Whether it's a new, trendy hotspot or a classic, old-fashioned staple, a truly great steakhouse compliments juicy, sizzling slabs with the perfect setting, creating the backdrop for an unforgettable experience.
When deciding which restaurants to include on our list of the top ten steakhouses in New York City, we looked for a few key criteria. Among them: delectable, mouth-watering hunks of meat, an almost cult-like following of regulars, and enough staying power or innovation to draw crowds the world over.
What we've uncovered is a list that mingles old with new, traditional with inventive. Take Peter Luger, for example. One of the oldest steakhouses in the city, it's still turning out fantastic meals from its vantage point under the Williamsburg Bridge. Or what about Strip House? This bordello-inspired joint tickles your fancy with titillating photos and even more sensual steaks.
If there's one thing New Yorkers know, it's steak. After all, the New York strip didn't earn its name and world-famous reputation on the banks of Long Island. Nope, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, prime cuts reign supreme in the Big Apple. Now, if you're ready to get started, let's not waste any more of your time. Below, the ten best steak joints in the city.
Unless it's freakishly low, or ridiculously lofty, a restaurant's ceiling probably isn't the first thing that draws your attention. At Keen's, it'll be all you can look at -- that is, until they bring your meal. Keen's Steakhouse -- established in 1885 -- is one of New York's oldest and most revered eateries. It also happens to have the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world literally hanging from its rafters. The tradition stems from the days when travelers left their delicate pipes at their favorite inns until they returned. Today, Keen's is well known for its mutton chop -- a deep cut of meat so succulent you'll wonder why its popularity ever waned. (212-947-3636)
Peter Luger Steakhouse
Ah, Peter Luger. While there's debate over whether or not this Brooklyn staple is actually the best steak in New York, there's no denying that it deserves a place in the top 10. Luger's -- established in 1887 -- is old-school: they don't accept major credit cards, only cash, or their special Peter Luger's Card, which you'll have to apply for in advance. The servers here -- typically all gents -- wear white aprons and move with precision. But that's not what's put them on Zagat's best steakhouse list for 30 years running. No, the star of the show here is the steak, broiled to perfection and served for two, three, or four. If you know what's good for you, you won't skip the sides either -- especially not the bacon. (718-387-7400)
Located in Gramercy, BLT Prime opened to critical acclaim in 2006 and has been topping best of lists like this one ever since. Along with pristine cuts of beef broiled and brushed with herb butter, diners can't get enough of the popovers that are stuffed with Gruyere and served warm at the start of the meal. The wine list at BLT Prime is also award-winning, and includes a healthy by the glass menu, in addition to half and full bottles. Not sure what cut to order? It's New York City, so the NY strip -- medium rare -- is as safe a bet as you'll ever make. (212-995-8500)
With outposts in Midtown and Vegas, the Strip House in the East Village riffs off its name by adorning its walls with pictures of scantily clad ladies. The rest of the joint looks like it could be straight out of a mafia flick, and just like in the films, everyone's eating well. You can't go wrong with the strip here either, but if you opt to go rouge with the bone-in rib-eye, be prepared to have the memory of this exquisite meal stay with you for a long, long time. Normally desserts are something of an after-thought after a marbleized, fatty cut of meat. Not here. Order the 12-tier chocolate cake. Die happy. (212-328-0000)
Thriving in a West Village space originally decorated in the 1930's, the saloon style decorations at Minetta Tavern work perfectly with the white table clothes and succulent bistro steaks. Black and white checkered floors, original tin ceiling tiles and wood paneling all mesh to create a lively feel that's well suited to the neighborhood. Along with the steaks, regulars rave about another of Minetta's meaty marvels -- the Black Label burger. At $28, the burger is a mix of prime dry-aged beef, sourced from a farm in Kentucky and topped off with a buttered brioche bun. For good measure, the chefs drizzle clarified butter on top of the patty during cooking, which could be why the burger often elicits ecstatic groans from diners taking their first bite. (212-475-3850)
What Peter Luger is to old-school steakhouses, Quality Meats is to the modern wave of beefy hotspots in New York City. While you'll find nearly all of the same cuts here -- bone-in rib-eyes, strips, filets -- you'll recognize immediately that this trendy space defies the norm of what a steakhouse is known to be. For one, steel meat hook chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, a nod to pushing the boundaries. The menu follows suit, with dishes like Hamachi sashimi with Black Mission figs and Thai chili vinaigrette, or the Cajun short rib with potato gnocchi and burgundy truffles. Luckily, the chefs in the kitchen hold their own against the cool vibe of the space, turning out near perfectly executed cuts of meat on the regular. (2123717777)
St. Anselm doesn't call itself a steakhouse, and it doesn't much look like one either. The dining room is small, tables dwarfed by a long bar with metal stools, and green-slatted shutters closing out the hipsters on Metropolitan Avenue. What's coming out of the kitchen, however, will convince you that not only is St. Anselm a meat haven, it's one of the best ones in town. An ideal meal looks something like this: grilled haloumi with pea greens and string beans, roasted bone marrow, grilled shishito peppers and the butchers steak with compound garlic butter. The best part? It's affordable. That steak I mentioned? Yeah, that's just 15 bucks. (718-384-5054)
While Prime Meats borrows a few lessons in legacy from Keen's and Peter Luger, its approach is all its own. This Brooklyn eatery features large windows and a spacious back deck, which helps to mellow out the leather décor, and create a more comfortable ambiance. Unlike many of the other steakhouses on this list, Prime Meats also serves brunch, and diners can't get enough of the poached eggs. But it's steak you're after, and this joint doesn't disappoint. Though it'll put a dent in your pocketbook, the Black Angus Cote De Boeuf for 2 is dry-aged for 36 days -- it's worth every penny of $142. (718-254-0327)
Regulars of Angus Club declare this the best steakhouse in New York City. Located just north of Midtown on the east side, it's consistently honored with the kind of 5-star reviews and accolades typically reserved for Thomas Keller, or Beyonce. Fare here sticks to the basics -- shrimp cocktails, iceberg wedges, classic beefsteak tomatoes and onions -- though don't be surprised to find that Angus has a few tricks up its sleeve. The seafood, for one, is actually worth ordering, and the veal chop has converted vegetarians to the dark side for years. Ok, maybe we made that last bit up, but this double cut beauty, served on the T-bone certainly makes carnivores swoon. (212-588-1585)
Conveniently positioned just south of Grand Central Station, Benjamin Steak House is the place to go when you've either: one, just arrived to the city, or two, are on your way out. Helmed by two former Peter Luger chefs, the restaurant opened in 2006, and has been serving up three well-balanced, meat-heavy meals a day to New Yorkers ever since. The fireplace offers spectacular ambiance and a reprieve from the cold in winter months -- perfect for cozying up to a big piece of beef that's been dry-aged in Benjamin's own aging box. Just like their alma mater taught them, steak here is served up for two, three, or four, though sirloin, rib-eye and filets are also available for solo scavengers. (212-297-9177)
About Andrea Duchon
Andrea Duchon was bitten by the travel bug from an early age, and has lived in New York, Seattle, Cleveland and Sydney, Australia since 2007.
When she's not traveling or planning a trip, you'll likely find her eating tacos while throwing darts and watching the Cleveland Browns.
Read more about Andrea Duchon here.
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