Old-school vs. New-school New York City Steakhouses
New York City has more than its fair share of steakhouses. Simply put, there is no shortage of restaurants where one can enjoy a perfect medium-rate porterhouse or strip, sides like creamed spinach and crispy duck-fat potatoes, and perhaps an ice-cold martini to wash it all down. Some of these establishments are traditional classics dating back to the 19th century, while others are modern incarnations of the standard chophouse that offer an interesting twist on familiar steakhouse fare. Here are some of the best NYC steakhouses from both the old-school and the new-school.
Keens Steakhouse has been open since 1885, and you can feel the history when you walk inside. The ceiling is lined with hard clay churchwarden pipes, a remnant of the days when diners could join a Pipe Club and keep their smoking devices there (prominent members included Teddy Roosevelt, Albert Einstein and Babe Ruth). Smoking is no longer allowed; instead guests sink their teeth into dishes like the Legendary Mutton Chop, or any number of classic cuts of meat. Also, Keens has one of the deepest single malt scotch lists that can be found in all of New York City.
Delmonico’s claims to be the first fine-dining restaurant in the entire country, having opened in 1837 after starting out as a small pastry and coffee shop. Of course, there are prime cuts of meat available here, including the signature Delmonico steak. But several recognizable non-steak dishes are said to have been created here as well—and are still on the menu—including Eggs Benedict, Baked Alaska, and Lobster Newberg.
Peter Luger Steakhouse
The Brooklyn outpost of Peter Luger (there’s also one in Long Island) has been around in its current form since 1950, when entrepreneur Sol Forman bought the restaurant. This is old-school, Brooklyn steakhouse dining at its finest. The menu is small, it’s cash-only, and the waitstaff is usually pretty entertaining. Try the sliced tomato and onion starter, served with Luger’s Own sauce, before digging into a USDA prime cut of beef.
Williamsburg’s St. Anselm is located not far from the aforementioned Peter Luger, but the two steakhouses couldn’t be more different. The decor is rustic-modern, with seating at a long wooden bar or at tables frequently packed with diners. Reservations are not taken here, and the wait can be a bear, especially on weekend nights. But the food, most of which is grilled over an open fire, is fantastic. Try the clams, fresh sardines, or the butchers steak—which is a real bargain at only $23.
Iron Chef Marc Forgione now has two locations of his modern American steakhouse St. Anselm, with one located in Tribeca and one in Midtown. Featured meats on the menu include the New York City Cut, a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye rubbed with pastrami spices. The restaurant also serves a show-stopping cocktail prepared table-side, the Plank Smoked Old Fashioned, which infuses maple wood smoke into the drink.
Strip House has two NYC locations; one in the West Village and one in Midtown. The atmosphere is like a classy boudoir, with red walls lined with photographs of figures ranging from old Hollywood to burlesque performers. Be prepared to dig deep into your pockets to dine here, but the superb beef and sides (goose-fat potatoes, black truffle creamed spinach), as well as a couple of rich, barrel-aged cocktails, are well worth it.