to go back recently. So a few weeks ago I am out having dinner at City Hall and in the middle of dinner my cell phone rings and it is him calling from Lugar's. "Steveanooch" he says, "I gotta tell you, I'm at Peter Luger's right now and I don't see what people see in the place. The meal was absolutely mediocre." Fast forward to Europe last week when we are travelling together. He goes on this entire rampage about how Luger's is crap and how Mark Joseph is much better. So I'm saying to myself, okay maybe Luger's has gone downhill but I am still suspect.

Fast forward to this past Monday night. We went out to dinner at Crispo together and then met another eGulleter for a drink afterwards. While we were having a drink the topic of DiFara's came up since that was the night everyone was going. And that conversation seguewayed into a discussion of NY pizza in general and eventually the topics of John's and Patsy Grimaldi's came up. So my friend says, "I don't like John's and Grimaldi's. The pizzas are too doughy. I like Joe's Pizza on the corner of Bleeker and Carmine." A hush fell over the room better. Was this a great pizza place that nobody had heard of? I was trying to picture this place in my mind. So I started asking questions about the ovens, the type of dough, etc. I quickly concluded that he was talking about a plain pizza by the slice place and that while it was possible that it could turn out pies as good as the brick oven guys, it wasn't very likely. So we got into my car and headed for a taste test. Joe's turned out to be the place on the corner of that little square by 6th Avenue and I must have had a hundred slices there when I was a teeneager and used to take the train in from Queens to hear music in the Village. And the slice he brings back into the car is your basic pizza by the slice. It might be great pizza by the slice, but it's the commercial product and not the artisanal one. Turns out, my friend wouldn't know a great pizza if it hit him in the face. And I'm sure it's the same for his opinion of the steaks at Luger's.

I often wonder how many of these erroneous assessments get posted here or on other boards. A place like Luger's gets their choice of the top steaks, they age them for 21 days, their gas broilers are still working, where is the loss in quality coming from? It's like someone telling me that the Oyster Bar in Grand Central has gone downhill. For what reason, they are buying old oysters instead of fresh ones? Places like Luger's and the Oyster Bar have very simple formulas that their restaurants depend on. And unless someone tells me they went there and they noticed the formula changed, I don't see how they can downgrade them. Everytime I hear it, it smacks of being incredible, the same way it smelled incredible when my friend proclaimed Joe's as having "the best" pizza.

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Turns out, my friend wouldn't know a great pizza if it hit him in the face. And I'm sure it's the same for his opinion of the steaks at Luger's.

Exactly the point I made in the thread about accepting other people's opinions about food when you don;t know their standards.

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I see Jason's in a good mood this morning. He must have had some Moo Shu Pork or something like that last night.

Nothing of the sort. Osso Bucco restaurant in the East Village -- fairly standard italian-american stuff.

I didn't pick the place.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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If it was just my opinion, then everyone should just accept it as being "way out there."

It isn't. My boss went there last night. I knew he was going and never said a word about the place. This morning he asked me what all the fuss is about. He said it was fine, but nothing extraordinary. He says he had better steak at Sparks and Arthur's in Newark ( I've never been to Arthur's, but I do agree with him about Sparks.)

PL isn't a terrible place to go, it's just not what it was. The service is the same (arrogant) and while the place has undergone renovations since I first went in 1968, the ambiance is still as bad as always (except for the bar). So it's none of those things.

Here is what my problem is and the problem of at least 11 other people I know. The steak doesn't seem to taste the same. It's more "mealy" and less flavorful as someone else put it. The tomato salad always seems old nowadays. The preparation is a hit and miss experience. Sometimes you get it rare, sometimes you don't. The night we went with 12, all 6 steaks were ordered rare - only two actually arrived that way.

I was the biggest supporter of PL in the 70's and 80's. I have changed my mind. Maybe they don't care as much anymore, maybe they're taking shortcuts with buying and aging, maybe my tastes have refined over the years. Maybe it's a combination of all those things.

One word to describe the PL of today - disappointing.

However, if you're speaking about the PL on Long Island then it's two words - don't go. Visit B&C instead.

Rich Schulhoff

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

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First Katz's, now Peter Lugers. whoo. Well I'll say this: of all the over hyped , blown out of proportion, you have to go places that I've been to in NYC. Lugers was the only one that has lived up to the hype for me. The ambience pretty much sucks, but have had excellent steaks charred on the outside and red inside. its all about the meat. oh and that bacon. and those onion rolls.

as far as the service (an anomoly in NYC) was with four guys and the table behind us rolled twice in the time that we were there. My friend made a point of slowing the waiters down and we had a great time. assert yourself, this is NYC for godsakes.

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For what it's worth, I was at the PL in Great Neck last weekend. I've eaten at both locations countless times and EGADS...find the LI branch almost identical to Brooklyn although I prefer Brooklyn for whatever the reason. The waiter's surlieness and the fact that they give me extra schlagg, perhaps. My Gotham friends sniff at this.

Anyway, if I haven't already been dismissed due to my LI patronage, I will say that the onion rolls, beefsteak tomatoes, creamed spinach, Extra-jumbo shrimp cocktail, bacon, and porterhose were all fantastic. I brought a homemade peanutbutter/choco/banana cake (with permission..a tradition) for our birthday-girl and our waiter plated it up and even brought schlagg for all to enjoy. Of course we gave him a huge slab.

My fave part of dining in the LI chain is sitting next to all the trim heart surgeons from the famed hospital down the road. Watching them dig into their cholesterol-laden steaks gives me pure pleasure and I take great delight in pointing this out to my dining companions who think eating steak should be reserved to once a year, special occasion- type of events.

I, however, have no food phobias and need no such excuses and go to PL ANY chance I get. AND I've never had a bad meal.

lisa

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  • 3 weeks later...

Happy to report that I do not believe Peter Luger's is going downhill as I was there yesterday and the steak, salad, sides and service were exactly the same as from previous visits. It was noticeably less crowded than usual, even for a Sunday afternoon.

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

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I still haven't been. If I say that this time next year, please shoot me.

Steve makes an interesting point about evaluations posted on a site like this. I think my approach - and I'm sure I'm not alone - is that I begin to trust the judgment of individuals after I've read a number of their posts over a period of time, and especially if some of the posts are about restaurants I know and seem to be on the money.

Of course, then someone you have grown to trust will amaze you by, I dunno, liking the pizza at Otto's or something. :raz:

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  • 2 weeks later...

NYC Day Four – Peter Luger

Dinner, Peter Luger, 178 Broadway, Brooklyn

What a place. We had booked a table for six, a month in advance, and could even then only get a table at 9:30. We got to our table at 10PM. The place was heaving. Outside, sucking down a few Marlboro Lights, I watched Brooklyn happen before my eyes. Goodfellas, Prom Queens, Tourists, wise locals and chatty doormen milled around; a man walked up the street with an enormous fat Winston Churchill of a bulldog, who stopped right by the door, and wouldn’t be dragged any further. We soon saw why; the busboy came out of the door with a huge bag of what I imagine were offcuts and trimmings from many long-finished steaks, and off went dog and owner to enjoy a late steak supper. Fantastic. We were then called inside…

What a spectacle – a bar, chock-full of locals necking beer and wine, smart be-waistcoated waiters, most of whom looked like they’d been working there since their teens (probably quite true), and bare scrub-top wooden tables loaded with food. Wood panelling throughout, small, cosy rooms, and an almost intoxicating atmosphere of bonhomie and, let’s be fair here, gluttony. You go to Peter Lugers to overdose on just one thing, and that’s steak. I wouldn’t bother with a menu, because the waiters certainly don’t. You pretty much get told what you’re going to eat. I presume this is the case for all Luger virgins. Our waiter, an elderly Czech called Ivan, with a glint in his eye and a kind heart, told us what was good, and we were seduced. We took his advice, and ordered a couple of rounds of tomato and onion salad. It was just that, a candy-striped plate of Brobdignagian beefsteak tomatoes, layered with thick slices of raw Spanish onion. It was a world away from the delicacy and finesse I’d enjoyed the night before at Aquavit. It was joyous. Sometimes raw onion is just the thing. I ate heartily, mindful of the steak that was about to arrive. The table was theatrically cleared, and IT arrived. Three volcanically-hot plateloads of the finest looking aged Porterhouse steak, cut thick and sliced into appetizing chunks. A couple of bowls of creamed spinach arrived, and room was made for two steaming bowlfuls of the house speciality, German-fried potatoes, a sort of hash of potato and onion, crispy and soft all at once. I can't begin to imagine what the kitchen looked like. From the furious activity of the place, I imagined the kitchen an inferno of smoke and flames, of huge butchers' blocks stacked with halved cows, of enormous muscled grill-chefs, stripped to the waist and sweating like prizefighters, single-mindedly taking care of business, pausing only to gulp down gallon jugs of iced water. Dante's Bar & Grill. It's probably not like that at all, but it's a nice image.

The steak was delicious. It was cooked medium-rare, abd the plates were tilted, so it rested at the table, letting out a deliciously fatty beef juice, which could then be spooned over the meat. Tender was the steak, and the dry-aging process was evident – you could taste cow. It was one of the best bits of beef I’d ever eaten. Perhaps Michel Bras’ spit-roasted Aubrac chateaubriand just pipped it for texture and intensity, but this was still seriously good steak. And the jovial ale-house atmosphere made it a magical experience. Rarely have I been in a dining room so full of camaraderie and singularity-of-purpose. People here weren’t really talking business, or sport. They were face-down in platefuls of steak. people were enjoying eating. Enjoying getting full. I got very full.

We drank the cheapest red on the list, and it tasted like Cheval Blanc. I finished up with a mug of coffee (not the place for espresso, and given my disappointment at the others I’d had so far, I was glad of a change) and a hefty Maker’s Mark on the rocks. Ace.

We emerged into the chilly night, reeking of onions, full as eggs, and smoked a cigarette watching the lights on the Williamsburg Bridge. I’d fallen in love with New York long before, but tonight I fancied the pants off her.

We drove back to Central Park in satisfied silence, listening to Leonard Cohen. Cliched? You bet.

I’ve read hereabouts that opinion is divided on Luger’s. If it’s gone downhill, I’d kill my own family to experience what it *should* be like. Because I thought it was f**king brilliant. (sorry)

Ready to order?

Er, yeah. What's a gralefrit?

Grapefruit.

And creme pot... pot rouge?

Portugaise. Tomato soup.

I'll have the gralefrit.

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Excellent report.

a man walked up the street with an enormous fat Winston Churchill of a bulldog, who stopped right by the door, and wouldn’t be dragged any further. We soon saw why; the busboy came out of the door with a huge bag of what I imagine were offcuts and trimmings from many long-finished steaks, and off went dog and owner to enjoy a late steak supper.

And Fat Guy didn't bother to introduce himself?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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...a man walked up the street with an enormous fat Winston Churchill of a bulldog, who stopped right by the door, and wouldn’t be dragged any further.

Hey Stephen, you met Fat Guy and didn't say hello to Momo ? :laugh:

That's a wonderful piece of writing, Stephen. I've just read it three times, and I enjoyed it more each time I read it :smile: Like a good steak, good writing improves with age.

I haven't been to Luger for a few years now, but your evocative piece makes it seem like yesterday. Isn't it amazing how much the ambience contributes towards a meal ? I have found Luger almost like an opera set --- I'm sure they audition the waiters to match the menu, and train them to perform the Luger waltz.

Thanks for helping me re-live the experience :smile:

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Yeah, they looked good. A table of regulars opposite us said they were fantastic.

I'll definitely be going again, and I'll try a few of those strips before the mammoth piles of steak arrive.

Ready to order?

Er, yeah. What's a gralefrit?

Grapefruit.

And creme pot... pot rouge?

Portugaise. Tomato soup.

I'll have the gralefrit.

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